Do my eyes deceive me? What did I just watch? At any moment during the conservative politician Boris Johnson's bizarre remake of a famous scene from Love Actually, I was expecting the parody or satire to arrive, signalling this was a body double or animation of some kind. Something arranged by a political rival as a smear campaign perhaps.
Because, surely, Johnson and his team couldn't have believed this was a good idea in such a crucial moment?
One of the worst things is, not only is it a feeble and frankly ludicrous idea to begin with, it was actually (!) stolen conceptually in of itself, taken from an opposition party candidate's ad from several weeks ago.
Having said that, I do quite like meme culture in politics when it suits my personal preferences. When it doesn't though, it repels in the extreme, and I'm not the only one recoiling from Johnson's mystifying characterisation from a famous Christmas rom com.
Repurposing content is a slippery slope in pop culture. People have peculiar attachments to peculiar things, people, and moments. Attempts to politicise popular artefacts, stories, and scenes so frequently backfires that it's a mystery it keeps surfacing as a visual tactic.
Politics should stick to politics. Businesses should stick to telling authentic stories that resonate with their customers.
Rather than randomly ripping off a meme, strategic repurposing of content becomes effective when you carefully rearrange the message to suit different mediums.
Love Actually's "To me, you are perfect" scene is arguably one of the creepiest, most manipulative scenes in rom-com history. But it just got out-creeped, by none other than Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson.