Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Nothing new under the sun

Good artists borrow; great artists steal.
-Pablo Picasso (maybe)

This great article called The Ecstasy of Influence: A plagarism in Harper's Magazine explores the question of plagarism in art- any art- and whether it really is such a black and white issue.

Fascinating stuff. Plagarism, thinly cloaked as "research," occurs all the time in both academic and pop-literature. In academia, we call it "standing on the shoulders of giants;" in popular publishing, we call it "stealing." Did black blues musicians rip off negro spirituals and Irish folk music? Did Elvis rip-off black blues musicians? Did the Beatles rip off Elvis? I'm sure you can think of about 1,000 movie equivalents here.

Does any of this matter? You be the judge.

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