You know what I really hate? This leftover hipster energy that basically points out at everything being “unoriginal” or a “ripoff.” I am sick and tired of people or websites speaking about how things are “too cliche” or “it’s already been done.” And then some holier than thou smug person decides to create a blog about it, listing all the archetypes that people are bored of, or any tropes that they can’t stand reading or watching again. To me, this would not be the most inspiring kind of person to be reading. Yet, everyone seems to dig it.
I came across a really good quote the other day though: “Stealing an idea is called ‘plagerism.’ Stealing many ideas is called research.”
I was really impressed by this. The more I look back on shows I watch, games I play and books I read, the more I recognize hints of ideas that were previously published. But these ideas were combined with others to create something new and fresh, instead of just re-inventing the wheel.
A good example of this was Dirty White Boys by Stephen Hunter. This dark but humorous story told the tale of three men breaking out of jail and then going on a killing spree. Throughout the book, I would think of Natural Born Killers meets Oh, Brother Where Art Thou? Strange combination, but it was pulled of quite well.
The thing about cliches is that they are subjective. One who has experienced Star Wars at the age of five might grow tired of a “farm boy growing to his destiny” trope, while someone who has never seen the movie until they were seventeen might think it is the greatest thing ever. It’s all about what you are exposed to.
I’ve come to use the term ‘homage’ other than ‘ripoff’ and ‘cliche’ these days. Things that we have experienced before should be honored in a positive light, not buried away in a safe where it cannot be touched.
It’s sad to see people so bored with things these days. I guess that’s what happens when you have everything you ever want at your finger tips. New generations will always be overexposed to whatever they want, and the days of having to wait for something to experience it are long over.