There’s a nice segment on On the Media about plagiarism as a new art form. A poet called Kenneth Goldsmith teaches his students to give up all ideas about creativity and focus on recycling material.
The choices that we make are as expressive of ourselves as any kind of personal narrative we might do about our family or growing up. We’ve just never been taught to value those choices.
Until now, that is. Until recently; until the internet and aggregator sites and blogs.
Or, not so much until recently, perhaps, but it’s actually not completely new. There used to be things called commonplace books, where people collected passages from their reading. I’ve always loved both the idea of them and the things themselves. I’ve also always kept them myself, starting in childhood.
That’s one reason I like Montaigne so much – his essays are among other things giant extended commonplace books, and that’s interesting. Keats talks about his reading in his letters, and that’s one reason they’re so brilliant.
One of the haters’ tropes about me is that a lot of my blogging involves pointing to other people’s writing. Yes, that’s right, it does. And?
That’s not a bug, it’s a feature. I like being pointed to other people’s writing, and I like returning the favor. I like a good salmagundi, and I like making one. It’s all good.