Can you call somebody 'derivative' as a criticism?

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thom1197

New Member
English - England
From Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn:

"I apply the color, check my watch, and linger in the doorway, looking out over miles of flatland pocked with fast-food restaurants and motel chains. I can feel an Indian crying. (Nick would hate that joke. Derivative! And then he'd add, 'although the word derivative as a criticism is itself derivative."

I can't find anything about calling somebody 'derivative' as a criticism online, but I'm guessing it is to do with the definition:

'something that comes from something else' [ http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/derivative ]

Can somebody please help me out?
 
  • PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    A derivative is a later variant of something that is original. A derivative is not original. When talking of the arts (and I include jokes) original things are always better.

    "Nick would hate that joke. Derivative! = Nick would hate that joke. He would say that it is a derivative of an earlier and better joke!"
     

    thom1197

    New Member
    English - England
    Thanks! I was really confused because I thought that Nick was calling the speaker 'deriative' instead of the joke.
     
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