Deborah Brandt’s piece on the differences between reading and writing was very interesting to me. Like many of my classmates who have already expressed their opinions on this blog, the idea of ghostwriting seems like a “cop-out,” and a form of plagiarism in itself. Because I agree with so many of my classmate’s blog posts, I am going to focus this blog on a somewhat minor detail in Brandt’s piece rather than her central claim.
“Plagiarism victimizes readers by making them unwitting receivers of stolen goods, dampening prospects of moral uplift that reading usually follows.”
I have always thought of plagiarism as strictly affecting the writer, for it is the writer whose ideas or words that are stolen. While this disadvantage remains true, I now find myself questioning the effects of plagiarism on the reader. Is the reader truly at a disadvantage? There are no repercussions of reading plagiarized material, but there are strong and necessary repercussions of the act of plagiarism itself. While I in no way support the act of plagiarism on the writers behalf, I am unsure if I agree with Brandt when she writes that reading plagiarized material “….[dampens] the prospects of moral uplift that reading usually promises.” If readers are exposed to writing that resonates with them in some way, does it truly matter if that material is stolen? Can’t the reader still experience this “moral uplift” regardless of whose original work it was? Again, I am not saying plagiarism is good or even tolerable. I am, however, questioning Brandt’s idea that plagiarism “victimizes readers.”