Thursday, November 27, 2003

It was about two years ago that I stumbled onto this blog thing and started typing. I've been typing a lot less lately and at times, wondering if the instant publishing revolution is nothing more than the 8-track tape of the internet age. Does anyone care about this except the people doing it and those being paid to report on it? I don't know.

Still, I feel like the original concept of Suburban Limbo was to send a message in a bottle via the internet about life in these here Florida 'burbs. That point is still valid. We are so saturated with a media obsessed by pop stars, crime, conservative Christian ideals and the media itself, that voices of the average are rarely heard. Maybe they shouldn't be? Maybe we are all suppose to care a lot about Brittany and Madonna kissing? Maybe.

On this Second Anniversary of Suburban Limbo, I'd like to point out that I'm typing on the exact same computer I started out with - a friend's PC in Naples Florida. As we were two years ago, we're here for Thanksgiving. This year, Dad couldn't eat much - he has lost all taste for any food not sweet. But most things don't change.

BTW - interesting story unfolding at school. I have a blog for a Cinema Studies class I teach. Each week, I show a film and I ask all students to post a review online (the Members function of Blogger is perfect for this). Last week, I discovered that one girl has been plagiarising her reviews from other online reviews. She was literally cutting and pasting blocks of copy and claiming them as her own.

How did I find out? Her entries looked a bit too impressive in places. Simple sentences like My favorite person was Bill. The way everything was cut and edited really made this funny were immediately followed by way too lucid film school commentary such as It was almost a parody of film making as we know it. The trials he has to deal with are many that other low-budget filmmakers have had to deal with - there's not enough money, he owes a ton of money, can't find a cast, and production money runs short.

I took sentences that looked bogus and plugged them into Google. I found exact instances of plagiarism in every one of her 12 reviews. Often more than one instance per review. I suppose I should be happy that she went out and read reviews of the films, but that wasn't the assignment. If only she had used her powers for good instead of evil...

On Monday, I'll print out all this information neatly and bring it too the powers that be in the school. Let's see what they do. I half believe they'll try to find some excuse and ask me not to fail her. We'll see. In the meantime, I took advantage of the Comments field I've included with each post to specifically site the plagiarised text and the URL from whence it came. She's not internet savvy, so she probably won't even see it. But hopefully, other students will. This should be interesting.

For now, I'm going to read about Brittany in the latest Entertainment Weekly. Maybe there's something in there about the Madonna kiss?

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