Bob's Links and Rants

Welcome to my rants page! You can contact me by e-mail: Blog roll. Site feed.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Who knows where link chasing might lead?

For example, link chasing led me to write this story:
Imagine a college Republican who was too busy campaigning for Bush last month, and has been too busy drinking this month, to finish his term paper for that required humanities class. (Humanities for Republicans--makes your head hurt, doesn't it?) The paper is due tomorrow, so he gets on the web and goes to Wanting to rub the election results in on that liberal prof, he decides to choose an anti-abortion essay to steal. Of course, "discourages" this practice: "Turning in a paper from our web site as your own is plagerism and is illegal!" (Spelling error in the original.) Also, of course, Young Repug doesn't even know that there is an "Acceptable Use Policy," and he cares even less. So he copies this essay on forced abortions in China. Now, unlike Young Repug, I (Bob) haven't paid the $74.95 for a 180-day membership at, so I can't read the entire essay (or any of the other 101,000 term papers, essays and book reports at But the sample paragraph indicates that it has enough grammatical and punctuation errors in it to convince most profs that an inebriated young right-winger might have actually written it. (I would have guessed that these errors were entirely intentional if not for the fact that couldn't properly spell "plagiarism" in their Acceptable Use Policy.)

Okay, so far there's no real dilemma for Young Repug. Just as with his hero, George W. Bush, money gets him out of every mess he gets himself into, and it will get him out of this one. He prints the essay out and turns it in. The dilemma occurs the next week when the paper is returned. He gets a B-, and is mad at the professor's liberal bias for not giving him a good return on his investment in (The prof actually marked the paper down for poor punctuation and grammar, not content, but Young Repug will never believe that.) But then YR sees something at the bottom of the paper which makes his heart skip a beat--the prof has written "See me after class" at the bottom of the paper!

Fearful that his plagerism playjerizm copying of the paper has been caught, he frets through the remainder of the hour. But when he talks to the prof after class, he finds out that not only does she not suspect plagiarism, but she actually AGREES with what the essay says!

"You know, Palmer," she says to him, "I fully support a woman's right to choose. But forced abortion is clearly the exact opposite of that right! I mean, I saw the buttons you were wearing last month, so I suspect that you and I disagree on Roe v. Wade."

Palmer has no idea what she is talking about--"Rovywaid?"--but he does his best to put on what he thinks is his intelligent smile.

The prof continues, "Still, I think you are quite right that the Chinese government should find some other way to deal with the population problem there." YR is thinking to himself "I said what now?"

"Now I'd guess, Palmer," the prof continues, "that you weren't totally pleased with your grade on this essay. The lower grade was based entirely on your numerous spelling and punctuation errors--I thought that both your choice of topic and how you addressed it were first rate. I'd like to give you a chance to raise your grade. If you write me a decent two-page essay on some of the ways that pressure could be brought on the Chinese government to change this policy of forced abortions, and hand it in by next week, I'll change your grade on this paper to an A-. Be sure to run it through spell-check this time--you do have a computer don't you?"

Palmer nearly chokes on this, but then he smiles. Of course he could have a two-page essay ready by next to the rescue! But when he gets back to the frat house and searches, he finds nothing about how to put pressure on China. "Kerry!" he swears (the word is now a common expletive across the political spectrum). He tries a few other term-paper cheat sites--no luck. In desperation, he googles "china economic pressure abortion" and comes up with this web site as the first entry. The first two paragraphs read:
China today is a human rights nightmare: every leading democracy activist is in jail or exile; thousands of Chinese are arrested every month for such "crimes" as criticizing the government or distributing Bibles; vast numbers are unjustly imprisoned in forced labor camps. Torture, forced abortion and other abuses are rampant.

The United States could use economic pressure to curb these atrocities. But influential American corporations oppose any policy that might interfere with their ability to do business with China's rulers.
Now Palmer kind of agrees that criticizing the government should be a crime, but he's totally freaked about people being jailed for distributing bibles! And that forced abortion thing, too. And, since crushing those whiny liberal Kerryistas, he's been looking for somebody new to be mad at. And China sounds good! So, empowered by his google success, he continues to google, and finds out that Wal-Mart is by far the leading importer of Chinese manufactured goods in America. Just as he is finishing his "Boycott Wal-Mart to Stop Forced Abortions" essay, of which he wrote a good half himself, his frat brother knocks on the door and says "Going to Wal-Mart to get beer. Wanna come?"

Palmer replies, "Why don't we go to K-Mart instead?"

Hey, it's a start!

So, you might ask, what links did I chase that inspired me to write THAT story? Well, I went to Cyndy's HomelandAbsurdity site, which has a post called Why You Can't Jam the Culture. If you believe everything that post says, you'll be quickly discouraged from taking any consumer actions like I've been recommending lately. Anyway, that article inspired Cyndy to write this satiric post, which inspired this comment: "Point out to our more conservative co-citizens who oppose abortion that they should boycott goods made in China -- a country where abortions are required -- which naturally requires a boycott of Evilco..oops, I mean WalMart."

As you can see, the story practically wrote itself after that (and no, I didn't copy it from!).