Before I begin my little opinion piece, I set aside some time as I deal with this gigantic cold front all over the Midwest. At the time of this article, the high where I’m from is -18 Fahrenheit which is insane. This coldness is more on par with Siberia, Antarctica, and the top of Mt. Everest than the part of America where I’m from. If you’re dealing with this, then please stay warm and take care of yourselves.
Okay, now onto the subject at hand.
I’ve been wanting to make an article like this for a long time now. The thing is I appreciate whenever people create some truly unique things. Whether it’s music, film, art, literature, or other subjects, I really like it whenever people craft things that no one else has thought of before. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not against adaptations on principle, building off other works while acknowledging inspiration, or even parodies/satires when done right.
What does grind my gears is whenever I hear people say things such as “Oh, everybody rips off things”.
In my opinions, I find that to be intellectually insulting and just lazy thinking.
At the risk of sounding arrogant, I do try to be as original as I can be with my various works such as my spoken word projects, poems, reviews, music, books, and other things I create. One of the biggest compliments you could give me is telling me that no one else sounds like me, writes like me, or that I’m an innovator in whatever I try. Yes, I’m certainly influenced by others, so I’m not going to lie to you, but I want to be unique in my creative endeavors. There’s one quote from Oscar Wilde that I like a bit too much: “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery that mediocrity can pay to greatness.” I truly believe that some people aren’t even trying and just follow the leader in music, film, books, etc which I find to be quite slothful.
So why does this make me the bad guy for wanting originality to still be a quality worth desiring?
Seriously, I’ve been made fun of for mentioning how I like more original content as others dismiss my tastes for whatever reason. Possibly it’s insecurity on their part, but I could be wrong.
Over the years, I’ve been realizing how many things have been stolen whether it’s movies, art, video games, or something as extreme as cultural appropriation. You have artwork from Benin and Senegal that’s in European museums without those country’s permission. There’s an obelisk in Ethiopia known as the Obelisk of Axum which was stolen by Italy and a certain leaning tower bears similarities to it. For those who’ve checked out some of my film and anime reviews, I’ve mentioned a few examples. Yes, one of them involves this nefarious lion named Claw from Kimba the White Lion as seen in the featured image who predates a certain other villain let alone other characters in some popular movie by 44 years (or 29 if you only count the anime), yet Tezuka Productions never got credited to this day for that series. If you got triggered by that picture, well…that says more about you than it does about me. Besides that, I get tired of people even resorting to scripture by saying “There’s nothing new under the sun”. I know it’s in Ecclesiastes, but did those same people miss “Thou shall not steal”? Sorry to mention theology in this post, but I needed to use that example to prove a point.
With all these rampant remakes, clones, and frauds going on, it’s really tough for me to cling on to a bunch of media. It’s no wonder I try to make my own stories, music, blogs, and other things. Does me appreciating the innovative make me pretentious? Do I see others as peons for only liking whatever the mainstream spoon-feeds them? I hope it’s not the case for the former, and I certainly don’t want to think that way about the latter.
The image of Claw is from The New Adventures of Kimba the White Lion and is property of Tezuka Productions.