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Konrad Werner: Mad people

More politicians have been plagiarizing! If only there was a German word for being happy that someone else has fucked up.

Image for Konrad Werner: Mad people
Photo by Arne List (arne.list; Flickr CC)

God bless the mad ones. That’s what I always say. Not much politics happened this week. The sudden lack of Guido Westerwelle in the political firmament has deprived the world, or me, whichever seems more suitable, of a comic beanbag, or at least a half-baked, late-night blog post.

Instead we have Philipp Rösler as the new leader of the FDP, and he seems much less of an amusement machine. He’s a real doctor, for one thing. Not only has he not plagiarized his thesis, but he’s actually a doctor of medicine. Which makes him even more of a real doctor than most politicians. Plus he was born in Vietnam. Put simply, he is simultaneously the youngest and most Vietnamese vice-chancellor Germany has ever had. AND he’s health minister, which you’d think he’d be happy about, but seeing as he’s a politician, he’d rather be something more important, like Economy Minister. Come on, Rösler, where’s your Tertius Lydgate spirit? You’re a doctor, too – don’t you want to do some good in the world?

But other members of his party have had shadows cast over their achievements. Now Silvana Koch-Mehrin – the FDP’s European parliament leader and designated “top totty,” has been accused of plagiarizing parts of her PhD about economics. That’s right, economics. That’s exactly what it was about – I know, I looked at the title, it said something about economics. The web platform VroniPlag Wiki – Germany’s very own plagiarism police – made a pretty damning barcode of Koch-Mehrin’s many copies.

Ha! This website really is fun, because you can slowly watch the barcodes of people’s PhDs filling in with black stripes. One day, someone will write a PhD which is only black stripes. Some day, someone will submit a PhD that is 100 percent copied, including the title page. What if they only use two sources? They copy the title page from one PhD and just stick it on the front of another? Oh I don’t know.

By the way, if anyone gets the Lydgate reference, you win a coconut. I had to look it up myself.