Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Dumbing Down 4/08/09

The first man to compare the cheeks of a young woman to a rose was obviously a poet; the first to repeat it was possibly an idiot.

Salvador Dali
Is it Spring yet?
I truly believe there is such a thing a moral idiocy. How else can one explain the bland, inane, vacuum headed, stone hearted stealing of someone else's ideas and claiming them as one's own? A malicious thief knows what he's doing. He knows that what he does is unethical but he doesn't care. But there are those who can take another's wares oblivious to the fact that they are potentially harming that person's reputation, credit or even, maybe, his livelihood.

Imitation is flattery they say and no doubt that's true. To do something "in the style of" or to acknowledge the inspiration of someone else's work is certainly acceptable flattery. But to walk off with another's work and take credit for it without acknowledging and respecting the owner's right to it is wrong, it's reprehensible, it's stupid.

I was doing a comedy in Florida. In one scene I made a funny exit from a chair by tripping over the foot stool. An actress saw me do that in rehearsal, thought it was clever so did it herself. But she did it earlier in the play which made my moment look like I was copying her. The director was a very savvy man. The next day the foot stool was gone. I came up with a different funny way of doing the bit, a way she couldn't copy.

I was doing a drama in New York. There was a scene where my character had to viciously slap one of the others. I had my character prepare for it by removing my jacket and hanging it on the back of a chair. A brainless actor in the show saw mw do that and he had to do it, because it looked dramatic. But once again he did it earlier in the play so I had to come up with a different approach.

I did two remote live broadcasts from big record stores in New York City. It was a tough job. Four hours on my feet talking to people and selling CDs and CD players over the air. There were contests and such. Chairs were set up so that an audience could watch me. I got everyone's name who was involved in the presentation. At the end of the first broadcast I read through the names and thanked everyone before I returned the broadcast to the station. The all applauded me.

I did the same thing for the second broadcast, but the producer who had watched me do that the first time and thought it was neat. took the microphone from me just before the end, did all the thanking, got the applause and turned the show back to the station himself as if he done all the work. He's a moral idiot.

When I returned to the studios the next day one of the announcers said to me "He stole your curtain call. Why is he still alive?" And that's when I coined the remark "They can steal my fish, but they can't steal my ocean."

That quote has found it's way into other people's mouths who now think it belongs to them. One man heard me say it and wrote it into a film script, twice. If that script is published he will go down in history as having invented that aphorism. That's moral idiocy.

I say, come up with your own way of describing the fair maid's cheeks. Don't take another person's ideas, inventions and wares and pretend their yours. And if you can't do that at least place the credit where it belongs.

End of rant.

DB Vagabond Journeys
May blessings dwell over your head and under your feet.


Gerry said...

There used to be a playwright in our workshop classes who if she saw anything she liked in your play she would promptly steal it and put it in her own, so I got so if I especially treasured something I wrote I did not read it when she was there. Gerry

Linda S. Socha said...

OBVIOUSLY you are an innovator and an original!
I like that about you actually

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

I love the Dali quote. One of these days, I need to check out a book on his work, it is so unique.

In today's age, it is so easy to rip off another's thoughts and ideas and pass them off as their own. We are blending what makes us unique, making it harder for forge our own identities.

Of course, there are some who buck the trend, and those are the ones we need to support :o)

Beth said...

A Dali book has been retrieved from Beth and Ken's library for Ken to read. I knew I had one!

I completely agree with your rant. Those who aren't clever enough to come up with their own material find it necessary to "borrow" others'. It's not borrowing, it's creative theft.

I love your fish quote. That's brilliant!

Hugs, Beth

Rose said...

I love the Dali quote and your fish quote the best!

Hugs, Rose

Just Bill said...

From an old man who never had an idea:
I have probably stole a lot of words and acts in my time. Never knew what to do on my own. Please forgive me.
Can I borrow you fish and ocean saying? I will give you credit every time I use it.
The sun will come out tomorrow, Bill

Maire said...

DB~May Spring refresh your spirit and awaken your soul again.
The amazing thing about unoriginality and lack of creativity is that eventually it alienates you from the art or craft you strive so hard to be a part of. Make sense? I love your Dali quote; thank you for inspiring me to do more reserach on Dali~
Be well, hugs Maire

Linda's World said...

Can I say I love the Dali quote too? But I also love you fish & ocean quote. The last job I worked, when we had an issue come up and were told to put our heads together & try to come up with a solution...there was one co-worker who never had an original thought. So we'd sit around & discuss the issue and then before our meeting with the supervisor... would take a mix of the ideas & write them up and submit them to the supervisor & make herself look like the hero. She'd get all the credit & I'm sure the supvr. thought the rest of us were as dumb as a box of rocks. At first we fought it but then decided to let her have at it. Eventually, she got found out ~ we knew that would happen. Our spring is over...rain, wind & possibly snow is in the forecast. Linda in WA

Donna said...

Oh, but I HAVE to use that phase, "He can steal my fish, but he can't steal my ocean"!

I can say it about all the neighbors who trespass on my property and take morel mushrooms.

If I put it in my blog sometime, though, I'll give you credit.