Monday, April 18, 2005

Plagiarist Consultant. Derrida. Voice.

another rutless road
Posted by Hello

I’m going to explain quickly why a ridiculous quote from an alleged “blog consultant” is pathetic and also immoral, why Derrida is the foremost theoretician for the blogosphere, and how to keep visitors coming to your blog via true "voice".

Plagiarist Consultant:

First the quote from a person’s blog …

(I will delete identifying terms and, because this is an non-identifiable snip for purpose of illustration, and not for substantial usage in my own material, I need not link to the source):


I just signed a contract to blog for [……]. I’ll be joining an A-list of business & marketing bloggers including [……], [……], and [……].

The blog will be called “[……]” and is geared to small businesses that are using or wish to use blogs as marketing communications tools.

I’ll be providing tips, insights, news, and information that’s more practical than what you often read here.

Boy, will I be stealing a lot of stuff from all my fellow business and marketing bloggers for this one!


Let that “stealing a lot of stuff” sink in for a moment.

Is this a rational, educated, ethical person saying this?

A real marketing professional with original and valuable ideas to share?

Or a rip-off artist? A con man? A petty thief?

Friends, there are laws that prohibit such criminal acts. And those laws will be enforced.

The netiquette, and legal requirement, of online usage of source material is to credit the author and display a prominent hyperlink to the original document.

Failure to do so can cost you a lot of money, litigation, and aggravation.

Derrida the Blogologist

Jacques Derrida was the founder of Deconstruction Philosophy, which in simple terms means:

“the close and rigorous reading of text, questioning the very foundations of concepts, the discovery of hidden, and flawed, metaphysical assumptions that govern Western thought”.

I used to have his books Writing and Difference, Margins of Philosophy, The Archaeology of the Frivolous: Reading Condillac, Of Spirit: Heidegger and the Question, The Truth in Painting, The Postcard: From Socrates to Freud and Beyond, Disseminations, Of Grammatology, Spurs, Positions, Memoirs for Paul de Man.

In his first major work Speech and Phenomena and Other Essays on Husserl’s Theory of Signs (Northwestern University Press, 1973), he discusses the question:

“When I talk to myself, silently, mentally, in an interior monologue–is it communication, expression, re-presentation?”

Deep and serious aspects of “voice”, “presence”, “difference”, “indication”, “signification”, and “phoneme vs. grapheme” are analyzed. It gets pretty heavy.

Derrida is “flaming” Husserl, and all of Western logocentric metaphysical tradition, for exalting the spoken utterance over the written or inscribed text.

I will deal with these issues in simple, but hopefully enlightening detail, in the coming months.

For now, run out and buy any book by Jacques Derrida (not about him, but by him) and torture your poor brain with trying to understand what he’s saying.

If you read 30 pages, but only understand 3 sentences…those 3 sentences will do you more good than 300 business books.

Jacques Derrida spoke frequently of hypertext, email, linking, traces, voice, self-presence, and many other issues that have a direct and very deep bearing on blogs and business blogging.

He also got flamed, baited, trolled, and harshed a lot. They accused him of saying “there is no absolute truth” and other junk. They didn’t read him closely, they must’ve read “Derrida for Dummies” or something.

I’m not trying to strut around with pseudo-intellectualism here. I’m turning you on to a great thinker and pioneer in hypertext theorizing. Difficult, yes. But also: bizarre, funny, smart.

Inner Voice

So, to tie this all together, we bloggers are attempting to post our voices on the web, via blogs, and those “voices” are now generally inscribed or “typed” text. Audio blogging, podcasting, and video blogging may radically alter this blogoscape, I haven’t decided if things are moving that way or not.

But plagiarizing, copy and paste techniques, with no credit or link back to the source…

…this is immoral, unethical, and illegal.

You don’t need to plagiarize. You have your own experiences, observations, ideas, opinions, dreams, visions, information, imagination, and expertise.

And I’ll bet it’s pretty interesting, too.

Besides, I do most of my blogo-combat behind the scenes.

How To Transmit True Voice in a Blog:

(1.) read lots of high quality blogs, by smart people like Matt Mullenweg, Jennifer Rice, Seth Godin, Robert May, Robin Miller, John C. Dvorak, David Weinberger, Christopher Locke, Debbie Weil, Steve Hall, Robert Scoble, Shel Israel, Glenn Reynolds, Dean Esmay, Amy Gahran, etc.

(2.) try posting comments as often as possible, and see how easy it is, and how seldom anybody flames or mocks you.

(3.) read good books, classics, philosophy, art criticism, science, things that you must read super slowly, but will improve your brain, rather than rot it.

(4.) write posts on your own blog that reflect exactly what you think, in your own words, very slight on the quoting and pointing to other sources, tell us what you think.

(5.) think a lot, ponder, “communicate with yourself”, post to your own interior “mind blog”, contemplate ideas and issues, discuss them with others, with those who are smarter or older or drunker than you, see what happens to the ideas.

May I propose a slightly revised Universal Blog Mantra, due to new developments in plagiarizing?

“Authenticity. Passion. Transparency. ORIGINALITY.”

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