I whole heatedly agree…
Oh dear, Banksy…
Chances are pretty good you’ve recently seen the “Banksy on Advertising” quote that begins, “People are taking the piss out of you everyday.” The passage is from Banksy’s 2004 book Cut It Out, and it presents the idea that if advertisers are going to fill your world with ads, you have every right to “take, re-arrange and re-use” those images without permission. The quote has been posted widely on Facebook, Tumblr, and Twitter, which is where I found it.
Here’s the interesting part:
Most of it is swiped directly from an essay I wrote in 1999, in the “Death, Phones, Scissors” issue of my zine Crap Hound. The first paragraph is more or less original, but the rest is mine, right down to the same words and phrases.
It’s hard to know how to feel about this. My first thought was, “Hey, Banksy reads Crap Hound!” Then, “What the fuck is going on?” Then, “Am I a real person? Am I actually happening?” And finally, “Am I a beautiful flower angel sent from heaven to inspire Banksy?”
As problems go, it’s a pretty nice one to have. I like Banksy’s art and ideas. I’m flattered he liked my writing and my sentiments, and I’m happy others liked the quote enough to post and forward. I’ve seen forums where people are debating the passage, including rebuttals from ad-agency twats. It’s on wikiquotes and a hundred blogs. My essay never would have had that impact on its own.
The downside is that Banksy’s name is always on it. Seeing my writing credited to someone else makes it a little less magical. Same with knowing that one day (maybe soon, since the issue in question is being reprinted), I’ll get to hear how I ripped off Banksy.