Sunday, March 20, 2011

Gladwell Something Borrowed

In Something Borrowed, Malcom Gladwell makes the point that borrowing ideas can be alright in some cases because it improves and builds on existing ideas.  He uses several examples to support this idea.  His first example is from a friend of his who works in the music industry.  His friend played several songs which had similar composition.  “He played “Angel,” by the reggae singer Shaggy, and then “The Joker,” by the Steve Miller Band, and told me to listen carefully to the similarity in bass lines.” (69).  Another is the passage from the book, Free Culture, by Lawrence Lessig.  Lessig uses the metaphor of buying a picnic table and copying your neighbor to show the point that the neighbor isn’t hurt at all from this copying.
I thought this piece was an uncommon view to look at plagiarism.  Throughout all of my years in school, I was always told that plagiarism is bad regardless of the situation.  The fact that many popular songs and movies originated from older pieces is something that rarely crossed my mind in the past.  The piece was a bit confusing at first especially, but interesting nonetheless.

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