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Re: <nettime> Twitter and the resignation of Germany's minister of defen
Anna on Fri, 4 Mar 2011 07:01:29 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> Twitter and the resignation of Germany's minister of defense


Am 03.03.11 11:57, schrieb Patrice Riemens:

> A great story, Anna!


> (i) What brought Count von und zu Guetenberg to plagiarize to such an
> extent? (300pages out of 400 are concerned, I read - that's rather
> massive)

You're right: as far as I know not a lot of people have asked that
question. I believe that most people think he just tried to get away
with it, buying his way through academic necessities. It is also
generally assumed that he didn't write the thesis himself - the ghost
writer remains to be found.

What has been subject of debate was what's perceived as his "terribly
immoral theft of intellectual property". This was brought up against him
in a number of newspaper articles and talk shows by people who obviously
were his political opponents. And in turn caused quite a bit of pain to
all (net politics) activists who wanted him to go as well, but not for
*that* reason. The good thing is that this major difference in arguments
was left aside for the time being to reach a common goal ;).

> The Wall Street Journal was speculating that he was pursuing an academic
> title to be the cherry on the magnificent cake that his noble background,
> personal fortune, good looks (and possibly, glam wife) represent. Making
> him the prima dona assoluta of the poster boys of the modern right.
> (Interestingly enough, the WSJ places the whole scandal in the context of
> 'rampant class war'...)

Makes sense. The way he was generally perceived, and portrayed, makes
one think that not too few Germans would be just as happy with a proper
monarchy. There's a Facebook group going on that wants him back in
office with currently 540.000 supporters.
Whether that was achieved through bots still needs to be uncovered - the
group has been there for only two days now.

40.000 joined the group that doesn't want him back

Germany's biggest tabloid (Bild) openly supported him, including fake
polls and all the rest. 'Der Spiegel', most important weekly political
magazine, took the other side and openly attacked 'Bild' for behaving
like a right wing party. Both of this is crossing lines in political
culture that weren't crossed yet (at least as far as I can remember).
> (ii) How comes his thesis was awarded 'cum laude' by Bayreuth University
> if, apart from unnoticed plagiarism, which suggest quite poor erudition
> from his suopervisor(s), the thesis lacked appropriate/ sufficient
> supporting footnotes? (and then most probably other essential m&t features
> as well)

I'm not following that line really, but I would think that the people
responsible for the 'summa cum laude' are in trouble, academically. This
is mentioned here and there, but as far as I can see not a lot of people
consider this to be equally of public interest.

> I guess the next ones to resign will be his supervising professor and the
> members of his thesis committee...

Maybe, but the whole affair wasn't about plagiarism, it was about the
minister of defense and the fact that he was very hardheaded and strict
about others. And then applying completely different standards to
himself. And quite obviously lied, and tried to get away with it.

> Btw, Angela Merkel's famous quip - which she has come to regret - was "I
> hired a minister of defense, not a research assistant"

Someone replied to that: And if he'd have been caught drunk and driving
- would she have said: I didn't hire him to be my driver?



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