I received the first “incoming” just before noon which likely corresponded to the parade down Franklin Street celebrating the public lynching of Mary Willingham for the high academic crime of “plagiarism”.
All the C-Blue hop toads, short-busers and goggle-eyed goobers officially declared “today” their best day ever since May 29, 2010 – Marvin Tweet Day. “Good days” have been pretty darn rare for Carolina Way-ers since then.
Seeing Mary Willingham publicly embarrassed is almost as great for the C-Blue gang as learning that Dan Kane is having an affair with Frau Yow. …… OK, scrub that imaginary visual from your memory bank and lets get to your really important questions.
“Do I still ‘like’ Mary”? – Answer: Sure.
“Can I trust Mary now?” – Answer: As much as I ever did, which is not meant to be ambiguous.
“Do I think Mary’s original concerns still have merit?” – Answer: Absolutely. The kids she was tutoring were semi-literate. The fact that the average UNC fan didn’t care (and most still don’t), didn’t mean Mary didn’t care.
“Have I talked with Mary since this story broke?” – Answer: No, but I probably will in the next day or so.
UPDATE: We e-spoke at 8:55 PM. She’s doing fine and sends her regards to one & all. OK, not to all.
“Are the semi-literate UNC student-athletes that Mary tried to tutor any less semi-literate after “this”?” Answer: Of course not. By the way, I wonder where those “can’t read or write” guys are today and what their present and futures look like. Does anyone else wonder about that? Other than Mary.
High Academia is a very very silly world. It makes a Monty Python movie seem like pediatric neurosurgery by comparison. In that very very silly world “plagiarism” IS a serious offense. Not as serious as the mention of doing away with “tenure”, but almost.
Debating “plagiarism” (or “tenure”) is a waste of time. It IS a BFD in the wild & wacky sandbox in which Mary Willingham chose to play. Last week a professor gets killed. This week Mary plagiarizes. Whats next? …. Roy jaywalks …. Bubba litters …. Little Carol texts while driving ??? Chapel Hill may soon overtake Derm as Crime City. Does Mary plagiarizing merit a lapel ribbon or a #hashtag?
It appears that Mary was indeed guilty of said offense to some degree in her Masters thesis in 2009. I am not qualified to measure “how guilty” or how common her degree of guilt is in the world of post-graduate thesises. I did one of’em back in 1972 that I am quite certain was never read but rather was weighed and “I passed”. Mine had oodles of ibids and op cites in it as I bet Mary’s did too.
All the Roy Boys who haven’t made their transcripts public are now joined by all the Mary-haters on the UNC Faculty who won’t submit their thesises to the same microscope Mary went under.
Despites hundreds of footnotes and accreditations, Mary apparently did not credit every single source so today the UNC BCS-Before-I-Die Society and Franklin Street Ostrichs are whoopin’ and high-fivin’. Such is the frighteningly grim reality of the quite dangerous high-wire act of “whistleblowing”.
When I met with Mary several months ago I asked her if she had any regrets about “blowing the whistle” on UNC admitting student-athletes woefully lacking the intellectual acumen to do college level classwork. She had been subjected to the usual threats and obscene emails that anyone gets who incurs the wrath of any fan base’s lunatic fringe. As well as a full frontal CYA assault by the UNCCH Administration.
She said “no regrets”. She felt strongly that the practice of “eligibility majors” was a shameful crime perpetrated on these young men. Public education had failed these kids and now UNC was continuing that failure by only caring that they stay eligible to compete. Whether they were learning anything useful or being prepared for a post-athletics world was of no one’s concern. Mary Willingham made it her concern. Uh oh.
Mary Willingham’s Real “Crime” was….. caring more about “the kids” than her own career.
You all know all the gory details that ensued when she was rebuffed by assorted layers of UNC administration and told to “not make waves” and “just go along with the program”. Had she done as she was told, you would not be reading about her Masters thesis today.
UNC would still be in a helluva mess and ABCers still slobbering at the mouth and stormin’ the bastille demanding various hideous acts of penance. But Mary Willingham would still be employed by UNC and collecting a modest salary for “going along with the program”.
Everyone who despised Mary Willingham before today’s news still despise her. There may be a handful of others who “have real lives and don’t obsess on this crap” who will read about the plagiarism and roll their eyes. Hopefully Stephen A Smith won’t mention it. I wouldn’t if I was him.
I love the idiotic BS from the Mary-haters about “she did ‘it’ to make BIG BUCKS from a book”. “Big Bucks from a book” ????? IF Mary wrote a book and if it sold a few thousand copies she MIGHT net about half of what she was making at UNC before she lost her job “for caring about kids being short-changed”. Do the math you numbnutz.
No one buys “tell-all” books any more. The juicy parts get posted on the Internet before the ink is dry. Unless it’s a Kardashian and includes a sex tape with the book…. and even that will be posted within 24 hours assuming there is anyone left on Earth who hasn’t already seen a Kardashian sex tape….. other than Albert of course. …… They’re a really skanky family out in Hollywood, Albert.
After today, does Mary regret not “going along to get along”? Maybe….. being publicly embarrassed isn’t nearly as much fun as you think it might be. Getting threats from Internet crazies isn’t fun either….. or getting fired for “caring about kids getting railroaded by a corrupt system”.
When I met with Mary and Jay Smith, we bonded pretty quickly. I assured them that many of the same dim-witted yahoos and beady-eyed no-lifers that hated them, hate me too. In fact, they’ve hated me for going on ten years now.
Now most of’em hate John Shelton Reed and Bernie Reeves too. We’re assembling a pretty impressive little club.
Hey Wainstein, how you coming on that report?
PS: Duly note that I have no personal evidence that ANY NC State fan has the slightest idea what this column is about. They’re still abuzz about Larry’s six-pak. You DO KNOW he takes PEDs and all sorts of illegal steroids and….. 🙂