Friday, February 02, 2007

The Agony & The Ecstasy

Some talk about the anxiety of influence - the deadening paralysis brought on by the crushing weight of the artists that have come before you - but Jonathan Lethem writes wonderfully in Harper's about the 'ecstasy' of influence. The beauty of second use. Appropriation, intertext, allusion, theft, plagarism may all be words for the same thing: Bono said 'Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief / All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief.' Art is a succession of talents; the work one artist began thousands of years ago with Gilgamesh gets picked up by another after his death and it continues down through history, the whole of our culture and creativity passed from generation to generation - across generations - like a title, a secret, or sacred duty.

And here we go.

How to bake a planet.

The Red Sea is parting again - and so is the entire continent of Africa.

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