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.

Things I Learned from Disney Movies (or How Jaded I’ve Become with Reality and Adulthood)

WARNING: The following poem is scathing in it’s honesty and has elements of caustic sarcasm in it. I’m normally a literal person, but the rare times when I get sarcastic, I’m merciless with it. Don’t expect me to hold back and not just because I’m not a fan of this company.


The Happiest Place on Earth was all a lie in hindsight.
I certainly wanted to be happy and joyful, yet I was never meant to have that kind of positivity. I could die not visiting those castles in Orlando and Anaheim, and I’d be okay with this (Sure, I’ve been to Orlando, but I never went to THAT place).

There were things I learned, but I never realized some of these things until I was in my teens or even as an adult.

I learned that beauty always equals goodness because ugly people are worthless at best or evil at worst.

I learned that happy endings come to those who don’t work hard or work smart. Well, only for certain people, that is.

I learned that originality is a sin, so it’s better to adapt, buy the rights to something or outright plagiarize someone else’s work.

I learned that princes don’t look like me.

I learned that true love is the only things that matters.

I learned that if you’re female, then you better be a size 2 at worst. Being very emaciated or obese is tantamount to being evil for those lacking a Y chromosome.

I learned that wishing is the best way to get what you want. Well, only for certain people.

I learned that fantasy is more important than reality.

I learned that you can sing your cares away because nothing EVER bad happens in musicals (Bjork reference!).

I learned that Africa is more appealing to the animators when there are no humans who look like they are from the continent. It’s a lascivious fantasy for both furries and open racists. Yeah, I said it!

I learned that stories should be recycled for that cash flow.

I learned that poverty and homelessness aren’t really THAT bad especially if you’re a stray animal.

I learned that cultural appropriation and racial degradation is the name of the game although the Polynesian community managed to be taken respectfully though.

I learned that you can’t be a hero unless you have at least one dead parent. I guess broken home lives are better for them?

I learned that life isn’t like the movies and I wished more people would notice this. Not everyone will have the same experience and some are targets of ridicule. I pity those edified by a mouse.

Originality Isn’t Dead

Abuse quotes from Ecclesiastes
Piled upon excuses over excuses
Encouraging stealing and giving carte blanche
All show me how lazy and lacking in creativity these individuals are

I’m tired of robbers being rewarded
As they try to slaughter innovative ideas
They weren’t dead, but at worst…they were on life support

No one dares to try
It’s all about safe bets and still waters
In order to keep everything cloistered (as much as they wanted to be)
What ever happened to doing new things

Despite all the rampant copies
I know originality isn’t dead
Those who dare to implement innovations in all forms
Need to be known
I was guilty not appreciating everyday inventions from the unknowns
Even as some weren’t allowed to patent their creations because of their skin color

I have respect for the innovators
You can only rehash for so long

Being Constructive

I was not going to die useless
Even when I’m not at my day job(s)
I’m always creating something
The term “renaissance man” has been thrown at me before
I don’t mind it that much
I know how to work in multiple media

What does concern me is how much people (don’t) care about my creations
The kind words can only go so far
Creativity is my lifeblood
Yet no one care when I spill it into my own projects

Fighting Doppelgangers (Why Do the Masses Exalt Them?)

Image result for k9999 tetsuo

IMG_4111

Deified clones storm the way
At the altar of superficiality and petty fandom
The subterfuge from the creations of expensive gods
Becomes canonized into the minds and hearts of their deluded believers

The congregation bows to the duplicates
Without question or concern
Entertained by their subpar existences
Owed to others far greater than their mediocre lives

It’s time to silence the cacophony from this overpaid choir

There are those who want to expose every lie churned out
And to expose the real originals to drive the point home
What’s the matter?
Can’t handle the dosage of red pills and sodium amytal?

Woe to those who craft the precepts of denial
Ronnie Martin said it right when the good are starved
From decades of being forgotten
KRS-One was right. The thief is no greater than whom they steal from.
They will know their idols shall crumble
The true history shall appear
The clones will fall asunder at all costs


All photos property of their respective owners and used under US “Fair Use” laws.

Images of Tetsuo and K9999 are from Retro Injection

Tetsuo Shima from Akira is property of Katsushiro Otomo and Kodansha.

K9999 from The King of Fighters series is property of SNK Playmore.

Fan art of Claw and Scar is from WhiteLionWarrior at DeviantArt.

Claw from Kimba the White Lion is property of Tezuka Productions.

Scar from The Lion King is property of Disney.

Since when did appreciating originality make me the bad guy?

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.