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Hear ye, hear ye, people in this Philadelphia town square!

I call your attention to a PLAGIARIST in our midst!

First, let me provide some context: I am a writer. I live and die by what ink spills forth from my quill—as we say in the literary world, “publish or PERISH.” And, let me tell you, it is very hard to get published nowadays—we have one printing press on this side of the Atlantic Ocean.

Continuing: less than two years ago, on September 14, 1774, I submitted a spec pamphlet called “The Disclosure of Aims of Self-Government” to the Founding Fathers—and at the time, I was told that my draft showed, and here I shall QUOTE, “signs of promise” but that they “did not have a need for it at this moment.”

O, okay, sure!

And yet, there I was, last week, sitting in Independence Hall on July 4, 1776, a spectator to another fiery session of the exalted Continental Congress, whittling pieces of soap into smaller pieces of soap, when my ears did prick up like a dog hearing the dinner bell! For I heard Mr. Thomas Jefferson read aloud what he claimed to be an “original” text that he had written:

When in the Course of human events, it becomes necessary for one people to dissolve the political bands which have connected them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Nature and of Nature’s God entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.

Were I anyone else, I would’ve thought, “My oh my, what an eloquent piece of writing from Jefferson and Co.!” But I am not anybody else—I am George Rogerjohnwilliams III—and to my Virginia-born ears, that opening passage eerily reminded me of the opening passage of MY pamphlet, the aforementioned “The Disclosure of Aims of Self-Government,” which goes a little something like THIS:

Sometimes you’ve gotta to make a change in your life and you’re afraid to make that change but you know you need to do it. You just gotta do it. And you shouldn’t be afraid to do it because your real friends will be there for you, no matter what, because that’s what real friends do: they stand by you. And if they don’t stand by you, then FUCK IT: they are NOT your real friends.

Hmmmmmmm!!!!!!!!!!!! The first 24 words of this so-called “Declaration of Independence” are ALMOST the EXACT SAME as mine, and the rest of Jefferson’s preamble certainly captures, if not the exact language, at least the themes laid out in my work.

Let’s continue, SHALL we? Mr. Jefferson’s work goes on to say:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

Congratulations, Mr. Jefferson! What a keen grasp on the written word you’ve exhibited! Hmmm….I wonder what MY WORK said next???

It’s like my friend DickDip always says: God built the path for you, but you gotta do the walking, man. You gotta live and you gotta be free and you gotta be happy. I’ll tell you something else, man: when the music hits you, you feel no pain.

Well, well, the FUCK well! It is like reading a mirror, is it not? Let’s continue! Jefferson’s:

That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.–Such has been the patient sufferance of these Colonies; and such is now the necessity which constrains them to alter their former Systems of Government. The history of the present King of Great Britain is a history of repeated injuries and usurpations, all having in direct object the establishment of an absolute Tyranny over these States.

Mine:


Fuck the man.

Hmmmmm….one is true and direct and noble and original. The other is Jefferson’s. Do you see what I did there?

I have made my point, good townsfolk of Philadelphia! But before I retire from this public forum, a few quick plugs: I am currently seeking a publisher for my latest pamphlet, Fields of Bleeding Liberty: A Rick Ryan Adventure, featuring my beloved character, fishscientist-turned-private-investigator Rick Ryan, and I will also be teaching a workshop next week called “Writing for the Stage: How to Get Your Words Spoken by Orators Standing Atop Tables in Taverns or Other Wooden Platforms.” For more details, please e-mail me (send me a letter transported via equestrian).

Goodbye, God bless, and please release me from this stockade.

Jamison Webb lives in Chicago. He can be followed and unfollowed @jamisonwebb.

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