North Texas Daily

Originality is not needed for art to be good

Originality is not needed for art to be good

Originality is not needed for art to be good
March 24
12:00 2022

As an art form, storytelling can impact anyone and everyone. Whether it be the creator of the media itself, or the audience — storytelling can bring about plenty of emotions when you get invested. Good storytelling engages us and makes us want more while bad storytelling can be unsatisfying and disappointing.

Similarly, analyzing and reviewing content is beneficial. It allows consumers to know about a piece of media and its quality (or lack thereof). Analysis shows if a piece of media is satisfying or not, and whether to give it the light of day.

However, one piece of criticism that is used far too often is the originality of the material or its duplication. To sum up, one will mention how something is likely not original or unoriginal.

It is an argument that’s been a source of frustration and annoyance. As a critique and as an argument, it’s one that’s not only flawed but very faulty and easy to debunk. Let’s really think about it: every story told ever has some element of another form of storytelling in it.

As the saying goes, “Everything has been done before.” No matter how hard one may try, there is little to no way to be completely original in any way, shape or form.

Plus, when one really thinks about it, isn’t the argument of something not being original in itself unoriginal? If so, that would mean using the argument is redundant, self-defeating and serves little to no purpose except wasting time and expelling verbal fertilizer over nothing.

It’s good when a story or piece of media tries something new or is its “own thing.” However, if it’s not completely original, is that really a bad thing?

In fact, there are plenty of stories that wouldn’t exactly qualify as “original” and you know what? That’s OK. Something doesn’t have to be original to be good, just like how it doesn’t have to be original to be bad. It’s not the originality or lack thereof that should matter, but rather the quality and execution of the storytelling in question.

If you look through tons of TV shows, movies, video games and other forms of entertainment, you would find many stories based on something else or has elements of other stories. There are a multitude of Disney films that have been based on, or were adaptations of various novels, comics and fairy tales.

Besides the naysayers who whine and fuss about how it works or doesn’t work as an adaptation, these films are often appreciated for following as much as they could from the inspiring source material while trying to be its own thing and actually being good on its own.

While this argument is one that will never be laid to rest, there can be work done to get past it. We can strive to come up with other ways of reprimanding media for the lack of trying anything new in ways that are better thought out, and sound like they actually put in time and effort into their arguments.

A piece of entertainment is not automatically bad if it isn’t what one would call “original.” In fact, a talented storyteller can take something that’s been done before and find an interesting, new or unique way to use it that allows it to stand out.

Featured Illustration By Miranda Thomas

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Grant Tittle

Grant Tittle

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