Dante/ Goldberg

It’s hard to imagine that this article would be a bombshell to college professors and administrators. Cheating isn’t a new thing, and even in a large class of students they must be able to recognize the consistency of a student’s writing ability (or at least a sudden, marked improvement in it). This is how websites and services such as turnitin make all of their money after all, though the effectiveness to which they can counter a custom paper would not be very good. Even though they must recognize this, they shouldn’t be blamed to the extent that Dante blames them. There isn’t much they can do, save look over the shoulder of each of their students as they write their papers. The way Dante customizes papers, researches each subject in depth, and even inserts such things as typos makes the paper buying cheaters nearly impossible to catch. If I were a professor I would of course want to catch the cheaters, but the clandestine way in which they cheat is nearly impossible to detect. This is primarily Dante’s fault, since if he didn’t write the papers the students couldn’t cheat. He shifts the blame to the educators, going so far as to name them as the primary cause of cheating, as if they actively encouraged it. I highly doubt any educator is actively trying to fail their student, but perhaps that’s just my experience since most of my teachers have been supportive. So to get back to the question of what I would do if I were a college professor, I would just continue teaching my students and try to support them to the best of my ability, and maybe try to make them understand the importance of their own work.

Goldsmith’s Uncreative Writing class would be interesting to take. It would definitely be more on the artistic side rather than the usual “write such and such about this and that book”. As a child of the internet, I’ve long thrown away the idea that any of my individual thoughts are truly original. A quick google search for a “new ideas” that come to my mind reveal write-ups, in-depth descriptions, and sometimes even patents. But just as with programming, it’s the utilization of previous works that creates a new, creative work. Programming languages have finite amounts of syntax and libraries which the programmer may use, but obviously not all programs are the same. It’s the creativity and ingenuity with which the programmer, similar to an artist or a writer, executes his work that makes it unique and genius. I would want to take his class for the purpose of seeing this with writing as a medium, just for the sake of seeing where interest can stem from uncreativity.

I found myself reading Dante’s article with more contempt, since his motives were primarily economic. But more importantly than that, the ways in which the two writers use the term plagiarism are very different. Goldsmith’s version of plagiarism is the representation of the individual writer through repurposing, effectively making a new work born out the aggregation of old works, as opposed to Dante’s straight cheating by writing for lazy, incapable, rich kids. Goldsmith’s examples, as art, still exhibit some form of creativity from each writer, which is the essential purpose of art. The purposes of his “uncreative” writing are for the sake of expression, while the purpose of Dante’s writing are to accomplish goals such as passing a class or completing a thesis paper. Dante’s writing is full of empty words and fillers, devoid of meaning, with the single purpose of increasing a number on the bottom right of the page in order to fulfill his economic motives. Stealing content is bad either way, but the purpose for which it is being stolen may make it less bad.

My Facebook Profile

I’m well behind my peers when it comes to social media; my Facebook’s first birthday was a couple of days ago. Throughout middle school and high school, I never found it necessary to waste time and publish my personal life where the entire world can see it. Holding aside the problems of personal privacy and data security, I still don’t see the degree to which the website’s core function, connecting people to each other, manages to do just that. If the hole Facebook needs to fill is communication, phone calls, texts, emails, and other mediums have already existed for a few decades. It’s nothing new, beyond the fact that everything is public. I can understand that some people like publicizing their lives, but for me if I want to talk to somebody then I’ll just give them a call or a text. Plus, it wasn’t like you’d actually meet the new people out of the hundreds you clicked “Add Friend” to, and I would just talk to the friends I normally spent time with anyways. So there was never any need for me to create a Facebook. The only reason I made one was because a few of my friends told me that colleges looked through your profiles, and if you didn’t have one, then it’d look like you were an antisocial maniac. Which I didn’t want them to think. So I made a Facebook, added friends, put some random pictures up, put in my interests, and haven’t really touched it since. My page is mostly blank, without the sprawling timelines that everybody else seems to have, so there isn’t much to actually say about it.

Looking at what I do have, almost everything on my wall was posted by somebody else. My profile picture is a quick selfie from my laptop’s camera, and I’ve listed my favorite books, movies, and artists. There are pictures from sports events that show that I can commit to and work well with teams, as well as some other photos people have tagged me in. This is the extent of my profile, and I’d like to keep it simple and concise, with my private matters remaining private. Strangers don’t need to know anything more about me, and there’s nothing more I could add that my friends don’t already know about beforehand.