Monday, February 11, 2013

Copy, paste, graduate

I really didn’t know what I was going to do with this video. The natural choice would have been a “Surviving Germany” video about Fasching, but I really couldn’t get it off the ground. I had wanted to film the storming of the town hall in Schöllkrippen (one of the traditional events around here, and the one I allude to in this video), but it was cold and the clouds were clearly full of sleet, so I stayed at home instead.

In desperation, I started writing a script about the plagiarism scandal. They seem to be happening with alarming regularity these days: some important figurehead, usually a politician, is found to have lifted dozens of passages from other people’s works and used them in a thesis without proper attribution. One of my friends, who spends a lot of time coaching teachers and professors in how to spot when their students have been plagiarising, is now a recognised expert on the subject. On one occasion, she returned from a holiday to be met by a barrage of journalists and the news that another scandal had broke.

In the original version of the script, I ranted on about how there was no point in doing satire these days because you can’t satirise something that’s already funny in itself (the line about the jokes writing themselves is all that remains of that angle), but somehow that wasn’t working. Probably, more than anything else, pointing out the absurdity of something is what satire is.

So I slept on it, and awoke to the news that Pope Benedict XVI had announced his retirement. I don’t know if the result can be described as particularly funny, but I think it’s an improvement on what I had originally planned. This, ladies and gentlemen, is why it’s important to sleep on things.

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