During the spring my graduate students and I read about the nature and history of folkloristics, and joined the debate about what constitutes folklore. This article from today's Washington Post addresses Jonathan Lethems's essay on "plagiarism" as a form of creativity. Lethem is enthralled by "the mysteries of authorship -- the idea that things arise in culture that don't quite belong to anyone."
Excuse me sir, but that's called folklore.
Take a look at the linked article. This is one of those moments when I believe the public folklorist should respond, to clarify and engage in the debate. And we should encourage Mr. Lethem to not use the sign that represents intellectual theft to describe the creative process of communities and groups. Calling it "plagiarism" is a shameless attempt to grab headlines (which of course, worked).