Crimpin’ Ain’t Easy

You might have heard the Mighty Boosh are taking legal action against the Honey Monster. Gag-worthy as that may be, I’ve come too late to the party.

So let’s hit the blood-spattered two-way street of copyright and get to the chase. Watching some old Boosh last night (coincidence) I was reminded we get the following in the Hitcher episode:

Only problem was, when I was a child, my thumb was tiny. Not just tiny like a single sugar puff, Disgusting! Even my own mother would reel back in horror, like an anaconda, ‘Aagh! What is it!? Get it out of here! It’s tiny! It’s horrible, it’s revolting!’

The Boosh namechecked Sugar Puffs. Sugar Puffs got crimping. So why are we staring at this sad puddle of spilt breakfast milk?

When the commercial world co-opts culture so superficially, it can be a dirty mix to swallow. But it happens all the time. What happened here was not a fair exchange.

The Boosh take Sugar Puffs’ name. But Sugar Puffs took the Boosh’s style.

If someone popular and funny namechecked you, you’d most likely be fine with it. But if after meeting someone you later discovered they’d copied your style, you’d be pretty pissed off.

On a blustery Saturday night down a dirty discotheque, several years after your first encounter, you bump into them again. They’ve started talking like (old) you. They’ve got your (old) rhythm, your (old) flow. Ugly.

If they’d just become a bit more like you, that could be good. It could be kinetic. It could even lead to some bouncy repartee. But they simply ripped. There was no dialogue.

When you bring it down to the personal, it all makes sense.

Lawrence Lessig can be breathtaking on this subject, and I’m looking forward to more of Matt Mason‘s thoughts.

You can be greedy for the verse, but you shouldn’t bite the style.

Related: You wanna be in my brand, my brand, my brand?

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2 comments so far

  1. T.J. Digital on

    Don’t know if you saw but it turns out that whole story had a suitably shiny, happy ending.

    Apparently the word on the street – and in the Media Guardian, for those of us with no access to the street per se – is that the Boosh chaps have dropped the case after getting a nice letter from the Honey Monster himself.

    Someone in their PR department knows exactly what they’re doing.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/media/2008/mar/31/television

  2. [guy bingley] on

    Thanks, T.J.
    A gracious lift of the cap to you. The whole thing could have been pre-scripted the way it played out.
    Could badvertising be the vehicle for a larger PR-strategy?
    It’s hard to tell on this one.
    But all comments and additions always welcome here. I’m trying to stimulate conversation, not write full stops.


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