Trial Balloon

Trial Balloon: May 20, 2009 Archive

Taking Cover

Posted at 5:20 AM on May 20, 2009 by Dale Connelly (39 Comments)

Here's a fresh e-mail from an old friend:

Dear Mr. Connelly,

Well, the school year is almost over and my big idea of creating a "Bubby's Homework Club" so your listeners could work with me on my school assignments never really got off the ground, mostly because of timing. I found out if you're going to ask for help, you have to start early enough so people will actually have the time to help you. Why isn't your show on later? It wouldn't have to be every night - just weeknights right before my homework is due.

There is one assignment coming up in Mr. Boozenporn's English class where I do have kind of a head start because the topic of it is so freaking me out. I'm supposed to write this persuasive essay saying why summer vacation should be done away with in favor of year-round school. Just thinking about it is making me a little bit sick to my stomach, and I'm thinking about it all the time.

I can't even come up with one good sentence about why we should do it. Not to mention 1,000 words. That's a lot.

Anyway, there's this guy, Josh, who is one of my Facebook friends. He goes to a different school and I was telling him about this assignment and he said his class had to do something like it and he saved his paper. And he'll sell it to me for twenty five bucks!

I know that's not right. But Josh says it's not stealing 'cause I'm paying for it. And when I go in and change a few words around, it'll be like music and I'll make it my own, like I'm "covering" a song that somebody else wrote. Musicians do it all the time. And Mr. Boozenporn did say once that writing is like art, sort of.

I know it'll be a good essay, 'cause Josh is real persuasive. I just have to come up with the twenty five bucks. And one other useful thing would be a note from you saying how normal it is for "cover" songs to be done, just in case I need to do some quick explaining.


Your friend,
Bubby Spamden

I told Bubby I couldn't endorse his plan or provide "cover" for his academic plagiarism. A good cover song does a lot more than "change a few words", as Josh suggests. But I did forward this link to Bubby, which was sent to me by Elinor, of a list of artists and the different songs they've covered.

It does raise the question - do you have any favorite cover songs?

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