There is mostly bad ethics news for Elizabeth Warren fans from the re-discovery of the 1984 cookbook she contributed to called “Pow Wow Chow,” but some good news too. The good news is that the 28 year-old cook book, edited by her cousin and listing the current Harvard professor and Democratic Senate contender as a contributor named “Elizabeth Warren, Cherokee,” shows that Warren didn’t just concoct her claims of Cherokee heritage to achieve minority status to help her get faculty jobs through university diversity hiring policies. Oh, she intentionally employed her dubious heritage credentials to get that edge, no doubt about it. But the cookbook shows that though she was only 1/32 Native American by the most generous calculations and was assuming that lineage on the basis of hearsay alone, Elizabeth Warren really had convinced herself that she is a Cherokee, and probably believes it to this day. Hence her obsession with being able to call herself a Native American appears less opportunistic and more, well, nuts. [ Note: for a thorough though excessively sympathetic review of Warren’s claims, read this, in The Atlantic.]
In fact, it looks like a severe case of Sixties Liberal Delusion Syndrome, also known as Billy Jack Disease. Warren talks and writes like a stereotype campus liberal, and like her Sixties campus forbears, she must have figured out in early adulthood that kinship with oppressed minorities is the antidote to white guilt and the ticket to a perpetual state of self-righteousness and victimization. If my diagnosis is correct, Warren’s lockstep liberal mindset seized upon her family lore about American Indian heritage, and installed it as a cornerstone of her self-image as a foe of the capitalist, white-dominated American power structure. I am sorry I doubted her; I now think it is likely that she has long thought of herself as a true Cherokee. True, I think that is ridiculous; I think extending that attenuated minority identification into a resume enhancement, allowing her to displace more deserving candidates, is indefensible; and I think her obsession calls her judgement and stability into question. But at least she wasn’t lying. About that.
Yes, this is the good news.
The bad news is that Warren’s contributions to the cookbook appear to be misrepresented and stolen. The report, published on Breitbart, seems to be thoroughly researched:
“Boston radio talk show host Howie Carr released evidence that appears to confirm Ms. Warren may have plagiarized at least three of the five recipes she submitted to the 1984 Pow Wow Chow cookbook edited by her cousin Candy Rowsey.
“Two of the possibly plagiarized recipes, said in the Pow Wow Chow cookbook to have been passed down through generations of Oklahoma Native American members of the Cherokee tribe, are described in a New York Times News Service story as originating at Le Pavilion, a fabulously expensive French restaurant in Manhattan. The dishes were said to be particular favorites of the Duke and Duchess of Windsor and Cole Porter.
“The two recipes, ‘Cold Omelets with Crab Meat’ and ‘Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing,’ appear in an article titled ‘Cold Omelets with Crab Meat,’ written by Pierre Franey of the New York Times News Service that was published in the August 22, 1979 edition of the Virgin Islands Daily News [Update: The more likely source is Franey’s 1979 book, “The New York Times 60 Minutes Gourmet,” which also included the recipes.]..Ms. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing is a word-for-word copy of Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe.
“Mrs. Warren’s 1984 recipe for Cold Omelets with Crab Meat contains all four of the ingredients listed in Mr. Franey’s 1979 recipe in the exact same portion but lists five additional ingredients. More significantly, her instructions are virtually a word for word copy of Mr. Franey’s instructions from this 1979 article…with one exception. Ms. Warren says, ‘Let cook until firm and lightly brown…” and Mr. Franey says “Let cook until firm and lightly browned…’
“The third potentially plagiarized recipe, ‘Herbed Tomatoes,’ appears to be copied from [a] 1959 recipe from Better Homes and Garden.”
Warren was 35 in 1984; this isn’t a teenaged Mitt Romney hazing an effeminate classmate. Plagiarizing copyrighted recipes to include in a book sold for profit is serious plagiarism, and these instances carry the stench of fraud was well. The book was sold as including authentic Native American recipes passed down through generations. The recipes Warren purloined were, instead, the creations of a famous French restaurant and an excerpt from a typical middle America homemaker magazine.
You can make your own decision about how much plagiarizing recipes 28 years ago should be held against Elizabeth Warren today. Masschusetts, where James Michael Curley reigned, has never been especially picky about the character of its elected officials. Warren would have to have a lot more skeletons in her wigwam than what has surfaced so far to approach the black marks on the early record of the late Senator whose seat she is seeking, Ted Kennedy.
As for me, a Massachusetts kid myself, I don’t trust plagiarizers. The most honest and trustworthy people I know never plagiarized anything in their lives; given a choice between a plagiarist and a non-plagiarist, I’ll take the non- every time. I think the bad news emanating from “Pow Wow Chow” is that when you start with Warren’s willingness to exploit her distant Native American heritage even if it meant displacing other more deserving candidates, stir in her self-evident lie that she only listed herself as a Native American to find other Cherokees in that hotbed of Native American social life, Boston, and top it off with the Pow Wow Chow plagiarism, you get a recipe for a politician who is willing to lie, cheat, and manipulate to get what she wants.
Personally, I think we have too many of those already.
Source: Boston Herald
Graphic: All Things Cherokee
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