You Know You're a Better Cheat Than Kaavya

Last week brought us a confession from sneaky Harvard sophomore Kaavya Viswanathan, who claimed that she was "influenced" by the works of Megan McCafferty, subconsciously transcribing word-for-word passages from those novels into the text of her own. Please — if you're going to cheat, at least be fucking good at it.

Thus the Morning News wonders not why people turn to plagiarizing (because real work is hard, of course), but "why aren't people better at plagiarizing?" An excellent question — if all one is doing is passing off another's words as one's own, you'd think the ease of such a task would provide ample room for the plagiarizer to acheive excellence in his or her method. And yet, we get stuck with Viswanathans who publish slapdash cut and paste jobs.

Inspired by the need for quality plagiarism, the Morning News announces its "Sloppy Seconds With Opal Mehta" contest. This is not for the recreational copy-cat: using no less than five different books, your entry must total 750 words, none of which are your own. You may not plagiarize single words, but actual phrases, sentences, or passages, and all your material must be cited.

To remind them that this was "the moment ethics in writing died," winners will have their story published on TMN and will receive a TMN mug, t-shirt, and a $500,000 two-book deal.

Steal This Book, and That Book, and That Book [TMN]