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Thread: Thoughts on Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

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    The Poetic Warrior Dark Muse's Avatar
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    Thoughts on Reality Hunger: A Manifesto

    I just saw an interview on The Colbert Report with author David Shield's about a new book of his called Reality Hunger: A Manifesto and the entire book is put together via plagiarized quotes and originally he did not want to giving any citations for the quotes used, but the publishers would not go for that, so he had to compromise and place in the very back of the book in fine print a list of citations.

    His reasoning behind doing this is because he believes that all art is theft, and he wants to push the boundaries farther, and try to redefine writing to bring it into the 21st century as he sees it. According to him, authors today are still stuck in 19th century conventions.

    He wants to encourage authors to ignore laws of appropriation as a way, from his view, to bring literature up into the 21st centuries and break out of the 19th century constraints.

    I have to say I generally enjoy unconventional things, and I rolled this over in my mind trying to be open to the idea, but it just does not sit well with me. I personally just don't like it and I didn't care for his overall demeanor during the interview.

    As well personally I don't think he can truly be called an author, at least not for this work, because quietly literally all he did was cut and paste an entire book.

    Haha perhaps I am just being shackled to those 19th century ideas. I am curious to hear what others think about this whole thing and if anyone else has heard of the book or by chance read it.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    to simply smile stephanson's Avatar
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    i think the basis of all poetry is derived from previous things a writter has read and what he/she has learned. i for one base a lot of my poetry on biblical or mythological allusion referring to life as being something greater then just living.

    I can't really say that i conform to the convetional 19th century literature and i do not believe the most famous writters did. for example on of the greates pieces of literatue "Heart Of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad did not conform and was infact a very modernistic piece of literature.

    I cant really say where im going with this however i agree with you that i do not believe he can be called a writter if all he has done is copy and pasted other peoples work.

    just a little rant haha
    Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

    s2tephanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanson View Post
    i think the basis of all poetry is derived from previous things a writter has read and what he/she has learned. i for one base a lot of my poetry on biblical or mythological allusion referring to life as being something greater then just living.

    I can't really say that i conform to the convetional 19th century literature and i do not believe the most famous writters did. for example on of the greates pieces of literatue "Heart Of Darkness" by Joseph Conrad did not conform and was infact a very modernistic piece of literature.

    I cant really say where im going with this however i agree with you that i do not believe he can be called a writter if all he has done is copy and pasted other peoples work.

    just a little rant haha
    I think the key difference is that while perhaps no once can come up with an original idea especially in this day and age, they still use their own words. I think there is a difference between being inspired by another source and actually stealing from it.

    They take an idea that mayhap's has already been done before but they created into something of their own, they put their own work and effort into it, and if they are successful to give it a fresh and original spin which has not already been done.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    to simply smile stephanson's Avatar
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    could it be that a writter who can effectivly create a original peice of work simply base it on there own experience. one could write about death and yet so could another but the content maybe similiar but the context be worlds apart. does this then suggest originality? or does one have to create a new idea completly to make something original?
    Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

    s2tephanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanson View Post
    could it be that a writter who can effectivly create a original peice of work simply base it on there own experience. one could write about death and yet so could another but the content maybe similiar but the context be worlds apart. does this then suggest originality? or does one have to create a new idea completly to make something original?
    I do not think originality need necessarily come from something that has never been thought up before. In life pretty much all humans on earth experience they same things, at some point in life have the same emotions, yet all lives are different, we are not all identical. Everyone may experience death, love, anger, etc... but for each individual it is an original experience, even if similar to someone else's.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    to simply smile stephanson's Avatar
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    where as David Shields is suggesting that being original IS the completely new idea?
    Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

    s2tephanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanson View Post
    where as David Shields is suggesting that being original IS the completely new idea?
    I think he is suggesting that originality does not exist and never really has, which is why is not even going to bother to try and be, and he thinks that such attempts at originality are just a farce and dusty old ideas that have no place in the modern age.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    to simply smile stephanson's Avatar
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    valid point. i somewhat agree i believe that originality should question previous ideas hence creating new ideas
    Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

    s2tephanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanson View Post
    valid point. i somewhat agree i believe that originality should question previous ideas hence creating new ideas
    If everyone accepted the idea that originlaity was a waste of time, there would be no art to start with.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    to simply smile stephanson's Avatar
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    yea. but i also believe that the basis of ideas have to stem from somewhere and should question greater things which make the human brain work that little harder and constantly question what is being said is right and wrong in society
    Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

    s2tephanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanson View Post
    yea. but i also believe that the basis of ideas have to stem from somewhere and should question greater things which make the human brain work that little harder and constantly question what is being said is right and wrong in society
    I personally do not think creating a cut and paste book with others creations is truly coming up with some greater idea, what would be the future of literature if everyone embraced this idea, and no one bothered truly making anything of thier own anymore?

    Even if all ideas are inspried from somewhere else surely that is better then if everything was reduced to recyling the words over someone else?

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    to simply smile stephanson's Avatar
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    very true - i hate the idea of simply cutting and pasting however that says a lot about him as a 'writter'. to simply cut and paste is purely uncreative and not interesting.
    Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

    s2tephanson

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    Quote Originally Posted by stephanson View Post
    very true - i hate the idea of simply cutting and pasting however that says a lot about him as a 'writter'. to simply cut and paste is purely uncreative and not interesting.
    Haha to me it makes him sound like a lazy hack, trying to cover up that fact by B.Sing about some statement he is attempting to make.

    Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dared to dream before. ~ Edgar Allan Poe

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    to simply smile stephanson's Avatar
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    yeaa i agree on that completly haha
    Above all, be true to yourself, and if you cannot put your heart in it, take yourself out of it.

    s2tephanson

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    Isn't a 'cut and paste' book usually called an Anthology?

    Who was it said, 'I have gathered a bouquet of other men's thoughts - only the thread that binds them is my own?' (Someone French, I think it may have been Montaigne.) In which case the 'creativity', such as it is, is to see a connecting theme between otherwise randomly selected bon mots from other writers. So Mr Shields is himself repeating an idea that was first thought of in the sixteenth century.....

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