Thursday, February 14, 2008

Blurring the Boundaries

I have just chanced upon a curious page on the US government website, entitled Bipartisanship on SCHIP, apparently posted on behalf of a member of the US House of Representatives, and featuring two Simpsons characters (Burns and Quimby).

I guess the intent of the page is to demonstrate that SCHIP must be a bad thing, because Burns and Quimby both approve of it. QED. Such is the intellectual quality of political debate in some quarters!

There is no copyright notice or acknowledgement or apology to Matt Groening and the Simpsons team. Presumably the House of Representatives doesn't need to worry about copyright law or etiquette. Or perhaps American politicians identify so strongly with these parodies of themselves, that they imagine they own the intellectual property.

I have no opinion about SCHIP, and this page does nothing to help me form an opinion. I don't know who thought this page was a good idea. But using subversive cartoon characters is a dangerous game, and can produce an outcome quite different from the intended one. Excellent.

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