Chris Hedges

Reader J sent in a link to this New Republic piece by Christopher Ketcham about alleged plagarism by Chris Hedges. Hedges reported for the Times and won a Pulitzer, and has written a number of books. Ketcham’s wife is one of the people Hedges plagarized.

I read the piece and it pretty thoroughly documents a few instances where Hedges lifted paragraphs, massaged them, and put them into his work. I’d like to see Hedges’ response and I’d also like to see someone run Hedges’ books through some plagarism detecting software to see if they’re isolated incidents. In general when these plagarism incidents come up, I always wonder what’s so goddam hard about a quote and a footnote. This is especially true about one particular case that Ketcham identifies, where Hedges lifted 3 sentences from Hemingway without attribution.

Here’s the predictable response:
I have to say that Jane Hamsher’s piece at FDL is one of the stupidest fucking things I’ve ever read, and that’s saying a lot. She begins by complaining about the length of the piece, which is long because Ketcham has to include a lot of examples otherwise the Jane Hamshers would be saying he didn’t have enough evidence. She continues by saying that Salon and the Prospect didn’t publish it, which Ketcham acknowledges in his piece. That’s the first time I’ve read something by Hamsher in a long time and if it’s indicative of the current state of her art, FDL is much worse off than I would have imagined.

202 replies
  1. 1

    I’m once again struck by the number of so-called “lefty heroes” that I’ve (a) never thought of as such or that (b) I’ve never heard of. And I’m pretty well-read.

  2. 2
    Alex S. says:

    FDL still exists?

  3. 3
    WereBear says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: Once they are in trouble, they are “lefty heroes,” natch.

  4. 4
    Baud says:

    I have to say that Jane Hamsher’s piece at FDL is one of the stupidest fucking things I’ve ever read,

    You forgot the readership capture tag. ;-)

  5. 5
    Poopyman says:

    @WereBear: Bingo.

  6. 6
    madmommy says:

    Haven’t been to FDL in some time, so I clicked on the link to read her piece and…wow! That is some pretty serious obtuseness going on, by both Ms. Hamsher and her loyal minions in the comments.

  7. 7
    c u n d gulag says:

    I used to love Hamsher, before she turned “Fire, Dog, Lake,” into “Fire-Obama, he’s a Dog, and should be drowned in a Lake.”

    I’m of a generation – JAYZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS, am I getting old – where you had to include footnotes if something you wrote wasn’t YOUR original idea.
    Nothing wrong with being un-original – just footnote where YOU’RE not!

    As for Hedges, is it too much to ask some flunky working for you, to write footnotes?
    Is that asking too much?
    Will it dip into your profit margin, @$$HOLE?

  8. 8
    WereBear says:

    In general when these plagarism incidents come up, I always wonder what’s so goddam hard about a quote and a footnote.

    It makes one’s own prose look less. It’s deliberate.

    Granted, rephrasing is a bear to implement. In my day job, I have the unenjoyable task of rewriting descriptions of the same hike, paddle, snowshoe, etc differently for our different location websites, to keep Google from dinging us for lifting. There’s only so many ways to say “the trail forks.”

  9. 9
    Morzer says:

    It’s rather more than a “few” instances of rewriting. There are also cases where Hedges is pretending that he did the original reporting in question and Hedges was caught lying about whether he’d shown his work to the original writer in question.

    “The Katz stuff was flat out plagiarism,” says the Harper’s fact-checker. “At least twenty instances of sentences that were exactly the same. Three grafs where a ‘that’ was changed to a ‘which.’” The fact-checker reiterated to me that first-person accounts in Hedges’s draft had him quoting the same sources as in Katz’s pieces, with the sources using exactly the same wording as in Katz’s pieces. “Hedges not only used another journalist’s quotes,” says the fact-checker, “but he used them in first-person scenes, claiming he himself gathered the quotes. It was one of the worst things I’d ever seen as a fact-checker at the magazine. And it was endemic throughout the piece.”

    For my money, it’s about as clear a case of serial, deliberate plagiarism as you could ask for.

  10. 10
    Morzer says:


    There’s only so many ways to say “the trail forks.”

    I bet the “trail knives” and “trail spoons” are just as problematic. I suppose there’s always “trail cutlery” as an alternative

  11. 11
    Baud says:


    Wow. If that holds up, he’s toast.

  12. 12
    Patrick says:

    I will never forget when Hamsher went on FoxNews to rant against the ACA. Disgusting!

  13. 13
    kc says:

    @J.D. Rhoades:

    Ditto. My first thought when I saw this on Twitter (yes, I caved) yesterday was “Who?”

  14. 14
    mikefromArlington says:

    I remember when Hamsher was on MSNBC as the liberal dissident in Obama’s early days almost nightly it seems. She was hell bent on turning as many liberals against the healthcare law. It was single payer or nothing knowing full well single payer wasn’t going to happen. That couldn’t even make it out of committee.

    Anyways, glad she’s no longer got any credibility except with the ultra whiney Naderites.

  15. 15
    Morzer says:


    It looks completely convincing to me.

  16. 16
    Baud says:


    I’m not interested enough in the players to read the pieces, but my gut tells me that accusations of plagiarism are hard to fabricate.

  17. 17
    Snarki, child of Loki says:

    “I’d like to see Hedges’ response…”

    I’m sure there’s some appropriate words he can copy/paste in response, but doing a convincing “massage” takes time, so be patient!

  18. 18
    WereBear says:

    I feel the presence of a new Fox Star!

  19. 19
    chopper says:

    The TNR piece is pretty brutal. Hedges is in some pretty deep shit here.

  20. 20
    Eric U. says:

    it’s moments like this where I feel bad for ignoring the MSM so thouroughly. Is Chris Hedges even remotely liberal? Is he just a reporter that tries to publish the truth (albeit not in his own words)?

  21. 21
    Soonergrunt says:

    @Snarki, child of Loki: In the article, Hedges’ response was dodging and spinning. If the article is to be believed (and I have no reason to not believe it) then he is in that binary state of justification and self-denial.
    He was initially caught because the he took passages from the work of the author’s wife without attribution.

  22. 22
    Morzer says:


    It’s a fairly easy accusation to make, because most writers have sentences or thoughts that could, arguably, have been borrowed from elsewhere. The key is proving a pattern of sustained, deliberate theft and failure to acknowledge sources. The thing that Hedges has going for him here is that tribalism plus his elevated status within a given tribe might be enough to get the “serious” people to rally round if the right wing makes enough hooting noises and throws enough poo. I don’t believe people should cover for him just because he is, supposedly, a leftist Hero of Socialist Literary Labor, but that’s because I find extended, serial plagiarism despicable and I think we ought to be honest when anyone, be he/she on our side or not, has committed it.

  23. 23
    Baud says:

    @Eric U.:

    Is Chris Hedges even remotely liberal?

    Unless I’m confusing him with someone else, he’s extremely liberal in his policy views.

  24. 24
    Suffern ACE says:

    Ok. I remember hedges mostly for writing a book that made a little splash awhile ago, but I can’t remember which one. Why was he popular?

    Eta: it was death of the liberal class.

  25. 25
    Cervantes says:

    Sad, sad case.


    Once they are in trouble, they are “lefty heroes,” natch.

    He’s described himself as a socialist for a long time now and has, in fact, been a hero for years to many progressives, and for good reason.

    It’s a crying shame, this stuff he appears to have done.

  26. 26
    Lee Rudolph says:

    @c u n d gulag:

    I’m of a generation – JAYZOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOS, am I getting old – where you had to include footnotes if something you wrote wasn’t YOUR original idea.

    In the scholarly (or would-be scholarly) world, the situation is slightly complicated (not in any way that excuses any of Hedges’s behavior) by differences across disciplines.

    In mathematics, where I’ve been publishing for 40 years, quotations as such are essentially unknown: it’s common (and usually necessary) to state various other peoples’ theorems, and of course to credit them with a reference to the bibliography, but even if you use exactly the same words it isn’t understood to be a “quotation” (and if you don’t use exactly the same words you’d damned well better be sure that it’s either an EXACT paraphrase or that you explain in at least some detail how the really DIFFERENT theorem is proved, no matter how apparently slight the differences). I know of two examples (both in low-dimensional topology, my main subject) of a book author lifting entire paragraphs from someone else’s journal article; I complained to the publisher (as a pre-publication reviewer) about the first case (and had no effect as far as I can tell); the author of the second case never seems to have suffered a bit either (and is one of those Great Lecture people tapes of whom are advertised in the Nation, even, though the Great Lecture is of course not on topology). I know of another case (eventually negotiated to a face-saving conclusion by a committee of the American Mathematical Society) where one fresh Ph.D. accused another Ph.D. of plagiarizing his (the first one’s) thesis; they had the same advisor, and he had suggested the same topic (finding a converse of a theorem of mine—at least, that’s how I frame it) to both of them without realizing it… In 40 years, though, that’s not bad.

    On the other hand, in psychology (where I’ve been publishing for the last 10 years, off in a far-flung corner), the American Psychological Association’s style (which is required de jure for the APA’s many journals, and de facto for all or almost all others, as well as for many books) both requires extensive citations to the literature and strictly limits the length of quotations from the literature! That drives me mad (particularly because a lot of what I’ve written is lexical analysis: the original texts are my DATA, not my authorities, damn it) and since I’ve got no professional standing to lose (and nothing much to gain), and have had cooperative editors, I’ve just said to hell with the APA.

    One, or 1.5, last data points. (1) At the last robotics conference I attended (2012), in my role as topologist, one of the organizers told me that the anti-plagiarism software they had then just started to use in earnest had had a 25% hit rate on that year’s submissions! A lot of that was “self-plagiarism”, which I don’t think should be taken to be a problem in most cases (I mean, if the standards of the discipline require a section on “methods”, as I believe to be nearly universal in many sciences and engineering, and you have written a clear, concise, explanation of your methods, and you have gotten several entirely distinct results—each worthy of its own paper—by using the same methods, why the hell NOT include that same explanation in every paper? similarly for “previous results” sections), but apparently many scientific societies think that it is a grievous sin (idiots). (1.5) The arXiv repository seems also to be running anti-plagiarism software, though as far as I know (but I only look at papers in some mathematical fields, never at those in physics etc.) all that it ever catches is self-plagiarism, which is even more forgiveable in a subject (mathematics) where you need to give very explicit definitions.

    …Why, yes, I got out of bed very early this morning and have had huge amounts of coffee already, why do you ask?

  27. 27
    Cervantes says:

    @Baud: You are not confused.

  28. 28
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Eric U.: Chris Hedges wrote War is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. I’d classify him as more of an essayist than a conventional reporter.

  29. 29
    grillo says:

    @WereBear: I would love to know more about this. It sounds wrong. And it is possible that there are people I know who could fix it so it is less wrong.

    If you would like to expand on it.

  30. 30
    Cervantes says:

    @Lee Rudolph: I’ll have some of that coffee, thanks much.

    (Assuming it’s fair-traded and so on, of course.)

  31. 31
    Cheryl from Maryland says:

    @Morzer: This. A magazine article based on newspaper articles about the same subject interviewing the same people — it’s a re-write job, not reporting.

  32. 32
    Morzer says:


    I think that’s right – and it’s one reason why the plagiarism of other people’s reporting would be both evident and damning.

  33. 33
    the Conster says:

    Haven’t been to FDL in years, but what a circle jerk of FAIL over there.

    Did anyone listen to President McCain on Mornin’ Hos? I tuned in long enough to hear “air strikes ARGLE BARGLE” and “fire the whole national security team” and Mika had her VSP face on, and decided that was enough of watching the circle jerk of FAIL there too.

  34. 34
    Patrick says:

    @the Conster:

    Why would ANYBODY give a second thought to McCain’s opinion about Iraq? He has been consistently wrong about Iraq ever since 2003.

  35. 35
    raven says:

    @the Conster: She was all over Warren the other day. I have a mind to re-register and thank them for banning me.

  36. 36
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Morzer: Maybe Hedges could say that the whole thing was a tribute to Jonathan Lethem’s The Ecstasy of Influence. “I was influenced by someone else’s essay about plagiarism to plagiarize and thus to make a larger point about influence!”

  37. 37
    smintheus says:

    @Morzer: Yup. Hedges comes across as pathologically dishonest.

  38. 38
    Baud says:


    About what?

  39. 39
    MomSense says:

    Is Hedges the one who filed a civil complaint against President Obama over the NDAA and misspelled his name?

  40. 40
    JWR says:

    I was an early reader/commenter at FDL, but then that whole Clinton/Obama primary thing happened and I was outa there. (Taylor Marsh? Really?) Last time I checked in was when Hamsher had formed a sort of alliance with Grover Norquist, partly for the shock value, I suspect, so it’s actually comforting to know that she’s still “fighting the good fight” against those damn libs at Fox News.

  41. 41
    Baud says:


    Misspelled his own name or Obama’s name?

  42. 42
    Morzer says:


    Could be time for the “Banned from FDL” tribute anthology. I reckon you could find quite a few contributors. Hell, maybe Betty would put up a “Were You Banned By FDL? Share Your Stories Of Hamsher Madness!” thread. It would make a change from our (rightly) condemning the wretched referee who gifted Brazil the game last night. (A topic on which the Great and Powerful Greenwald Apostle of Liberty has still not said anything!).

  43. 43
    Morzer says:


    The ironic meta-plagiarism defense? Interesting, but I think it needs a triple salchow at the end to really get the audience on their feet.

  44. 44
    raven says:

    @Baud: How Warren is a phony.

  45. 45
    raven says:

    @Morzer: I really liked Christy.

  46. 46
    Chyron HR says:


    He’s described himself as a socialist for a long time now

    Ah, I see, he’s joined Hitler and Stalin in the pantheon of people who MUST be “lefty heroes” because they call themselves the magic word.

  47. 47
    Cervantes says:

    @Chyron HR: Daft as always, I see.

    Don’t ever change.

  48. 48
    the Conster says:


    Jane called Elizabeth Warren a phony? Projection, thy name is Jane Hamsher.

    ETA: banning stories – got banned from Taylor Marsh’s site for pointing out that if Hillary had fought Bush or Republicans as hard as she was fighting Obama for those delegates she wanted, I’d change my mind about her. I was right then, and nothing has changed.

  49. 49
    jonas says:

    @J.D. Rhoades: I would say that Hedges is a rather well-known writer in lefty circles (Nation, Truthdig, etc.) — “hero” is a bit much. He was a very good reporter and author at one time, but it sounds like the fame went to his head and he got lazy/arrogant. Too bad.

  50. 50
    MomSense says:

    @the Conster:

    I didn’t hear him on mornin ho but zizi2 wrote a piece at the Obama Diary that made me cheer.

    I am very angry! Just what do you take us for, John McCain? Fools? You think we are the rubes in your base whom you’ve whipped up over the decades into backing all your sponsors’, the Military Industrial Complex’s, greedy siphoning of taxpayer $$$ in the name of “keeping America safe”? Or you think we are the fawning media that laps up every turd you have dropped in your public life, even if every prescription you have ever uttered has been deadly and wrong? No you cannot hoodwink the rest of us. Ah ah!!! Naw!


    Barely a few months ago you and your comrade in wingnuttery, Lindsay Graham, pranced in front of every damn camera in the land to deride President Obama for not jumping in to arm the anti-Assad factions in Syria. Those factions happen to heavily comprise the SAME damn al Qaeda insurgents (the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria/ Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant — ISIS/ISIL) whom you now want us to go fight in Iraq!!! Before that you had called for airstrikes, and before that you called for the US to enter the Syrian war. Never a dustup anywhere in the world where you didn’t get your bomb bomb bomb war-gasm on. Just what is it that feeds this bloodlust and gunpowder-lust in you so much?

  51. 51
    smintheus says:

    @Lee Rudolph: My doctoral work was plagiarized by another doctoral student in Europe. He was so dishonest, when he contacted me to ask me to help him with his work he led me to believe he was an established academic. The first I heard about his doctoral dissertation was at my own “viva” when my examiners asked me why I had apparently plagiarized him! He lifted a substantial discovery I had made and given a conference paper on; fortunately my dissertation reproduced the handout I’d used at that conference paper, which got me off the hook. One of my examiners strongly recommended that I not sully my reputation by reporting the guy for plagiarism at his own university.

  52. 52
    Cervantes says:

    @the Conster: Warren is about as phony as a one-dollar bill.

    Hamsher I am not as sure about.

  53. 53
    Baud says:


    She’s no Ted Cruz, that’s for sure. I mean, Warren hasn’t shut down the Senate even once since she’s been there.

  54. 54
    debbie says:


    There’s only so many ways to say “the trail forks.”

    I don’t know. Homer came up with all kinds of ways to describe the sunrise.

    It’s become such a lazy world.

  55. 55
    jonas says:

    @FlipYrWhig: That book was based on his experiences as a correspondent for the NYT in a number of hotspots around the world, particularly Central America and the Balkans.

  56. 56
    MomSense says:


    Obama’s name.

  57. 57
    Morzer says:

    @Chyron HR:

    Well, his books have generally been popular on the left, although I don’t remember finding the ones I read (Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle and Death of the Liberal Class) especially original. That said, we use the word “hero” pretty easily these days.

  58. 58
    dmsilev says:

    @Lee Rudolph:

    one fresh Ph.D. accused another Ph.D. of plagiarizing his (the first one’s) thesis; they had the same advisor, and he had suggested the same topic

    ! ? !

    I don’t know what it’s like in mathematics, but in my small corner of academia (experimental physics), all of the students of a given professor have at least a general idea of the thesis topic of their labmates. Never mind how did the advisor manage to double-assign, how did the students not figure it out?

  59. 59
    TomG says:

    It’s funny, I saw this on Metafilter and as soon as I noticed Jane Hamsher mentioned in the comments, I thought I should email John. Thanks for putting this up, mistermix. I have never read anything by Hedges before, so I have absolutely no investment in defending the man. The evidence sure looks convincing to me. Plagiarists are scum.

  60. 60
    gogol's wife says:


    He was a reporter on the NYTimes before that, war reporter, as I recall.

  61. 61
    JWR says:

    @raven: Yes. Christy was always a pleasure, not just to read, but to question.

  62. 62
    the Conster says:


    Excellent. I was just trying to remember how many wars we’d be in if McCain had won in 2008 – Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran is what I can come up with off the top of my head. I’m sure I’m missing 3 or 4 other hot spots.

  63. 63
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Morzer: Second-hand Postman… with a little Lasch thrown in for flavor. I wasn’t surprised to find that the second-handness went deeper that the level of ideas.

  64. 64
    Baud says:


    Hedges has been the subject of a couple of posts here. Can’t link right now, but easily Googleable.

  65. 65
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @smintheus: Shades of Lucky Jim!

  66. 66
    Lee Rudolph says:

    @jonas: His experiences, or other peoples’? Given the pretty damning evidence about his recent activities, I think that’s a fair question (and, fair or not, I bet there are people putting some energy into answering it).

  67. 67
    D58826 says:

    @MomSense: Leslie Gelb is a very angry man over at the daily beast. A sample

    And before the U.S. government starts to do the next dumb thing again, namely provide fighter aircraft and drone attacks and heaven knows what else, it should stop and think for a change. If America comes to the rescue of this Iraqi government, then this Iraqi government, like so many of the others we’ve fought and died for, will do nothing. It will simply assume that we’ll take over, that we’ll do the job. And when things go wrong, and they certainly will, this cherished government that we’re helping will blame only America. Don’t think for a moment it will be otherwise. Don’t think for a moment that the generals and hawks who want to dispatch American fighters and drones to the rescue know any better today than they’ve known for 50 years.

    Fareed at WaPo also has a good article. Its pay walled but there is a link at Kos.

    The long and the short of both articles is the answer to the question ‘who lost (fill in the country)’. The answer is they did. If in Iraq for example the ISIS fights better than the Iraqi army that is an Iraqi problem not an American one. Fareed does give a big helping of blame to the Bushes. Unless we are stupid enough to make it ours. Of course the same headless chicken hawks are doing the same war dance that they have been doing since 1949 and who lost China (hint the Chinese). In a year or so the same result will play out in Afghanistan with the same wailing by the same ignorant fools.

    For as long as I can remember it has been we must use American military power in these god-forsaken placers or we will be viewed as, to borrow a phrase from Nixon, ‘a helpless pitiful giant’. And every time we followed that advice we wound up in a quagmire supporting a corrupt government whose own people would not fight to defend it. Once the public tired of the war and we started to pull out, the refrain was some enemy at home stabbed the troops in the back.

    We have learned nothing in the past 60 years.

  68. 68
    Chyron HR says:



    Am I supposed to have the faintest idea who you are, apart from “internet dolt #24,869,184”?

  69. 69
    debbie says:


    ETA because it’s too late to edit (and I’m still waking up): I wasn’t calling you lazy, and I know writing for work (which I also do) isn’t the same as writing literature, but I think all this plagiarism is evidence of the laziness that’s becoming rampant. No matter where you look, it’s all about the short cut.

  70. 70
    Lee Rudolph says:

    @dmsilev: Well, that sort of puzzles me, too, but I’ve always been a bit hesistant to ask. However, “labmates” don’t really exist in mathematics, and it isn’t as though the particular problem they were working on was particularly hot stuff (it had potential, which hasn’t, however, really panned out yet, though it might still—mathematics has a pretty long shelf-life compared to physics or, heaven knows, biology), so there wouldn’t have been a series of seminar presentations on nearby subjects that would have drawn the two guys together regularly, or anything like that.

  71. 71
    Davis X. Machina says:


    to borrow a phrase from Nixon, ‘a helpless pitiful giant’

    Nixon never saw Shrek. Even giants make choices.

    I tell my students that our national goal should be “a nuclear-armed Belgium”.
    Good beer, good chocolate, deeply divided — but capable of going 300 days without an actual government.

    How often do you think, when the shit has hit the fan, “What’s Belgium’s reaction on this going to be?”

  72. 72
    Cervantes says:

    @debbie: Hilarious, thanks!

    Fate is the same for he who hangs idle, the same if he struggles.
    We are all held in the same honor, the strivers with the weak ones.
    A man dies if he has done nothing, and the same if he has done a lot.*

    Hmmm … so maybe Homer’s not the person to ask about plagiarism.


    [*] My translation — no, really, it is.

  73. 73
    Marc says:

    @Eric U.:

    Is Chris Hedges even remotely liberal?

    Only in the sense that he thinks anyone not occupying Zuccotti Park is insufficiently leftist.

  74. 74
    Patrick says:

    @the Conster:

    if Hillary had fought Bush or Republicans as hard as she was fighting Obama for those delegates she wanted, I’d change my mind about her. I was right then, and nothing has changed.

    Great point. It was so disappointing and plain disgusting to watch “Democrats” like Clinton and Dick Gephardt vote for the Iraq war disaster. Iraq posed no fricking threat and it diverted attention away from Afghanistan. More importantly, there was NO Al-Queda in Iraq before the war. But now, after 11 years of Bush’s war in Iraq, Al-Queda for sure are in Iraq. The stupidity of our leaders and the people who elected them…

  75. 75
    Elizabelle says:


    One of my examiners strongly recommended that I not sully my reputation by reporting the guy for plagiarism at his own university.

    More on that, please. I don’t see where it benefits universities or organizations that hire them to have liars and plagiarists on staff.

    How much better if the news were to come out several years from the incident, rather than early on?

    Did your examiner’s opinion have merit? Why would s/he suggest not reporting?

  76. 76
    Morzer says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I believe Shrek would object that he is an ogre, not a giant.

    Villager 1: Think it’s in there? Villager 2:All right. Let’s get it! Villager 1: Whoa. Hold on. Do you know what that thing can do to you? Villager 3: Yeah, it’ll grind your bones for its bread. Shrek: Yes, well, actually, that would be a giant. Now, ogres they’re much worse. They’ll make a suit from your freshly peeled skin. Villager: No! Shrek: They’ll shave your liver. Squeeze the jelly from your eyes! Actually, it’s quite good on toast. Villager: Back! Back, beast! Back! I warn ya! Right. Shrek: This is the part where you run away. And stay out!

    Sorry for the shameless nerd-pedantry, or perhaps I mean nerdantry.

  77. 77
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Morzer: Fair enough. Nixon could have addressed Shrek ogre-to-ogre, then.

  78. 78
    Baud says:


    I would have gone, but I was too busy footnoting my sources.

  79. 79
    Morzer says:


    I suspect that the erring student is not the prime concern here. Professors in the same field tend not to want to (implicitly) call each other out for enabling plagiarism. It’s not the way that “civility” is supposed to work in the academy and you might just create an enemy where you don’t need one.

  80. 80
    Morzer says:

    @Davis X. Machina:

    I am trying really hard not to make a reference to They Might Be Giants.

  81. 81
    Helen says:


    Lindsay Graham, pranced


  82. 82
    smintheus says:

    @Davis X. Machina: It was the culmination of a series of strange episodes. When he first approached me, he announced that he saw no reason for him to do the hard epigraphical work needed to become an ‘expert’ on the inscriptions he was writing about, when I’d already done that and could package it up for him. He became so annoying (he’s like an academic cuttlefish, always pestering me to give him evidence and then when it contradicted his thesis he’d just misrepresent or confuse it and carry on as if it didn’t exist) that I cut off contact with him. So he traveled to my university to complain directly to my thesis supervisor that I was no longer answering his letters. My supervisor thought it was pretty amusing, esp since my rooms were directly opposite his on the quad and the guy didn’t want to walk over to complain to me directly.

  83. 83
    Morzer says:


    “On Prancer, on Dancer, on McCain and Blitzer!”

  84. 84
    Suffern ACE says:

    @Patrick: yep. And arguing that it was good to create a “trap” for al Quaeda by fighting them “over there” hasn’t worked out. And no, saying “we needed to be there as long as it took” is not answering the question of why we were there.

  85. 85
    Johannes says:

    The TNR piece is pretty devastating. The FDL piece is is pretty nauseating, but bad as Hamsher is (the will not to believe, and the condescension are strong in this one–and no, saying I got bored before the examples isn’t a debunking, Jane), the frothing minions are far worse. It immediately becomes about a Obama, drones, and the International Plot to Get Hedges.

    What a bunch of loons.

  86. 86
    Cervantes says:


    Is Hedges the one who filed a civil complaint against President Obama over the NDAA and misspelled his name?

    Sort of. His lawyers did.

  87. 87
    Lee says:

    @Lee Rudolph:

    If there is one website on the internet where you can go off on a caffeine induced tangent and not have to apologize, it is this one.

  88. 88
    Morzer says:


    The headless Hamsher runs round and round on its little wheel and tells itself that it’s really getting somewhere.

  89. 89
    Morzer says:


    You can find any tangent you are secant.

  90. 90
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @smintheus: You an epigrapher? I did a lot of work with CIL back in the day. Legionary veterans in Moesia and Pannonia. Happiest days of my life. Never did much with IG, though, beyond the basics. One of my profs worked as a lad with Sterling Dow on the Athenian Tribute Lists. You don’t mess with epigraphers. Tough crowd.

    Via Laudator Temporis Acti: William M. Calder III, “Sterling Dow,” Gnomon 68 (1996) 572-574 (at 573):

    He had no patience with incompetence or pretension and was often victim of his own integrity. Epigraphy was clean and straightforward. One could control all the evidence available, read all the secondary literature, and make an irrefutable conclusion that carried knowledge forward. It did not allow fraud.

    The other side was his detestation of literary criticism, which he considered the pursuit of incompetents who in the end did little more than impose personal prejudices under the guise of scholarship. His contempt for his literary colleagues was undisguised and requited.

    OK. Now whom did I confuse?

  91. 91
    smintheus says:

    @Elizabelle: I didn’t understand the argument well. He seemed to think (1) it would be a distraction from doing my own work, (2) it might paint me as difficult/contentious while I was looking for a permanent job, and (3) some people might take the other guy’s side because he’d gotten his degree a year before I submitted.

    I strongly disagreed with the reasoning, but it was a troubled time (my supervisor was dying of cancer) and so I reluctantly went along with it.

    The guy also published an article about that time in which he plagiarized my first published article. I asked the journal to acknowledge the plagiarism. It refused, and suggested instead that I write a rebuttal to his article in which I clarified the extent to which the guy had borrowed my work and misrepresented it. Again, I thought this was exactly the wrong way to go about exposing plagiarism, but I finally acceded to it.

  92. 92
    Bobby B. says:

    @Cervantes: That was the Mr Plow episode was it not?

  93. 93
    Lee says:


    I still feel a bit this way, but now I certainly understand some of their thinking at the time.

    We were going to war and they realized there was nothing they could do to stop it. So they made the cold political calculation that it would be in their best interests to vote for it (i.e. just a cost/benefit analysis of their vote).

    Am I still pissed they voted for it? Yes

    Will it prevent me from voting for them? No.

  94. 94
    Cervantes says:

    @smintheus: Where is the guy now?

    (Not just physically.)

  95. 95
    Cervantes says:

    @Bobby B.: If it was not, it should have been.

  96. 96
    Belafon says:

    @Eric U.: According to his wikipedia page, he describes himself as a socialist. Which, I will actually admit, is too far left for me.

  97. 97
    TriassicSands says:

    I’m not going to read the TNR article — I gave up on TNR decades ago when they first entered their deplorable neo-con identity.

    So, I guess all my information about Hedges’ alleged plagiarism is going to be second hand. And that means I’m not going to offer an opinion about the veracity of Ketcham’s claims.

    I would be curious to know why the other two publications passed on the article. TNR has very low credibility with me, but that doesn’t mean the article is wrong, misleading, or exaggerated.

    It may be too soon, but does anyone know of another source that looks at both sides — Ketcham’s claims and Hedges’ writing — to offer some perspective?

    Plagiarism is such a strange crime. It is so unnecessary. Sometimes I do wonder if people who write a lot for money, don’t just lose track of things and forget whose words are whose. I also wonder which is the more likely culprit — laziness or dishonesty. I suppose it depends on the individual.

  98. 98
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @Davis X. Machina: I actually did not understand a single word of this comment.

  99. 99
    Davis X. Machina says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Shop talk among classicists… seizing the moment.

    There are so few of us that a chance encounter in the checkout line at Alberston’s is not gonna happen.

  100. 100
    smintheus says:

    @Davis X. Machina: Have heard stories about Sterling Dow. The civil wars among Greek epigraphers were and are pretty damned nasty. My supervisor, David Lewis, was a real sweet man but his sometimes devastating book reviews made him much feared. So I’m told (he never had any but positive things to say about my work and was very supportive while he lived).

  101. 101
    smintheus says:

    @Cervantes: He’s at the University of Copenhagen.

  102. 102
    Cervantes says:

    @TriassicSands: Just FYI, Ketcham is a contributor to TruthDig, albeit freelance. Hedges is a columnist there, among other things. Ideologically they are not all that far apart.

  103. 103
    MazeDancer says:

    Have never understood all these well-paid, well-published authors who plagarize. It’s not like they can’t write. It’s not like they don’t have ideas. It makes no sense because besides reprehensible, immoral, and lazy, the price of getting caught is high.

    Except maybe the price is not high. Maybe inside beleaguered and money-losing publishing it doesn’t actually matter. So the authors, convinced of their own greatness, and just cranking it out into the content mill, are all sloppy note takers. Certainly, the compensation per word has gone down, and the pressure to keep feeding the beast has gone up. So they mistake something they copy and pasted in research for something they wrote? Or they just don’t care. They don’t have time to care anymore. Oops. Forgot the quote marks, so what.

    Doris Kearns Goodwin still going strong.

    But the not adding “As Hemmingway says…” to the appropriated ideas is just a complete mystery. Why wouldn’t you? Is it worry that admitting one slip admits lots of slips? Or is it they don’t believe they would do something like plagarism so it must not be real? Just some tiny human error beside the mountain of brilliant work they’ve created?

    Still a mystery to me why this happens.

  104. 104
    D58826 says:

    @Patrick: The D’s largely voted against the first Bush/Iraq war and the list of horrible outcomes didn’t happen. So in the post 911 hysteria pushed by the GOP, they didn’t want to be on the ‘wrong’ side of history again. Not exactly profiles in courage but politically understandable for a party still trying to shed the weak on defense label.

  105. 105
    Cervantes says:

    @smintheus: And a success, professionally, as far as one can tell?

  106. 106
    WaterGirl says:

    @raven: Their loss was our gain!

  107. 107
    WaterGirl says:

    @the Conster:

    I was just trying to remember how many wars we’d be in if McCain had won in 2008 – Georgia, Ukraine, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran is what I can come up with off the top of my head.

    I think it’s kinda like not knowing for sure how many houses you own – once you get to a big enough number, it’s difficult to remember all of them.

  108. 108
    smintheus says:

    @Cervantes: He has produced a lot of astoundingly slipshod and bizarrely wrongheaded work, but never dinged for it professionally as far as I can tell. There are few people with real expertise in the narrow areas we cultivate, and so they don’t necessarily recognize the phony or whacko in their midst.

    Some serial plagiarists have done quite well in our field. One of the more notorious ones once became Director of the Center for Hellenic Studies.

  109. 109
    Red Apple Smokes says:

    I’m really disappointed to see Hedges fall into this. I wonder if I should even mention it to my Pops. Hedges has become somewhat of a hero to him, and I don’t look forward to his reaction to this. My own limited experience with his work has struck me as being despondent in tone. I get that, but if I wanted to be hopeless and depressed about the state of the world I would just listen to the voices in my head.

  110. 110
    WaterGirl says:

    @Red Apple Smokes:

    …if I wanted to be hopeless and depressed about the state of the world I would just listen to the voices in my head.


  111. 111

    I have no idea who Chris Hedges is.

  112. 112
    raven says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I have no idea who “Sully” and “McMegan” are either but I know who “Big Daddy Don Garlits” is!

  113. 113
    Gin & Tonic says:

    @raven: Wow, is he still alive?

  114. 114

    @raven: BTW I loved your photo of the moon. Did you use a telescope?

    ETA: BTW I have no idea who this Don person is, either.

  115. 115
    raven says:

    @Gin & Tonic: Oh yea

    schrodinger’s cat

    telephoto lens on a canon t3

  116. 116
    japa21 says:

    I think to be called a “lefty hero” more than, oh, 5% of those on the left should know who the person is.

  117. 117
  118. 118
    Belafon says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: Given your nym, I thought you might enjoy this conversation at my house last week:

    I had ordered a telescope, which had arrived on Wednesday:
    Wife: Why don’t we open it up and put it together.

    Me: I don’t have time right now, it’ll have to wait until Friday.

    Wife: How can you have boxes lying around that you won’t open?

    Son: Schrodinger never opened his box.

  119. 119
    Bobby Thomson says:

    @raven: Given that Hamsher spent most of 2008 shilling for Clinton, I don’t think she has standing to accuse Warren of phoniness.

  120. 120

    @raven: Did you see some of my India photos? I am thinking of upgrading my camera, but it may have to wait since I may need a new laptop soon.

    Here is the latest one that I put on the blog, Flame of the Forest and here is one of the Victoria Terminus, now renamed Chatrapati Shivaji Terminus.

  121. 121
    MomSense says:


    I got lost in the bowels of the National Archeological Museum once and discovered lots of cool things there.

  122. 122
    Chyron HR says:


    Oh, that’s what you leftists said when one of the lefty heroes associated with the ultra-leftist Hunger Games movies went on a shooting spree.

  123. 123
    WereBear says:

    @grillo: What I was told is that we cannot look like our prose has been copied from other places; which I agree with.

    We once had many sites drawing from a common database for easy updating. Phone numbers of businesses, changes to a nature trail, and so forth.

    Hike A is very popular and would show up on all our websites. Hike B is on the border of two places and show up in both those places. Attraction C is both a museum and a hiking spot.

    But now the database is problematic, because we are using the same info for all these different websites. It looks machined or spammy or something. So now we have a separate prose category for the database, and I say the same thing as many ways as needed.

    So I was told.

  124. 124

    @Belafon: Funny! BTW my orange kitteh still loves to sit in the box the telescope came in. It has been well over 3 months now.

  125. 125
    Red Apple Smokes says:

    On the topic of plagiarism, I’ll admit that when I was working on my capstone, I literally had nightmares about accidentally forgetting to cite a source, or turning a phrase that was identical to something that had already been published but that I hadn’t even read. I know that you can get so deep into research that you can sometimes forget the difference between a source that you need to cite and a point that you wanted to make independent of any of the literature that you’ve plowed through.

  126. 126
    WereBear says:

    @Cervantes: I didn’t know that. Appreciate the update.

    I was simply commenting on how the right decides who our heroes are, for us, so often.

  127. 127
    smintheus says:

    @MomSense: There are fantastic things buried in the archives of the Greek museums. Unfortunately a lot of them are things you’re not permitted to know about because they remain unpublished!

  128. 128
    Cervantes says:


    I was simply commenting on how the right decides who our heroes are, for us, so often.

    Yes, some of them do try to damn us in every possible way.

  129. 129
    WereBear says:

    @debbie: Oh, I didn’t take it personally, and yes, this is my job. But I’m not writing deathless prose, I’m trying to get people to take this hike, have a good experience, and not get lost. It calls for a certain amount of precision that I don’t want to lose in the variations.

  130. 130
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    I don’t get why you cant footnote, either. Perhaps I’m old fashioned, but when I wrote my “please grant me a BA in History” paper, I spent a great deal of time in the library researching my paper, and I had footnotes galore to demonstrate that I had spent all that time trying to suss out when, precisely, William Fulbright changed his mind about the Vietnam War.

    I can’t see any reason why you should NOT cite others in your writing, as a means of demonstrating you’re informed by them, then come to your own conclusion about something.

  131. 131
    Tom Scudder says:

    1 – It’s pretty obvious that eventheliberal New Republic chose to publish this piece because of Hedges’ politics (and would not have published a similar piece if say Michael O’Hanlon or Ken Pollack had done exactly the same thing).

    2 – It’s pretty obvious that they have the goods on him and Hedges is a plagiarist. Sad. Who plagiarizes Hemingway?

  132. 132


    And yet, the most common wingnut response to any factual refutation of their bullshit claims against the President is “you liberals/leftists never criticize your Messiah, Barack Obama.” Clearly, the Bubble People have never met any actual liberals or leftists. Especially since they can’t distinguish between the two.

  133. 133
    chopper says:

    @Villago Delenda Est:

    the other thing is, references may break up beautiful prose, but they also make your work look a lot more rigorous and researched (obviously).

    of course, the sort of person who would crib so much of others’ work is also the sort who would misrepresent and fake citations as well.

  134. 134
    mhph says:

    What amazes me is his trying to get out of it by lying to the fact checker. I mean, seriously? You do realize that that guy is going to go back and try to verify what you’re saying right? That is, after all, the entirety of his job.

  135. 135
    chopper says:

    @Tom Scudder:

    Who plagiarizes Hemingway?

    when it comes to popular political writing the scum also rises.

  136. 136
    Cervantes says:

    @smintheus: An old friend used to run CHS. For my own peace of mind, I am assuming he’s not the one you allude to. In fact he helped expose someone else’s shady practices — but that someone else just went on to write a story about that!

    Oh, and it should be said: Homer himself was accused of plagiarism.

  137. 137
    Johannes says:

    @Morzer: I admit it, the hamster pun made me laugh out loud. I think it never occurred to me, because hamsters are such pleasant little beasts…

  138. 138
    Johannes says:

    @Morzer: I admit it, the hamster pun made me laugh out loud. I think it never occurred to me, because hamsters are such pleasant little beasts…

  139. 139
    Johannes says:

    @Morzer: I admit it, the hamster pun made me laugh out loud. I think it never occurred to me, because hamsters are such pleasant little beasts…

  140. 140
    Morzer says:


    And, of course, there are those who use pathological numbers of updates to make their “research” look more convincing online.

  141. 141
    Morzer says:


    I’ve even heard that “Homer” was a secret committee that stole all the good stuff from Serbo-Croat folk epics….

  142. 142
    Eric U. says:

    @Tom Scudder: plagiarizing Hemingway seems a little extreme. I wonder if that is possibly a mistake.

  143. 143
    MomSense says:


    I loved the museums and antiquities in Greece. Usually I was dragging a bunch of boys with me but we had some incredible re-enactments of historical and mythological events. I pretended to throw myself off the cliffs at Sounion. We staged some battles and dragon slayings–lots of fun. I think they still remember all the sites and history because we acted them out.

  144. 144
    Morzer says:

    @Eric U.:

    Not judging by the pretty quick and obvious attempt to rewrite Hemingway into Hedgesway when called on it.

  145. 145
    Johannes says:

    Sorry about the triple(!) post–I’m on a wi-fi network in the country today. Mods, please delete this comment and extra posts.

  146. 146
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @mhph: I think he was hoping that the fact checker he was dealing with was a Politifact sort of fact checker. Or Rush Limbaugh’s.

  147. 147
    Morzer says:


    For some reason I am occasionally getting doubles. I guess you just hit and run better than I do!

  148. 148
    Villago Delenda Est says:

    @Morzer: I can’t imagine who you might be talking about.

    UPDATE: Well, yes I can, now that I think about it for about .25 seconds….

  149. 149
    Ruckus says:

    Don’t give up your day job.

    That was very little math humor.

  150. 150
    Morzer says:


    Too much triangulation for your progressive soul? I thought it was a promising angle, but I guess it didn’t hit the right chord for you.

  151. 151
    Ruckus says:

    @Red Apple Smokes:
    I wonder if we hear the same voices.

    Now that would be strange.


  152. 152
    Gorgon Zola says:

    I’d also like to see someone run Hedges’ books through some plagarism [sic] detecting software to see if they’re isolated incidents.

    There are more than enough allegations in the TNR piece which, if true, show a pattern, not isolated incidents. I’m trying to withhold judgment because Hedges was a great journalist once, but I now question everything he wrote. He not only quoted other peoples sources as if they were his own, he doubled down and said he did nothing wrong. If he’s willing to do that, he’s probably willing to make up quotes out of whole cloth, or even make up sources themselves. Okay maybe I’m not trying to withhold judgment hard enough…

  153. 153
    chopper says:


    lol. all a million updates makes it look like is that you pushed something out the door that wasn’t close to ready yet.

  154. 154
    Gorgon Zola says:

    @Morzer: damn skippy

  155. 155
    Ruckus says:

    No, just sometimes puns strike me as being a little too easy. I mean if I can get it before I finish reading it……..

  156. 156
    Morzer says:



  157. 157
    Morzer says:


    I’ll work up a nice interpretative dance routine for the next show.

  158. 158
    Ruckus says:

    Are you implying that a certain reporter in Brazil types faster than his thoughts?

  159. 159
    PJ says:

    It doesn’t surprise me that Hedges would be unable to consider anything he did was wrong. I saw him at a reading for Days of Destruction, Days of Revolt, and he was smug, self-righteous, and unwilling to countenance even the mildest difference of opinion. (BTW, the Joe Sacco part of the book is great, the Hedges part, not so much – he can’t resist jumping from solid reporting into caricature and hyperbole.)

  160. 160
    DougJ says:

    I wanted to like Hedges and read his books, but something about the interviews I heard with I’m set off my bullshit meter. It’s hard to describe but this doesn’t surprise me that much.

  161. 161
    JustRuss says:

    Son: Schrodinger never opened his box.

    Yes, but after some time had passed, he didn’t really need to.

  162. 162
    Ruckus says:

    Never been a fan of musicals, or opera… Crap, I may have led a pretty shallow life. Naw, I have too many stories to have been that shallow.

  163. 163
    Morzer says:


    You might think that; I couldn’t possibly comment.

  164. 164
    PJ says:

    @Cervantes: Was that in the Ionian Review, First Quarter, 650 BC? If you can actually point me to a source I would appreciate it – Homer was clearly coming from an oral tradition, where incorporating the work of others was expected, and probably necessary for long epics.

  165. 165

    Hedges is a lefty hero in the way that Chomsky is a left hero. He had a book advocating that liberals forsake electoral politics- I’m pretty sure we talked about it here. I hadn’t heard much of him before that, and that was enough to convince me not to bother to read further.

  166. 166
    Suffern ACE says:

    @PJ: HoMeR was actually a boy band popular with the kids of the day. The super group of Ho-Hyun (the smart one), Me-Nam (the cute one) and R-Chimera (the sexy, hip-hop one) was quite popular.

  167. 167
    scav says:

    @PJ: I thought oral epics almost necessarily depended on chunks of near boilerplate descriptions “wine-dark” ”rosy-fingered” “they fell like towers” and what was it their armor rattled like? (with baroque-music like variation and ornamentals) to keep the whole thing moving.
    There is something about Epigraphy that sounds absolutely addicting if you’ve got that kind of brain. . . . oh, thanks for the bebafflement.

  168. 168
    smintheus says:

    @Cervantes: I’m referring to someone who once asked me to let him write a recommendation letter when I applied to grad school; agreed to do so when I asked a year later; and his “rec” letter said he hadn’t seen me since I graduated (I was working in Europe) so he couldn’t actually recommend me. Then he wrote to say he realized his “rec” letter scuttled all my applications, and suggested that I apply to my alma mater and do an MA with him, at which point he might be able to recommend me elsewhere. I realized I was being had, and refused.

    Later, when I was entering the job market, he quietly found out where I was applying and urged those universities to hire somebody else instead of me. Bizarre.

    ETA: I think maybe I shouldn’t have poked holes in his poorly documented theories in the undergrad seminar I took with him.

  169. 169
    smintheus says:

    @MomSense: I would’ve killed to have seen Greece as a kid. Well, ok, maybe not killed in the mythological, blood-letting mayhem kind of way.

  170. 170
    Red Apple Smokes says:

    @Ruckus: Most likely not the SAME voices, but they would probably get along. With the way that things are going, I’m starting to think that the negative self-talk amongst progressives could be turned into some type of Broadway musical. It could be called, We’re Doomed: We Really Mean it This Time.

  171. 171
    MomSense says:


    I think they would say the coolest things were just all the swimming and eating but they still talk about seeing the Acropolis on the night of the full moon. They open it up during the summer months when the moon is full. I got some amazing photos of the moon through the columns–looks like it is sitting on what is left of the roof. The experience is so much fun because you can hear the music from the theater and people laughing and singing. Lots of lovers kissing which got some ews from the kids but quite a festive night.

    You can still go as a big kid. That’s the best way to see things anyway.

  172. 172
    c u n d gulag says:

    @Lee Rudolph:
    “…in my role as topologist…”

    There ya go!
    You gots more edumacation than I gots!
    What do I know?
    I was a bartender for a good chunk of my life – a TAPolist. ;-)

  173. 173
    I'mNotSureWhoIWantToBeYet says:

    @DougJ: I saw an interview with him on C-SPAN once that really rubbed me the wrong way…

    Dunno if it was this one, but it might have been – (3 hours).

    For a counterpoint on some of his comments, see things like Sam Harris – – from 2011.

    I don’t think I have ever met anyone so determined to live as a Freudian case study: To read any page of Hedges’ is to witness the full catastrophe of public self-deception. He rages (and rages) about the anger and intolerance of others; he accuses his opponents of being “immune to critiques based on reason, fact and logic” in prose so bloated with emotion and insult, and so barren of argument, that every essay reads like a hoax text meant to embarrass the humanities. A person with this little self-awareness should be given a mirror—or an intervention—never a blog.

    An editorial (rather than psychoanalytic) note: Hedges claims that I “abrogate the right to exterminate all who do not conform” to my rigid view of the world. I’m afraid this is true. I do, as it turns out, abrogate that right. But Hedges surely means to say that I “arrogate” it. Advice for future skirmishes, Chris: When you are going to insult your opponents by calling them “ignoramuses” who “cannot afford complexity,” or disparage them for being incapable of “intellectual and scientific rigor,” it is best to know the meanings of the words you use. Not all the words, perhaps—just those you grope for when calling someone a genocidal maniac.

    It’s good to be passionate about one’s beliefs, but there is a line…



  174. 174
    Ruckus says:

    @Red Apple Smokes:
    We could take that show on the road.
    Liberals don’t have a single ideal simply because what we are mainly trying to do is not be assholes towards each other, and to offer a helping hand. Which when offered is sometimes slapped down. But that’s the cost of being a nice person.
    Conservatives only have some notion that if everyone acted just like them, the world would be OK. In other words they are striving towards an unworkable, unrealistic ideal, first that every one is the same, and second that people want to be like them. Their politics are about being pure enough, which of course no human ever is. There can be no evolution because that means change and change is scary and uncontrollable. There can be no deviation from “normal” because then there is no order, no control, no ideal, no purity.

  175. 175
    Red Apple Smokes says:

    @Ruckus: I agree with much of your analysis of conservatism, but my experience suggests that liberals/progressives (can I get a ruling on which one we’re supposed to use?) can be pretty zealous in enforcing ideological purity. Personally, I would content with meeting as many people’s material needs as possible, while trying not to steamroll the concept of individuality. Of course, even in a much more perfect world that would still be pretty tricky.

  176. 176
    Ruckus says:

    I went 40+yrs ago. Stopped often about 2 blocks from the Acropolis and sat at a hotel coffee shop, had an outdoor area and just sit and reflect on a country that had centuries old monuments just there, not fenced off and charging for admission, that life was about being, not just about money.

  177. 177
    Joel says:

    I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to frequently mix up messrs. Hedges and Hayes.

  178. 178
    Cervantes says:

    @smintheus: Cripes.

    As an old friend — a different one — used to say, academic politics are so intense precisely because the stakes are so low.

  179. 179
    Ruckus says:

    @Red Apple Smokes:
    I contend that people who are reaching for purity are not real liberals/progressives. There is room in this schoolhouse for more than one idea. I’ve noticed over the decades that the one great idea(ideal) rarely is. We are too large, too diverse to be one. That is the great ideal of this country, that we are a melting pot. The execution has sometimes left a lot to be desired but that’s my take on it. If all I want to see is myself I can get a mirror. The idea that we all look, act, think, are the same is ludicrous. That we even are the same person as we age is a ludicrous concept.

  180. 180
  181. 181
    Ruckus says:

    @Red Apple Smokes:

    Of course, even in a much more perfect world that would still be pretty tricky.

    Of course that’s because the world is anything but perfect. It is what it is. We can’t make it any more perfect than can conservatives. We can make it easier to live in, we can make it easier not to starve to death, to grow up with reasonable knowledge, to not (be able to) kill each other as easily, etc. But we can’t make it perfect or even close because what is perfect for each of us, isn’t for someone else, maybe no one else.
    In other words I think we need to get away from using the word perfect, it projects a false image, a false possibility.

  182. 182
    Red Apple Smokes says:

    Yes, scratch a purity pony and you’ll find an authoritarian almost every time. I’m wondering if the extended economic insecurity we’re facing is driving people that would normally be reasonable into uncompromising positions (just from the left instead of the right).

  183. 183
    smintheus says:

    @MomSense: I first saw the Acropolis in my early 20s. Went up early one winter morning after days of heavy rains and high winds. That afternoon I said to my professor, who was in the city, “I never would have guessed that you can see Acrocorinth from the Acropolis.” He looked at me in shock: “WHAT?! I’ve heard old timers talk about being able to see as far as Corinth once in a while under the right conditions, but that was back before WWII when the pollution was less dense.”

  184. 184
    smintheus says:

    @Cervantes: Yep, exactly right. And that’s not the worst academic nastiness I’ve been at the receiving end of, not by a long shot. There are some gigantically petty folks in our field.

  185. 185
    Woodrowfan says:

    the only reason to ever go to FDL was Tbogg, and he’s at Raw Story now so…..

  186. 186
    Eric U. says:

    @Red Apple Smokes: you don’t have to look too far back in history to find people on the left that were doctrinaire and generally horrible. And Naderites, for that matter. American communists weren’t as bad as the republicans painted them to be, but I’ve never met a reformed communist that I felt particularly comfortable around. Sorta like the libertarians I have met. The real right-wingers were marginalized in the past, unfortunately they have come out from under the rocks they were hiding under

  187. 187
    James E. Powell says:

    I wouldn’t call him a lefty hero, but I did find his writing and his speeches interesting.

    War is a Force that Gives us Meaning should be required reading. Empire of Illusion is good fodder for discussion, especially among younger people who never lived in the pre-cable 24 hour news cycle, pre-everything else that old people bitch about era.

    I started to wonder about him when I heard him say in an interview that “Occupy changed everything” because it obviously changed nothing.

    Still, this is very disappointing. Plagiarism is not defensible when, as mistermix says, quotes, a footnote, whatever, very easy to use. And I don’t think quoting Hemingway rather than plagiarizing him weakens the work.

  188. 188
    ira-NY says:

    Calamity Jane strikes again. What a sorry mess that blog has become.

  189. 189
    taylormattd says:

    @DougJ: Dave Neiwert expressed a very similar sentiment on facebook yesterday, although his troubled feelings came from disagreeing with much of Hedge’s book American Fascism.

  190. 190
    tam1MI says:

    I remember when threads at FDL would Ron to 300 or more by as many different posters. Now its just the same 28 people in a sad little circle jerk.

  191. 191
    Cervantes says:


    Oh, and it should be said: Homer himself was accused of plagiarism.

    Was that in the Ionian Review, First Quarter, 650 BC? If you can actually point me to a source I would appreciate it.

    Droll — and I, too, was half-joking because, obviously, accusing Homer of plagiarism sounds silly given what we believe today about how poetry worked back then — but actually you’re not far from the truth. There was no peer-reviewed Ionian literary journal, more’s the pity, but there were other documents.

    The squabble was between Homer and a woman named Herophile in Erythraea, a sibyl who accused Homer of being a liar. In the Oracula Sibyllina, there is this passage (Milton Terry’s 1899 translation — not great but it’s what I have at hand right now):

    And there shall be an aged mortal then,
    False writer and of doubtful native land;
    And in his eyes the light shall fade away;
    Large mind and verses measured with great skill
    Shall he have and be blended with two names,
    Shall call himself a Chian and shall write
    Of Ilium, not truthfully, indeed,
    But skillfully; for of my verse and meters
    He will be master; for he first my books
    Will open with his hands; but he himself
    Will much embellish helmed chiefs of war,
    Hector of Priam and Achilles, son
    Of Peleus, and the others who have care
    For warlike deeds. And also by their side
    Will he make gods stand, empty-headed men,
    False-writing every way. And it shall be
    Glory the rather, widely spread, for them
    To die at Ilium; but he himself
    Shall also works of recompense receive.

    For a number of reasons I won’t get into, the passage is thought to have been written by Herophile and about Homer. The writer seems somewhat annoyed. Why?

    Herophile, as a sibyl, also wrote hymns. In his Description of Greece, Pausanias (born not far from Ionia, by the way), wrote about her: “The Delians remember a hymn this woman composed to Apollo.”

    Again, for reasons I won’t get into, it is believed that this hymn for Apollo by Herophile was the basis of what we nowadays call the Homeric Hymn to Delian Apollo. Reading the latter today, here’s the claim you find at the end of the version we know today (H. G. Evelyn-White’s translation):

    Remember me in after time whenever any one of men on earth, a stranger who has seen and suffered much, comes here and asks of you: ‘Whom think ye, girls, is the sweetest singer that comes here, and in whom do you most delight?’ Then answer, each and all, with one voice: ‘He is a blind man, and dwells in rocky Chios: his lays are evermore supreme.’

    So there you have it.

    If you are interested and read Latin, Charles Alexandre, in his Excursus ad Sibylla (1856) discusses Homer’s “plagiarism” in more detail, observing that the charge was made more than once. (Granted, Alexandre relied on research that has long been superseded.)

    Two other little details about Herophile: she is said to have invented acrostics — and she was buried at the temple of Apollo Smintheus.

    Homer was clearly coming from an oral tradition, where incorporating the work of others was expected, and probably necessary for long epics.

    But see above for … Herophile’s perspective.

  192. 192
    David Koch says:



    There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.

    Funny how they just fell off the face of the planet. But that’s what happens with you join up with Fox News, Erick Erickson, and Apartheid lobbyist and Jack Abramoff’s unindicted co-conspirator, Grover Norquist.

  193. 193
    Bill Wolfe says:

    The Kartz case is devoid of evidence.

    It is sourced by an anonymous “fact checker”.

    Those kind of statements demand evidence.

  194. 194
    Bill Wolfe says:

    Hedges also quotes Melville’s “Moby Dick” without proper citation.

    Is that a crime too?

    This entire dispute began with an alleged plagiarism of the author’s wife’s work.

    I understand that a technical error at Truthdig was thecae of that alleged plagiarism, as what was supposed to be block quoted text failed to be presented as such in there original Truthdig piece.

    Use you head: If Hedges plagiarized full paragraph’s of the wife’s work, would he also cite that work in the same short essay?

    The Kat case lacks any evidence to support it, other than an anonymous source. THios kind of claims require evidence and on the record sourcing.

    The Postman and Hemingway examples are not technically plagiarism.

    The remainder is over-heated and driven by the author’s agenda.

    AS a whole not convincing and certainly does nothing to take away from the content of hedges’ work.

  195. 195
    taylormattd says:

    @Bill Wolfe: Did you actually read the article?

  196. 196
    grillo says:

    @WereBear: Thank you. That is helpful.

  197. 197
    E. says:

    I can kinda see some of this. He read Hemingway when he was 20. The line resonated and he repeated it a few times to friends. Then he forgot about it for 40 years and one day when it fit something he was doing, it percolated up, a little changed, and no longer carrying the “Hemingway quote” association. He thought it was his and he used it.

    I recently wrote a letter to the editor of my local newspaper and used a clever line I thought was my own; some weeks later I found the better part of it in, of all places, Paradise Lost.

    I think all of these lapses/crimes/oversights/mistakes can be similarly explained, but each is similarly tenuous.

  198. 198
    PJ says:

    @Cervantes: That’s fascinating. Was Herophile a sybil at Delphi? And is the poem you quote supposed to have been written before the Iliad and the Odyssey? I recently read Robin Lane Fox’s Travelling Heroes, and he puts Homer, or whomever wrote those poems, as writing in the 8th century, though of course the question isn’t settled. But apparently the first inscriptions in Greek we have date from around 750 BC. One thought is that the Iliad and the Odyssey became so popular and widespread because they were finished right as Greeks were beginning to become literate (and earlier oral works presumably stood a greater chance of being lost) and became early bestsellers, so to speak. Yet the author of this poem says “he first my books
    Will open with his hands” which would indicate that this woman’s poems were circulating in books, that Homer could read, and that he took poetic elements from her written poems to make the Iliad, which everyone believed to have been composed orally.

    Some other thoughts:

    Is the Latin compilation a translation of Greek transcriptions of sybilline prophecy? If so, it seems like some after-the-fact interpolation by a later literary critic could be what we are reading.

    My understanding of the sybils, or at least the one at Delphi, is that by sitting in the fumes, they were supposedly receiving words from Apollo (words that they themselves might not understand, but which were transcribed and perhaps invented or embellished by priests.) The poem could then be read as a critique of Homer by Apollo, who is disappointed, as was a later philosopher (can’t remember if it was Plato or a pre-socratic) that, with great skill, Homer has calumnied the gods by making them out to be just like petty humans who don’t have to work and who cannot die.

    Are there acrostics in any extant sybilline transcriptions?

  199. 199
    PJ says:

    @Cervantes: @PJ: And thanks to the FSM and Google, I found Terry’s translation online, which contained this helpful commentary

    There is very little knowledge of the actual contents of the original Sibylline Books. The texts which are presented here are forgeries, probably composed between the second to sixth century C.E. They purport to predict events which were already history or mythological history at the time of composition, as well as vague all-purpose predictions, especially woe for various cities and countries such as Rome and Assyria. They are an odd pastiche of Hellenistic and Roman Pagan mythology, including Homer and Hesiod; Jewish legends such as the Garden of Eden, Noah and the Tower of Babel; thinly veiled references to historical figures such as Alexander the Great and Cleopatra, as well as a long list of Roman Emperors; and last but not least, Gnostic and early Christian homilies and eschatological writings, all in no particular order. There may be actual residue of the original Sibylline books wedged in here and there, but this is dubious.

    As prophecy, the Pseudo-Sibyllines never rise to the level of Nostradamus. However they are a gold mine for students of Classical mythology and early first millenium Jewish, Gnostic and Christian beliefs. Notable are apocalyptic passages scattered throughout which at times seem like a first draft of the Biblical Book of Revelation. The Pseudo-Sibyllines were referenced by the early Church fathers and in one instance have a Christian code-phrase in successive first letters on each line (an ‘acrostic’). These books, in spite of their Pagan content, have been described as part of the Apocrypha, although they do not appear on any of the canonical lists.

  200. 200
    PJ says:

    @Bill Wolfe: @E.: His original use of the Hemingway and Postman quotes kept their sense and their construction by changing a few words – that is plagiarism. You might argue that he half-remembered the Hemingway and Postman and thought they were his own inventions, but when they were pointed out to him, he still didn’t make the proper attribution! If you read the article, you will also see that the Harper’s editorial staff also believed that Hedges was copying reams from the Philadelphia Inquirer articles without attribution.

  201. 201
    El Caganer says:

    I haven’t read a lot of Hedges’ work, but I liked what I did read. The TNR piece is pretty damning, though, and plagiarism really is poisonous, particularly to journalism.

  202. 202
    Cervantes says:


    Was Herophile a sybil at Delphi?

    As far as we know she appeared there but elsewhere as well (the best indication I have on this point is from Pausanias).

    And is the poem you quote supposed to have been written before the Iliad and the Odyssey?

    The books of the Oracula Sibyllina we have now are a mish-mash. If I had to put a date to the compilation and editing of the entirety I’d say 2nd to 5th century, AD. The part quoted above is generally thought to be old; it is from a linguistically and stylistically distinct portion of Book III which is among the oldest fragments we have. (According to some, aforementioned Herophile, the Erythraean, was the first of the sibyls.)

    If you are at all interested in the subject, here’s an enjoyable excursion:

    Mason, Zachary. The Lost Books of the Odyssey: A Novel. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux, 2010.

    It’s fiction, of course — but then again, what isn’t?

    And thanks to the FSM and Google, I found Terry’s translation online, which contained this helpful commentary

    I am not sure whose commentary that is; or how helpful; but thanks.

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