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  1. Bartleby9
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    Bartleby9 Member

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    An opening paragraph

    Discussion in 'General Writing' started by Bartleby9, Apr 6, 2014.

    What do you think about this opening paragraph. After reading this paragraph would you continue to read the novel?


    Ever since the family doctor, during a routine checkup, discovered an abnormality on his EKG and he went in overnight for the coronary catheterization that revealed the dimensions of the disease, Henry's condition had been successfully treated with drugs, enabling him to work and to carry on his life at home exactly as before. He didn't even complain of chest pain or of breathlessness that his doctor might well have expected to find in a patient with advanced arterial obstruction. He was asymptomatic before the routine examination that revealed the abnormality and remained that way during the year before he decided on surgery--without symptoms but for a single terrible side effect from the very medication that stabilized his condition and substantially reduced the risk of a heart attack.
     
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  2. mammamaia
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    mammamaia nit-picker-in-chief Contributor

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    when quoting the work of others, you MUST cite the author... presenting philip roth's work as if it were your own is grounds for being banned from the site...

    i would [and did, many decades ago!] not have continued reading, because i found and still find roth's writings more boring, than compelling me to keep on reading...
     
  3. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    No, I wouldn't continue to read it. Its not my style of book I would be interested in.
    And who's work is that? It don't say in the post?
     
  4. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    No. I didn't even continue beyond the first sentence.
     
  5. Bartleby9
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    Bartleby9 Member

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    I am NOT presenting Roth's work as my own. I never said it was my work. In fact, the only hint I gave that it was Philip Roth was that I tagged it as Roth. I simply asked what the members of the site thought of this opening paragraph. I repeat again, at no time did I present it as my own.

    I posted this paragraph to see what readers would think of it without knowing that it was from a celebrated author.
     
  6. Bartleby9
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    Bartleby9 Member

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    Another point I am making by posting this opening paragraph from Roth's "The Counterlife" is to show others that just because someone finds your work boring or doesn't get hooked by it, it doesn't mean its not good. I have not formed an opinion on Roth yet, having only read two of his books, but, he is considered by many to be the best American living writer.

    Sometimes I see a piece that someone has written and I think its really good. Then I read the comments and people say "it didn't hook me" or "its boring". Literature is not supposed to hook you. Go read Game of Thrones for awful writing and a good story if thats what you want. So, for all those people who are having their work called "boring" by folks, consider yourself in good company.
     
  7. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    I see nothing wrong with that. Ignore the Barney Fifes.
     
  8. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    I didn't even notice the tag until I got past your post #5. It isn't enough. On a site of this nature, where writers routinely post material for comment, where there is no attribution to another author the general assumption is that the poster is presenting his/her own work. And if you maintain that your purpose was as you say:
    ...then you had even less reason not to be up-front about presenting Roth's work for consideration of your question.
     
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  9. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I'll quote our Forum Rule on this:

    Small sections of copyrighted material may be posted when you cite the original author (fair use) or when it is used with the authors permission.

    You must cite the original author. I know you were trying to make a point, but that changes nothing. I would have formally warned you if I'd been familiar with the original work. I didn't know it was Roth's; I thought is was yours. I know you didn't specifically claim it was yours, but I assumed it was because you didn't cite the author.

    @Bartleby9, I generally agree with your position on literature versus crap. But please don't do this again. If you want to carry out experiments of this kind, I'd suggest starting another thread with the citations the rules require, and a link to the post that cites the extract you post. That way, people can read the extract without knowing the author, and comment if they want to, but your post will still be allowed because members can simply click the link if they want to know the source.
     
  10. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    We are not Barney Fifes, @David K. Thomasson. We are trying to protect the forum from potential legal action. The rules exist for a reason.

    Do not encourage members to violate the forum rules or the law.
     
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  11. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    That is an extremely crabbed and legalistic reading of the rules. Suppose I posted a paragraph with this disclaimer:

    "The following is the opening paragraph of a published novel. It is not my work. I want to hear your opinion of it first. Later I will cite the author."

    Of late years an abundant shower of curates has fallen upon the north of England: they lie very thick on the hills; every parish has one or more of them; they are young enough to be very active, and ought to be doing a great deal of good. But not of late years are we about to speak; we are going back to the beginning of this century: late years--present years are dusty, sunburnt, hot, arid; we will evade the noon, forget it in siesta, pass the midday in slumber, and dream of dawn.


    What on earth is wrong with that? It serves an educational purpose, which certainly comes under fair use.

    And if you find this a heinous offense, ban me.
     
  12. David K. Thomasson
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    David K. Thomasson Contributing Member

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    It isn't a violation of the law. And I think you are giving an extremely narrow and silly reading of the rules. I guess that's why you're a moderator.
     
  13. Bartleby9
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    Bartleby9 Member

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    I understand. I won't do it again. I was simply trying to avoid confirmation bias. If I would have said it was a published author (or even a celebrated one) I think the initial responses would have been different.
     
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  14. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    That isn't what @Bartleby9 did, though, is it? And I offered him an option to do what he's doing while staying within the rules here:

    I thought that was fair.

    You have a point: the rule may be too restrictive. We have a Suggestions and Feedback area where you can suggest a change to the rules if you wish. It will be discussed, and if Daniel agrees, the rule will be changed. The forum rules are not set in stone - any member can suggest modifications, and if they have merit, the rules can be modified.
     
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  15. EdFromNY
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    EdFromNY Hope to improve with age Supporter Contributor

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    FWIW, I don't think the rule is too restrictive. And it appears that @Bartleby9 took the comments in the manner in which they were intended.
     
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  16. Moneica
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    Moneica Member

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    Nope, my response would still be, I wouldn't read it. Not the style of book I like.
     
  17. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    A bit of piling on here, perhaps people should consider the intent.

    Tagging it as Roth says it was not an attempt to take credit, and @Bartleby9 explained why he did it. Give the guy a break, sheesh!

    A better way to accomplish your goal, @Bartleby9 would have been to put the credits in spoiler tags
    Code:
    [spoiler][/spoiler]
    and ask people not to look at the spoiler until they had answered the question.

    Welcome to the forum, I for one do not think you intended to deceive.

    And we all make mistakes, no need to attack the guy.

    For what it's worth, as an opening paragraph, I find it awkwardly written.
     
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  18. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    For the record, @Bartleby9 did not receive a warning. No points. I, too, believe he did what he did in innocence and with good intent. I'm thinking the rule should be reviewed and, if Daniel agrees, changed. That's why Bartleby9 wasn't warned, and why I offered a way to do what he wants to do without infringing the existing rules.

    I, too, find Roth's opening rotten. It's turgid, unmusical, and full of jargon. I doubt I'd keep reading that book, but on the other hand, I usually give books a lot of rope before they hang themselves, so to speak.
     
  19. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    I was under the impression that position was held by Cormac McCarthy.
     
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  20. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    To answer the OP, yes, I would continue reading. It's not a particularly great paragraph IMO, but it's not bad, either. Besides, it's Roth. I think that alone warrants my attention. Despite what some people may say, reputation does matter.

    It depends who you ask. The big three in the American literary world are McCarthy, Roth, and Pynchon.
     
  21. Selbbin
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    Selbbin I hate you Contributor

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    BTW: I think the sample is shit. I would not keep reading. It is a good example of how perception of quality is often not based on merit, but reputation. It's the same in the art world.
     
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  22. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    I wasn't even considering someone would give a new member an infraction for an honest mistake. I would hope no one would do that.

    There's a difference between breaking the rules without regard and just not realizing something. I think people's piling on here was a bit much. Instead of simply saying, "that's not your paragraph, is it" or "are you asking about a particular author" or whatever, he was accused: "presenting philip roth's work as if it were your own is grounds for being banned". I don't see anything in that OP that says, this is my paragraph. Do you?

    I posted an extremely well known lyric, does anyone really think I was trying to pass it off as my own because I didn't cite the author? There's a BIG FRIGGIN DIFFERENCE between some pedantic faux paux and plagiarism.

    By the way, while we are at it, @mammamaia, is your cap key broken? Just curious.
     
  23. minstrel
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    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Staff Supporter Contributor

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    I thought you were trying to pass it off as your own because I didn't know the song.

    Also, old wounds heal much better if you don't keep reopening them. :)
     
  24. GingerCoffee
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    GingerCoffee Web Surfer Girl Contributor

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    You made a mistake, as did @mammamaia there and here. It doesn't matter that you made a mistake when all is said and done. What matters is no plagiarism was ever attempted. Unless you think people are guilty until you figure it out otherwise.

    I said this before in the other thread. I understand your point, believe me, I get it. What I don't understand is the presumption made about people that they must be attempting to pull one, instead of first asking, what was the reason. In my case I thought the lyric was as common as dirt. In @Bartleby9's case he had a reason for not disclosing the author was famous. In neither case was the cynical assumption correct.

    As for old wounds, I didn't open it, the same person who inflicted it did.
     
  25. 123456789
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    123456789 Contributing Member Contributor

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    Um, that's an expression from John Taylor Gatto (also used in Street Car Named Desire). There you go again Ginger, STEALING other people's work!!!!!!!!!!!
     
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