I often wonder if the great artists of the past would have made their great art if they had to spend their time tweeting, instagramming, and that sort of thing. Would Michelangelo have put the Sistine Chapel on his Instagram Story every time he painted a stroke? Would Beethoven have livestreamed his work on “Fur Elise”?

It seems unlikely but hey, you never know. And yet I can’t help but wonder how detrimental it actually is. The very nature of social media seems to take an artist out of their creative zone, so to speak, and one wonders what kind of original ideas can be generated when the internet exists as a sort of hyper-feedback loop.

You see this in Hollywood, how the movies seem to reflect the times we’re leaving in, more reactionary than anything. You want women, we’ll give you women! And, you see it in design, too, how everything now looks the same — lots of straight lines, bright whites and millennial pink. People aren’t designing, more so reacting to a design that already exists and duplicating it. It’s easy to do, so why not.

But everyone throughout history has copied others; trends didn’t start with Instagram, they have been here forever, they have always existed and they always will. Only now, it takes a fraction of a second to check in on them, and when you do, the inspiration to create seems nebulous at best.

What filmmaker could get inspired to make a movie when there are fifteen million of them on Netflix that nobody has watched? The very point of making something at all is to do that which the ordinary person cannot. If everyone can make a movie, what makes you so special?

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Wrote for the New York Times, New York Magazine, Esquire, Rolling Stone, Vice, Fader, Vibe, XXL, MTV News, many other places.

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