Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Art of Plagiarism

Its interesting, the way artists steal stuff from each other.

Like, books steal stuff from real life.

And comic books steal stuff from books.

And movies steal stuff from comic books.

And television steals stuff from movies.

In these cases, the stolen goods are traveling from a less-well-known source, something edgier and more underground with a cult following of people who are willing to put a lot of effort into getting at the highest quality entertainment, to a more widely accepted format that's easier to get at with a lower barrier to entry.

And even if the stolen goods weren't all watered down on purpose, in preparation for their delivery to the masses, or cut with something cheaper, so you could spread a tiny bit of goodness over a longer period of time, they'd still lose some of their potency, just due to the process of copying 'em, 'cause nobody understands what they're copying as well as the dude who made the original copy that they're all copying off of, and so there's always little bits and pieces that don't get copied.

Which is why, given the choice, you'd probably want to make your copies from the most intense and original sources, and not the most bland and over-boiled sources, just to increase the odds of capturing more of the colors and flavors and textures involved.

But that's not how games do it.

Nope, see, I think games actually have a tendency to do things the other way around, 'cause they got self-esteem issues and they want to steal acceptance by the masses more than they want to be thought of as "artistic" and "edgy" and "original" and all that heh.

Yah, y'know, you might be tempted to steal from a bland and widely accepted format, if your medium was having problems with acceptance, if your medium was considered "nerdy" or whatever.

Which is the exact opposite of the problem with TV, where its thought of as "stupid," and it needs to steal stuff that makes it seem more original and edgy and artistic ahaha.

Of course, books also steal stuff from comic books, and comic books steal stuff from movies, and there's all sorts of cross-pollination stuff like that, I'm generalizing here.

And you can also play semantics, and say that we're not really stealing things, that we're just being influenced by things, that these things are our "influences," there's a whole art to that shit.

And we can make an art out of stealing things, where we sorta admit that we're stealing things, we can say that we're doing a nod or a hat tip to something we like, or bringing some edgy cool and underground thing to the masses, as if we were doing them a favor, we're Prometheus Bringing Fire, we're the well-paid herald of Galactus or something.

Or we can just try to not get caught at it heh.

And then fall back on the Prometheus stuff if we do get caught or something ahaha.

But everybody is actually stealing things, imitation is the highest form of flattery and all that.

And every once in a while we do think up something new and original, while we're stealing stuff, 'cause the stuff we're stealing has a tendency to inspire new ideas and new twists and stuff.

I'm not one of those guys that go around moping about how everything has been done before, I mean, just because something is tough to do doesn't mean its impossible and that we should all just give up or whatever, all the cool things are tough to do, and I'm all totally into doing new stuff that nobody has done before, even if I'm not the kinda guy to worry about holding my nose when I need to steal shit 'cause I can't think of nothing new to do heh.

You gotta explore the map out to the edges to get to the new stuff, y'know?

Hell, you gotta explore the map out to the edges to even know what the new stuff is.

Anyways, there ain't nothing wrong with thinking of story-telling as being a DJ, where you spin records, or in this case stories, there's an art and a skill and a craft and a bunch of knowledge and appreciations and understandings that go into spinning 'em good, even if you ain't responsible for any of the songs that you are twisting together.

Its probably better to think of it that way than to think of it in any other way, actually, 'cause it tends to get less and less honest the more you move away from that heh.

And you can also get so good at mixing crap together that you can start making new songs out of bits and pieces of old songs, too, y'know, at that point, the line between doing that and sitting in a rocking chair and plucking out your favorite chords on an old guitar is starting to get pretty blurry.

And there's another rule I have, probably the most important rule of all, and that's to not ignore a thing just because "its been done before."

Everything is a tool, and you don't ignore all the things a tool might be able to do, just because some other dude used them once.

You don't need new tools, all the time, to make new things, we'd still be living in caves if we all thought shit like that ahaha.

And you don't wanna ignore the tools that bad guys use, either, just because a bad guy used it to do bad things, 'cause there's no such thing as Bad Guy Tools, its all in how you use it, as soon as a Good Guy picks up a Bad Guy Tool it tends to turn into a Good Guy Tool.

That's why I'm okay with drinking, y'know, it shouldn't be "against the rules" for the Good Guys to seek a little lubrication when they need it, after a long hard day of doing Good Deeds and all that shit ahaha.

Anyways, all of these things can be done well, or done poorly, that's how you know that there's an art to 'em.

And there's even all sorts of arts involved in stealing things.

But you ain't never gonna figure 'em out unless you start with being honest with yourself about how dishonest you are.

Y'know, yer just gonna end up being some crazy dude in the land of make believe heh.

I'm not an expert or anything, but I'm pretty sure that Artistic Integrity doesn't start with a river in egypt ahaha.

Well, whatever, we really should get together and make our own TV show.

Yah man, apparently we can just copy shit scene by scene from movies like the Fly and whatever nowadays and we don't even have to do the usual reach-around hat-tip thingie where we do a little name-dropping and point folks in the direction of the thing we stole it from ahaha.

Yah, I dunno, I'm guessing that its 'cause most of the TV audience right now is too young to see R rated movies, so we can just steal willy-nilly from Rated R shit and pretend we came up with all that junk!

Could it get any goddam easier?

See, we should be striking while that iron is still hot baby ahaha.

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