There is no such things as originality, just authenticity

Check out this article from the Times.

Hegemann seems to signal a new generation of writers, folks who confront accusations of plagiarism with a shrug rather than sniveling apologies.  Copy-right and intellectual property violations… humbug.  Remixing is king!

I tend to agree with Hegemann.  Ross’s admonition that society will grow stale if our artists “repurpose” (his word, not mine) existing art, hardly sends chills down my spine.  Seems to me that even the most experimental of experimental artists are still “repurposers.”  Instead of repurposing specific works, they transgress and, ultimately, remix genres (which are themselves constructed of similarly designed individual works).  When Michael Ondatje wins a Nobel prize, the Swedes won’t mention remixing, but the guy, despite his many (and deserved) accolades for originality,  is still, in many regards, the literary equivalent of a blender.

Writers should loosen up.  If Philp Roth or someone else takes my blog post and remixes it in a bestselling book, I plan to send a thank you note, not a subpoena.  People don’t own words anymore than Apple Computer owns thumb movements… errr… anymore than Genetech owns my DNA sequence… err…  well, maybe we should just all get in line behind Lawrence Lessig (


One comment on “There is no such things as originality, just authenticity

  1. Pingback: These are a Few Of My Favorite Posts (Part 1) « Teaching Writing in a Digital Age

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