The Shanty Blog makes its way further into the blogosphere! You may remember an older post on Roland Barthes (not the video artist, but the semiologist). I've been working around this idea of taking something and making it mean something else, and I wanted to use the post as an introduction and as a reference point.
Internally, it's been pretty dormant. Which is why I was thrilled to come across Snarkmarket's post on T.S. Eliot, literature and plagarism. The post comments on a story from The New Yorker, "T.S. Eliot Was Wrong" concerning the entry by Helene Hegemann (a 17 year old German writer) of a book partially composed ("mixed," in her words) of other authors' works in the Leipzig Book Fair. She's a finalist for a $20,000 prize. Not surprisingly, many are pissed to hear that she's even being considered. Ellis compares Helene's work to plagarism:
In most universities (hopefully all universities), plagiarism is an offense punishable by expulsion. Does this mean that if a student rips whole pages from Adam Smith for his paper on capitalism without citing or crediting the work he shouldn’t be penalized? That his action should be understood merely as “mixing” Smith’s statements in with his own? Surely not, and the same rules should apply to any other printed text, whether it’s a newspaper article, a screenplay, or a coming-of-age German novel.
Though Helene apologizes for not initially disclosing her sources, she defends her work as that of "a different generation," a "youth culture of D.J.'s and artists that sample freely and thereby breathe creativity into old forms." Without commenting on the artistic value of her particular work, Helene joins a tradition that's much older than she apparently realizes.
Lit geeks may remember T.S. Eliot's famous observation that "immature artists imitate, mature poets steal" (Ironically, or perhaps just immaturely, Ellis complains about a copying practice in the same breath that he botches the practice's most notable justification. On second thought, the dude's writing for the New Yorker. It's definitely ironic). Even further back, just compare Beethoven's Pathetic Sonata to Luigi Cherubini's Medea and you can see that even classical composers borrowed from one another in the same way that modern jam artists do today (ahem, SCI's "Rivertrance" is basically the old irish tune "Gravelwalk" played barefookt with a fiddle. Go ahead, check it out).
Snarkmarket rightfully comments that Ellis is overreacting:
I agreed so much I copied the shit out of it right here for you. And given the subject matter, I couldn't help but toss The Shanty's two cents into the mix:
But my comments are awaiting moderation.
So there you have it. The Shanty's penetrating the blogosphere (after moderation!)! And a bunch of other stuff that you're probably not interested in.