Your RDA of Irony

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I may have received the ultimate accolade:  I have been plagiarized by a Harvard graduate.  This is not the first time that I have been an inadvertent muse.  I have even found myself published by an Australian ad agency.  (There was a minimal translation of changing all my vowels to a.)  But to have inspired a Harvard man…I certainly don’t need a Pulitzer now.  My Ivy Leech is a self-help guru who decided to help himself to my work.

Unfortunately, I cannot give you all the details because lawyers may be involved.  I will say this, however:  Harvard arrogance is indistinguishable from elementary stupidity.  With the slightest precaution, he could have protected himself from any charges of plagiarism or copyright violations. He merely had to write something like “Eugene Finerman once wrote….” That simple acknowledgement would have given him the license to expropriate any and all of my research as well as several hundred words of text. 

I know a professor whose lectures were plagiarized by a teaching assistant.  The professor wanted to sue and was shocked to learn that the felonious assistant had deftly protected himself. In his book of purloined lectures, the author’s acknowledgements included a thanks to the professor.  What a courteous and legally immunizing way to say “SUCKER!” 

And let’s not forget the historic significance of this day:





  1. Eugene Finerman says:

    I wonder if my Ivy Leech now will plagiarize my legal advice.

  2. Tom Kelso (@TomKBaltimore) says:

    This puts you one up on Jonah Goldberg (or an additional one up, I should say) — he still feels the aching need to be nominated for a Pulitzer.

  3. Cindy Starks says:

    Eugene — I’m so sorry about this. One of the worst feelings is to see what you wrote under someone else’s byline! Yuk! Years ago, when I worked for the mayor of the city of New Haven in his youth services bureau, I did a study on the causes of school absenteeism. It took many months, involved culling through school records of students who had X number of days of absenteeism per year, looking at their family situations and the reasons given for their absenteeism, etc. I wrote up the study, presented it to the school superintendent and the mayor, etc. Some time later, a friend of mine who was in graduate school told me one of his classmates, an assistant principal at a local middle school in New haven, was passing my study off as his own to earn his master’s degree!

    I confronted the man about it — he begged me not to blow the whistle on him — he had a wife and children to support, etc. I gave in but always wondered if I should have.

    Your case is different — I say “out” the rat.

    • Eugene Finerman says:

      Thank you, Cindy.

      I have confronted the Ivy Leech but through the faceless medium of the internet; so I couldn’t tell you if he had the decency to blink. He certainly has made no response to me. I informed the moderator of a LinkedIn group, and the purloined piece was removed. But my inadvertent contribution is still posted on the Leech’s website. It now is up to the magazine’s lawyers to enforce the copyright.

      At least I have a more amusing story about being plagiarized. Decades ago, a fellow was attempting to woo a lady by quoting my jokes to her. (Of course, I wasn’t getting the credit–or the lady either.) Since the sought lady knew the real author, my imitator did not succeed. But at least I was a vicarious Cyrano.


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