hang him on my wall,
Andy Warhol, silver screen
can't tell them apart at all"---David Bowie
The United States Supreme Court upheld the Mickey Mouse copyright extension, by which Congress extended the life of copyrights to many favorite characters and creations, including the venerable mouse's early films. I considered this a defeat for the creative process, as intellectual property whose initial copyright term had permitted full realization of its incipient value was once again removed from its entry into the public domain. Copyrights have a purpose, to encourage commercial exploitation of expression, but copyright expiration has a purpose, as well--to limit the monopoly to a reasonable term.
But I begin to wonder whether all media will not ultimately be redefined in the longest run, regardless of legalities. I'm not saying that I'm a big proponent of the napster/kazaa notion that any corporately-owned media should be free for private distribution which avoids the retail system. On the contrary, I've never seen the short-sightedness of the RIAA as a basis for the wholesale copying of material in a transparent effort to avoid paying royalties to property owners. I mean instead that although the potential for the new and different is still alive, so much of the arts is now blend and assemblage. I see nothing wrong with this--art is what art is. But whether one is speaking of "High Art" or popular forms, derivation seems to be demi-god.
Once it was fashionable to make bold declarations--things tended to die in such declarations. One killed God; another the novel; still another, art, and yet a fourth settled for rock 'n' roll. When all the declarations were made, though, none of the declarations defined anything about the ways things actually are. The bold statements just ended up being anomalies of context--things that proved true only if one has defined the pre-conditions so as to "make them true".
Sometimes I think that the creation of an aesthetic is the birth and death of all creative effort. If only a movement can be defined, then its ideas can be expanded, yet ultimately contained. In this view, critical thought becomes a big mason jar, to store the tadpoles of new ways of looking at things. The chaos of jazz reduces in but three generations to academic reflection. The French movements of the early decades of the 20th Century get consigned to scholars' boxes. Perhaps the Shakers had a point--don't reproduce,just let the enthusiasm of faith pass with the first generation.
But my own view is that people are interlocking creatures. What matters is not the "newness" of the arts (or ideas) created, or their ability to redefine. What matters is the divine shiver of ideas, stretching across some subcultural meme. Perhaps in this small way the other 90 percent of the brain matter activates. Perhaps this is the Word that is In the Beginning. I find the notion of Universal Mind limiting, because it assumes that some spiritual cognizance defines all there is--which seems to me an unsupported theory. But if all people somehow have the potential to trade ideas, in a "marketplace" of derivation from one another, that's a less mystic but more impressive exchange.
The idea of "interlock" of diverse people appeals to me. Today I noticed that an LJ friend had "dropped" me whose election to do so mildly surprised me. In fairness, though, I rarely commented lately in the friend's journal, and my own journal wanders pointlessly and repetitively so often. It's so much easier sometimes to make posts than it is to hold up one's end of the unstated bargain, and participate in journals with which one does not always resonate. I rarely worry too much about this dropping and adding, as it seems so natural (and much easier than junior high proved to be). But I did wonder if I could not have been a better "LJ friend" and learned more, through absorbing different ideas than my own.
I wonder if one should not bring a different kind of "mindfulness" to LJ--the sense that one can absorb and absorb, like a sponge, and assimilate and understand and experience confusion and then reprocess somehow. But even as I write the words, I realize that all the words are just words. The real way to experience others journals to just that--to "experience them". It's an act of communion, isn't it? An act of drinking wine and sampling bread and searching out Grace. The cosmonauts gloated that God was not in outer space--but perhaps the search for universals still requires a bit of derivation from what has gone before. I don't know about all that--I just know that I want to listen better, and drink more deeply of what I read.