Response to Ecstasy of Influence — Emily Yip (Chen)

Personally, I had always found plagiarism tricky. Throughout the countless academic integrity workshops or plagiarism spiels I have endured, I have always had an unanswered question lingering in the back of my head — how do I know for sure that I’m not plagiarizing this sentence with a near infinite amount of sources online? How do I form a sentence that is 100% mine? (This is especially tricky now that paraphrasing is even counted as plagiarizing if caught un-cited.) Branching off into unacademic plagiarism — if a famous photo of a basket of fruit arises, does that mean that I am never allowed to take a photo of a basket of fruit and share it without citing it? Lethem seems to have answered my question in this article by defining the difference between influence and plagiarism. Influence is the building of emotion, ideas, and creativity. We progress as a society through influence and use the past as a means to improve.  Larger, more vague ideas such as “making the familiar strange”  , which is often seen in art, challenges the creativity of individuals and allows the branching of different perceptions. Lethem proves that we as a society are positively influenced by influence and negatively influenced by plagiarism. The places that each individual takes with the building of influence branches off one another, creating a pool of ideas and encouraging growth.

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