That gesture's been used too. (James Crisp / Associated Press) That gesture’s been used too. (James Crisp / Associated Press)

Lately, Rand Paul has been battling allegations of plagiarism in speeches and some of his written works, including columns and even sections of his book. His answer, so far, has been “It was my staff!” or “It was my staff!” or, once, to challenge the people questioning him to a duel.

He’s lost his column at the Washington Times, and he is now moving to Breitbart.com.

I got to catch Paul practicing his speech to the media “haters” who have been accusing him of plagiarism. I think he’s really turned over a new leaf!

“Before I get into this speech,” Paul began, “let me establish one fact: I am not a plagiarist. A plagiarist is someone who commits the “wrongful appropriation” and “purloining and publication” of another author’s “language, thoughts, ideas, or expressions” and the representation of them as one’s own original work. That’s not me. I’m not even listed in that Wikipedia entry. I am someone who talks and sometimes uses other people’s words when he talks. That’s known as oratory right there, and if you doubt me, I have a friend named Pistols at Dawn who wants to have a word with you. That’s right. I just challenged you to a duel. Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

“I’ve always known that when it comes down to it, personal responsibility is what counts. As I often tell people, responsibility may refer to: collective responsibility, corporate social responsibility, diffusion of responsibility, diminished responsibility, duty, human responsibilities, legal liability, legal responsibility (disambiguation) or various meanings. I think in this case the kind of responsibility we’re talking about is “duty.” This article is about the ethical concept. For other uses, see duty (disambiguation).

Many schools of thought have debated the idea of duty. While many assert mankind’s duty on their own terms, some philosophers have absolutely rejected a sense of duty [citation needed].”

Here is a picture,” Paul added, holding up this painting, “that has always reminded me of duty.”

“Contents (hide),” Paul continued. He cleared his throat. “I strongly believe that duty can comprise a variety of things. ‘Duty[3] is also often perceived as something owed to one’s country (patriotism), or to one’s homeland or community. A civic duty could include:-
-providing right of way to public utilities over your property
-cleaning up after your dog on its walks on streets and not peeing in public swimming pools
-RESPECTING THE PANTS OFF DAVE BLANQUET WHO IS A GREAT HUMAN BEING EVEN THOUGH HE DOESN’T HAVE AN ENTRY OF HIS OWN [CITATION NEEDED]
-CALLING DAVE BLANQUET A WITLESS GLOBMONSTER [CITATION NEEDED]
YOU NEED TO STOP POSTING COMMENTS IN HERE DAVE IT’S REALLY GETTING OLD [CITATION NEEDED]

“I am really getting passionate here, huh,” Paul added, after a few moments. “But yeah. That’s just what I believe. Responsibility. Duty. Independence. Dave — Blanquet?”

At this point someone cut Paul off by waving his arms a lot and handed him something else to read, this one properly footnoted:

Lately, I have been accused of plagiarism and improperly citing the words of others in some of the things I’ve written and delivered.[1]

Look, originality is really important. [2] But then again, maybe originality is undetected plagiarism. [3] Originality is the one thing which unoriginal minds cannot feel the use of. [4]

Looks like I wasn’t as careful as I thought about some of these origins, and the result was pretty awful. [5]

But it’s not my fault! [6] I guess I went about this the wrong way. [7]

Still, what do you people want from me? [8] We now inhabit a ‘remix culture’, a culture which is dominated by amateur creators – creators who are no longer willing to be passive recipients of content. [9] If we start actually attributing our facts to their sources, or coming up with new sentences on our own, that is going to be a lot of time that we could otherwise spend in better ways, like not depending on the government and giving 13 hour speeches. Ain’t nobody got time for that! [10]

Listen, all the songs have already been sung. [11] All the facts have already been put forward and correctly cited to their sources. [12] What can I hope to add to that? YOLO. [13] I just have a lot of feelings. [14]

But going forward, the question isn’t who is going to let me; it’s who is going to stop me. [15]

Look, is it possible to have an entirely original thought? [16] As my father always says, we can only see this far because we have stood upon the shoulders of giants. [17]

Do not let your fire go out, spark by irreplaceable spark in the hopeless swamps of the not-quite, the not-yet, and the not-at-all. Do not let the hero in your soul perish in lonely frustration for the life you deserved and have never been able to reach. The world you desire can be won. It exists . . . it is real . . . it is possible . . . it’s yours. [18]

Look, nobody’s perfect. [19] I’m only human. [20]

In conclusion, it is a great honor to be joining Breitbart.com. [21]

[1] Jayson Blair
[2] Jim Carrey
[3] William Ralph Inge
[4] John Stuart Mill
[5] The director of “X-Men: Origins: Wolverine,” probably, right?
[6] Old-timey Mac Computer error voice.
[7] Columbus right before he died, I bet.
[8] I think Ann Romney said this one time.
[9] Two Australians, in their report Mashups, Remixes and Copyright Law.
[10] Sweet Brown.
[11] This is from a song that has been sung already.
[12] This is what Bill in the office who handed me my last piece of writing said.
[13] I don’t really know how to cite “YOLO.” Um, “Twitter, Just All Of it”!
[14] Mean Girls, Fey, 2004.
[15] Ayn Rand
[16] This lady on the TED conversations Web site, but I’m sure there are others.
[17] This turns out not to be original, either. I think it’s Alexander Pope.
[18] Ayn Rand
[19] “Some Like It Hot”
[20] That song from those commercials where a branch falls on a car.
[21] This phrase, so far as we can tell, is original.

Alexandra Petri writes the ComPost blog, offering a lighter take on the news and opinions of the day. She is the author of "A Field Guide to Awkward Silences".