Rand Paul

Rand Paul Plagiarizes Wikipedia Gattaca Entry in Liberty University Speech?

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Gattaca
Gattaca

Yesterday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) traveled down to Lynchburg to give a speech in support Republican gubernatorial candidate Ken Cuccinelli. In part of that speech, the senator tried to paint a dystopian vision of state-mandated eugenics by referencing the 1997 sci-fi movie Gattaca. Central to the plot in Gattaca is a character who has not been genetically optimized (actually he has a heart defect*) seeking to become an astronaut by using someone else's DNA to fool the authorities.

MSNBC talking head Rachel Maddow ran a segment yesterday pointing out that Sen. Paul had evidently lifted several lines of his speech directly from Wikipedia's entry on Gattaca. The Courier Journal specifically cites four instances in which the senator's remarks do mirror the Wikipedia entry.

The Council of Writing Program Advisors has an interesting discussion of what constitutes plagiarism versus failing to properly cite the work of others. Specifically the WPA observes:

Most current discussions of plagiarism fail to distinguish between:

  1. submitting someone else's text as one's own or attempting to blur the line between one's own ideas or words and those borrowed from another source, and
  2. carelessly or inadequately citing ideas and words borrowed from another source.

I will let you make up your own minds which the senator did, but it would have been trivially simple for Paul to cite the Wikipedia entry in his speech and moved on. But he didn't.

Much more disturbing for me is the fact that in his speech Sen. Paul conflated state-mandated eugenics found in the plot of Gattaca with the voluntary private use of genetic information to guide the reproductive choices of parents.

*I seriously doubt that any private company or government space agency today would permit anyone with a known heart defect become an astronaut on a trip to Jupiter Titan.#

#HT to Chris Conner for the correction. My apologies to those readers I may have confused on this issue.

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  1. Can I not give a shit?

    Pretty please?

    1. Permission granted. Cause I sure as hell don’t.

    2. Seriously, dude. Rand Paul made a silly reference to a silly movie and used language from a silly Wikipedia article without attribution.

      That’s PLAGIARISM, and it is especially serious when it involves a silly cultural reference.

  2. As someone born with a congenital defect disorder, I find it organist of you people to dare to tell me who can and can’t go to Jupiter. GATTACA! GATTACA!

    1. I’m sure if you ask around, you’ll find plenty of people willing to chip in to pay the cost of shooting you into space.

      1. Why thank you, Hugh. You know, it’s good to know I have friends who would- HEY WAIT A MINUTE.

    2. of you people to dare to tell me who can and can’t go to Jupiter.
      I bet the private company will let you go…for the right price.

      1. Heinlein had an alternate solution.

        1. a burret tlain?

          1. No,I’ve forgotten the name of the story, but a guy founded a rocket company to get to the moon, and by the time it was possible, he was old and sick and had to bribe a crew to get there.

  3. He plagiarized! That means everything he said was wrong! Pay no attention to what he actually said! None of it matters because he plagiarized! Plagiarizer! Plagiarizer!

    1. I’d be more interested in knowing if Rand Paul endorses the mandatory uterine ultrasounds that the VA GOP requires now.

      1. How about not trying to kill your child, then you can avoid a mandatory ultrasound under the Va law.

    2. Does that mean he’s qualified to be vice president now?

  4. Good God!

    People actually paid attention to Gattaca? It’s like someone using Robocop II as a template for discussing the dangers of autonomous weaponized drones….

    1. t: Would there be anything wrong with that – especially if the speech specifically cited the wikipedia entry?

      1. Would there be anything wrong with that – especially if the speech specifically cited the wikipedia entry?

        Yes, because both movies are stupid.

        In the case of Gattaca, they completely miss how labor is priced in an economy. The invalids (get it? Derpity derp derp) are supposed to be like black people in the Jim Crow south. In the Jim Crow south, blacks did manage to create their own businesses and a parallel economy despite having a government trying affirmatively to put them out of business and in the face of a great deal of violence. The reason being, of course, that just because they couldn’t do business with whites, they could do business with each other.

        Hell, Heinlein did a better job of exploring this question in Beyond this Horizon (he fucked it up too, but at least he thought things through at above a middle-school level).

        Hollywood fucks up science fiction every time it tries it. They fucked up the puppet masters. They fucked up starship troopers. They fucked up the day after. They fucked up Armageddon. They are like middle-schoolers trying to tackle social problems.

        Rand Paul is using Gattacca to frame anything is really face-palm-worthy.

    2. I look forward to the offended reactions of Jude Law, Uma Thurman, Ethan Hawke and Andrew Nicol that Rand Paul would dare to appropriate their art for political purposes.

      1. Uma Thurman is busy making a porn movie at the moment. No seriously, she’s doing a porn movie.

        1. It must be a foot fetish porn film. Bitch got gigantic feet.

        2. Food porn? Or a movie about porn? Not that either of those would be worth watching either.

  5. Wow, pathetic. MSDNC will go to any lengths to try to distract from the Obamacare abortion.

    1. That was my initial reaction. Then again, Obama has given his worshipers so many things not to talk about that they are grasping at straws.

  6. So they’re already worried about Paul’s chances in 2016. Excellent.

    1. No they’re not.

      1. See? More proof.

        1. The only person any Democrat is remotely worried about is Chris Christie. And good luck getting him through the primary.

          1. Christie doesn’t go through the primary, he goes A ROUND it.

            1. Insert additional fat joke here.

              1. Christie’s so fat, when he was trying to tell voters about his platform, he fell right through it!

                1. +1 metric ton

          2. Yeah, because Republicans totally don’t nominate blue state guys (Romney). Derp. Derp.

          3. “The only person any Democrat is remotely worried about is Chris Christie. And good luck getting him through the primary.”

            Meanwhile, the Cult of the Donkey continues to rally around a woman who has less chances of being elected than Kim Jong Un.

            Don’t worry, there’s still plenty of time to hit the panic button and try to run Obama as a fresh-faced newcomer out to win his first presidency and undo all the damage cause in the previous four years by his incumbent Republican opponent. Y’know, exactly like the DNP did last year.

  7. The fact that Rand is stumping for that piece of shit R candidate instead of the way better LP candidate seems to be an early warning sign that, like all politicians, Rand can and will massively disappoint libertarians if he wins the R nomination for prez.

    1. He’s not a member of the LP, he’s in the GOP. He has to play the game to a certain extent if he wants any chance of actually being elected to anything, which Sarvis’ distant third place polling despite two lousy candidates proves.

    2. He’s not a member of the LP, he’s in the GOP. He has to play the game to a certain extent if he wants any chance of actually being elected to anything, which Sarvis’ distant third place polling despite two lousy candidates proves.

    3. Rand Paul isn’t going to have a political career if he stumps for a Libertarian in which a Republican is running.

      You are being highly unrealistic.

      1. He could, however, not stump for anyone.

        But, he is playing the game.

        1. True.

          If I were in his shoes, the price I would demand for stumping for Cuccinelli would be very high indeed.

          Then again, if I were in Rand’s shoes, I’d be an eye doctor with a lucrative private practice, spending time with my lovely wife and kids and wouldn’t set foot inside the beltway…. ever.

          1. Hence, the libertarian trap. People who want to be free have little desire to live among the slavers. So the slavers rule uncontested…

      2. My point was that a really libertarian R would not want to stump for the R in this race.

        I could understand not endorsing the LP candidate, but you gotta be a TEAM REDBLUE player to give a damn about the major party candidates in this particular race.

    4. Rand can and will massively disappoint libertarians if he wins the R nomination for prez.

      He is a politician, so duh.

      I fully expect the first libertarian president to be a huge sellout. So, just like every other politician.

      If he only achieves 5% of his goals, that would still be worth it.

      1. The trick, here, is to convince a large part of the public that libertarianism is better than the other two options (i.e. actually leading). As this occurs over time, it will become easier and easier to implement libertarian policies. Anyone expecting immediate change is going to be disappoint.

        1. Nobody wants your bullshit.

          1. Fuck you you immoral little shit weasel.

            Steal anything today? Pig!

          2. “Nobody wants your bullshit” said Tony as he looked into the mirror.

          3. Yeah, Tony, people are in love with higher insurance premiums under ObamaCare. They love the ballooning national debt and the expanding welfare state. They love a lethargic economy with high levels of unemployment and underemployment. And even the left has joined the neocons in loving new, exciting wars and an Orwellian national security total surveillance state.

            They’re really going to love it when Obama’s appointment to Fed chair delivers on converting monetary inflation into price inflation. (Have you noticed the recent stories in MSM about how higher inflation would be good for the economy?) Just like they all loved Carter, because the Phillips curve worked so well back in the ’79.

      2. I demand 10%.

    5. “Rand can and will massively disappoint libertarians if he wins the R nomination for prez.”

      a massively dissapointing Rand Paul will still be the most Libertarian friendly President in the last century.

      The key thing is even in the areas where he is disappointing to libertarians he is still being internally consistant and NOT selling out.

      He is actually a SOCON on a personal level and as such comments like this do not surprise me, I’ll still take him over every other politician in Washington with any national profile at all.

  8. Maybe Rand Paul wrote the Wiki page for Gattaca?

  9. I am please that Rand actually referenced a movie that I enjoyed at one time.

  10. so long as he’s lifting from a good movie with some brains to it like ‘gattaca’, and not something closer to ‘weekend at bernies’.

    1. Weekend at Bernies was a great movie.

      1. +1 dead body

      2. See, Obamacare is still working! Wave at the nice people, Obamacare!

    2. Don’t talk shit about Weekend at Bernie’s!

  11. How on earth is mentioning something in a speech “plagiarism”? The standard Madcow is pushing would pretty much brand her a plagiarist any time she cites a fact or idea without saying where she got the fact from. Any stories she covers, she better have attribution to specific reporters. This is just plain silly.

    1. All words have been used before and therefor must be cited.

      1. That’s sort of the logical extension of this. Of course, every word you use in the citation must, in turn, be cited.

        And it’s citations all the way down.

        1. i literally had a college professor who demanded just that. ok, not every word, but any coherent thought had to be cited.

    2. Not just Maddow–

      I will let you make up your own minds which the senator did, but it would have been trivially simple for Paul to cite the Wikipedia entry in his speech and moved on. But he didn’t.

      Ron’s got the plagiarism blues as well. And he’s covered them in ambigouity, just to be safe.

  12. As the Vorlon Kosh said…and so it begins

    1. You get my vote for obscure reference of the day.

      1. Theo Faron said it first.

  13. Rand can and will massively disappoint libertarians if he wins the R nomination for prez.

    There will be no shortage of pallbearers when we die.

  14. Does someone have a link to the actual speech?

    Anyway, maybe Maddow can have Joe Biden on her show to discuss the evils of plagiarism.

  15. I’ll save everyone the trouble. This is all Rachel Maddow’s fault, and hey it’s not like he had an outspoken white supremacist on his staff or anything. Er…

    1. Just a guy who lived in his neighborhood, Tony. Rand could no more disavow him than he could disavow his white grandmother.

      1. Or a pastor of 20 years?

      2. No he was a paid staffer.

        1. Don’t you hate it how Rand kept this guy on the staff after finding out what a dishonest screw-up he was?

          Wait, that’s Holder, Clapper and Sabelius I’m thinking of.

          Well, don’t you hate how Rand wants to keep black people in prison who were given excessive sentences? Wait, that’s Obama.

        2. No he was a paid staffer.

          Stimulus!

    2. He didn’t have any white supremacist on his staff, and fuck you for trying to smear Jack Hunter.

      -jcr

  16. Only weirdos think that poor footnotes are a major offense. Life is not 11th grade English.

  17. It’s not like he plagiarized his biography…not that any politician would do that.

  18. As long as he uses his right hand rather than his left when providing samples he’ll be fine…

  19. I seriously doubt that any private company or government space agency today would permit anyone with a known heart defect become an astronaut on a trip to Jupiter Titan.#

    Jeez Ron, get it straight. He had a genetic predisposition to a heart defect with a 99% likelihood of developing one. At no point in the movie was he ever confirmed to have one.

    Though you did do the alt-text, so props to that.

  20. Doesn’t Rachel Maddow lift half of everything she says directly from Barack Obama?

    Was Rand Paul getting paid for the speech?

    1. No, Rachel gets her speeches from the DNC daily talking points. I wish the MSM would just reference them rather than making us hear all the news orgs just miraculously make the same statement.

  21. Gattaca wasn’t about state-mandated eugenics. It was about *market forces* pushing the non-genetically modified out of all the best positions as employers and bureaucracies and even private individuals in their romantic lives make the easy (although wrong) assumption that anyone with the right genes is automatically the best qualified.

    If anything, it’s specifically a critique of a laissez-faire approach to genetic manipulation, as it might play out in the real world where real people are kinda stupid and intellectually lazy.

    1. Discriminating on the basis of genetic information was actually technically illegal, just impossible to prove.

      1. Hey that one normal guy had a job as a janitor so I don’t see the problem. I’m sure our janitors of today would seem like intellectuals in they went back to the Middle Ages.

      2. So the point of the movie was actually that making laws banning things hardly ever fucking works? I might give it a second try now.

  22. I didn’t think it was a bad movie. I’m not going to buy it, but it wasn’t horrible.

  23. SIMPSONS DID IT!

    /Professor Chaos’ assistant

  24. Am I the only person who watched the video and saw Rand Paul make “finger quotes” during the part he allegedly plagiarized? He attributed the source and made finger quotes… not Plagiarism, not by a long shot.

    1. If he did, that changes things greatly. However, if he didn’t, he did take about 3 sentences verbatim from Wikipedia (I compared the text to the wiki page). It ranks lower than getting a free lunch from a lobbyist on the politicians ethics scale IMO, but stupid and easily avoidable. I like the guy, so my criticism is about him not tripping himself up when he is already in the crosshairs of every big gov groupie out there.

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