Orientalism, Occidentalism, And Knockoffalism

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I have heard the term ” Orientalism ” for a number of years without really knowing what it means. Recently a complaint about it sent me to good ‘ol Wikipedia to read someone’s opinion of what it is. Fired with that knowledge I typed in ” Occidentalism ” and read other people’s opinions about that. You may care to do the same, or just go get a pencil and pad of yellow paper and write out your own. You won’t do any worse than the Wikipedia experts and you can make erudite footnotes at the bottom of the page too.

I shall leave both of these terms in the too-vague basket along with with ” Cultural Appropriation ” and ” Political Correctness ” and in future will substitute the more scientific phrase ” Borrowing The Lawnmowerism “. It sounds at least as despicable and if taken up by the right sort of academic protest may well lead to a PhD, government grant, and a White Toyota with a fuel card. I can only hope.

A more pressing need is for a suitable term to describe the sort of behaviour seen when spies from an industrial company purchase samples of goods made in another country and take them home for copying. Their engineering departments disassemble the products and measure them minutely. Then the management of the industrial company decide whether to change a couple of lines or surfaces on an unimportant part of the castings or just go for a complete clone. They put their factory to work – both the indentured labourer section and the political prisoner section – and turn out the goods at a quarter of the price of the overseas competition. A quick write-up for the instruction book by the deaf aunt of the chairman and the stuff is ready to go*.

I think the best choice of words is ” Knockoffalism “. Like most isms it is a fluid sort of thing that is smelly and vaguely disgusting. It leaves a stain on cloth. Those who do it can protest their innocence and those who don’t can trumpet their sanctity. International law ( And I said that without leaning over to pass gas…) has neither  the power nor interest to curb it and the best that can be done is to reduce it to the status of a sort of shameful vice.

* This sort of thing goes on all the time in South Australia. My cousin knew a chap who said he was told about it. Once upon a time.

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