When we see stories like the one about a law school graduate plagiarizing his graduation speech, we ask ourselves, "What is it with kids today and their poor plagiarism skills?" The answer: their stupid teachers also have poor plagiarism skills.
The dean—the dean!—of the University of Alberta's medical school—medical school!—was caught giving a plagiarized speech at a graduation banquet on Friday night. Not some obscure speech dug out of a long-forgotten academic journal. No. A speech he just took right out of the fucking New Yorker, from last year. Here is how certified medical school dean Philip Baker was found out, according to the Toronto Sun:
"A couple of the students recognized the term 'velluvial matrix,' which is in Mr. Gawande's speech," said class president Brittany Barber. "They Googled it on their phones."
Yes, that phrase stood out because Atul Gawande said this, in his original speech:
Half the words you now routinely use you did not know existed when you started: words like arterial-blood gas, nasogastric tube, microarray, logistic regression, NMDA receptor, velluvial matrix.
O.K., I made that last one up. But the velluvial matrix sounds like something you should know about, doesn't it? And that's the problem. I will let you in on a little secret. You never stop wondering if there is a velluvial matrix you should know about.
That means medical school dean Philip Baker could not even be bothered to make up a new fake nonexistent phrase to illustrate this point, which he plagiarized. Ehh, just go with the immediately recognizable fake phrase that's already in there. Too much work.
No wonder kids these days have terrible plagiarism skills.