Thursday, 15 January 2015
Imitation, they say, is the greatest form of flattery. I’m not sure I necessarily agree entirely; on marking my current class’s assignments I realised you can get too much of a good thing. Or in this case, too much of a bad thing. You would expect that in the age of near-universal interconnectedness when copying your mate’s homework you would at least be able to find an app to select a mate with the correct answers. But no, when you routinely cut and paste your world together why bother going to the trouble of reading it before you print?
This isn’t new of course, but at least back in the days when you had to laboriously copy stuff out by hand there was a faint glimmer of the possibility that you might actually learn, albeit accidentally, some little something while you scribbled out your facsimile on the back seat of the school bus. Now – and for quite some time now – it has become the norm to lift your assignments wholesale off t’internet, secure in the knowledge that hard-worked teachers and lecturers, overwhelmed by the sheer weight of supporting equality and diversity paperwork would cast only the most cursory of glances over your piracy.
But it’s not just students who are seduced by easy-access plagiarism. Aside from that middle east medieval no-go area artists spent centuries knocking out garish reproductions of religious figures until they got bored and started just chucking paint about willy-nilly. Writers, if you accept the thesis that there are only seven basic plots, spend their entire careers re-hashing other people’s work. And in journalism today so fast-paced is the information stream that stories are regularly half-inched, tweaked, presented as ‘news and consigned to history within hours. Nobody notices though because, as the French say, plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. And so to politics.
I wonder how many actual, original policies there are? One on immigration, one on health, one on dealing with Johnny Foreigner, one on ‘the economy’ and maybe a few more, here and there, but little of any real innovation or novelty. Nothing new under the sun; no wonder the various parties are loath to broadcast their latest variation on the same old shit; come up with a brave new tagline and before you know it the others have stolen it and sold it as their own. A bit more of this, a bit less of that; when it comes down to it that’s all the choice you have.
The only thing to differentiate between the three Europarties seems to be the skill of their scriptwriters, turning kitchen sink drama into summer blockbuster to get bums into seats. But we’re getting wise to that nowadays. When you watch a crowd-pleasing Hollywood thriller you know who the bad guys are by the actors portraying them and while you may not guess the plot twist you know there’s bound to be one… although when you get to it you wonder why you never saw it coming. Which is why, despite the big studio offerings, it’s the low budget, indie-house Ukip, The Movie which has been creating the buzz so far.
Beautiful British badinage...
But there’s a copycat killer on the loose. In a barely disguised parody, comedian Al Murray has launched FUKP to broadly try and do to Ukip what Ukip has done to the big three. And just as the big three can’t lay a glove on Nigel, the Kippers are powerless to do anything to counter the ‘Fuck Ukip’ party except watch, laugh along if they can bring themselves to and hope that enough people realise what is really going on. But the pub landlord might want to be careful what he wishes for; in deliberately sabotaging Farage, posh boy Alistair Murray, scion of nobility, might well resurrect Labour. Politics - even if it looks new and sounds different you can be assured it's the same old shit.