Oscar Wilde once said Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life. I beg to differ. I think it’s more of a vicious circle (or a glorious circle, depending on how you look at it.) It’s an equal-opportunity borrowing situation. Life imitates art. Simultaneously art imitates life. Each feeds into the other, each repetition coming up with more complexity in the process.
Take movies for example. A certain movie may come up with a novel way of robbing a bank. The story writer did not come up with it in a vacuum. (S)he has access to volumes of prior art both fictional and biographical to base or build up the story on. (S)he just added a twist to it, albeit a novel one never encountered my anyone else before. Someone with a bank-robbin-itch sees the movie, thinks it’s a brilliant idea. Then (s)he proceeds to add a few of their own twists to it, maybe as simple as using different numbers of people, or something more advanced like adding a new technique to opening up the safe. The bank then proceeds to get robbed. (S)he may or may not end up getting caught. The story about the robbery then proceeds to get published. Thereby being consumed into the creative minds of millions of other people. Some of whom may be movie script-writers.
The movie “Firewall” was just released. I just read about a real-life robbery apparently inspired by the movie. I don’t know particulars about the actual robbery. What I am certain of is that someone will create another movie or a book, picking up particulars about that robbery and add details of their own. It would be fun to have this tracked and look at the results, like 20 years down the line. Maybe a good use of the cross-reference engine that I’ve been thinking about creating. More on that later.
This doesn’t just apply to movies though. It applies to all kinds of art. You just have to sit down and think through the art pieces you really like, read up on the history of that art or the biography of the artist. Eventually, I’m sure, you’ll find a link to something in real life that the art was inspired by. And eventually, you’ll find a link to something in real life that the art inspired. And so it goes.