A political drama-comedy premiered last week. The lead was a lurching AI bot.
Despite the claimed sophistication AI uses language in simple semantic protocols. This became evident when the two protagonists, Boris and Theresa, swapped lines and swiped at each other even though neither was in the same room.
Nevertheless, the walking-on spectacle was seen as a triumph by some, akin to the entrance of the Queen of Sheba. To many others it was ludicrous. Opinions are always divided with comedy; humor is personal and subjective.
I feel especially annoyed having heard that Swedish song twice last week. It is frequently played in shops and markets, and, no doubt in multi-story garages; its shimmering banality is perfect gebrauchsmusik while buying onions and carrots, or galvanizing the waverers over Brexit policy.
It compared with a series of political satires-sitcoms, and if it seemed like a Spinal Tap moment, it was. We should be grateful a miniature Stonehenge wasn’t lowered to the stage while July from Holst’s Planets played. One of them, Theresa most probably, might have danced around it, as Boris keeled over.
The song and staggering act is reflection of the influence of reality TV and political satires. Audience familiarity made it conceivable to present a politician attempting to sashay to a forty-something year old song as a self-deprecating gag. It implies the smug inside jokes TV presenters have with their viewers. The staleness of the conceit was ideal for an older audience.
The overall impression is that politics has emulated Hollywood: imagination and creativity is unnecessary, it simply takes proven creative “solutions”, in this case sitcoms such as Veep, and presents them in familiar tropes which are likely to work in particular situations.
The astounding thing is that the stunt was seen as authentic, in fact as a return to vigorous authority. But just as high concept movies play well across diverse demographics, the effects disguise the emptiness.
It’s said that the public are disengaged from politics, but why would they be otherwise when they are given bad sitcoms, using 40 year old sketches and props. With shows like Veep, good writing and casting is essential to maintain a high standard. In the show business of politics no such quality control looks possible.
©Copyright Guy Cranswick 2018. All Rights Reserved.