James Leroy Wilson's blog

Friday, March 24, 2006

An Experiment in Irony

I had a post up for about 15 minutes, but I freaked out and took it down.

It was a total and obvious plagiarism job, a complete cut and paste of Hit and Run's Julian Sanchez's post on Ben Domenech's plagiarism. I posted it on a whim, and I thought those who would recognize it would find it funny.

There were just two differences: I titled it "An Experiement in Irony" instead of "Well, That Was Quick," and added a sentence at the end telling the reader about Sanchez's "excellent, must-read post" on the topic and linking to it. There, they would find out the joke. Plagiarizing a piece about plagiarism. Hee hee. I was curious to see what the comments would be.

The problem is, people would have had to actually click the link to discover the joke. Otherwise, readers who don't also read Hit & Run would have been left in the dark. Maybe some would think something's up because of the writing style and content, but may have moved on thinking I wrote the thing.

Plus, there's the bit about republishing the entire work verbatim without consent. And the other thing - it was a good post and deserved to be seen in its entirely at the place where it was intended - at Hit and Run. Reposting the whole thing isn't right.

Then there's the chance that someone would cite me for information in the post instead of Sanchez.

And finally, a lesson I learned some weeks ago from John Carlton: Most people do NOT possess even an ounce of a sense of humor. About anything.
There are a number of recent university studies on humor… and they’re chilling. Many of the people around you who laugh at jokes, or are always ready with a joke to tell… actually are faking it.

They have learned to look for cues from other people, and to laugh when others laugh. They have no clue why the joke they’ve just told is causing people to gasp with laughter. They’re smiling and going along, because they’ve learned to.

Too many potential drawbacks just so maybe half a dozen people would draw a chuckle.

Thus, the experiment is aborted.


  1. This is rich.
    What a great explanation of the effect of the bloggosphere on vetting truth. If we did this with politicians rather than reporters, we could potentially make a significant effect in the lemmingness quotient. I have an idea for a stealth campaign...

    Humor in amerika has had me befuddled before - but i was an originator of a game called No Soap Radio back in the seventies. no soap radio had to be the punchline of the joke, and the people who were in on the joke would each tell a story and would roll with laughter while the victim of the prank wondered what everybody was laughing at, because the punchline made no sense. deliberately to see what the victim would do. then we made fun of the people who laughed until they understooding the joke was on them. You can imagine - a penguin slideing on the ice asks his buddy penguin to pass the soap and his buddy says no soap radio. and the crowd rolls. Man we were cruel as kids.

  2. I like humor.

    Everytime is see the word, "chilling", I laff a lot.

    Dunno why.

  3. GreginOz10:12 PM PST

    I went around to Jame's place a couple of nights ago, he wasn't home. So, anyway, I broke in and grabbed his dog. I put two contact lenses on him, with cat images on the inside....man it was funny, he went berserk! 'course it was even funnier when I took one out...'round and around in circles... just moved in to a dead end, one way street...I developed an interest in astronomy...put in a skylight...man, the neighbours upstairs were pissed! Stolen from some US stand up dude who toured Sydney.