Post Academic


Follow-Ups: Wisconsin Protests and “Chef Law”

Posted in Housekeeping by postacademic on February 27, 2011
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We wanted to follow up on a few of our better trafficked posts from the past week, Caroline’s on the Wisconsin protests and Arnold’s on plagiarism in Top Chef.

Wisconsin Protests: Thanks to all the wonderful comments to our post on the ongoing Wisconsin saga–to cite a cliche, we can disagree without being disagreeable!  Lest we get too far into the political principles of the thing (and anyways, you know where we stand), Talking Points Memo passes along an interesting note on who’d be one of the first affected by the Gov. Scott Walker’s threats to start laying off state workers: the school counselor wife of the GOP State Senate Majority Leader, a chief political ally.  In fact, all 34 of that particular school district’s teaching staff have been given their preliminary walking papers.

Here’s a YouTube of the protests, which apparently stars a friend of ours –well, at least her hat for an instant or so–who’s a prof in the Wisconsin system…

Chef Law: On a much lighter note, this week’s Top Chef plagiarism controversy has generated a lot of interest, though we’re betting that anything that happens on the show leads to a storm of posts on the foodie blogosphere.  Mike Isabella, the cheater, has washed his hands of the whole thing, claiming that it was all editing and that Richard Blais, the cheated-upon, bears no ill will and agrees with him.  Uh-huh.  One of the more interesting perspectives on this tempest-in-a-teapot comes from Dale Talde, who was chopped (to mix reality-show catchphrases) from the episode.

When asked by TV Guide in a post-show debriefing, he basically pooh-poohed the idea of plagiarism, even as he called out Isabella for bad form:  “You can’t patent food, but you also can’t straight-up tell people that you ripped this dude’s dish off and you won $5,000 and shove it in his face. That sucks.”  And like we pointed out in the post, you just can’t give plagiarists an inch, which is something Dale had apparently been advising Richard all along: “He’s been very forthcoming with information….Why are you telling people this? I think he’s learned his lesson now. I’m not stingy, but it’s like: Dude, do your homework; do your homework. You know you’re going on the show, so do your homework.”

So something else that Top Chef’s confirmed for us about plagiarism is a lot about bad form and  that it’s never cut-and-dried, never black-and-white.  And the best way to not get embroiled in it is to not get into the gray area of helping a little too much.

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