South African Wisdom

Read Write Culture

My obsession with the remix is pretty well established.

I believe that culture is recombinant, that new ideas come from remixing old ones, that stealing is genius, but copying is lame.

That taking something and making it into something else constitutes fair use, that preventing it will ossify our culture and that thinking that way will render you obsolete, painted into a copyright corner.

That, like the postmodernists, you can attempt to create a higher order of meaning by standing on the semantic foundations of other creations, employing referents rather than starting from scratch.

That all culture is implicitly a comment on that which has come before. 

That the remix is the very nature of digital [to steal from Gibson, the sage of the age], of copy and paste, of hypertextual linking, of the internet.

I'm an especially big fan of enticing those pesky, fickle consumers we spend so much time begging for attention [like a child doing handstands and begging its parents to look, always being disappointed and crying "Hey your not looking!", half indignant half heartbroken] into messing with our ideas. I think it's crucial.

If people are interested in messing with our ideas, that's awesome: they are paying us some attention. And if people add something of themselves to what we do, that gives them a reason to pass it on.

In one of the new batch of TED talks, Larry Lessig explains the whole thing more eloquently than I could hope to, with better slides.

[Thanks Saul]