Lethem’s essay reminded me of a concept discussed The Unbearable Lightness of Being, a book I just started reading by Milan Kundera. Kundera opens his novel with a brief description of Nietzsche’s concept of eternal return. This idea basically states that anything that exists once and never returns is meaningless. I think that art, no matter which form, builds on itself and no artist is successful without the influence of others in his or her field. However, artists are scared of unoriginal aspects of their own work due to the influence of others. This fear is unwarranted because influence is not only inevitable, but necessary. On the surface, the idea of having another work influence your own is different than plagiarism. However, when I looked at plagiarism with the idea of eternal return in mind, plagiarism took on a whole new meaning.
With Lethem’s essay, we again see the message through the mode of conveying it. At the end, we realize that everything in the essay was taken from other texts and pieced together. I think that the essay being a collage text was not only clever of Lethem to do, but added a complexity to his message and essay itself.