YOU CAN PLAGIARIZE TRITE EXPRESSIONS? REALLY?

A painting by Heinrich Harder showing an aurochs fighting off a Eurasian wolf pack (from here)
A painting by Heinrich Harder showing an aurochs fighting off a Eurasian wolf pack (from here)

As I understand it, even the Democrats thought Melania Trump made an excellent speech at the Republican Party’s National Convention. Unfortunately, the partisan news media detests the fact Melania Trump is a Republican. So they had to find something wrong with it. So what did they find? Plagiarism, supposedly.

Curious. I looked into the matter. So I suppose I could write a long lengthy article, but I don’t think it is worth the bother. Here is a link to Melania Trump Copied from Michelle Obama’s 2008 Convention Speech (Snopes.com). Read it, weep, and laugh.

If we are gullible enough, what we are suppose to take away from such biased news media reports (including Snopes.com’s report, of course) is that Melania Trump copied from Michelle Obama’s 2008 speech, but that would be nonsensical.

Please observe the following.

  • Melania Trump made a fairly long speech (transcript here). The parts she supposedly copied don’t amount to anything.
  • Melania Trump’s speech was made in what has become a tradition. Lots of very accomplished women have made similar speeches for their husbands, not just Michelle Obama.
  • The portions of the speeches that are supposedly similar are strings of trite expressions. We all use these expressions, not just Michelle Obama. So if Melania Trump wants to borrow from me expressions that I was using well before 2008, I don’t care. I won’t even charge Michelle Obama with plagiarism.
  • What the news media is calling plagiarism is not plagiarism, and they should know better.

Here is the definition.

plagiarism [pley-juh-riz-uh m, -jee-uh-riz-]

an act or instance of using or closely imitating the language and thoughts of another author without authorization and the representation of that author’s work as one’s own, as by not crediting the original author.

We call a trite expression a trite expression because everyone use that expression the same way. In fact, if we did not use words the same way, we could not communicate. So because Melania Trump made a speech for much the same purpose that Michelle Obama made her speech in 2008, Melania Trump’s speech contained some language that looks similar. So what?

Did Melania Trump copy Michelle Obama’s ideas? No. Did Did Melania Trump substantially copy Michelle Obama’s speech? No. How could she have done that? Melania Trump was sharing her experiences Donald Trump, not Barack Obama.

So what is going? Why are we getting this ridiculous story? Think about people like Judge Robert Bork, Judge Clarence Thomas, Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, and others. These people experienced intense personal attacks in the news media. Journalists found a story they liked, and they reported in unison. We call that pack journalism, another trite expression. Pack journalism is thoughtless and mean-spirited, but too many in the news media don’t care whether what they report is true.

Pack journalists make wolves look bad. When wolves attack their prey, they are just doing what God made them to do. Men who behave so cowardly have no such excuse.

WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE MASCULINE?

Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)
Christ in Gethsemane, Heinrich Hofmann, 1890 (from here)

In He’s Golden…, insanitybytes22 makes the following observation.

Nightwind wrote a post the other day, “Feature Friday”, about masculinity, what it is, what it isn’t. I have a hard time defining masculinity myself,  a somewhat amusing thing really, because I know it when I see it but how do you even describe it? I of course think immediately, confidence, protection, provision, safety. How blessed I am to equate men with safety, but those are very subjective perceptions of masculinity, how they relate to me personally.

‘ post is about her husband, and she uses him as an example of what it means to be the male head of a household, her family. In effect, defines masculinity by providing an excellent example.

Look up the term “masculine” in the dictionary. You will learn almost nothing. The definition of “masculine” may lead you to the term “manly”, but all that will tell you is that we expect men to be strong and brave. Since we also expect women to be strong and brave, that won’t tell you much.

So what does it mean to be masculine? 200 – 300 years ago America was hardly ideal, but men knew what it meant to be masculine, and women wanted a masculine man. They want a man with character who could be depended upon. A woman wanted a man who wanted to be the father her children. A woman wanted a man who would cherish and protect her and their children.

So why is that picture at the beginning of this post? Jesus never married. He never had a family, or did He? Are you a Christian? Then you are a member of that church that Jesus gave His life to save and protect.

When our military awards its most coveted medals, what are they for? They are for those soldiers who risk their lives for others.

John 15:13 New King James Version (NKJV)

13 Greater love has no one than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.

If a man is willing to lay down his life for his friends, does that make him masculine? No. It is important, but a woman can lay down her life for her friends.

Ephesians 5:22-33 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

Marriage Like Christ and the Church

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

25 Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her, 26 so that He might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 that He might present to Himself the church in all her glory, having no spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that she would be holy and blameless. 28 So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself; 29 for no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ also does the church, 30 because we are members of His body. 31 For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and shall be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. 32 This mystery is great; but I am speaking with reference to Christ and the church. 33 Nevertheless, each individual among you also is to love his own wife even as himself, and the wife must see to it that she respects her husband.

What makes a man a man is how he treats a woman. If he chooses one woman, and he gives his heart to her, and she gives her heart to him, a boy can become a man. If that boy has the virtue required to love, to protect, and to nurture his lady and their children year after year until their children are grown and death ends his marriage, then perhaps our Lord will declare him a man. If that boy is a man, then his children’s, his lady’s and God’s opinions of his masculinity will be the only ones that truly matter to him.

LOVE: IS IT OUR CHIEF IDOL OR OUR MOST PRIZED VIRTUE? — PART 3

Three wise monkeys, invoking a proverb, with no text.
Three wise monkeys, invoking a proverb, with no text. (from here)

In the last segment in this series, we considered How The Idolization of Love Corrupts Church and State. Here we will consider what others have had to say.

A Review Of What Others Have To Say

Googling The “Idolization Of Love”

If we google “Idolization Of Love”, we won’t turn up much, just nine hits including this blog. What follows are the few hits that have relevant content.

Chewing the Cud: Alcibiades and Socrates Talk Life, Love and Nietzsche By John Taylor looks to be interesting.  Google has put some of the book online as a teaser. Here Taylor puts these words into the mouth of Alcibiades.

AlcibiadesIf you ladies want to know where “Alcibiades” was going with that, I am afraid you have to get a copy of the book. The preview did not include the next page.

The most surprising hit turned up the quote below. Those are the words of a college student, a student athlete, in response to the question in bold print.

What is the most important societal issue facing college students?   The most important societal issue plaguing college students, in my opinion, is the idolization of love, superficiality and materialism, entitlement, and the infantilizing of the college student. Culture ingrains these things in all our heads and it hurts our worldview and affects our lives in a great many ways. The most pressing of these issues is the infantilizing of the college student. By coddling college students, it strips them of a meaningful education, cheats them of preparation for the real world, and prevents them from growing up. (from here (www.cacsports.com))

It is a personal prejudice, but the last thing I expect of athletes is thoughtfulness. It seems, however, that cross-country runners have plenty of time to think.

The most relevant hit? In the form of a debate between Rev. Scott Elliott and the blogger, duanetoops, Dialogues of a Christian Atheist, pt.2 gets into the subject of the nature of God.

Here is a sample of Elliott’s argument.

Rev. Elliott: I have yet to find a way to satisfactorily convey my conviction that this love siren and loving way we are drawn to can also –if we want or choose–safely, sanely, rationally be named God. This experience of being we are in has that siren you/we hear in it, and if we go to where it is beckoning we end up loving. We don’t have to call it God; we can believe it is not God. It only matters because it means (aside from semanitics) that we are on the same page, love is the point. And love by any other name is still love. (Or as this theologian spins it, if God is experienced as love –a very Biblically sound claim– then love by any other name is still God). (from here)

How did duanetoops sum up his opposition to that sort of argument?

Response: I would whole heartedly agree that the “idolization of love” ( I Love that by the way) is most central. It is compelling above all else. Here we are precisely on the same page, where we diverge perhaps is that I am content simply with “love,” this is a word powerful enough, that doesn’t necessarily need to be renamed. I love that you said “if we choose to” we can call it God, I can willingly admit that I “choose” to just let love be love and let love be enough. (from here)

What Is The Opposite Of Love

Why is the idolization of love so foolish? God is not just an emotion.  We cannot properly express love by just feeling. We express love by caring enough to behave wisely.

Consider how well this Bible passage describes modern America.

Revelation 3:14-22 New King James Version (NKJV)

The Lukewarm Church

14 “And to the angel of the church of the Laodiceans write,

‘These things says the Amen, the Faithful and True Witness, the Beginning of the creation of God: 15 “I know your works, that you are neither cold nor hot. I could wish you were cold or hot. 16 So then, because you are lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will vomit you out of My mouth. 17 Because you say, ‘I am rich, have become wealthy, and have need of nothing’—and do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked— 18 I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see. 19 As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten. Therefore be zealous and repent. 20 Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me. 21 To him who overcomes I will grant to sit with Me on My throne, as I also overcame and sat down with My Father on His throne.

22 “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.”’”

What was the problem in Laodicea? They knew the truth, but they didn’t care enough to do anything. God loved them. They were rich, and that was all that mattered to them. The Christians of Laodicea were indifferent.

The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference. ― Elie Wiesel (from here)

In What Is The Opposite Of Love? A Bible Study, Jack Wellman ends his article with these words.

Love and discipline are joined at the hip and in a similar way, love and hate are closely related but the polar opposite of love is indifference or apathy. You could not care any less when you do nothing to help others. The opposite of love then is not hate, it is apathy or indifference, and it is one of the cruelest of all human responses. There is no excuse for us to not tell others of the coming Day of Judgment; it is one of the greatest acts of love you could ever display. The opposite of love is that you don’t even care, you are indifferent, and you are apathetic. In short, you have no love for others, only for yourself. I am thankful that Jesus didn’t act in such a way (John 3:16). (from here)

When we make love our idol, we set aside God Himself. We become so absorbed in the fact God loves us that we forget to love God in return. We don’t do what He told us to do, love each other.

A Smattering Of Related Posts And Articles

Before continuing, consider reading Psalm 96. As Christians, we have the opportunity to know God. We can declare His glory among the nations,
His wonders among all peoples. However, to do that properly, we must take the time to know God.

Finding the True God by Fr. Stephen Freeman provides a viewpoint from the Orthodox Church in America.

Freeman has a legitimate concern. “Human beings have a tendency to invent idols.” Here he says something I think very good.

In order to know God, you first have to admit that you don’t know Him.

Belief in God is not the same thing as the acceptance of a set of propositions. Even if the propositions are “supported by the Scriptures,” that entire interpretive exercise is as subject to the imagination and idolatry as pure fantasy. Most Christians whom I know who have a very distorted view of God have Scripture to support their notions.

Christ makes a very key statement on the knowledge of God:

All things have been delivered to Me by My Father, and no one knows the Son except the Father. Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and the one to whom the Son wills to reveal Him. (Mat 11:27)

Since Freeman has contemplated the matter carefully, it is worth considering what else Freeman has to say.

Since we are all human, it is also worth considering what others have to say.

Do you have a primitive belief? by Colorstorm makes the point that the Bible’s age does not make it irrelevant. Its wisdom and what it says about God is timeless.

[Is] “God our Master” ? by altruistico considers The Parable of the Talents (Matthew 25:14-20) [Psalm 123:1-4]. observes what the story has to say about our relationship with God. The story compares us to God’s servants, slaves in that day and age. Since we like to see ourselves as free, that is quite disturbing.

The Revelation Of Jesus Christ: “they should make an image” by Rob Barkman looks at Rev 13:14 KJV.  Just how seriously does God regard our idol-making?

The Byproduct Of Idolatry by compares the idolatry of today with the idolatry of ancient Israel. Be Still considers how the Bible describes God.

God Cannot be Mocked by Don Merritt points out a difficult truth. God expects us to make good choices. A Troubling Conversation illustrates the challenges involved.

 

LUNACY!

soldierIf this article, Pentagon issues sex change manual, allows extended time off for process, were just a joke it would be hysterically funny. As it is, this is an occasion for sadness and shame.

Here is how the article begins.

The U.S. military has a manual for everything, from how to dress to how to wage war.

Now the Pentagon has sent out a detailed written instruction to commanders on how a service member can change his or her sex in a step-by-step process that allows for extended time off.

The directive restricts personnel from living their “preferred gender” lifestyle, or “Real Life Experience,” on a military base among peers until the sex change transition is complete.

The Army, Air Force, Marine Corps and Navy must set up a bureaucracy — dubbed the Service Central Coordination Cell — to guide commanders overseeing sex change transitions.

A service member’s commander plays a big role in shepherding the patient through the sex transition. This starts with approving government-funded medical treatment of genital reconstruction surgery and hormone therapy, and then recovery, and then the final phase of determining the member’s fitness to return to duty after he or she receives a new official “gender marker.” (continued here)

The Federal Government primary job is to defend our country. So what are our military forces suppose to worry about? Paying for soldiers to have sex change operations?

Remember this?

Obama and the Democrats have different priority than the one that they tell us to our faces.  Their first priority is to rule us. So they bankrupt our nation buying our votes, and they neglect our defenses. While they conquer us themselves, they tell our enemies to sit tight and wait.

Perhaps, when they have a lock on power — when we are properly enslaved — the Democrats will worry about defending their property. Meanwhile, they remained focused on the conquest that most interests them, the United States of America.