Friday, March 24, 2006

Copy and Paste

What is it about our current political atmosphere that has allowed an inordinate number of nobodies and charlatans--largely of the conservative variety--to infiltrate the centers of power? Most memorably, we had born-again, porn-again "Jeff Gannon" exposed as an improperly credentialed journalist, or whatever he was doing (with or without his clothes on) in the White House.

More recently, we found out about George Deutsch, who at 24 years old was responsible for red-penciling the theologically incorrect work of NASA's best and brightest. He may not have had a secret X-rated Internet identity, but he did have a notable lack of background in science, not to mention a fictitious college degree.

And now the Washington Post, fervently conspiring to corner the market on the MSM's unique hybrid of hubris and incompetence, has delighted the liberal blogosphere (whose existence has now been confirmed by several Deutsch-indoctrinated meteorologists) with Ben Domenech. Maybe the Post's editors should have consulted NASA before they vaulted their own untested 24-year-old to such prominent visibility.

So we now know that Jim Brady & Co. hired a home-schooled racist* and that Dumchuck's vast experience as a writer includes a history of cutting and pasting other people's work (translation: plagiarism) into his college newspaper contributions and, more seriously, the ground-breaking cultural criticism he was presumably paid to write for the National Review. The problem for the Post is that they can't write off these misdemeanors as past youthful indiscretions; the past is now, and the perpetrator is still quite the youth.

I'm not sure which of these two ethical nightmares--racism vs. plagiarism--will send this newest diaper-wearing nitwit back to the Conservative Closet (not that there's anything wrong with that). I'm willing to bet, however, that the crime that may force Domenech's pom-pom-waving associates from the GOP cheerleading squad to abandon his sorry ass is the fact that most of the stuff he cribbed was stolen verbatim from (gasp!) the dreaded LiberalMediaElite. (I mean, What kind of God-fearing traditionalism were they teaching at the Domenech Home School for Wayward Boys and Girls?)

Well, hell, I thought, if these boys can do it, why not me? Granted, I'm not even close to 24 years old nor do I operate a male escort business (yet), but I've got opinions and I'm happy to foist them an unwilling public--and I don't even need to use the {ctrl}-V keyboard combination to increase the word count. (Instead, I own a thesaurus. Plus, I make a better cup of coffee.)

* About home-schooling: I'm not ready to offer a blanket condemnation. Although some of my colleagues insist that the practice has produced a disproportionate number of social zits, it also has given us this wonderful gem.

Update: Joe Conason does a fine job of reviewing Domenech's history of fabricating quotes when he isn't plagiarizing copy.