Adonis Diaries

Posts Tagged ‘Brecht

Plagiarism: Any problem to you? (Apr. 6, 2010)

            “Original “works in all fields (scientific or artistic) are extremely rare.  In fact, originality is constantly pending until antecedent works are discovered in other languages, other dying languages, very ancient languages and myths.  All works basically are borrowing processes of ideas, notions, imaginations, methods, or myths.  Goethe has written something to that effect: “We always talk about originality.  What would that mean?  As we are born, the world around us affects us and we interact with our environment and people till we die.  Then, what is my own particular world and my originality? If we could recall all that we owe to our family, relatives, community, teachers, mentors, the books we read, our predecessor and current influences, would anything remains of our knowledge and ideas that we could claim to be ours?”

            Charles Baxter in “The soul thief” wrote: “Note that he never claimed the paternity of any of his ideas. He is in a kind of Artaud’s state of mind: all ideas have no origins and no sources.  In applying this axiom, then anyone may claim other people’s ideas as his own.  The end result is adapting to or adopting the inner lives of everyone else.”

            For example, a young German girl of 18, Helene Hegemann published her first book “Axoloti Roadkill” and sold a lot of this good book; she was even nominated for the “Leipzig book fair” until the blogger Deef Pirmasens revealed that most of the content, context, and paragraphs were copied from an unknown novel “Strobo” that was published on internet by an anonymous blogger named Airen.  Airen said: “I was just recounting my life problems as a therapeutic exercise to demonize my delirious state of mind.”  Airen is no longer writing because he fell in love and is happily married.  Hegemann is unperturbed; she said: “Originality does not exist; what exists is authenticity.”  I feel that even authenticity does not apply to Helene’s case since she didn’t experience anything of the events in her novel.  Helene got rich and Airen got married!  Airen replied candidly: “Axoloti Roadkill would still be a super novel even without the plagiary process of texts”

            Thomas Jefferson once said: “Who receives from me an idea is receiving knowledge without diminishing mine; it is as if you lighted your candle off my lighted candle:  You got light and didn’t diminish my light.”  There are many books describing plagiarism over the centuries.  I will give a few examples.  Virgil claimed that he was plainly mining the pearls out of Quintus Ennius’ dung.  Brecht confessed that is was fundamentally lax in referring to authors he abundantly borrowed from. Goethe published “The divan (seat)” in 1819 that was composed of a variety of borrowed text mixtures. Elfriede Jelinek received the Nobel Prize for literature in 2008 though most of her citations were based on Holderlin, Kafka, and Heidegger.  Elaine Sturtevant got famous copying artistic works of unknown but promising artists such as Duchamp, Beuys, Warhol, Stella, and Gonzalez-Torres.

            In this age of internet everyone is heavily borrowing by the shovel full; we call this process “dissemination of culture and knowledge” or adopting alternative states of mind.  There is nothing wrong borrowing and adopting ideas if they are useful changing your life.  My problem is to not making what you borrowed part of your life, for example to making money as in marketing what is the customs or mode in order to be projected in the limelight or becoming a public figure: that would be total hypocrisy.  The great artist or author is the one who plugs in relentlessly until one day he feels that he became a true artist out of sheer will, work, and energy expenditure.

Note 1:  Current books on plagiarism are: David Shields in “Reality Hunger, 2007”; Marie Darrieussecq in “Police report, 2010”; Anne Fadiman in “Nothing new under the sun”; Jonathan Lethem has issued a long article on cut a paste works based on the works of Walter Benjamin “The book of passage”, Graham Rawle “Diary of an amateur photographer”, Eduardo Paolozzi “Kex”, David Shields, and Pamela Jackson.

Note 2:  The topic was inspired from “Courrier International” number 1012.

“Farewell Beirut”, by Mai Ghoussoub (Part 3, November 16, 2008)

Note: Paragraphs in parentheses are my own interjections.

The third part of my review was hard and I delayed it too long because the demons that Mai is battling with are spread throughout the book.

I decided not to try to have a coherent or logical links among the different emotions that were troubling Mai and I will leave it to the readers to do their own homework and reflections.

The main theme in “Farewell Beirut” is “revenge” and the associated concepts of honor, genocides, nationalism, heroes, traitors, denouncers, martyrdom, punishment, hate, love and the fundamental human emotions that might be interpreted differently through the ages, and civilizations but where the moral values of wrong and right should not be left to personal matters of point of views.

There are cases of transient insanity such as degraded human values, mocked tradition, and disobedience of State laws and rules.

For example, why we tend to be more lenient toward the rotten moral values of officials simply because they didn’t show rigidity in the mind?  If we admit that “traitors” are the product of dictatorship and wars and that this breed of people are present in locations fraught with danger (then most of us might have played the role of traitors under the right conditions).

People have the tendency to be more lenient with deficiency in morality than with extremist positions in ideologies and religious beliefs.

For example, burning witches is related to extreme social and religious dogmatism as a reaction for seeking consensus in an established social order.  Heroes are not necessarily that honorable; take the case of this child who denounced his father who helped a few Gulag prisoners to escape to the soviet authorities and in return was awarded a medal of honor and much propaganda.

Take for example the French women who had sexual relationship with German officers during WWII and many of them begot offspring; they had their head shaven since hair is the most representative of female pride.

These head shaven ladies were the scapegoats to releasing the emotions for frustration and rage among the hungry Parisians. The worst part is that the mothers brought their kids with them to watch the dishonoring ritual. The women watchers are badly dressed which reflect a bad conscience in being part of the ceremony.

While the German used modern techniques to hide their genocide, the French “victors” adopted medieval means to humiliate and get revenge on the traitors and informers.

John Steinbeck said “We cannot take pictures of war because war is fundamentally emotions“.

In our back head, we always have fears for the reaction of those we have persecuted. The French star singer Arlettie reacted furiously and said “What! Are they also meddling in how we use our sex parts?”   Many women had to survive under siege and everyone according to his potentials and skills.

The Argentinean navy officer Adolfo Silingo said:

“I was responsible for killing 30 people with my own hands and I do not feel remorse or repentance because I was following orders and I got used after the initial shock surprise. We knew that we were killing humans but we kept killing them!  The civilians were in a semi comatose state from torture and we threw them out of the airplane like puppy dolls.

Most of the navy contingents participated in these mass killings” Adolfo is spending his life drunk on the streets trying to forget the “dirty war” during the dictatorship against his own people.

General Paul Tibits who dropped the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima is not penitent.  These kinds of people were once considered heroes: how do you view them now?

Hanna Arndt would like to comprehend “Why these people did chose to stop thinking?

Brecht screamed in one of his plays “Woo to the nations that count too many heroes!

Simone Veil didn’t take it personal that she was incarcerated because she was Jew; she was interested to know “how people are propelled into a climate of condemning and defaming others

This question is pertinent “Is it legitimate to hide truth in order to secure social peace?

How can we manage to forget and yet not take chances for the recurrence of the same sorts of atrocities?”

It is most difficult to find common denominators among the concepts of justice, moral values, and politics when judging cases of genocides.

Bertolt Brecht said: “Tragedies is about human suffering expressed in less seriousness than comedies. The perpetrators of genocides are not great criminal politiciasns but simple people who allowed horrifying political crimes to pass”


adonis49

adonis49

adonis49

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