Sunday, May 20, 2012

Warren plagiarized her phony recipes? Really?

Previously, I discussed the apparent need some have to claim a Native American heritage. In particular, I looked at disgraced scholar Ward Churchill and current candidate for the U.S. Senate Elizabeth Warren. I noted that Warren's claims of a Native American ancestry appeared to have been--at the time--somewhat true:
Finally, it would appear that she has been vindicated. Kind of. A genealogist has found evidence that Warren's great-great-great-grandmother was a Cherokee, making Warren herself 1/32 Cherokee, at most.
That's not a lot of Cherokee blood to hang one's hat on, so to speak. Still, it was more than enough to allow Warren to call herself a Native American and for Harvard to trumpet its hiring of Warren as a coup, in that regard:
Although the conventional wisdom among students and faculty is that the Law School faculty includes no minority women, Chmura said Professor of Law Elizabeth Warren is Native American.
Now as it turns out, the genealogist noted above appears to have been wrong. There is no evidence available that shows Warren is any part Native American, whatsoever. Still, it appears Warren truly believes she has Native American roots. It's been a part of her self-description for a long, long time. Back in 1984, Warren contributed five recipes to a book of recipes entitled Pow Wow Chow, supposedly a collection of "special recipes passed down through the Five Tribes families" ("Five Tribes" referring to the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Creek, and Seminole tribes).

Those five recipes included "Cold Omelets with Crab Meat," "Crab with Tomato Mayonnaise Dressing," and "Herbed Tomatoes." But as this article from Breitbart's Big Government notes, each of these three appear to have been plagiarized. So, what we seem to have here are recipes in a Native American cookbook contributed by someone with no Native American lineage to speak off who apparently got these recipes--at least two of them and maybe three--during her own lifetime, not via family tradition or the like.

I personally have a number of my grandmother's recipes for various things, but the most that I can say about them is that I got them from my grandmother. Sure, it would be neat to claim that they're all old family recipes, passed down generation after generation. And maybe they are. But I don't know this to be true. Thus...I can't make the claim, for it would be a lie.

It's bad enough that Warren had no problem pretending the recipes were Native American in origin and from her family's history. Because that's a lie, right there. But she also apparently used recipes already published by others, long before Pow Wow Chow was published, and claimed them as her own. From the Breitbart piece:
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, a copy of which can be seen here. 
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. Both instructions specify the use of a “seven inch Teflon pan.”
That's quite obviously plagiarism. And if we recall, it was plagiarism that ultimately ended Ward Churchills's academic career, as well. Sure, Warren didn't plagiarize for the purposes of a scholarly article or book. But so what? Should we ignore the dishonesty on her part, laugh it off as "just a couple of recipes"? Perhaps the argument will be that "it was just a little white lie to get included in a recipe book, no harm done." Of course, that's not wholly unlike the now-common defense of Obama's lit agent listing his birthplace as Kenya: "no big deal, just a little marketing strategy."

Warren and Obama, two peas in a pod. Lying to get published. Lying to sell books. Lying to make money. I thought this was why we were supposed to dislike Republicans...

Cheers, all.

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