Home   |  Issues  |  The Daily Star Home

 

How to plagiarise gooder

Some time back, some enterprising chaps took the liberty to take it upon themselves to finally complete that quota about giving back to the community. They went ahead and wrote the writing guide for writers. Unfortunately, through a series of events, detailing which would take years, they realized that the ability to write, nay, to string words intelligibly is scarce indeed. And because in that same quota it stipulated that the help they provided actually helped someone, you can guess why we're stealing the pen from them and offering you this.

It's quite possible to play the cynic here and whinge about how original ideas, especially now, are naught but carefully culled portions from masters long past. We don't disagree. So why do people still call them original, then? Simple. These new world apprentices aren't stupid when it comes to the act of culling. Now, if you (yes, you) were to indulge in such an activity it would constitute 'plagiarism'; when they do it, we call it inspirational, mind-blowing (if you're Indian this is probably the extent of your superlatives) and potentially, "builds admirably upon well-established foundations". That last phrase is pretty important since we're going to teach you how to 'yoink' those very foundations without causing the proverbial building to tumble down quite poetically on you, the 'yoinker'.

Now, we don't doubt that you may have, in the past, present and plan to, in the future, followed some personally decided set of tenets when it comes to claiming work of others as your own. You're doing it wrong. Forget everything you think passed off as cleverly executed skulduggery and broaden your mind, your heart and your bladder because we need to address this fundamental medical issue by beating the stupid out of you - with words - so you too can plagiarise gooder. Possibly, even better than gooder.

Now everyone kid and even their mom knows about this thing called Wikipedia. Previously, the whole Internet was a smorgasbord of information to sample and regurgitate -- now it's all in once handy place. You do know that this means that, more often than not, every single person in your class tasked with that homework on the proper milking of cows will invariably end up in the same place. In fact, if you're wondering why that particular Wiki entry is taking a longer time to load, you now know why. You can either tell them to get their own sources or deal with the source of your worries itself. What's this source? The sources of course, you pillock. The key isn't to copy-paste random bits and end up having to sift through your work and delinking those random clickable text areas leading to fascinating topics like 'artificial cow insemination'. No, the smart researcher will ignore all the fluff in the article itself and scroll straight down to the section helpfully titled references. Seriously, no one ever checks out the references so you can get away with firsthand information that tends to make yourself sound different from every other person with the ability to hit Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+V.

Speaking of Ctrl+V: after you've appropriated the required material and then fixed it to make sure that random footnote numbers and links to mildly amusing obscene material are gone, you may want to scan your article for 'v''s. This rogue letter catches out even the most careful of scribes particularly because it's a clear indication that some form of mental programming prevents them from simultaneously hitting Ctrl and V on the keyboard. It's not hard you know. Unless you're missing a thumb in which case you should refer to a Doctor (instructions not within the scope of this informational). So next time you decide to be utterly clever and copy-pastev something from somewhere, even if it's the same phrase you've written somewhere before (see what we did there?), watch out for the rogue V. It will, by virtue of its shape, give you an enema later on. You've been warned.

Now, we're going to assume that if you've already here without closing this delightful publication, then you're quite aware of the points made thus far. Well done. So you can copy stuff discreetly enough that the average teacher thinks you're insightful and your mates think you're absolutely brilliant. Firstly, people commenting online on how "awesome" your article is are probably not your mates. They will chew you out once it's obvious that which you did, you didn't. So what's a creative cavity such as yourself to do now? Simple. Google it. And we're not talking about feeling lucky. By attempting the next bit you place yourself in that elusive 7% of the population that have managed to thwart the system for so long: get your source... from the next bloody page. Shocking, no? You'll be surprised at how the remaining 93% will stick to a result on page 1 and not give a damn about the remaining Gooooooooogle returns.

Getting a little warmed up now aren't we? If you're clever enough you'll go on to discover the Thesaurus and then begin replacing words outright with logical equivalents and soon, your attempts at mirroring something existing in a sad little computer somewhere will fade away to nothingness. Great success! Eventually, you'll even learn to manipulate the entire article itself to suit your needs. But alas the time is almost over so maybe next time we'll discuss that rare phenomenon sighted once in a bajillion years: Creativity.

Disclaimer
Woe betide you if you plagiarise! Do you not think we can't catch you out? If you can Google so can we. If you write a word out of line that isn't yours, we can catch you out. Remember, reference all your sources and always give credit where it is due. And also, quoting your Mom does not count as a reference. Well, technically it does.

The writers of Rising Stars and those of this article do not in any way endorse the ideas contained herein. It's here as a joke based on information gathered from a variety of informal sources. We do not condone the use of this article for illicit purposes and hope that you will comprehend the actual point of this feature: plagiarism is for douchebags.

Remember, the Editors are watching you. Don't mess.

By Asif Ismail and Tanveer Al'Naan


Book Review

Confessions of a Shopaholic

SOPHIE Kinsella made her Hollywood début with rom-com "Confessions of a Shopaholic", which, despite tanking at the box office, still managed to garner a nomination as Choice Actress - Comedy at the Teen Choice awards for lead actress Isla Fisher. One has to wonder if part of the reason behind its poor showing wasn't the fact that the film strayed so far from the book.

"Confessions", which is the first in Kinsella's "Shopaholic" series, introduces the young Rebecca Bloomwood, who's got it all; socialite friends, a stylish apartment, a high-profile job, and a wardrobe full of trendy clothes. Unfortunately, as the blurb for the book will tell you, she cannot afford any of it. Her job as a financial journalist bores her to tears, and doesn't pay her nearly as much as she needs to support her teeny shopping addiction. Actually, make that a major addiction, seeing as how the book opens with her trying to hide her frightening bank statements. A desperate Becky spends a good portion of the novel trying to evade her bank manager, as she makes several lame attempts to correct her financial situation, only landing even further into debt as her bad habit gets the better of her. Just when things are at their bleakest, she stumbles upon a story that sparks her interest, and its appearance on the front page sends her life careening into a direction she could never imagine heading for.

Kinsella has a light touch with humour that rivals Meg Cabot, even though the latter managed a couple of box office hits. Her characters are quirky, but believable, her narration, witty and colourful. The author really steps into the shoes of the shopaholic and paints an honest, no-holds-barred picture of the kind of self-delusion and desperation that colours the life of an addict. That of course, makes Becky a very difficult person to like; she's petty, she's chicken-headed, self-absorbed and a pathological liar. The promos for the book have called her a girl with a 'big heart', but precious little of that comes through until the very end. Without giving away too much of the ending, yours truly would like to indulge in a little rant about why the promise of a bailout seems wasted on a character with so few redeeming qualities. You see her creating her own problems and then compounding them out of some innate cowardice, and you want it to come crashing down, but then comes a point where you think you might get cheated of that. Nevertheless, this book was written with light entertainment in mind, and you want to read it for one of the two reasons that people watch Sex and the City: the fashion. (The other reason is the same reason why former RS writer AES stayed up hoping to catch the show on HBO, only to be confronted by Sheep in the Big City, but that's another story). This book is packed to the teeth with fabulous buys, cutesy twists, and a feel-good atmosphere, and definitely one to keep close if you want to relax.

By Sabrina F Ahmad
sabera.jade@gmail.com


Coconut oil
Seven times have I seen the same bottle of coconut oil clog to dampen
Sometimes with bubbles of air trapped underneath the creamy surface;
and at times I upturned and flung the bottle to relent to their flow
until she took it by the sunlight in the open veranda and made me stare,
my right hand often clasped in hers as the cream of the oil finally jittered to the warmth.
At times I simply watched as she upturned the frozen coconut oil in front of me and snickered,
I watched her smile and her big belly rumble with her monstrous laughter,
her different shades of white sarees ever since 29th September,
some ordained with flowers, some plain and torn, and I watched
her stubborn spirit, and endless hours of prayers; and I couldn't snicker back. I smiled.
Her grey hair now flows with white always adorned with coconut oil after Asar
her wrinkled fingers almost always a circle counting verses
her wooden prayer platform spotted with holes and nails painted with rust
and my favorite jute stool now torn and patched with old leather.
And she tells me, biting on young betel with red lips, “For the past six and half months
I prayed for you like an old mad lady, I am glad you are back.”
I smile again and tilt to sink my tear back in my eye;
and I remember, I am yet to tell my grandmother how I much I love her.

Adnan M. S. Fakir

 

 
 

home | Issues | The Daily Star Home

2009 The Daily Star