A columnist for a small newspaper in Georgia was fired for plagiarizing the work of Leonard Pitts, a Miami Herald columnist. Here’s a section of Pitts’ open letter to the plagiarist, Chris Cecil:
My words are important to me. I struggle with them, obsess over them. Show me something I wrote and like a mother recounting a child’s birth, I can tell you stories of how it came to be, why this adjective here or that colon there.
See, my life’s goal is to learn to write. And you cannot cut and paste your way to that. You can only work your way there, sweating out words, wrestling down prose, hammering together poetry. There are no shortcuts.
Look, I hate a plagiarist as much as the next guy, but doesn’t Pitts seem to take himself just a tad too seriously?