A central part of literary critic Harold Bloom’s theory of artistic influence is belatedness, the feeling an artist experiences upon realizing that everything he or she hoped to say has already been said. For Bloom, wrestling with the legacy of one’s predecessors is a vast and underexplored part of artistic creation; each new work is inevitably—even if subconsciously—in a dialogue with previous works by other artists. But Bloom’s theory doesn’t allow much room for true innovation, those moments in the history of civilization when a single visionary artist creates something entirely new, filling a gap in the canon that only seems obvious in retrospect. For example, until this year there has never been a movie called The Legend of Cocaine Island. And now, thanks to Netflix, there is a movie called The Legend of Cocaine Island.
That’s one small The Legend of Cocaine Island for a man, one giant The Legend of Cocaine Island for mankind.