the Second of Four Gibberings on Originality
And what’s really wrong with selling out? With proclaiming “Unputdownable” Patterson as your god and mapping out your own beach read mystery series with a spunky female lead and loveable animal sidekick?
Good literature doesn’t sell. Most of it will sit on the shelf until maybe the spine catches someone’s eye. Unless you’re on a talk show or a big name already, you’re probably not going to get noticed. Then you’ll get returned and recycled into the next Alex Cross Christmas giveaway novella.
On the other hand, if you write some bondage filled Twilight fan fiction you’re set for life.
People seem to have learned their lesson somewhat between Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. With Twilight all you heard was women and teenaged girls squealing about how it was the greatest book every written, oh my god! the story is so good, and it’s so well written—you have to read it! By the time 50 Shades of Grey those squealing voices proclaiming the next Nobel Prize for Fiction have quieted a bit. Everyone admits the writing is shit, but there’s sex in it and a rich guy telling you what to do. Might as well win a Pulitzer.
Name one of the finalists for the Pulitzer Prize in Fiction.
Name Bella Swan’s hometown.
Now go fuck yourself.
Clearly originality is overrated. Can you still be creative working with someone else’s idea, taking their work and using it as a foundation for your own? Inspiration from the already inspired. New writers are brought in on TV shows and movies, and no one cries foul on their reworking of someone else’s idea.
There are anthologies out there of short stories inspired by songs and whatever else. Why is that acceptable? Stories inspired by works of art are fine, but not stories inspired by other stories. Movies inspired by other movies. Why not borrow from them, they’ve already borrowed from somewhere else.
Copies of copies of copies of copies. Merging,copying, adapting, constantly rewriting what we don’t like.
Isn’t that what the human race is anyway? If art imitates life then it makes sense that we should constantly be borrowing and adapting, remaking, rebooting.
Covers of songs are acceptable. Remixes two weeks after the original is released is completely run of the mill now. Completely normal there, but announce the Amazing Spiderman, and suddenly everyone’s saying, “Whoa whoa whoa, too soon!”
Two homes can have the same foundation, the same exterior walls, the same shape. But the interiors can be completely different, with different rooms of different sizes, individual layouts and distinctive decors.
From the outside they may appear to be the same house, but take the time to walk through them and each will show you another world.
Or maybe the only difference is where they put the shitter.
Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere centers around an ordinary guy in London getting drawn into this mysterious world below the city. He has to travel into this London Below to save a woman. Grand fantastical adventures and such ensue. Heard that before. Not very original. Sounds like a hero’s quest into Hades. How many myths reused that idea, the quest into the underworld?
Anyone ever see the first Troll movie? Probably not. The sequel to it is considered one of the worst movies of all time, but the first one, staring that kid from the Neverending Story, centers around the Potter family moving to a new apartment in San Francisco. The original ADA from Law & Order is in it too, he plays the senior to Noah Hathaway’s Junior Potter—and their first name? Harry.
Yeah, one of the worst film series of all time has ties to one of the most successful film series of all time, the main characters’ names are Harry Potter.
Way to go J.K. Rowling. Real original.
And while we’re on the subject of Troll, there’s a remake planned for a 2012 release with the same director as the original and a budget of $65 million.
So while roughly 12 million people are unemployed in this country, the worst film series of all time gets to give it another shot with a budget over sixty-five times the original. The best of the series, the first one, which a handful of people have actually reported sitting through in its entirety, only made $5 million.
That seems about right.
The director and producer of that original 9th place opening weekend box office juggernaut try to stir some shit every once in a while by claiming Rowling ripped their film off, not only with the name of her character but several other details or scenes.
What other elements did she steal from you? Magic? I don’t think that one’s yours.
Of course she denies that their piece of crap in any influenced her, and how would it? When would she have time to watch some shit American movie that barely ranks above Manos: the Hands of Fate? Plotting one’s conquest of the entire planet can be time consuming.
If anything, they should both be thanking her, because without the near god-like status Harry Potter has achieved, they wouldn’t be remaking anything.
Have I mentioned Sonny Bono is in Troll? He gets turned into a tree penis. Or something. It’s been a while since I tried to watch it.
Anna is the mother of two little girls around eight and ten years old.
Anna is a fervent critic of the book Go the Fuck to Sleep, so much so that I’ve had to listen to her complaints about it on multiple occasions. She has nothing else to do but complain apparently.
She isn’t alone in her condemnation of the book and of the message she finds in its picture book illustrations juxtaposed with alternating sweet lyrical rhymes and frustrated and profanity laced cries to go to sleep.
Karen Spear Zacharias wrote in a CNN.com article, “Still, there’s no denying the reason “Go the F*** to Sleep” should be kept out of reach of children is because of its violent language and because of the way it demeans children.”
You’re absolutely right, it should be kept out of reach of children—because it isn’t a fucking children’s book. What, because it includes short, rhyming lines and illustrations it should be considered a kid’s book? I’m pretty sure the Kama Sutra has illustrations as well, but I don’t hear any parental outrage over that. What about The Giant Book of Dirty Limericks? That has short, rhyming lines, lyrical almost and descriptive; that sounds pretty similar to the set up of a kid’s book. Yet, I don’t have customers coming and complaining about our sex books or dirty limericks.
Let’s ballpark it here, I’m going to call it about four- to six-hundred sex books in the store, and at least two dozen of those are Letters to Penthouse. Now some are innocent enough in terms of sex books, they’ll talk about making love and romance, spicing up your marriage or relationship, trapping women into having sex with you, that kind of thing.
The rest (by rest I mean the majority) will graphically describe and depict a number of sexual techniques in rousing titles such as Tickle His Pickle; the Hands On Guide to Penis Pleasing, and Ride Em Cowgirl; Sex Position Secrets for Better Bucking.
But I’m not getting lectures about these.
I’m not getting lectures from stay at home moms about selling Last Tango in Paris, and not simply selling it, but it’s marked down and for a month was on a display visible immediately upon entering the DVD department.
You know what’s sitting on the same display? Lolita. That was actually on a display for a while with a sign over the table that read, “Mother’s Day Gifts for Every Interest.” Not one complaint about that.
These last two examples, of those movies’ placement on displays, I bring up because that’s what this mom was complaining about, or the particular issue she was wasting so much of my time with. The book was offensive, she absolutely made that clear. She thought it disgusting and vile, but it was our placement of the book on the Customer Service desk.
This customer complained that we were, “cramming this book down [her] children’s throats” by displaying them at the Customer Service desk. She felt “assaulted” by our flaunting of this title. Apparently our having a stack of these books on the desk is tantamount to us handing one to every child as they walk through the door, and then slapping their parents in the face with a second copy.
That’s what we’re doing, isn’t it?
What we’re doing couldn’t possibly be putting a stack of bestselling books that we sell a dozen copies a day of within easy reach? This isn’t the evil bookstore promoting the degradation of our society for the sake of money. I know you want to think it is. I know you want to vilify the company. But that’s not what’s going on.
This is laziness. This is convenience. I don’t feel like walking the two hundred feet round-trip that it would be to the humor section three times an hour. I’m not trying to promote the seed of Satan here, I’m just trying to save time.
This book brings evil a whole new level though, apparently, in that it has the power to suck in children who get to close to it. Anna didn’t want this book on counter, facing the kid’s department! just feet from summer reading tables! at perfect eye level with her children!
What monsters we are! Evil, innocence stealing, bookselling monsters!
Just by looking at it, children have been known to disappear. Beware! This book is like the basilisk set loose from the Chamber of Secrets, except instead of petrifying mudbloods it steals children’s souls.
I have no other explanation than evil powers, since Anna was very upset with the fact that the book faced the summer reading books and kid’s department. She asked that we display it instead facing the “other filthy books promoting child abuse.”
Unfortunately we haven’t received all the product for that display, so it hasn’t been set up yet. I promise though Anna, as soon as it is I’ll move this book over.