Is there such a thing as an original idea? Or have all inspirations already been had? Are all thoughts actually the result of cannibalization?
When we look to the arts and entertainment, we are pressed to realize there truly isn’t anything new under the sun. Broadway musicals are usually adapted from movies. Movies are usually adapted from books.
Books are usually adapted from the lives of others. There are even strange re-cannibalizations of properties like Little Shop of Horrors and The Producers and Hairspray and Phantom of the Opera where they all began as a movie, then became a Broadway musical and then were re-made as a movie musical.
The worst re-re-cannibalization of a work is the revival where — after a tenterhooks wait of a decade or so — a Broadway musical is re-staged or a movie is re-made. We are expected to re-pay for the re-experience and re-applaud anew. Re-Boring! “Revival” is a synonym for “we are out of ideas and our original aesthetic is corrupt.”
The Broadway Tony Awards even created a new award category for — “Best Revival” — or, as I call it, “The Biggest Bore of Something UnNew.” Are political ideas sensitive to this kind of uninspired rehash of what has gone before? Are we still able to think critically — or are we doomed to only imitation in our analysis? When does something stop being new and fresh?
Is originality only popular with the yearning uneducated and the bitter young? Is it possible to be surprised any longer?