November 28, 2014

"The smell of opium is the least stupid smell in the world."

Something Picasso said to Jean Cocteau, according to Cocteau's "Opium: The Diary of an Addict."

Why did I find that?  I was looking for something else. I'd been saying that the "Only reason to analyze art is to figure out how to copy it," and that connected to a well-known saying: "Good artists copy; great artists steal." But who said that?
Steve Jobs? Pablo Picasso? T. S. Eliot? W. H. Davenport Adams? Lionel Trilling? Igor Stravinsky? William Faulkner? Apocryphal?
That made me remember something I'd read more than 30 years ago: Picasso was staring at a Cezanne painting, and someone asked him what he was doing and he said — I'm only paraphrasing — I'm looking for things to steal.

15 comments:

rcocean said...

Confessions of an English Opium-Eater - Thomas Penson De Quincey

1821

Wilbur said...

Mimeograph ink. Ahhhhh.

Does it even exist anymore?

surfed said...

No. You're not even allowed to have white out in your teacher desk. I kid you not.

Terry said...

To steal something is to make it your own.

Be said...

The Ex used to say that Post Modernism was People Doing Sh#t with Sh#t.

(Love this!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XSccHqk9s64

Wilbur said...

You don't smoke opium for the smell.

ken in tx said...

It's probably not mimeograph you are thinking of. It's spirit copier fluid. It made purple copies that smelled so good. I used it until the ancient one in the teacher's work room quit working in '03. I still had a box of the spirit masters left, but the school district wouldn't repair it.

chickelit said...

Why are you into rationalizing theft by artists?

The Ferguson thugs are not artists.

Wilbur said...

Ken, it was indeed the purple copied papers, but it was always referred to as "mimeograph" in our grade school. I never heard it referred to as anything else.

m stone said...

Another reason why Picasso was an artist and not a writer.

Tyrone Slothrop said...

IIRC, the "great artists steal" quote is from Debussy.

Steven Wilson said...

It was my understanding that T. S. Eliot said
The young poet copies, the mature poet steals."
Not quite the same thing but close. I always was suspicious of the source as I never identified T. S. Eliot as having a sense of humor.

Todd Grimson said...

"Chasing the dragon" (smoking tar heroin) has a distinctive smell that doesn't carry real far, unlike marijuana. Some people feel that if you smoke rather than inject it's somehow "safer," or better for you, than if you inject. You don't get as much of the active ingredient as you do if you shoot it up IV.

The recent reclassification of Vicodin (htdrocodone), so that each rx requires a written prescription and it can no longer be refilled over the phone may result in a "collateral damage" uptick in the use of heroin, because if it's going to be a hassle, even with legitimate use (addressing pain), then why not.

buwaya puti said...

Thats the essence of every serious profession. Good engineers copy good engineers as much as they can. The world would get nowhere if the useful people weren't busy copying good ideas.
That's what I always told my kids, but for some incomprehensible reason their schools had policies against copying essays.
This may explain why the rate of innovation has fallen.

Bryan Townsend said...

Actually, I think it was Stravinsky: "Composers don't borrow--they steal."