July 22, 2018, 07:28:33 PM

Author Topic: Alberta MLA Quotes Sirius Black (sort of)  (Read 1113 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

March 17, 2014, 10:18:30 PM

Laura W

  • *****
  • Posts: 49
So I heard on the news today that there is apparently a lot of division within the ruling party of the provincial legislature of Alberta.  Some of the things the premier has done - ie - excessive spending on travel, etc. - has displeased some members of her own caucus.  Her behaviour towards elected members of her own party has also come into question by some.

One MLA (member of the legislative assembly) allegedly tweeted, "You can judge the character of a man by the way he treats his inferiors."  Well, as you can imagine, my first thought was what Sirius Black said to the trio in GoF. 

Yes, I know that that was originally written in a newspaper by Methodist Episcopalian minister Charles Miliken in 1910.  He wrote, "It is the way one treats his inferiors more than the way he treats his equals which reveals one's character." But I like better the idea that that Alberta politician was quoting - or sort of quoting - from a Harry Potter book.   :nod:  Whether that's true or not.


Laura
« Last Edit: March 18, 2014, 12:15:14 AM by Laura W »


Logged
March 18, 2014, 01:11:35 PM
Reply #1

siena

  • *****
  • Posts: 303
O dear - and I had always thought that this quote was by Martin Luther King  :o

But no - you are right.

Anyway - it's a good quote, and I'm always amazed how Rowling can get away with quoting other people and using material without referencing ... it seems authors have quite a bit of creative leeway when it comes to that (I'm thinking of Oscar Wilde: Of course I plagiarize. It's the priviledge of the appreciative man. )   ;)

However, I as for the premier - maybe she should think of the following:

It is true that you may fool all the people some of the time; you can even fool some of the people all the time. But you cannot fool all the people all the time.   (Abraham Lincoln)  :)
Logged
March 19, 2014, 08:40:38 PM
Reply #2

Evreka

  • Quibbling Queen
  • Administrator
  • *****
  • Posts: 1700
    • Try & Trix
"You can judge the character of a man by the way he treats his inferiors."  Well, as you can imagine, my first thought was what Sirius Black said to the trio in GoF. 

Yes, I know that that was originally written in a newspaper by Methodist Episcopalian minister Charles Miliken in 1910.  He wrote, "It is the way one treats his inferiors more than the way he treats his equals which reveals one's character." But I like better the idea that that Alberta politician was quoting - or sort of quoting - from a Harry Potter book.   :nod:  Whether that's true or not.
I think this shows the strength of the HP novels, we HP fans tend to first associate them to HP even when we know they are actually older than that.

As for authors using short quotes of other authors and other people in their work; and in particular using known sayings, proverbs and the like, I think it's a bliss that doesn't lead them into any troubles or need to give the source, as otherwise we wouldn't be able to use those things either. Not in our speeches,  forum posts  or projects of any kind, unless we knew for certain who said it first. Our language would then be so much poorer as no matter how well or elegantly anyone managed to put something before; all of mankind would have to re-invent the wheel all the time to say the same thing.  And what if you didn't even know it was a well-known phrase to others? :crookshanks:
« Last Edit: March 19, 2014, 08:48:11 PM by Evreka »
Logged
March 20, 2014, 12:08:29 PM
Reply #3

siena

  • *****
  • Posts: 303
I can only partly agree, Evreka.  Of course in our every day use of language we might subconsciously repeat something said by someone else without acknowledging it. As you said, there are so many quotes around. However, in public speech and writing I think it is appropiate to reference, especially if you are using an almost word-for-word quote. Now Rowling made use of several ideas from others - the idea of sucking the soul out of the mouth is a medieval belief for example but it is not exactly known which person came up with it first - and of course didn't put it explanatory footnotes. Proverbs are in a similar category. Nobody knows exactly who invented them in most cases.  As for the quotes she used, on the other hand, I would have appreciated a reference. Oscar Wilde, whom  I cited in my previous post, copied down whole passages from a natural history book in The Picture of Dorian Gray. Do critics think this okay? Not really. But Mr Wilde, as I said before, was very open about his plagiarism and made some funny tongue-in-cheek comments ... ;)

As for posting here on the forums, I think we do reference most of the time. Most of us would cite the chapter or the book they have taken things from. Some (Laura W or ss19) are very thorough with this. Others  (siena  for example  ;)) can't always remember the exact chapter, but would nevertheless acknowledge that the idea is taken from somewhere. Most of us ( and I might add it is most frustrating if people don't do this) clearly state that they are responding to ideas/comments from previous posts or even quoting parts from them.

I think most of the time we do try to reference  best we can.


(P.S. There is a Crookshanks emoticon after all  :o ... I couldn't find it before  :crookshanks:
« Last Edit: March 20, 2014, 01:33:08 PM by siena »
Logged
March 21, 2014, 10:48:38 AM
Reply #4

Laura W

  • *****
  • Posts: 49
I knew what you meant in your original post here, siena.  Your problem - albeit a small one - was not that Jo borrowed a quote from somewhere else and used it in her book, but that she did not acknowledge that it came from somewhere else.  Right?

It is, of course, possible that she had heard of the concept of the measure of a man being how he treats his inferiors but did not actually know that it had been written down in an essay by Charles Miliken in an American newspaper in 1910.  Like, maybe she was just aware of it as a philosophical concept and decided to incorporate it into her series.  I don't know if that's how it came down, but it's possible.  Right?

Or maybe she had heard the saying once but didn't know who to attribute it to and didn't bother to look it up.  (Not that I ever think that is an excuse for plagerism, by the way ... for any of you students reading this.)

Ha, ha.  Also, in terms of practicality, I could never image Sirius saying something like, "As that American Muggle clergyman wrote many years ago, ... etc., etc." He just wouldn't.  Don't you agree?  At that point in GoF, Black was starving and hiding and worried about Harry and in a generally terrible state.  I'm sure he had just heard that idea of how one treats his inferiors at some point in his life and agreed with it and told it to the trio as was appropriate to their conversation at the time.

(I don't think any of the pure-blood witches or wizards in the whole HP series ever mention that they have read anything by a Muggle writer - except Dumbledore saying that he is one of the few who keeps up with the Muggle press -, or listen to any Muggle music/singer, etc.  If I am wrong about this, someone please do correct me.)

Generally, though, I totally agree with you, siena.  Copyright and proper attribution in the creative world is absolutely sacred to me.  Whenever any author or composer or filmmaker or fashion designer or whoever wins a court case against someone who has used that person's creation - born of blood, sweat and tears - to their own financial or status gain without the permission of the original creator, I stand up and cheer.

I'm not sure, however, that Sirius saying what he did is exactly the same thing.  Yes, Charles Miliken wrote something like it in 1910 but maybe Miliken was just voicing a philosophy much older than that.  Like something an ancient Greek said or something. 

Anyway, my purpose in posting my original message was not to start trouble.  Just, as Evreka said, to show how much of an influence the HP books have on some of us re how we see things in the RW.

Jo has admitted freely how she has borrowed from Celtic mythology, Greek and Roman mythology, Christian teachings, Shakespeare (especially Macbeth), Nodic legends and various secular philosophies in forming her series. 
Still, as you say, that is quite different from taking a direct and original quote out of whole cloth and saying it was your idea, your original words.  As to whether she did this re the quote under discussion is, I guess, a matter of opinion.

Laura


ETA --
... and I think the Crookshanks icon is adorable too.  (But I love cats.)
« Last Edit: March 21, 2014, 11:12:02 AM by Laura W »
Logged
March 22, 2014, 01:15:35 PM
Reply #5

siena

  • *****
  • Posts: 303
Your problem - albeit a small one - was not that Jo borrowed a quote from somewhere else and used it in her book, but that she did not acknowledge that it came from somewhere else.  Right?   - LauraW March 21, 1014

Yes.

It is, of course, possible that she had heard of the concept of the measure of a man being how he treats his inferiors but did not actually know that it had been written down in an essay by Charles Miliken in an American newspaper in 1910.  Like, maybe she was just aware of it as a philosophical concept and decided to incorporate it into her series.  I don't know if that's how it came down, but it's possible.  Right?

Or maybe she had heard the saying once but didn't know who to attribute it to and didn't bother to look it up.  (Not that I ever think that is an excuse for plagerism, by the way ... for any of you students reading this.)
  - LauraW March 21, 2014

Yes, it is possible that she had heard of it just as a concept. However, Sirius's line is so very close to the wording of the original that I can't really believe this. Also - she is such a meticulous person in the way she crafted the series - and she is very well read and very interested in human rights issues. Therefore I am almost certain that she would have come across Charles Miliken's words in the original.

Ha, ha.  Also, in terms of practicality, I could never image Sirius saying something like, "As that American Muggle clergyman wrote many years ago, ... etc., etc." He just wouldn't.  Don't you agree?  At that point in GoF, Black was starving and hiding and worried about Harry and in a generally terrible state.  I'm sure he had just heard that idea of how one treats his inferiors at some point in his life and agreed with it and told it to the trio as was appropriate to their conversation at the time.

(I don't think any of the pure-blood witches or wizards in the whole HP series ever mention that they have read anything by a Muggle writer - except Dumbledore saying that he is one of the few who keeps up with the Muggle press -, or listen to any Muggle music/singer, etc.  If I am wrong about this, someone please do correct me.)
  -LauraW March 21, 2014

Yes, alright I agree - I can't imagine Sirius giving the full reference either. But - why not let him say something along the line I read this quote somewhere a long time ago, I don't remember who said it ...  In that way the reader would know it's not Rowling's own and would maybe feel inclined to google the quote and find out the creator themselves. And also - yes, this is far fetched but bear with me nevertheless for second - why shouldn't Sirius have come across this quote some time in his life ? Alright, he was still very young when he got locked away but still. He went out of his way to annoy his pure blood parents, he pinned up a poster of bikini clad Muggle girls in his bedroom.this is one rebellious thing - but what if he went further and got really into Muggle human rights issues himself ? His brother Regulus went the pure blood ideology path all the way (before he changed his mind that is) - maybe Sirius wanted to hold Muggle rights/equal rights against this ? Okay, I agree this isn't canon, but still - why not ?

Jo has admitted freely how she has borrowed from Celtic mythology, Greek and Roman mythology, Christian teachings, Shakespeare (especially Macbeth), Nodic legends and various secular philosophies in forming her series  - LauraW March 21, 2014

Yes, and how brilliantly did she use her sources !  I always think of Sir Nicholas De Mimsy-Porpington and his head rolling polo in this context. I am quite certain she got her inspiration for this from Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. How she used the idea of a beheading game and added her very own quirky twist to it is just great. 



P.S. I am very sorry about the clumsy way I have quoted from Laura's post - I just hope I succeeded to make clear where Laura's text begins and ends, and where my comments fit in. Laura's text is in red and Times New Roman
Logged