SEEDS OF HYPE: Wisdom, wonder, and plagiarism from the world of plants



UD\’s buddy Jonathan alerts her to the latest in the Jane Goodall plagiarism story: The release of her book bemoaning our laying waste to the plants and trees of the earth has been delayed. The publisher will eventually pulp all copies.

I wonder how many trees have had to die so that Goodall could shred hundreds of thousands of Seeds of Hope: Wisdom, Wonder, and Plagiarism from the World of Plants.


Let\’s venture to the seed bed of this latest plagiarism disaster (there\’s roughly one a week) very quietly, very respectfully, so that we can observe, in its natural state, the cribbing world.

Sh! There be ghostwriters here…


We note first A Name. Doris Kearns Goodwin, Charles Ogletree, Jane Goodall. In America, once you\’ve accomplished a bankable name, the danger of plagiarism arises.

How? Well, along with that name typically goes a manic work schedule PLUS a cause. People say How does Goodall do it? She\’s elderly, yet she jets all over the world, gives endless speeches, does tv, does research, sits on boards and committees, AND produces books.

The answer to the question is that she doesn\’t do it. I mean, the book part. Someone else does it for her.


Yes, she admits to writing with what she calls a \’contributor.\’ In the context of the too-busy-to-write-your-own-book Named Person, contributor means the person you blame for the plagiarism. I didn\’t do it; it was my research assistant!

This is exactly what Goodwin and Ogletree said.

They said it because it\’s true. They use the atelier method, as some wit or other has called it: A bunch of graduate assistants or professional drudges do most of the writing for you.

Problem is, the Named People not only don\’t write their books; often they don\’t read their books. Out the books go to the please dupe me reading public, without the busy Name even bothering to scan a tome going out under her moniker. Ogletree, for instance, was in the awkward position of claiming that he didn\’t recognize six continuous pages of his book as not having been written by him.


You too can become a postmodern simulacrum, a one-person book plagiarizing and pulping industry, once your Name enlarges to the point where you don\’t have to do anything but vaguely inhabit your persona. It is in this way that Jane Goodall and Kim Kardashian cosmically converge. Only in America!