“It’s been estimated that about half the books published between 1923 and 1963 are actually in the public domain—it’s just that no one knows which half. Copyrights back then had to be renewed, and often the rightsholder wouldn’t bother filing the paperwork; if they did, the paperwork could be lost. The cost of figuring out who owns the rights to a given book can end up being greater than the market value of the book itself. To have people go and research each one of these titles, it’s not just Sisyphean—it’s an impossible task economically. Most out-of-print books are therefore locked up, if not by copyright then by inconvenience.”

Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o: “I don’t think that there is any work that only a certain community can understand. Or if there is, it is bad art.”

Marina Abramović made me cry.

A “culture vulture”, according to the OED, is a person who is very interested in the arts. But on social media, and especially in the hip-hop community, it is used in an entirely different sense.

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The idea is that the accused persons are vulture-like scavengers who appropriate other cultures for financial gain. This use of the term is so widespread and intuitive that it will almost certainly end up in dictionaries as an alternative definition.

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