Shia Labeouf: “Should God sue me if I paint a river?”

Hot on the heels of his apology in the clouds, Shia Labeouf has provided additional proof that he should probably shut up for a while. The Beef recently did an email interview with BleedingCool, in which he asserted that “authorship is censorship” in a series of misspelled missives when asked to defend his plagiarism. Basically, he’s not sorry for plagiarism because he doesn’t believe in the concept. Hey, Shia, how’d that defense work out for Wesley Snipes vis a vis tax evasion?

From Bleeding Cool:

SHIA: In the 21st century there is NO personal language.

Just personal selection of language.

We are products of editing.

Not authorship.

Appropriation has been the most influential theme in art sense the 70s.

If you look at Warhol’s work and say ” oh well he didn’t paint that – its just silk screens ”

Your missing the point.

Our notion of genius- a romantic – isolated figure – is f*cking outdated

An updated notion of genius would have to center around ones mastery of information

And it’s dissemination

It’s the 21st century, thug life

It wants to be fee.

I think it’d be funny if Daniel Clowes shanked Shia in the ribs with the butt of a sharpened tooth brush, and then when Shia turned around to ask why, Clowes would just say “It’s the 21st century, thug life,” and walk off.

BLEEDING COOL: As for “it wants to be fee” – is that a Freudian slip? Information may want to be free. But should the author be able to demand a fee?

SHIA: Authorship is censorship

Should God sue me if I paint a river?

Should we give people the death sentence for parking violations-

You’ll not only have less parking violations but less DRIVERS.

“Should God sue me if I paint a river?” (*hearing this, the Supreme Court justices call for an immediate recess*) (*returning, Chief Justice John Roberts takes the mic*) “That does it, everyone. Shia Labeouf has solved plagiarism. We’ve voted unanimously to award him the Nobel Prize for keeping it real.” (*Van Halen’s “Beautiful Girls” fades in, dance party commences*)

SHIA: The word law is against my principles…

This is my new favorite sentence.

…The problem begins with the legal fact that authorship is inextricably

bound up in the idea of ownership and the idea of language as

Intellectual property. Language and ideas flow freely between people

Despite the law. It’s not plagiarism in the digital age – it’s repurposing.

Copyright law has to give up on its obsession with “the copy”

The law should not regulate “copy’s” or “reproductions” on there own.

Ah yes, here comes our history lesson and public policy recommendation from the guy who can’t differentiate “you’re” and “your” or “there” and “their.”

It should instead regulate uses – like public distributions of copyrighted work –

That connect directly to the economic incentive copyright law was intended to foster.

The author was the person who had been authorized by the state to print there work.

They were the ones to be held accountable for the ideas.



Simple – should creation have to check with a lawyer?

Shia’s radical idea? “Film critics are mean, you guys.”

Nothing is original

Creativity is just connecting things

Oh man. This interview. It’s as if Shia is personally defining a new species of Existential Buffoon – The Barely-Literate Revolutionary. Tonight we dine at Chez Guevara!

I hate to actually address his idiotic points, because that feels like letting him win on some level, but let’s take just the “language and ideas flow freely between people” part. I would argue that if a person was really about language and ideas flowing freely, that person would acknowledge his “references” to other peoples’ work. Warhol’s soup can painting works because everyone knows where Campbell’s soup came from and Warhol isn’t trying to pass off the design as his own. Taking a lesser-known artist’s work and passing it off as your own (which Shia did, his short film was playing film festivals for the better part of a year before people realized it was plagiarized) isn’t free-flowing information, it’s deliberate obfuscation.

But really, it doesn’t take more than the common sense of a three-year-old to tell you that pretending someone else’s idea is your own is a dick move.

But hey, at least it’s an ethos.

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