In high school, I had a Lex Luthor. Most people have and do have one and know the type–the kid that was out to get your goat no matter. Sometimes the adversary was indeed a bit smarter than you. Like Lex however, the ego that came with the intellect was often his undoing.
Later in life, Lex found his way into trolling on facebook, often making incredibly lethal remarks on the postings of my peers. However, the other day, I caught Lex engaging in vile plagiarism. He posted a quotation that looked a bit too familiar on his page, without attribution:
“Our Democracy is self-destructing because it abused the right of freedom and equality, because it taught it’s citizens to consider rudeness as a right, breaking the law as a freedom, audacity as equality, and anarchy as blissfulness.”
Sounds great, right? His toadies fawned over his wisdom, but not me. A simple web search of the the quote proved that he gleaned it from an ancient Greek philosopher, Isocrates. Intriguingly, the quote is a mis-attribution. No matter, Lex expropriated it to burnish his own name.
Now, my inclination was toward humiliation, but my better nature took over. After all, in this analogy, I am Clark Kent, and well, Superman doesn’t use the tools of evil for good. I let it go. But I relate the story here. And that might have I said to Lex? As irony would have it, I would have employed Oscar Wilde, who famously said:
“Quotation is a serviceable substitute for wit.”
This of course raises a lovely analogy game for Lex:
Lesson: Always quote your source material. Understand that you are borrowing their wit, not being witty yourself.