Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Culture of Derivation

Let's discuss derivative culture. Is art, say a novel, based on the work of another artist, say a well-loved novel, art, or just derivative art? Even if the second generation work is really good, would it ever stand alone as good art? Recently I was in a Barnes & Noble, and was shocked to see the number of contemporary novels about Mr. Darcy. Jane Austen's Mr. Darcy. The smoldering love-god from Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy as portrayed by Colin Firth in the A&E presentation of the BBC's 6 hour long Pride & Prejudice, only to be out-smoldered by the hardly-faltering vulnerability of Matthew Macfadyen in the 2005 remake. Despite my obvious affection for Mr. Darcy, I had to wonder how good any of those novels could be. Where have all the fabulously good original ideas gone?

We need some new heroes. A cowboy would be nice, please.

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