Plagiarisms, etc. (The Ecstasy of Influence by Jonathan Lethem)

Artists and their surrogates who fall into the trap of seeking recompense for every possible second use end up attacking their own best audience members for the crime of exalting and enshrining their work. These nearly microscopic men in hats and coats scurry among an archipelago of desolate street corners, flattened brick-littered lots, a traffic island with a newspaper stand, and the Long Island Rail Road terminal, the only evidence for which above the ground is a pipe-and-plywood scaffold layered with decades of torn posterings. Those two sentences were plagiarized from Jonathan Lethem’s new book of essays, “The Ecstasy of Influence,” which argues for such abandonment of ownership, and which you should read.

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