The Balagtas University of Local Legislation, along with its sister-school, the Santiago-Hernando Institute of Technology, have announced a new course offering aimed at those with ambitions of serving as political aides to legislators, called Plagiarism 101.
“Contrary to popular opinion, plagiarism is not an absolute evil,” says school dean, Nympha Luz Otana. “We have discussed this matter with top political aides and even they say that copying is a common practice among them. They do it for their bosses’ speeches as well as the bills they pass. Therefore, it is a necessary skill for these aspiring aides. Our aim as an educational provider is to give our students the best training and technological competence possible in the art of copying.”
“For example,” she elaborates, “One of the course modules is entitled Keyboard Shortcuts. 80% of people who use computers copy and paste text by right-clicking on the selected text, choosing ‘Copy’ then moving to the destination, right-clicking and choosing ‘Paste’, but this is very slow and tedious especially if you are copying large amounts of text. The more efficient way would be to use the keyboard shortcut Ctrl-C for copy and Ctrl-V for paste. This simple tip can save countless hours for a legislative researcher who has to scour hundreds of blogs to put together his boss’ privilege speech. Oh, and if you want to copy the full text, you don’t have to use your mouse to select and then drag the selection all the way down. You can just press Ctrl-A. You understand, of course, that I am talking about Windows shortcuts which are more common. We have a separate module that deals with Mac shortcuts for Mac users. And as with the Mac, it comes at a premium price suited for their discerning tastes.”
Although the course primarily deals with skills, it also allocates several hours to philosophy and psychology. “Students need to get rid of the impression that they are doing something wrong and all the mental baggage that comes along with that,” explains Professor Giacobo Bolarte, a veteran teacher in the university. “They have to unlearn all the conditioning that other teachers have impressed upon them — that it is wrong to simply copy other people’s works without proper attribution. You know, politics is a whole different arena with a different set of rules. We cannot expect our lawmakers to keep citing their sources or to verify their information. Why do that when you can simply copy from a blog and assume that it is correct? Besides, how can a senator sound credible if he keeps saying ‘according to such and such a blog who cited Dr. so-and-so?’ Don’t you see how ridiculous and long-winded that would be?”
When asked how the other teachers and parents thought of this, Professor Bolarte replied, “Well, there are naturally a number of them that protested. But I think they are hypocrites. There is no new idea in the world. We are all just copying from past ideas and past discoveries. Look at the Bible. We would not have the Bible if the monks did not copy them from older documents. And even we humans are just copied from the image of God. See? There is nothing wrong with copying. Even God did it. So who are we to go against God?”