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In “Ecstasy of Influence: A Plagiarism,” Jonathan Lethem argues that there is no such thing as originality: that we all borrow from the same cultural commons. But as Lethem and Ferguson’s “Everything is a Remix” remind us, increasingly, that commons has become filled with material placed under copyright. The result is a strange situation where we are discouraged, not encouraged, from building off the work of fellow artists.
For this final Power Paragraph, I want to know if you agree or disagree with Lethem and Ferguson. While they both make a powerful argument, indeed, it is a controversial one: and this is your chance to explain why you believe, or disbelieve, the point he is making. Is originality really impossible? Is everything derivative at this point? And if so, is it a bad thing?
For this assignment, you are expected to write at least 6 sentences, with a strong introductory sentence. You are also expected to (perhaps ironically!) quote and cite Lethem at least once. For this final assignment, I want to see you branch out a bit, so try to avoid examples we already discussed in class, or that come up in “Everything’s a Remix.”


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