Why do you care so much about originality and rip-offs?

I’m sure there have been people thinking that question whenever they talk to me especially in this blogosphere. It certainly doesn’t help that I have a full-length concept album coming out in late December that involves innovators in numerous fields. Some of them were unfortunately plagiarized by more popular people and organizations which is quite unfortunate. I have certainly made an opinion post about it earlier this year if memory serves me correctly. Feel free to check that post whenever you can.

I don’t want to repeat too much about what I’ve said in previous posts or to namedrop certain examples especially certain film controversies you all should know about by now. Originality is something I cherish and I know people can really try to make something truly unique. I just shake my head when I hear people say that nothing’s original anymore. Those same people haven’t even tried in their lives. Even in my film review blog, I will even award an extra point or two for originality or at the very least something I’ve personally never seen before. It’s a virtue for me and that upcoming album Dear Innovare is an homage to several people.

Now, I have an issue with rip-offs which you may know. I don’t throw around that term flippantly unless I can back it up with facts and obvious similarities. What I may not have mentioned was that I’ve been made fun of for some of my tastes allegedly being clones. Back in college, I got into a band called La Dispute. They are an experimental hardcore band that incorporates spoken word vocals for most of their songs. They were one of the first bands I ever saw at a basement show in my life when some friends and I saw them, Touche Amore, Into It. Over It., Tension Generation, and Former Thieves in someone’s home in Chicago. It’s weird to think some of those bands would get signed to bigger labels. Anyways, there was a (now ex-) friend of mine who have me crap for liking them because he thought they were a rip-off of mewithoutYou. I liked both bands then, and I disagree with that. Yes, both bands incorporate spoken word elements, but musically, they don’t sound alike. Besides, mewithoutYou isn’t the first rock band to use spoken word elements. Just look at Envy who’ve been around years longer and did post-rock elements before Aaron Weiss and company would do so. Even listening to Gil Scott-Heron or more recently The Last Poets really opened the floodgates wide. I can’t picture mewithoutYou or even La Dispute fans getting into The Last Poets and would be too scared to do so if you know anything about their lyrical content. This infuriated me because I never got my official comeback against this person. One time on Facebook, he admitted to watching the Never Say Never documentary. Yes, I’m talking about the Justin Bieber one and he said he liked it. I verbally thrashed him online telling him he had no right to make fun of me for liking La Dispute if he was a Belieber. What shocked me was the lack of insulting towards him. If I said something like that, I’d be clowned for weeks! Why does he get a free pass?

Part of that lingering resentment still exists with me today. Do you know how many times I’ve been severely tempted to insult bloggers for what they like if I know if something is a rip-off or problematic? Doing that would be like an abstract revenge for being made fun of for liking La Dispute back in the day despite my musical tastes changing since then. It’s like I would be doing unto others what was done to me as I would dish out that verbal barrage. However, I’m not good at insulting people and I feel like I behave in a respectful manner even when I rant. The anger I feel more often than not is towards other bloggers, so it does put me in check that way. With that being said, if someone calls something a rip-off, yet gives a free pass to something that genuinely is, then I will call that person out. No, I don’t need to name examples as to when I would have that kind of talk with someone. I guess originality and striving to be original was an attempt to be taken seriously despite upholding that virtue or a way to prevent myself from being bullied. I’ve certainly been bullied and/or mistreated for far worse reasons, so don’t get me wrong. Toxicity breeds toxicity as I’ve thought about shaming people if they liked something that was a clone whether I declared it to be so or not.

As I’ve said before…liking things is really hard.

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