I've decided not to out the names of the lit-bloggers who agreed with my thinking. We don't need another Galley Cat situation.
"Thanks for approaching the litblog community and others with a solid argument" was a typical response.
Another lit-blogger said, "The examples that completely sold me on the fact that it is plagiarism are p.115 and p.134-- the ones that involve quotes could possibly have been coincidences, but those two contain such specific examples that in the context of all the others it's clear where Bissell was getting his material."
Stefan Beck of New Criterion threw out two of the examples, and refused to be quoted about plagiarism, but was the first to make this astute observation: "A straight-edge razor is not a safety razor, of course, and you couldn't perform an appendectomy with a safety razor. It reads like this Bissell fellow tried to change something about the sentence, but unwittingly changed it into nonsense. Kids used to do this in middle school: copy something out of the encyclopedia and then run the computer thesaurus over every word. The results were often similarly amusing."
The only e-mail person to say that what Tom Bissell did wasn't plagiarism was Daniel Radosh, who said, "Of the nine parallels you cite, only the first one tiptoes right up to the line of uncomfortable."
No, Bissell tiptoes up to and goes over the line. The first example I gave is a textbook example of plagiarism by paraphrasing. University after university in their guidelines give similar examples. They could use this one as well.
No one has grasped the MOST OBVIOUS example of plagiarism among the nine examples, the last one. I'm sure Bissell himself hasn't caught it. (Or he wouldn't have used it.) Scroll down and read the two similar quotes again, very carefully. First, one is a paraphrase of the other. Second is the idea that a sign from a 1990 protest alludes to Khrushchev. An unusual idea about a such a protest that year, when more likely the sign was aimed at statements from more recent Soviet leaders-- not a guy kicked out of Soviet government in disgrace way back in 1964 and whose public utterances were expunged! Feshbach's is a very unique idea-- which Tom Bissell stole. (Bissell plagiarized a mistake.)
"Although the student has rearranged some phrases and made some minor stylistic changes, this version still follows the basic wording and structure of the original while the student repeats ideas as if they were his or her own."
(More to come, kids. Stay tuned.)