Ecstasy of Influence

Topics: Jonathan Lethem, Creativity, Plagiarism Pages: 3 (1138 words) Published: March 29, 2013
Who Creates Their Work , Brings a Gift to the World
In our generation today do we take the stealing of words or ideas as something serious. To rob those whose original ideas have separated those who imitate, but never really create, is a shame to the creative society and for that reason we must hold people who steal or create accountable. There could be obvious public results for getting caught doing something so easy. There can be a price when it comes to stealing someone else’s work. In our generation now nothing is really owned. Everything has a name on it but does that stop people today? That brings up the whole argument can anyone inparticular own something? “ The Ecstasy Of Influence” written by Jonathan Lethem is an article that was printed in the Harpers Magazine. This article is based on plagiarism and influences it attains. Nearly every word from this article was taken from another source and cobbled together. Lethem takes art, literature, and ownership to show and prove to readers that their work was influenced through others owned material. In the section titled “ Contamination Anxiety”, Lethem describes “collage” and “pastiche” an “ appropriation, mimicry, quotation, allusion, and sublimated collaboration”(61). He calls his strategy a “collage text”(71). Stated before saying that this was based on plagiarism, but this article was not written to show the effects of plagiarism but to show the influence of the writings. That all literacy, artistic, and musical work is usually influenced by other originators. That without borrowing or collaging there would be nothing to create.

It is remarkable the way Lethem tries to take our minds off the thought of plagiarism. “ The Ecstasy Of Influence” unravels our cultural hypocrisy in insisting on the originality of the content. The thought of purpose immediately starts with the argument of ownership. Quoted in Lethem’s article “ you take away our right to steal ideas, where are they going to come from?”(61)....
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