Thursday, September 08, 2011

Cut x Paste

"Nothing is original, so steal from anywhere that resonates with inspirations or fuels your imagination." So said Jim Jarmusch, the multi-talented film director, screenwriter, actor, producer, editor and composer.

The world is your creativity oyster, serving up a smorgasbord of inspirations from everywhere. Films, books, music, family pets, nature, lovers, food, dustbins even (why the hell not?), the Internet. Especially the internet. Inspirations are aplenty and everywhere. Only that these days, it seems like the line between inspiration and plagiarism is seriously blurring up. Creativity is great but plagiarism is faster it seems.

Ripping off others' "inspirations" and then processing it into something new are somewhat the acceptable nature of creation. It's how things are often done. After all, Jamusch is right that nothing is original, and like he quoted Jean-Luc Godard, it's not about where you take them from but where you take them to.

Say, writing a piece of music after reading someone's life story is awesome. Cue Don Mclean's Starry Starry Night whom he wrote after being inspired by Vincent Van Gogh's tumultuous and bipolar life. Or creating a fashion collection after a muse is a proven winning formula. Iconic case in point: Karl Lagerfeld with his various muses like Claudia Schiffer and Stella Tennant et al. Many creative masterpieces have been born this way.

Not acceptable, at least in my book, is the so-called "effort" like trawling through a few blogs or websites, then cutting and pasting all the materials together to make it yours, be it in the form of a blog post or otherwise. Or not giving credit where credit is due, especially when there is a chance that whoever sees it might think it is original. Plagiarism it is. The current fashion world equivalent is probably the high profile case of Louboutin vs YSL where YSL started producing shoes with red soles which happens to be the Louboutin brand's birthright. Given the commercial nature of this plagiarism, copyright infringement it is.(Team Louboutin I am by the way!)

Next comes this really funny observation among my friends and their friends alike. The squabble over the pseudo-ownership of who cut and paste FIRST. The irony is that often times, when the Cut x Paste materials get re-cut-n-paste, the laggard gets accused of plagiarism when the material itself isn't even original to begin with. Person A posts a famous quote or a picture, Person B re-posts it, Person A then accuse Person B. Root cause for many petty cat fights on social media among people I know. High-school like but entertaining nonetheless.

But now, it seems like a good pseudo intellectual question to follow is that "Then what the hell is real creativity in our day and age? Given that most things, tangible or otherwise (in the form of ideas), have already been in existence."

I haven't got a clue and don't intend to explore but you know what? But just so you know, I ripped the visual above off some douche bag's Facebook profile picture.

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