Cagle Defends Harvard Cartoonist Suspected of Plagiarism

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By: E&P Staff

Daryl Cagle, one of the editorial cartoonists who allegedly had their work substantially copied by a Harvard University student, defended the college creator.

“I can take any reputable cartoonist and find cartoons that are similar to his cartoons, drawn earlier by other cartoonists, that make as good a plagiarism argument as the case being make against this poor student cartoonist,” Cagle wrote in his blog.

Cagle, whose MSNBC.com work is syndicated via Cagle Cartoons, has even coined a term (“Yahtzees”) for when five or more cartoonists draw the same gag at the same time. “Editors are as much to blame for this phenomenon, because they all want the same thing from cartoonists: Jay Leno-style funny jokes about the news that convey no opinion at all…,” he said. “When editors all want the same thing from a cartoonist, and the cartoonists are all drawing on the same topics at the same time, it is no wonder that we come up with the simple, easy, first-gag-that-comes-to-mind. That is what I see in this poor, besieged Harvard cartoonist — easy, ‘Yahtzee’ gags — and that should be no surprise given that she is just a student, and her editor clearly suffers from editorial group-think.”

He continued: “The Harvard cartoonist should not be fired. … The cartoonist should be instructed to emphasize topics of interest to Harvard students. The cartoonist should be instructed to draw in a square or vertical format, and encouraged to draw local cartoons, and to use more words or multiple panels, and to develop a unique style and voice. … (I)nstead of picking on student cartoonists, TEACH THEM.”

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