Writer Jumi Bello Just Doesn’t Quite Get That “Plagiarism” Thingy, Or “What An Idiot!”

This hilarious story of an epic Ethics Dunce immediately reminded me of the classic Charles Addams cartoon above.

Jumi Bello, 30, was making the finishing touches on her debut novel “The Leaving,” scheduled to be released this summer, but after she disclosed to her publisher that she had expropriated material from other sources, the book was pulled. Bello then wrote a personal essay on the website Literary Hub explaining how her plagiarism came about.  The novel was about a young black woman’s unplanned pregnancy. Bello wrote that she had never been pregnant and searched for descriptions of the experience on the web.

“I tell myself I’m just borrowing and changing the language,”  Bello wrote in the essay, which was supposed to be a cautionary tale for other writers who might rationalize plagiarism.  “I tell myself I will rewrite these parts later during the editorial phase. I will make this story mine again.”

After the essay was published,  writers and publications such as Gawker, pointed out that Bello’s essay about plagiarism also had unethically used the writings of others without attribution. Yes, her essay about plagiarism was plagiarized.

Literary Hub removed the essay and said in a statement, “Because of inconsistencies in the story and, crucially, a further incident of plagiarism in the published piece, we decided to pull the essay.” But wait! There’s more! She plagiarized from a website about plagiarism! Jonathan Bailey, who writes the website Plagiarism Today, wrote that Bello’s essay “included poor paraphrasing without attribution of an article that I wrote over a decade ago.”

What an idiot.

And she can quote me.

____________________

Pointer and Facts: New York Times.

8 thoughts on “Writer Jumi Bello Just Doesn’t Quite Get That “Plagiarism” Thingy, Or “What An Idiot!”

  1. I couldn’t find the article. I wanted to plagiarize it for an article on plagiarism. Then, I was going to have a colleague plagiarize mine. Then we could have an article on plagiarism that was plagiarized from someone who plagiarized a plagiarism atonement essay that plagiarized Plagiarism Today.

    How many layer of plagiarism can you get before you rip a hole in space-time?

  2. Just remember, it’s been a good enough method for the President on multiple occasions throughout his career….

  3. I decided to look up who this Jumi Bellow person is and why her first novel was so eagerly anticipated. She is a Ph.D. candiate in creative nonfiction at UNLV where she teaches English and is a ‘College Application Mentor’ according to her LinkedIn account. She has an MFA in Creative Writing from the Iowa Writer’s Workshop. In her essay, it seems that she explained her writing process.
    Her process:
    (1) Copy and paste from the internet
    (2) Paraphrase it later to ‘make it mine’
    (3) Add citations

    This is a highly qualified writer from a prestigious creative writing program and a current Ph.D. candidate. By all accounts, she is a top-tier writer from today’s schools and she got to this point as a cut and paste plagiarist. No one seems to have had a problem with it until now. I am afraid this may be as good as it gets from today’s elites.

    She seems to specialize in writing about her mental illness. I don’t know what that is, but since over 25% of women are on psychiatric medication right now, that may be popular and she is reported to have used that as an excuse for her plagiarism, claiming that the deadlines were stressful.

    So, I doubt this will be the end to her career. It is likely that most authors of her generation write in a similar plagiaristic manner and these incidents will be excused as ‘sloppiness’ of a young writer and we will be told to be ‘tolerant’ of the shortcomings caused by her mental illness. Well, since her ‘apology’ essay was over 4500 words long, maybe I shouldn’t use the word shortcoming.

    Sorry for the dark outlook, I’ve been grading student writing.

  4. It’s not plagiarism. She’s Black. As a poor, underprivileged child, she didn’t have words of her own, so had to learn how to navigate a hostile and suppressive world using whatever words she could scrounge from others. Poor thing.

  5. Just some amusement. The school I did post graduate work submitted all papers through a plagiarism checker app. “United States of America,” and other place names were annotated as being plagiarized.. Quotation marks were not recognized so excerpts from the Constitution were deemed plagiarized. I even quoted myself from a previous paper I wrote and that was “plagiarized.”

    • That is why you have to look at it. I don’t look at anything that is listed as being less than 50% plagiarized by the plagiarism checker. The English departments are very odd about this. They will allow you to loosely paraphrase stuff to your heart’s content, but if you take the theme of a short essay you wrote 5 years ago and extend it into a 10 page paper, they will accuse you of ‘self-plagiarism’ and fail you in the class…unless you are popular. As with everything, rules and laws are for ‘little people’.

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