Words created equally…

September 19, 2016


The twenty-first century, with its queries so different than that of the last, finds me responding from another angle. If it’s a matter of simply cutting and pasting the entire internet into a Microsoft Word document, then what becomes important is what you – the author – decides to choose. Success lies in knowing what to include and – more important – what to leave out. If all language can be transformed into poetry by merely reframing – an exciting possibility – then s/he who reframes words in the most charged and convincing way will be judged as the best. I agree that the moment we throw judgment and quality out the window, we’re in trouble. Democracy is fine for YouTube, but it’s generally a recipe for disaster when it comes to art. While all words may be created equal – and treated thusly – the way in which they’re assembled isn’t; it’s impossible to suspend judgment and folly to dismiss quality. Mimesis and replication doesn’t eradicate authorship, rather it simply places new demands on authors who must take these new conditions into account as part and parcel of the landscape when conceiving of a work of art: if you don’t want it copied, don’t put it online!

Kenneth Goldsmith
The Challenges of Twenty-First Century Writing

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