The above image is from the cover of legendary print zine Crap Hound by Sean Tejaratchi (pronounced “tedge-uh-RAH-chee,” and no, it’s not Japanese, it’s Persian). The issue depicted above—#6, DEATH, PHONES & SCISSORS—was originally printed in 1999.
While preparing the issue for a Kickstarter-funded reprint, it came to Tejaratchi’s attention that part of an essay from the original zine had been—what’s the word?—”unfairly used,” or “co-opted,” or “plagiarized,” or “stolen”—and reprinted in a 2004 book by mysterious graffiti spirit god Banksy in his book Cut it Out.
Compare and contrast Banksy’s now-viral quote with the original from Crap Hound:
Tejaratchi posted about the inappropriate appropriation the other day on the website of Portland independent bookstore Readying Frenzy:
As problems go, it’s a pretty nice one to have. I like Banksy’s art and ideas. I’m flattered he liked my writing and my sentiments, and I’m happy others liked the quote enough to post and forward. I’ve seen forums where people are debating the passage, including rebuttals from ad-agency twats. It’s on wikiquotes and a hundred blogs. My essay never would have had that impact on its own.
The downside is that Banksy’s name is always on it. Seeing my writing credited to someone else makes it a little less magical. Same with knowing that one day (maybe soon, since the issue in question is being reprinted), I’ll get to hear how I ripped off Banksy….
My zine, Crap Hound, is full of “swiped” vintage advertising from 1920-1970 that was drawn by anonymous commercial artists. The crucial difference: I don’t pass those images off as my own. When writing appears without attribution in Banksy’s book, the natural assumption is that he wrote it.
The story even hit Gawker yesterday. The main point of contention is that there’s a difference between merely using someone else’s words or art and putting your name on it.
Banksy, who seems to think it’s cute to steal other people’s words and art, could not be reached for comment, presumably because he was somewhere throwing a rock at a corporation or stenciling Trotsky’s mustache on the side of a McDonald’s.
In almost entirely unrelated news, Tejaratchi—who is rumored to keep a database of over 7,000 fake band names he has concocted after his experiences working as a graphic designer for an indie label in California—has one of the best Twitter feeds in the Twittersphere @ShittingtonUK.
Some of his recent Tweets:
Kanye West is so dumb he probably has another brain under his balls so he can walk.
Pretty sure the lady ahead of me in the self-check-out lane was drugged and being filmed for some kind of Japanese game show.
Let’s breed small dogs that explode after a few thousand barks.
I imagine Newt Gingrich starts each morning’s pee by expelling the clot of grape jelly that’s accumulated during the night.
Such a shame the “Don’t hate the player, hate the game” defense was thought of so long after the Nuremberg Trials.