I recently discovered that I have been "graced" (so to speak) by an online paper mill that's offering for sale a college paper on one of my poems. In its website, MightyStudents.com calls itself an "academic essay library" with student papers that "can be used for research, reference, and revision aid only." They continue, "Note, that our essay data base is submitted to the plagiarism detection software." Their "party line" — if we were
Okay, let's dig a bit more into this. First, here's the poem.
According to the MightyStudents.com specs, that paper on my poem earned an A originally, and so presumably would earn the buyer an A. However, the fragment of opening paragraph which the website lets us see suggests that the paper focuses on the father's imparting to the speaker (as a child) the knowledge of how to keep a beetle as a pet. This is a minor point; the main point has to do with the speaker's sense of guilt, as an adult, about having essentially tortured these beetles. I really doubt this paper would earn an A in a rigorous class environment. (I should issue a caveat here: the author of a work is typically not the best authority on that work, because all sorts of features of the work may be invisible to the author because of repression, which we all do constantly.)
So, if you are now looking at this blog page because you are writing a paper on "Beetle on a String" and you googled your way here, do not buy the MightyStudents.com paper. First, it's not illegal but certainly wrong. Second, you won't learn as much, no matter what MightyStudents.com says ("MightyStudents.com is highly appreciated by teachers!"
Finally, about fame. I have to admit I'm perversely proud that there is a term-paper-mill essay about my work. It's like the time when a copy of one of my books at the Rod Library here at the University of Northern Iowa turned up missing. Someone had actually taken the effort and risk to steal my book. Well, that's cool in a weird sort of way. I guess such is fame. We take what we can get. Peace out.
NOTE: Sources for the images above, top to bottom, are (1) H. Vannoy Davis © California Academy of Sciences, (2) Richard Calmes Photography (Vietnam, 1968-1969), and (3) DK Images. Do browse through Richard Calmes's photographs; his portraits are amazing, both the contemporary dance photos and the Vietnam War images. Viewers' comments in his Vietnam War gallery show that his photography has touched a deep chord in many people's hearts.
Note added 31 January 2009: check out a wildly different beetle on a string!
Note added 6 May 2011: "Beetle on a String" featured in online video.
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