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"The Source Material Is the Most Original"

leamirella's picture

Yeah, since I like to "bend" the rules, I'm posting about something different from academic writing within a particular discipline. :)

As I've mulled over our class discussion and the reading for the week, I've started to notice a trend. There seems to be a binary between that which is citable (so the source material) and the paper, or equivalent, that we are creating that takes from the source material. However, I don't think that this is the case. Rather, I don't think that what we consider to be the source material is completely original. I think that the "source" is not limited to just the one piece of material. Instead, it is infinite and can't trace where the source actually begins. I'm using an image of reflective mirrors (as is seen above) to demonstrate my point.

In "Twelve Fallacies in Contemporary Adaptation Theory", Leitch writes that one fallacy is that "the source material is the most original" and I think that this is pertinent to our discussion. In Lethem's example of how Nabokov took the story of Lolita from Lichberg, I ask the question: is Lichbery really the "original" writer of the piece? Quite frankly, I think no. His story must have evolved from encounters with others, if not, real life characters that he must have come across. To write a story about people and create it so that it is believable, it must have elements of 'real life' - being a social being (as all of us are), you could argue that his source material is actually what inspired him to create what he did. Thus, nothing is "original" in his story - everything is an assemblage of sources of inspiration in his case.

So what is "original" and from that, what is an "original source"? According to my dictionary, it is the "present or existing from the beginning; first or earliest:". If we consider the infinite mirrors that I used to demonstrate my thinking of the original souce, then there really isn't a beginning. Thus, how is it possible to define what is the most original if what is considered original in the first place does not exist?

To drive the point home even more, I'm considering this blog post. What are my sources? Well, Leitch and Lethem. But what about the class discussions and interactions that I had that sparked the thoughts that I am now writing? What about other classes, other discussions, other interactions within this social world that have influenced my ideas that I am now presenting? Do I give people credit for that? Is that even important?

To end, I want to leave with a quotation from a friend: "all thoughts are just cars with new paint jobs".