If you’ve been living under a new media rock, then you might not have heard of Kirby Ferguson’s “Everything is a Remix” series. If you have been fortunate enough to watch it, you’ve been treated to some very well researched videos that explore the notion that in modern times there is no more original thought. Everyone is just copying, or worse yet stealing, previous works. Ferguson doesn’t dispute that fact. He just simply points out that it has been going on for centuries.
His latest video is another myth-buster. Specifically the mythology of invention. Ferguson points out that copying is one of the key elements of creativity. We so insularize the modern day inventions and inventors in our history that we don’t realize the ideas that were duplicated from previous, less well know creators that enabled the breakthroughs. The common theme is that we remember the mass marketers of an invention, and not the true inventor(s) who were copied from. As musician Damon Albarn once said “the whole thing about pop music is that you’re ripping off as many people as you possibly can, and the trick is to listen to the right people”.
Through parts 1, 2 and now 3, Ferguson hammers home the point that copying is what has advanced our society in every facet. However, it is no less work to copy previous works, and it is the tedious tinkering that has produced the breakthroughs, improvements, and radical changes in our lives. Now go watch these three videos if you haven’t already – and then have at those remixes.
Hat tip to the inimitable timmmmboy for scooping me on the latest video. I had been waiting for it, but he beat me to the punch.