Stop Creating

Having worked in advertising for many years as a “creative director,” I can tell you that, despite what cultural pundits might say, creativity—as its been defined by our culture with its endless parade of formulaic novels, memoirs, and films—is the thing to flee from, not only as a member of the “creative class” but also as a member of the “artistic class.” Living when technology is changing the rules of the game in every aspect of our lives, it’s time to question and tear down such clichés and lay them out on the floor in front of us, then reconstruct these smoldering embers into something new, something contemporary, something—finally—relevant.


The article is signed by Shia Labeouf, but, as reader Shannon Mattern points out, Kenneth Goldsmith is the one who teaches a class at the University of Pennsylvania called “Uncreative Writing.” This article is plagiarized from the introduction to Goldsmith's book.

As Goldsmith reminds us in Uncreative Writing, the idea isn't new. Walter Benjamin had long dreamed of a work made entirely out of quotes. The Arcades Project was the closest he came to that ideal.


  1. Actually, Kenny Goldsmith (of ubuweb fame) teaches “Uncreative Writing” at Penn, and Shia’s a [bad] actor! — which leads me to believe that this entire article is a pastiche from other sources, a la Jonathan Lethem’s “Ecstasy of Influence” in Harper’s from 2007 🙂


  2. I wondered about that possibility, especially in light of the recent revelations about Labeouf’s plagiarism. You’re right: Kenneth Goldsmith teaches the course at Penn. I figured The New Inquiry would have checked this out.


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