Thursday, February 03, 2005

is this plagiarism?

Would you say this:



A few months before I was born, my Dad met a stranger who was new to our small Tennessee town. From the beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in my family. In my young mind, he had a special niche. My parents were complementary instructors: Mom taught me the word of God, and Dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger? He was our storyteller. He would keep us spellbound for hours on end with adventures, mysteries and comedies.

If I wanted to know anything about politics, history or science, he always knew the answers about the past, understood the present and even seemed able to predict the future! He took my family to the first major league ball game. He made me laugh, and he made me cry.

The stranger never stopped talking, but Dad didn't seem to mind. Sometimes Mom would get up quietly while the rest of us were shushing each other to listen to what he had to say, and she would go to her room and read her books. (I wonder now if she ever prayed for the stranger to leave.)


and this:



A few months before I was born, my dad met a stranger who was new to our small town. From the very beginning, Dad was fascinated with this enchanting newcomer, and soon invited him to live with our family. The stranger was quickly accepted and was around to welcome me into the world a few months later.

As I grew up, I never questioned his place in our family. Mom taught me to love the word of G-d, and dad taught me to obey it. But the stranger was our storyteller. He could weave the most fascinating tales. Adventures, mysteries and comedies were his daily conversations.

He would hold our whole family spellbound for hours on end. He was like a friend to the whole family. He took Dad, Yaacov and me to our first major league baseball game. He was always
encouraging us to see the movies and he even made arrangements to introduce us to several movie stars.

The stranger was an incessant talker. Dad didn’t seem to mind, but sometimes Mom would quietly get up - while the rest of us were enthralled with one of his stories of faraway places - go to her room, read the Bible, and pray. I wonder now if she ever prayed that the stranger would leave.



were written by the same person?

The truth is, the top quote comes from one of those feel-good mass emails, that regularly finds its way from in-box to in-box. It’s credited to "Author Unknown" and signed off "God Loves & Jesus Saves."

The bottom is from a story - "The Stranger" - authored by Rabbi Eli Taitelbaum. My husband found it in a search that took seconds, when he put one line from the e-mail story into Google.

My question:

- isn’t this plagiarism?
- it looks suspiciously like the Mr. Unknown who found this story, tweaked it to fit his purposes with an author-credited version at his elbow. Why didn’t he, at the very least, give the original author an ‘adapted from’ credit?

It makes me wonder how many other "Christian" email stories are stolen in the same way, converted and sent out as "Anonymous" or "Author Unknown."

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