Melania Trump’s Speech: Is Plagiarism a Big Deal? [OPINION]
Spoiler alert: yes.
If you missed the controversy happening with Melania Trump's speech at the Republican National Convention, you don't know that Melania is currently being accused of plagiarizing a huge chunk of Michelle Obama's 2008 Democratic Convention speech, which is....kind of ironic.
Oh, yeah. The Donald loves his Twitter.
While watching a live stream on The New York Times' Facebook page this morning about this very topic, I read some of the comments underneath the video. Of course, there were definitely a few people hailing Donald as king of the world who could do no wrong, but there were also some normal, curious inquiries-- one that I saw was, "Is plagiarism a big deal?"
Not everyone really understands why plagiarism is so hot a topic because not everyone focused on that all throughout their years of schooling. Plagiarism is like cursive for anyone who isn't an English or Journalism major in college: you touch on it once, and then your teachers are like, "Eh, OK, we get it."
For us-- the essay writers, the copy editors, and pretty much anyone who had to write anything on a daily basis for every single class in their schedules, the evils of plagiarism were pounded into our heads every time we even thought about putting pen to paper (or fingers to the keyboard. I'm a modern lady). For someone who values writing as much as I do, it is a big deal. In a world of sequels and remakes and reruns and rewrites, individuals like me fight to protect original thought as if we're Dumbledore protecting Harry Potter in Half-Blood Prince (Shut up, Right Brain! YOU'RE EMBARRASSING ME!).
For a lot of people, though, plagiarism isn't common sense. The most standard definition is pretty much 'don't steal other people's writing, duh'. It's deeper than that, though-- you can't even paraphrase or take an idea from someone else without properly citing your source.
Melania didn't do either...she pretty much stole a chunk of Michelle Obama's speech word for word. So, yeah, that's bad. Here's a flowchart from Poynter.org if you're still confused:
Plagiarism is a big deal, people, especially for someone in the limelight. If Melania truly wants to prove herself as someone that can assist in leading a nation, she's going to have to get original.
You may say that leading a nation is a lot more than just writing speeches, but Melania will have to get the basics right before she goes off and helps with national initiatives or meets with foreign leaders...because I don't think Trump's fans will put up with a Republican ripping off a Democrat for very long.