With an unprecedented amount of available text, our problem is not needing to write more of it; instead, we must learn to negotiate the vast quantity that exists. How I make my way through this thicket of information—how I manage it, parse it, organize and distribute it—is what distinguishes my writing from yours.
I am sorry but these people are thinking of writing in all the wrong ways. Writing is a form of communication using written letters to form words which represent ideas that the writer is trying to convey to other human beings. Part of the exercise and value of writing is taking what you experience or your thoughts, ideas, stories and making them accessible to other people. I have no problem with small amounts of plagerism, and I don’t think any written texts are sacred, but the purpose of writing is to think in words and have those words make sense to someone else. It is a way that we can overcome the isolation of the body and the limit of lifetimes. If you are copying someone else’s ideas word for word without adding anything or making something new from it, then you are involved in a meaningless and mindless task. This is not writing it is copying.
There is a certain amount of courage necessary to put ideas from your head into words and then put them out for others to view. If you really think that there are no new ideas to be put into words then please do something else useful with your time. Don’t reprint an issue of the New York Times in book form for god sakes. If anything we need more people willing to think hard enough, gather ideas, organize them in ways that make sense to them, and put them out there so that maybe someone else might finally get it. If all you do is reprint the old things than there are two losers. You, because you are not using the mental process you would go through in order to communicate ideas and those people who might understand what you would have to say.
And the idea that writing is 50 years behind painting, or that visual arts are behind music, is a ludicrous apples and oranges kind of argument. They are completely different ways of thinking and expressing ideas that cannot be compared one to one in a meaningful way. Anybody who argues that one form of expression is behind another is thinking in a linear way that is not helpful to the creative process anyway. Writing is right were it should be. Words will change. Grammar will change, but writing will continue to be what it is. Anybody retyping Jack Kerouac‘s “On the Road” or printing their credit applications in book form should not be thought of as advancing the art of writing. Unless they can explain why they are doing it, they are not advancing the use of the written word in any way. They are wasting time and anybody writing about them is also wasting time(maybe I am wasting time now). Typing is not writing. Reprinting is not writing. Writing is a process in which our ideas form in our minds and are communicated to other minds through words. The process is often frustrating as thoughts often have to crammed into words by force and at odd angles. But, it is that simple and will always be that simple. It is just the hardest work imaginable, maybe that is why people are typing and copying instead.