Good News Blues
What I started to say, my original impulse, was wrong. Not all wrong, but, anyway, riddled with error and inconsistency. I started to say this: that in many ways, speaking (as we one and all must) from my own limited angle, my assigned point of view, the times we seem to be in and likely to live on into are about as bleak and discouraging, if not demoralizing as any in this century. This brutal, bloody century fueled by falsehoods, lit by the distorting illumination of inhuman abstractions. The operative, key word is the third one in the series of modifiers—demoralizing. We have been through bleaker and more discouraging times—the Great Depression, the string of wars, large and small, during which we, individually and as a people, were not demoralized. Not even greatly dispirited. We found then that we had things, courage and endurance and patience and an honorable, unsentimental compassion, that we seem to have lost in the easier times that have followed. I was going to say that what argues against the rigidity of simple and secular despair has been the solid proof, the irrefutable evidence that the unexpected can occur in spite of all strategies, systems, analysis. . . . Item: Two years ago there was a steady parade of left-wing British scholars (whose accents we do so love to listen to) who came to and through the place I work (Virginia) proclaiming the decline and demise of these United States and holding up as an example of the ideal modern state and society, combining equity and liberty (you already guessed, didn’t you?), the G.D.R.! In passing, the Ortega brothers, in their tailored uniforms and designer eyeglasses, were held up as model popular leaders for the inevitable and inescapable future we deserved. Who could have imagined that by here and now the last diehard totalitarianism Marxist places would be islands of ignorance like North Korea, Vietnam, Albania (and even these are changing every day, groaning now with change for a change)? And, of course, a few last privileged bastions, like the last of England’s crumbling stately homes, of disingenuous disinformation. Like (a mere obvious example among some others) the Duke University English Department.
I was going to say that, but I realized it wasn’t true. There were people, intelligent and thoughtful people, not magicians, who predicted precisely what has come to pass. One of these was René Dubos whom I heard, more than a decade ago, describe the breakup of the Eastern Empire and the Eastern Bloc as it has, in fact, happened. I should add that he predicted other breakups too, large and small, from larger to smaller, almost everywhere except here in the United States where our freedom of choice and of mobility would probably hold us together.
I wish I had time and space to tell you some of the other things he reasonably predicted. Because most of them were good news. They would cheer you up. One will have to do. Arguing persuasively that the earth, thus the environment, is neither fragile in any way nor even greatly threatened, he was entirely convincing that we would solve many besetting environmental problems much sooner than anyone, most of all so-called environmentalists, can imagine. Remember how they all said, in their received wisdom, it would take a century or more to “save” Lake Erie?
And there were others besides Dubos, some of them darker and deeper voices like Solzhenitsyn.
I would have to say the fortunate surprises of these late times in the century were not at all unanticipated. But I would also have to say that not many of us had the imagination or good sense to listen to the voices of truth then, especially with the systematic, often grotesque distortion and reduction even of the simplest information that appear to be inherently a part of all our futile efforts at communicating with each other.
We could have taken heart long ago had anyone encouraged us to seek and find the truth.
The bad news is that nothing much has changed in our ways and means of speaking to each other.
The good news, as I see it, is that some prophets, speaking and thinking against the grain, have been right when official sages and flacks have been dead wrong. And I am willing to bet everything there is that there are voices worth listening to even now, speaking to all of us and likely to be heard by a few, the precious few, who are willing to listen and to learn.
George Garrett is Henry Hoyns Professor of English at the University of Virginia.
Worshiping the Clouds
“Why should dance?” the chorus of Sophocles’ Oedipus asks at the heart of that great tragedy. Queen Jocasta has proclaimed the futility of divine prophecy. Apollo, or his human servants, said that her husband would die at their son’s hands, but he met no such fate. The chorus is bothered. If the oracles are not true, what order is left in life? “Why should I dance?” The play will end in horror and shame, but in the midst of that horror, it affirms a divine order, in which humans play a much smaller role than their desires suggest.
The good news for the people of the United States and their children is that reality—economic, political, and moral—exists. We have allowed foreigners to buy out or undersell our economy and to flood into our nation and drive Americans out of job after job. We have allowed our children to grow up monoglot ignoramuses, incapable of planning for the future or competing in the present. Our leadership is the most corrupt and immoral in history: embezzlers, murderers, and rapists. We appoint and hire based on race, sex, and unproven incompetence, but not on the basis of objective accomplishment. We owe more than we can repay, and we have no intention of trying to repay what we owe. In fact, we plan to keep on borrowing.
Like Oedipus, we will soon learn that we are human, subject to the laws of nature and of nature’s God. We will go bankrupt. Our businesses and universities will close. Our children will be unable to compete. The wealth and power of the world will go, has gone elsewhere, to Japan and to Europe. In the short run, this will not seem good news. That our children will be poor and never see the inside of a university, that they will not know the wealth and glamour that some of us have glimpsed, that the American century will end not in a long bright sunset, but with a pop, like a poorly cooked souffle, may seem depressing at first.
There are the obvious superficial benefits. The parasites will stop governing and judging us and move on to other prey. The misfits of other societies will leave ours and go elsewhere. (Not back where they came from—no one wants them there—but elsewhere.) Our children will be no more ignorant than they are now. Spared the easy A’s showered on them by the Great Teachers to whom they award A’s in their teaching evaluations, the educable among them may start to study and learn again, when they discover that blear-eyed wisdom is born out of midnight oil.
More than that, we will live again in the real world of limits and boundaries, where tragedy and creativity will again be possible. We will come to know the will of the Creator who made the world in a certain fashion and not in another. We have lived too long worshiping the clouds of Aristophanes’ great play, the divinities who assume whatever shape you want. They do not create us, these goddesses of the art of persuasion, call it rhetoric as advertising. They are made in our image. Female created we them. They “empower” children by giving A’s to students who have learned nothing. They console those limited in life by intelligence or hormones or sloth with the siren song that they are “victims” of an unjust world. Like Strepsiades in Clouds, we thought we would not have to pay our debts and that our sons could prosper without the religion and mores of our nation.
Bankruptcy, when it comes, will leave us poor, but also secure in the knowledge that there is a God and He is just. The sight of Oedipus when he has learned who he really is may frighten us, as we gaze on his bloody mask, but it also tells us that the oracles are true. The justice of Zeus is not the good life we promised ourselves, but it rules a world that makes moral sense, which we cannot twist into a pleasing shape out of selfishness and sentimentality. As we slowly begin to put our lives and those of our children and our nation back together again, we may hear music. It is the chorus, beginning its dance.
E. Christian Kopff teaches Greek and Latin at the University of Colorado in Boulder.
Kick It As It Lays
I was drinking a whiskey at the Frontier Saloon in Frontier, Wyoming, a couple of nights ago when my host mentioned a report he had watched on CNN regarding the desperate plight of New York City and the depths to which it has plummeted. Thirty—even twenty—years ago, ambitious Americans, whether born and bred in Dallas, Texas, or Bismarck, North Dakota, thought of the place in breathlessly romantic terms similar to those effused during the 1920’s and 30’s by Thomas Wolfe, a native of Ashville, North Carolina, who had gone north to Gotham in search of literary fame, fortune, and the love of beautiful women. Today, CNN said. New York City is no longer the mecca, the alpha and omega, for on-the-make Americans—it simply isn’t worth the inconvenience, the unpleasantness, and the physical danger of living there. A moment’s reflection on my part confirmed that this was indeed the brightest piece of news concerning the state of America and American culture that I had heard in many moons. So defying the sin-taxers in particular and the New American Puritanism in general, I had another whiskey-on-the-rocks to celebrate it.
Since 1975, when President Ford refused to allocate federal funds for the purpose of bailing New York out of richly deserved bankruptcy and the New York Daily News responded with a now-famous headline (“FORD TO NEW YORK: DROP DEAD”), the city has generated nearly as much self-worshipful propaganda as it has groundbreaking social, cultural, hygienic, and political pathologies in what might be alternately viewed as either a pathetic or a disgusting attempt to restore its national—indeed its international—image. Before 1975 New York had been too proud to engage in that sort of organized self-puffery—meaning, of course, that it didn’t need to. That is not to say, however, that its reputation as both the apex and the engine of American civilization was a deserved one; in fact, the city has probably not been a fit place for civilized Americans to reside since before the Civil War, although—until recently at least—rich Americans have always been able to live well there, as anywhere.
The New York Mystique was based on the notion that the city was “cosmopolitan”—unlike the rest of the United States that was, by implication, “provincial.” There is truth in that notion, to the extent that heartland Americans have never particularly wanted to be “cosmopolitan”; that they were not in the early days of the Republic “cosmopolitan”; and that today the United States, although it is culturally speaking the primary global influence, is still nevertheless not “cosmopolitan.” This has to do in part with the fact of the American hinterland having retained to this day so much of its original skepticism toward Europe and the rest of the world, in part with the fact that the consolidation of the “global village” has resulted in a marked decline, rather than in an increase, in cosmopolitanism. What America was and is, is pluralistic; but it was pluralistic not because it especially wished to be so, but because that was how history turned out for it. The modern fetish of “pluralism,” therefore, was left to the kind of people who choose to inhabit such places as Washington, D.C., New York City, and Boston, for whom “pluralism” came to be indistinguishable from “cosmopolitanism”—which, of course, it most certainly is not. The extreme—really, the nearly pathological—degree to which this fetish has been sentimentalized was illustrated by the centennial anniversary celebration of the Statue of Liberty in New York several years ago: a celebration that did not require the presence of Henry James to reveal it for what it was, namely, a vulgar politicized indulgence from which every element of cosmopolitan taste was conspicuously absent. For weeks, sentimentalists hailed millions of immigrants for having themselves been hailed by the upswept torch of Ms. Liberty while ignoring completely the fact that large numbers of these people-from-many-lands carried within them, like undeclared horticultural imports, the seeds of what would later blossom as what Joseph Sobran has so aptly and wittily called “alienism”—a species of hostility toward historical America and everything America used to stand for that has contributed mightily to the destruction of New York City, and that is currently engaged in a strong bid to ruin the nation as well. “It used to be a joke here,” a New York publisher explained to me last summer, “to say that New York was becoming a Third World City. Well, now it isn’t a joke any longer. It’s a fact.” Actually, New York is not a Third World City either, anymore than it is that mystical microcosm of the pluralistic society that its progressivelyminded boosters like to praise it for being. Today, New York has gone beyond not just cosmopolitanism but culture itself—anthropological culture I mean, not the Whitney Museum and Haitian street fairs. Almost, New York has gone beyond humanity. It could quite accurately be called a zoo, were it not for the fact that so few of its denizens are behind bars.
The 1980’s witnessed the demise of the ideology of Marxist-Leninism and perhaps, through the continuing collapse of New York City, the 1990’s will see the end in America of the ideology of the Global Melting Pot, known otherwise as the Towers of Babel. So at least we are entitled to hope. Meantime, the I LOVE NEW YORK types will prate endlessly to anyone who will listen about the wide variety of international cuisines available throughout their city; even as what in better days used to be referred to as “the national letters” are made, year by year, less available and still less contributed to by the American publishing industry that—once upon a time—was Gotham’s unquestionable and invaluable contribution to a larger American culture.
Chilton Williamson, Jr. is editor at Chronicles.
Where the Cattle Are Fat . . .
The good news for Linton, North Dakota, is not that things have improved but that someone with clout has finally noticed how good things have always been. Most of Linton’s residents were born there, 65 miles southeast of Bismarck. Lots of people have left over the years, and no one ever moves to Linton except by marriage—that is, until two years ago when Hal Rosenbluth discovered the town. The Upper Midwest work ethic and the computer age have combined to put Linton back on the map.
Rosenbluth is the thirty-seven-year-old CEO of Rosenbluth Travel, a Philadelphia-based agency variously cited as being either the third- or fourth-largest in the United States. It was started as a steamship ticket office by Rosenbluth’s grandfather in 1892, and that year had billings of $20 million. Rosenbluth went to work for the company in 1974, and after a year, bored with the vice presidency, he went to work as one of the company’s reservation agents, where he shaped most of his ideas on management. Ninety-eight years after its founding, the agency’s yearly billings top $1.1 billion. Excellence expert Tom Peters gave the agency his “Service Company of the Year” award in 1988.
Rosenbluth Travel has offices in 160 cities, including London and Singapore. The smallest had been Ponca City, Oklahoma, population 26,000—before Linton, whose population during the 1980’s fell sharply from its 1980 figure of 1,561.
At first, Rosenbluth was just trying to help the droughtstricken Midwestern farmers he kept reading about during the summer of 1988. The U.S. Agriculture Department steered Rosenbluth’s offer of help toward North Dakota, where state officials told him Emmons County was the worst-hit. The philanthropist decided to bring some temporary part-time jobs to Linton, and hired 40 Lintonites to do electronic data processing at five dollars an hour. To some farm wives, a job with Rosenbluth’s agency was the happy alternative to losing the farm or looking for and commuting to a job an hour away in Bismarck.
Then the Linton Industrial Development Corporation—which hadn’t previously had a lot of lucky breaks—decided to pull out all the stops in persuading Rosenbluth to stay. The LIDC paid the first two months’ rent on a former farm implement building for the temporary workers, and started a formal letter-writing campaign to Rosenbluth’s Philadelphia office.
The courtship worked. The part-time temporary jobs became full-time, with benefits. A phone company fiber-optics line was installed. Rosenbluth Travel started bringing planefuls of executives to Linton for training and planning meetings, and the excess spilling over into motel rooms in Wishek, population 1,300, 33 miles from Linton. And Rosenbluth is building a 20-bedroom chateau on 308 acres overlooking the Missouri River, 13 miles west of Linton. The chateau will be used as an executive retreat, conference center, and training center for Rosenbluth employees and clients. Canoeing, fishing, hunting, trail rides, and a “working mini-farm” will help high-pressure city execs ease their stress. The chateau staff will be made up of locals, and most of the building materials and furnishings bought locally.
It may sound like Hal Rosenbluth wears a halo, but he’s the first to admit that Linton has been good for him, too. “A major plus is the people—their work ethic, their education, their sincerity, their willingness,” he told the Bismarck Tribune. “These are things we have had within our company for years, but they’re drying up in the big cities. Other companies are constantly complaining, ‘We can’t find good people.’ They’re looking in the wrong place, that’s all.”
Perhaps the only bad news to come out of the Rosenbluth deal was that this past April he asked Linton kids to find a new town motto. “Where the cattle are fat and the fish are floppin'” just didn’t seem to fit the image of a hotbed of economic development. Linton Chamber of Commerce president Vince Watkins wanted something “a little more sophisticated, but still with a hint of the rural” (a hint of the rural being what one gets when one stands downwind of the aforementioned cattle). Even radio commentator Paul Harvey got into the act, providing his audience with statistics about this “real nice town” in, of all places, “South Dakota.” Watkins got calls from disc jockeys and talk show hosts in Las Vegas, Honolulu, and Boston, all of them wanting to poke fun at Linton, but he did his best to use it to the town’s advantage.
The new motto, culled from dozens of entries: “Preserving the past and working for the future.” Zzzzzzzzzz. I much prefer the one mailed in from Kansas by a man who heard that Linton has six places of worship and five watering holes:
“Fill the churches.
Empty the bars.
Linton, North Dakota,
Will shine like the stars.”
Jane Greer lives in Bismarck, North Dakota.
Throwing the Rascals Out
Note September 18, 1990, as a historic date. On that fateful Tuesday, people in the Sooner State stuck their heads out their windows and, in that great line from Network, shouted at politicians, “We’re mad as Hell, and we ‘re not going to take it anymore.”
The object of this anger was politicians entrenched in office and seemingly impossible to dislodge through the normal election process, politicians who use lobbyist dollars as well as numerous self-voted tax monies to push their reelection campaigns. According to numerous sources, 98 percent of congressional incumbents seeking reelection are returned to Congress every year, and those holding state offices are not far behind.
That percentage will change for politicians in the state legislature of Oklahoma thanks to oil man Lloyd Noble II. He spent thousands of his own dollars to finance an initiative petition to limit Sooner legislators to 12 years in office: six two-year terms for members of the House and three four-year terms for senators. The 12-year limit begins on January, 1, 1991, meaning anyone serving on that date will have to retire from office by December 31, 2002.
Those who volunteered to circulate these petitions were not partisan; Democrats vied with Republicans for the honor. These hundreds of volunteers fanned out across the state last spring—to find that getting the necessary signatures of more than one hundred fifty thousand voters was remarkably easy. One angry citizen gave voice to the feelings of thousands when he said about politicians, during a “man on the street” interview for a television news show, “It’s time to send them all home.”
Naturally those politicians long entrenched at the statehouse in Oklahoma City, as well as those who aspire someday to win office, thundered that this initiative would be bad legislation. “Experience counts,” was the gist of their argument, but a majority of Oklahomans seemed to agree with another angry voter who shouted at one political rally, “Experience counts in learning to feather your own nest.”
Despite cries about the value of experience and seniority, Oklahomans by a vote of 436,347 to 212,318 passed this legislation that, because it originated through the initiative process, was not subject to the governor’s veto. The morning after the vote State Senator Ben Brown (D-Oklahoma City) told a reporter, “This is an effort by the rich and powerful to take away the rights of the ordinary citizen,” explaining that this law denied voters the right to choose their legislators regardless of the number of years they had served. John P. Keast of the Free Congress Foundation in Washington, D.C., viewed the outcome differently. When informed of the vote, he said, “This is democracy in action. Oklahomans recaptured their legislature.”
Since that fateful vote on September 18, various pundits have waxed in print about this legislation. David Broder of the Washington Post argued in a nationally syndicated column that the result would be an increase in the power of legislative staffs, those faceless bureaucrats who haunt the halls of power and who work their own agenda. Thus to limit the terms of congressmen and senators would bring about less democracy, not more. Others have said that state legislators should not be the object of such time limitation because most of them do not serve long before aspiring to higher office. A political scientist making this argument noted that two-thirds of the legislators in Oklahoma have been in office less than 12 years.
Yet a start must be made somewhere to “throw the rascals out,” and the Oklahoma vote is a beginning. It doubtless is true, as some critics argue, that this law is imperfect. However, it is inspiring movements in other states. Moreover, the Free Congress Foundation is trying to do at the national level what Oklahomans did at the state level. It is coordinating an effort to limit congressmen and senators to 12 years—and polls conducted for the Washington Post and ABC News show that 70 percent of Americans support a limitation on congressional terms.
Perhaps on September 18, Oklahoma’s voters metaphorically tossed a few bales of tea into a presently murky legislative harbor, the start of a revolution to throw out life-tenured politicians and to return to the Jeffersonian ideal of citizen-lawmakers.
Odie B. Faulk is emeritus professor of history at Northeastern State University in Oklahoma. He lives in Waco, Texas.
‘Tis the Season
In late September, with eighty-degree temperatures and the foliage still almost totally green even in northern Illinois, it is hard to think Christmas thoughts. And as Nebuchadnezzar’s would-be successor—or reincarnation—raves about imitating that energetic neo-Babylonian empire-builder and destroying Jerusalem, the approach of the Jewish High Holy Days reminds one of the fact that another Arab nation, 17 years ago, took advantage of Yom Kippur to launch a surprise war against Israel. Will the season be jolly this Christmas? Well, that depends on quite a few things. Speaking Christianly, of course one can say that from the perspective of faith, the same reason will exist for being happy at Christmas 1990 that has existed ever since that unique Nativity in Bethlehem just about two thousand years ago. But knowing reasons for being happy in principle does not always guarantee being happy in practice. However, leaving aside the many bad things as well as the good things that could happen between a late September magazine deadline and a December publication date, let us cast an eye on some of the lesser reasons for hope and happiness that we can discern on what Herman Dooyeweerd called the temporal horizon.
Over twenty years ago I returned to Harvard’s Widener Library—it was in the summer of 1968—and met John H. Finley, Jr., the professor of classics whose teaching fellow—one of many—I had been a few years earlier. Even then, approaching retirement, Mr. Finley already represented the “old Harvard,” where the “stock of the Puritans” was still alive, as “Fair Harvard” says, and the university could still make some claim to be a “bearer of truth and a herald of light,” if no longer “the bearer” and “the herald.” Looking out of his study window at the newly trashy condition of once-verdant Harvard Yard, Mr. Finley asked me what I thought of the changes. Then, without waiting for an answer, he continued, “It’s exciting—all these brilliant young men and women, such questioning, so much imagination. If only it weren’t all so sordid. . . . “
Mr. Finley is now very old, and quite thoroughly retired, in a genteel nursing home. Visitors have reported that his old wit frequently still shines through. But he is no longer up to making visits to Widener Library, or to the Harvard Yard. The grass is verdant once more, and such sordidness as there is is no longer so superficially apparent. Unfortunately, he cannot travel to the hinterland, and therefore he probably will not see what can be seen from library windows here.
I hope that this does not sound too much like an argument pro domo. But while Professor Bloom laments the closing of the American mind and the State University of New York publishes The Moral Collapse of the University, there are signs of new life. In The Decline of the West, Oswald Spengler predicted that the 1980’s—just closed out—would be marked by an “increasing primitivism of the political process.” Nineteen eighty-eight did nothing to refute him. He also predicted that international politics would begin to be dominated by monetary concerns (set “oil” for “money” and he is right on target). But what he did not predict was increasing numbers of young men and women turning, with zeal, enthusiasm, and vigor, to the study and propagation of the Christian tradition. There are 15 theological schools in the Greater Chicago cluster. One of them. Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has 40 percent of the total number of students.
The late Samuel Sandmel, a noted rabbinic scholar, once criticized his celebrated contemporaries Paul Tillich, Rudolf Bultmann, et al., with the remark that he had always thought that Christianity made sense if one really believed its doctrines to be true, but only then. Conservative evangelical schools such as Trinity, Gordon-Conwell, and Westminster, to name but three, and renewal-oriented Roman Catholic schools such as the Franciscan University of Steubenville, by no means have the luster and prestige of Harvard, Yale, or even Notre Dame and the Catholic University of America. But they do have the students in theology and related disciplines, “brilliant young men and women” who really do believe the Christmas story to be true.
Students who peruse the Books of Daniel and of the Apocalypse, and observe Saddam Hussein masquerading as the new Nebuchadnezzar, may well wonder if we are not witnessing the “signs of the times” that herald the End. But—as Martin Luther said—if you know that the world will end tomorrow, you should still plant a tree today. Among the many ominous signs of the times, there are also positive ones, and among the most positive, in my evaluation, is the existence of such an energetic throng of young students who don’t have a closed mind, who reject the “moral collapse” of the academy, and who are serious about their faith. It would be wonderful, from an evangelical perspective, to have a foothold in the older universities, but lacking that—at least for the moment—it is encouraging, and a sign of hope for the future, to see where so many of the students are.
Harold O.J. Brown teaches Christian ethics and theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Illinois and is editor of The Religion & Society Report.
Down, Not Out
The editor has asked for “a few lines on some sign of hope, some change for the better, some reason for optimism” from my territory, so here are three cheery news items, two more or less having to do with the South, one with my trade of sociology.
For starters, how about the fact that National Public Radio has opened a Southern bureau? Since I’ve said some hard things in the past about the bicoastal bias of NPR, I’m happy now to give them credit for trying. True, they’ve set up shop in Chapel Hill, which doesn’t provide much of a challenge to the dominant NPR sensibility, but at least they’re not in Atlanta. NPR’s Southern correspondent, David Molpus, apparently hasn’t got entirely above his Mississippi raising; he got off to a good start by explaining that he chose to locate in North Carolina for its basketball and barbecue.
But in fact you can now get decent barbecue in Cambridge, Massachusetts. That’s my second piece of good news: right there in the belly of the beast, in the heartland of secular humanism, they’re deconstructing pigs at Jake & Earl’s Barbecue. When I first heard about Bay State barbecue I feared the worst—something like the catfish recipe I saw in Esquire not long ago that called for minced shallots, dry Sauterne, heavy cream, and poached seedless grapes, with pastry crescents in place of hushpuppies. But Jake & Earl’s is run by a Southside Virginia boy, Chris Schlesinger, who reportedly tends a pretty good, traditional pit. My spy complains that Jake & Earl’s motto ought to be “Southern Food at Northern Prices,” but many Yankees wouldn’t take a $1.75 barbecue sandwich seriously. Besides, if a Virginian can rip them off, I say more power to him.
Obviously I don’t buy the theory that eating pork makes you stupid, but good barbecue can certainly make you mellow, and Cambridge could use a dose of that. (By the way, Schlesinger is the author of The Thrill of the Grill, which is the kind of cookbook Jimmy Buffett would write if the composer-singer of such fun-in-the-sun masterworks as “Cheeseburger in Paradise” wrote cookbooks.)
To close on a more sober note: I wrote recently in Chronicles about Professor James Coleman of the University of Chicago, who a few years ago faced the threat of censure by the American Sociological Association. Coleman’s transgression was not plagiarism, not fabricati