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February 8, 2007

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Usemonopolies

Jonathan Lethem has plagiarized together an entrancing paean to intellectual theft:

Artists, or their heirs, who fall into the trap of attacking the collagists and satirists and digital samplers of their work are attacking the next generation of creators for the crime of being influenced, for the crime of responding with the same mixture of intoxication, resentment, lust, and glee that characterizes all artistic successors. By doing so they make the world smaller, betraying what seems to me the primary motivation for participating in the world of culture in the first place: to make the world larger.
You might not agree with all of it, but boy howdy, is it a rollicking great read. Definitely do not miss the footnotes:
The effort of preserving another’s distinctive phrases as I worked on this essay was sometimes beyond my capacities; this form of plagiarism was oddly hard work.

Cf. this beautiful Slate photo-essay on visual plagiarism.

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Posted February 8, 2007 at 8:09 | Comments (2) | Permasnark
File under: Books, Writing & Such, Briefly Noted, Journalism, Media Galaxy, Society/Culture

Comments

I love this essay in spirit and execution.

"Taken from this angle, what exactly is postmodernism, except modernism without the anxiety?"

On a slightly deeper and more profound note, I plan to start using "boy howdy" in my everyday speech.

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