The Case of Suicide Squad: Accusation of Plagiarism in the Global Era 

The South-African Alternative Rap duo Die Antwoord accused the David Ayer, Suicide Squad’s director, of copying their style in representing the characters of Joker and Harley Queen in the movie, out last week. Anyone can judge it by watching this video below.

The root problem of such allegation of  ‘aesthetic theft’ is that Die Antwoord did not invent anything brand new or completely poured it from a parallel universe. They felt the trend. They became exponents of something and someone bigger, something that for sure belonged to them, but nothing that can be conceptualized by a sole few. Instead, they all contribute to it. What Die Antwoord did in fact, was adding their taste to something pre-existent. Artists grasp from pop culture, not the opposite. Suicide Squad’s director put in place a process of gathering a perception of contemporary pop culture and adding it to a Marvel. He dipped his biscuit in the Millenials’ cup of decaf Tee. That is why they liked his movie so much, while they critic did not.
Millenials liked it because those two characters look exactly how their Instagram idols look. No merit, no creation, and a lot of good and sane appropriation. This is not in any way a bad thing in contemporary art (I am putting all together in the huge messy hodgepodge of art) since inspiration comes from pre-existing things. Artists re-elaborate them. For instance, they see a stove and draw dead flowers. What their eyes do is another story.

Still, through an appropriation of things and ideas, artists can do valuable works. Adding something great, a new gaze makes something with their own style on it. The Director copied and pasted the IG preferences of whatever mainstream millennial. Differently, Die Antwoord brought a mixture of the Western Culture with the South-African one. This is why they are so cool.

David Aye made a movie on the basis of what he thought to be this trend; he wanted to exploit tastes he believed to have grasped. But rather, he got the attention, not of the unaware creators of this trend, but of their fans. The creators, as I said, are probably unaware of what they are doing. For sure, they live in a niche. They ride the waves of a pattern that they hate and love as much as they love and hate being such an integral part of it. This whole bunch of people I am talking about, have probably not a name yet, I would say something like ‘Hardcore Boredom’ and them to be the HBs.

In conclusion, what is plagiarism really in this case? So much of art is based around taking pop culture and adding your own twist to it, making it your own. Nothing is wholly original anymore, so how does someone or a group of people have the authority to “own” something that is absolutely based on preexisting concepts and ideas? This is more of a case of going with the flow of trends, not biting completely from something explicitly.

About Diletta Bellotti

AvatarI am bizarre. Yet I have mainstream passions: I like beautiful things like art, nice people and silence. I hold firmly my values of peace and respect, I may sound very strict and annoying at this point. I used to paint but I quit, I used to read lot of poetry but I quit. I basically quit lots of things since the whirl of daily news absorbed my time and my energy. I am an optimistic fatalist and go with the flow, a flow I dammed myself.

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