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16 October 2014

Evgeny Morozov Plagiarism Accusation Is Organized Envy

A response to:

Date: Wed, 15 Oct 2014 20:30:00 -0400
From: gab fest <>
Subject: Re: <nettime> Evgeny Morozov and the Perils of "Highbrow Journalism"

Organized envy sounds like a fair characterization. But the organization is small and centered on a few friends and associates of Medina. Then there are others engaging in opportunistic one-offs on Twitter and Facebook, at various levels of engagement.

It's far from clear that Morozov has "made a mistake." Everyone admits there is no plagiarism. The basic problem seems to be that there has only been one notable book written about Cybersyn, and given that limitation, it is easy to contend that the topic, the ideas it generates and the primary sources are the "property" of the author of that work. When Morozov published an account of his research, and a photograph of the materials, the response was along the lines of "oh so you ransacked her bibliography too." It was also later alleged that not only did he make off with concepts from the work, but that he also failed to steal the best ones. Twitter forensics, however, have yet to produce one suspect paraphrase, let alone a verbatim borrowing. It's not like the Zizek thing.

The melodramatic narratives constructed around his personality aren't very convincing. He seems resilient and agile, judging by his conference appearances rather than his Twitter feed.

Maybe it's the odd career arc that's problematic: successful author first, graduate student second. He got to swing his axe before he ground it. So it's easy to suggest he's a clumsy ideologue. That's another trope: he's only seeking an advanced degree to sharpen his existing biases - as if that's a bad thing.

All of which makes it difficult to critique whatever shortcomings are actually present in his work.

On 10/14/14 6:17 AM, Geert Lovink wrote:

>Dear nettimers,
>did anyone of you follow this story? What's behind all this? I suppose
>Morozov is human and makes mistakes. He is part of the mainstream media
>landscape and has to deliver his journalistic pieces in order to stay into
>these circles. That's when one starts to make mistakes after a while, I
>suppose. As a journalist it would be easier to forgive him copying without
>attribution (even though he mentioned the author in this case). The problem
>is: Morozov is a very visible public intellectual, a critic, and maybe soon
>even an academic (after he has gone through the longish American PhD
>ritual). Morozov is the most wellknown and visible net critic, let's face

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