Letters + Opinion » Mailbox

More on That Speech



Marcy Burstiner hit it absolutely correctly in her July 25 column, "Copy That." Dan Johnson's action was a disgrace and Marcy pointed out the most important feature that has not been addressed until she hit it on the nail — he was talking to an entirely different audience than the one the real speech was intended for.

Then, to make matters worse, Johnson's apology failed to apologize. He ended his apology by referring to those who objected as "self-appointed referees of good and evil" and added that "their intolerance, so readily on display, is a far more profound flaw than mine." No, Johnson, you just flawed your flaw and you very readily put it on display.

Dave Rosso, Eureka


Mr. Johnson omitted a footnote.

Off with his head!!!!

GT Buckley, Eureka


I'm sure the kerfuffle regarding Mr. Johnson's plagiarism will soon die down, and we'll be back to business as usual. I spent years in an academic environment, where proven plagiarism was the kiss of death to career prospects, so that likely colors my perceptions.

It now appears that the only lasting consequence of this event is the message it has sent to the young students that Mr. Johnson addressed, and that message has nothing to do with the warm words he mouthed, but rather to the subsequent denouement. They now have learned that plagiarism is no big deal, and if caught, then the only response necessary is a belated, halfhearted (non) apology that denigrates one's accusers. Oh, and don't neglect to say what a great person one is, you know, deep down inside.

These students are bright, so trust me they get the real message, even if it's not the one we pretend to send.

James "Bronco" Weseman, Eureka


I was glad to see that citizens have kept the "Dan Johnson fiasco" in center stage, but I was quite annoyed with Art Jones' letter ("Mailbox," Aug. 1). He characterizes Johnson's actions as "innocent omission" and asks who was harmed by it.

Well, I don't believe that Johnson just forgot to cite the source for his speech; I am sure that he just grabbed something that sounded good because he was too busy (read lazy) to come up with something himself and was unwilling to pay someone to write something for him.

The harm is in not valuing the students enough to take the time to present something from his own heart and assuming that they were not smart enough to figure out that he was plagiarizing someone's work.

In short, he was dishonoring the students as well as everyone else that was there.

The other thing that bothers me is how Jones makes the case that Johnson is "a good person," serving the community, etc. and that is why we should give the guy a break.

This is a good example of how the "good old boys" system works — you have people that commit fraud and other sins that are otherwise protected by their peers and those overseeing them, and thus they go on victimizing.

I would think of the high school incident as having peeled back a corner of Johnson's veneer; there are other incidents that also served to peel back some of the veneer. We need to pay attention to these "exposures" of someone's real character, and ask more questions.

Jean Damon, McKinleyville

Add a comment