Atlas Swiped

« November 2013 »


Oh, Rand. Libertarian scion. The self-certified eye doctor. The Paul you get at Marshall's for half price. Kentucky senator. And occasionally, just hilariously awful at his job.

You've probably heard about the plagiarism scandal here and there, but me, I've been saving things up. For example, you may have heard that he was talking about the movie "Gattaca", and wondered why the fuck anyone would do that if they weren't filling the Best Buy budget Blu-Ray bin. Well, at this point, one thing that's been obscured is that he used Gattaca to attack the pro-choice movement because eugenics.

This is startlingly awful rhetoric, even for the right wing. I mean, when people point to a work of fiction in order to insist that women are forced to give birth, the Bible is the usual go-to. Not a lot of the Rand constituency are seeking out mid-90s mid-budget sci-fi flicks.

Because of this, Paul has to explain Gattaca to the crowd in what is, consistently, the least compelling moment of any political speech ever. And it turns out that in order to do this, Paul was pretty much reading the Wikipedia plot summary verbatim. He's done the same with "Stand And Deliver", which he apparently uses to try to explain immigration because "Machete"'s Wikipedia page didn't test well.

This leads us to my second favoritest thing about the entire affair. Rand Paul doesn't understand what plagiarism is, which is odd considering how often he does it. Here's how he explains away stealing the plot summary of "Gattaca" off Wikipedia. ACTUAL QUOTE TIME!

"We borrowed the plot lines from Gattaca. It’s a movie. I gave credit to the people who wrote the movie... Nothing I said was not given attribution to where it came from... I didn’t claim that I created the movie ‘Gattaca.’ See, that’s what’s absurd about this. The plot line from ‘Gattaca’ belongs to one person, the guy, the screenwriter, and I gave him credit for that.”

This is either pure, unmitigated cluelessness, or the least successful attempt at deflection ever. That's like someone accusing you of shoplifting, and your defense being that you paid full price for a movie ticket three months ago. It makes no goddamned sense. Thank you for this, Rand Paul.

This defense having backfired, Rand Paul turned to what, for Rand Paul, seemed like the next logical step - weird appropriation of slightly outdated youth slang and rampant machismo:

"And, like I say, if dueling were legal in Kentucky, if they keep it up, you know, it'd be a duel challenge, but I can't do that because I can't hold office in Kentucky. But I think I’m being unfairly targeted by a bunch of hacks and haters. And I’m just not going to put up with people casting aspersions on my character."

You may think that the best part of this quote is how Rand Paul is insisting that the ONLY thing preventing him from challenging a lesbian talk show host to pistols at dawn is an antiquated law that would cause him to lose his job as Senator. You would be wrong.

The best part is that the law he's citing only applies to Kentucky offices, not the Senate. So he could, if he wanted to, challenge Rachel Maddow to a duel for pointing out that he did a thing he actually did, even though it was the doing of the thing and the subsequent stupidity that really casts aspersions on his character. So why won't he? I'm sure his vision is as good as a self-licensed optometrist could provide, after all.

So anyway, it turns out he's also stolen op-eds, chunks of his book, and loads of other stuff because libertarianism means never having to say you're sorry. So much plagiarism, in fact, that he got fired as a columnist by the Washington Times. That's Times, not Post. The Times. Rand Paul doesn't have enough integrity to be a writer for the WASHINGTON TIMES. I can't think of a journalistic outlet with lower standards than that, which is why he had to be picked up by Breitbart News instead.

The whole mess, of course, won't affect the devotion of Paul's followers. They love Rand Paul because, not despite, he's plagiarized his entire career from Atlas Shrugged. Well, OK, from the Wikipedia summary of the movie adaptation. It's a long book.