Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Meat and Two Veg?

There is a little flurry in ELT circles at the moment. Gavin Dudeneye has put a cat amongst the pigeons by suggesting that it’s quite alright for people to plagiarize his blog as long as they keep their hands off his roll-neck sweaters. This is an attitude shared by the Potato Diaries who are happy and flattered that anyone might even come here at all let alone take anything with them on the way out.

Leaving no stone unturned, and for the benefit of the ELT community as a whole, our top reporter has scoured the past and is now able to throw some light on this important matter which threatens to tear apart the blogosphere and perhaps even the entire universe.

Enter stage right lawyer, statesman, essayist, historian, intellectual reformer, philosopher and scientist, Sir Francis Bacon. Son of Anne Cooke-Bacon (I jest ye not) and father of modern science, Sir Francis “Thank God it’s Friday” Bacon was a great man for the thinking and the doing. This led him to places high and low from exalted positions of power (Lord Chancellor and such) to the Tower of London where he was imprisoned for debt. Think Elizabethan Jeffrey Archer without the obnoxiousness.

Apart from the obvious physical similarity to Dudeneye, do these two Renaissance men have anything else in common or is this just a wild goose chase. A ‘Hunting of the Snark’ if you will. “Where am you be going is?” I hear you cry. Did you read that twice? What has this to do with plagiarism? Bear with me a while and all will be revealed.

Enter stage left, His Bardiness, William Shakespeare. The bearded genius, thin on top, addicted to high-necked garments and the English language’s greatest source of trauma to school children. Shakespeer? Bacon? Where’s the link? Well, it has long been argued that in fact Sir Francis Bacon was the author of Shaksper’s plays. The cornerstone of this argument lies in the choice of name of that most tragic of heroes. Hamlet. I mean talk about doing someone else’s homework for them. Blimey!

Personally, given how many other things Bacon had on his plate (and I'm not talking about cabbage or spuds here), I think it’s highly unlikely he got round to writing ‘The Complete Works of Shaxper' as well but that's what people are saying. This only goes to confirm our belief that history is merely replaying itself in never-ending cycles.

Bacon himself always enjoyed a bit of an old plagiarize too. Compare the following quotes:

The sun too penetrates into privies, but is not polluted by them“ Diogenes

The sun, which passeth through pollutions itself remains as pure as before. Bacon

Snared 400 years after the event by quotesforsaddos.com. Really. How are the mighty fallen.

It was (typically) a Frenchman, Rene Descartes who trumped Bacon for all time, thereby cheating him out of a place in the Philosophers' World Cup. He did this by simply removing one letter of Bacon’s widely admired remark “I think therefore I ham”. Through this slight of hand Descartes became the Father of Modern Philosophy, a title Bacon desperately wanted. There was little left for him to do but die of pneumonia while experimenting on the refrigeration of raw chickens.

Bit of an anti-climax, really.


Gavin Dudeney said...

Gosh, I....

What can I say - stuck between a ham and a piece of bacon.... is this the way my sorry career ends?

Thanks for the mention - I have taken a screenshot for my posterior.


sugarjo said...

Wow. Gavin is Francis Bacon (family resemblance is astounding). On Potato Pals. It's all a bit surreal.....and I don't even want to mention what word verification I had

Patrick Jackson said...

The though of you being here after all these hundreds of years is too exciting for words. As for your career ending fumbling with a raw chicken? All porkies.
@Sugarjo Ah, go on! Tell us.