Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Principal borrows from DFW’s commencement speech

In the news:

The principal of a middle school geared toward writers tried to pass off much of a well-known graduation speech as his work, parents and students told the Daily News.

They say Joseph Anderson, who heads the Clinton School for Writers and Artists in Manhattan, recited — without attribution — portions of an address penned by the late writer David Foster Wallace at Friday’s eighth-grade commencement. . . .

Anderson said it was an “oversight” not to identify Wallace as the author of the “anecdote.”

“I thought I had stated in my commencement speech that I was sharing a story I had read. . . . It was not my intention to mislead my school community,” he said.
Says graduating eighth-grader Marcus Cook, “We’re a school for writers and artists. It”s kind of ironic that he can’t write it. If you do that in college and high school, you can get kicked out.”

The Daily News article doesn’t say which part or parts of DFW’s speech Principal Anderson borrowed.

June 30, 11:12 a.m.: A Daily News editorial says that Anderson borrowed this passage:
Twenty years after my own graduation, I have come gradually to understand that the liberal arts cliché about teaching you how to think is actually shorthand for a much deeper, more serious idea: learning how to think really means learning how to exercise some control over how and what you think.
Not clear though whether this passage is all that Anderson borrowed.

Related reading
David Foster Wallace, Kenyon College 2005 commencement address

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