Thursday, 24 February 2011

Plagiarism, peculations: ubiquitous or obreption?

Uni Bayreuth entzieht Guttenberg den Doktortitel


Evangelical pastor charged with sex offences

Good evening and welcome to Obreption Mansions.  I am delighted to host this rare event - an interview with Herr Professor Dr Dr Obreption zu Gestalt in the headquarters of Obreption LLC in a tax shelter near you. 

Guru ji, what made you decide to launch Obreption from a foreign tax shelter?

Well, Kirsty, I thought the world would like to have an inkling of how things work and I am pleased to say that many of my theories have been discussed all over the world and at very high levels.  My ‘Tyranny of Tack’™ has been sought after by many policy wonks, ministers, dictators and the seriously unhinged.  

Thank you for that clarification.  Can you tell us the story of the rumour of Gaddafi going to Venezuela really started?

Well, Carolyn, it was a very hard day at our conference of religious specialists and as it was held in Edinburgh there was some idiot playing the bagpipes outside.  We were comparing and contrasting the issue of plagiarism in academic life, books, sermons, encyclicals and holy books.  Many specialists were agog at the new app on the iPhone which for 99₵ will allow you to build a sermon or homily around a text by:

a) setting in context;
b) decontextualising it;
c) adding adjectives and adverbs;
d) a combo box or sandpit with a choice of outcomes;
e) adverts, signposts, after care, press release;
f) a bit of Benny. 

We were trying this out with respect to the line in the New Testament which said Jesus wept.  In passing around the iPhones, iPads and Blackberrys, someone – I think it was one of the Polish waitresses -  shouted out:
“Can’t you stop the piper playing the Whores of the Forest?” to which a drunk shouted back, “Do you want me to do ‘Willie’s gaen tae Melville Castle?  This was unfortunately picked up and someone told the FO and Hague announced to the world that Gaddafi’s gone to Venezuela!  These things happen, Felicity, and we must remember obreptions everywhere.  There are many great songs which fit the Tyranny of Tack or obreptions everywhere.

Can you tell us your favourite novelist?

Well, Lorna, as a purveyor of tack - and indeed my forthcoming novel concerning it’s a short step from polyester to polytheism is a good example of tack - a recent beacon of light has been the author William Boyd.  He writes a lot about obreption.  Indeed Restless shows how important obreption has been to the British people. 

Another interesting writer is Ben MacIntyre.

Can I ask if you’re listening to the current Book at Bedtime on Radio 4?

To be honest, Sara, I think Colin Thubron is past his sell by date.  He’s a bit too reflective, too much creative writing and the set piece vignettes have been parodied and pastiched elsewhere.  It just goes to show that truth can be stranger than fiction.  Many people think Dan Brown’s theology is accurate … hmmmm.

If I can ask you, in our quick round questions  - answers yes or no –

Bugger off Kate!

This is Obreption speaking.  I thought we’d try out this tired old radio format to go over the momentous 28 days since we started this blog.  We now have 3 friends, have hit the world press, have caused serious problems at a well known political blog and a well known newspaper’s media staff internal memo, email system and not a bit of discomfort with some religious specialists.
The German defence minister has asked for his doctoral thesis to be de-promoviert in Bayreuth.  This is poor Wagner; you can just imagine Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (a real toff) wooing Hilary Clinton in a scene from Die Miestersinger set in Walmart.  It turns out, however, that Bayreuth isn’t the only place you can get a phony PhD.  BBC Newsnight went into some detail about Saif Gaddafi and his time at the LSE.  His PhD thesis (citations required) was defended as was his oral or was it a viva, by Lord Desai, who is thought to be an economist. 

There is a lot of economics in ‘verite’ and it’s not only phony PhDs that is bothering world leaders, it’s the press intrusion into how the British government appeared to be caught napping on the Libyan crisis.  Cameron returned to the control points of the levers of British obfuscation, though many fingers were being pointed at how useless Clegg was.  In the blogosphere, disgruntled former navy and army staff said there was no money.  The other defence force couldn’t do it, and look what happened when the navy got kidnapped in the Shatt al- arab in the Gulf a few years ago.  There were, however, great words of calming it down, with a balanced interview with Lord West saying that there was quite a lot of dozziness in Whitehall.  Whatever next! 

I have discovered that Thursday night is the night to ignite a cyber-war.  It does get very heated and at times would resemble that scene in a French restaurant showing an altercation between a well-known designer for Dior and a couple of diners, who may or may not have had the euphemistic sun-tan.  In any case, Dior can take comfort from the fact that their couture has put them at the forefront of culture.

The Friday blog tends to be about religious matters of great interest to liturgical pedants and those with very large moral compasses about things mumbled in a language which only a few people understand.  You can tell a Roman Catholic religious specialist who knows some Latin by the frequency of the use of the subjunctive in English.  Their sermons have been much parodied and pastiched as above. 

When I was doing my PhD thesis, you had to get out the scissors and the paste pot and literally cut out the cribbed chunks of plagiarism.  The only check one could do was ensuring citation corresponded with quotes, but no one really checked up.  If you knew the external examiner (and who didn’t), you had to quote some of his groundbreaking work and those of his research lineage.  It’s a sort of apostolic succession in academia.  My direct line of descent can be traced back to pre-Aryan invasion of the Garden of Eden, which is before the Hindu claims of 35,000 BCE. 

I would now like to bring a smile to the Roman Catholics who feel I have been unfair in shining light on their peculations.  It would appear that allegedly Channel 4 has been discovering alleged peculations in the Pentecostals and Evangelicals.  No less an authority than Channel 4 has apparently made this claim in a programme (  The Archdiocese of Philadelphia, Boston, Pittsburgh and Milwaukee have no comment to make and will not be making a statement about resident religious specialists going on administrative leave.  This goes to show that there is good business to be had in that revival from Sleazy Street in California.


  1. Speaking of frauds - have you noticed there's no mention of Nick Clegg or any of the LibDem bigwigs?

  2. I see your German friend has resigned!

    German defence minister Guttenberg resigns

  3. Obreption says that at least the German plagiarist did the honourable thing and resigned. Clegg has failed to be honourable in anything he's put his hand to. What was he doing with a hard-hat on? (see Guardian webpage)