Dear HBO: Just Shut The Fuck Up About Trump's 'Game Of Thrones' Meme, Please
There has been a drumbeat punctuating the past decade or so that goes something like: everything is political. It's not really true, of course, but that mantra is used by those who want to inject politics into everything as an excuse for doing so. That makes the world a much more tiresome place to exist. Unfortunately, it seems both that politics really does infect aspects of our lives it should not, as does intellectual property bullshit.
Which brings us to Donald Trump and his fairly lame Game of Thrones meme he tweeted out, apparently as a warning shot of TBA foreign policy towards Iran.
Herr Trump tweeted this out on November 2nd and did indeed follow up with new sanctions on Iran on the fifth. The analogy, of course, doesn't really work, since the "winter" from GoT refers to the whitewalker zombies and the whole phrase is a warning about what this evil army will do when they arrive, rather than being some kind of call to arms against an evil army... but I digress. Whatever you think of the meme or Iran sanctions generally, there was very little offense to find in any of this.
But there was a great deal of fun to be had by the internet in response.
Folks began responding with memes of their own—”Indictments Are Coming” etc.—and even the show’s cast got involved. Sophie Turner, who plays Sansa Stark, replied“Ew,” and Maisie Williams (Arya Stark), in perhaps the best Twitter drag of the day, retweeted the president and just added “Not today.” (“Not today,” for those who don’t remember, is what Arya Stark’s swordfighting instructor, Syrio Forel, told her is what she should say to the god of death.)
Pretty standard fare in our Twitter politpocaplyse through which we are all living. And, again, judging by other news cycles we're forced to endure on what feels like a weekly basis, this is pretty tame and non-offensive.
Which is what makes it strange that HBO decided to pretend there was a trademark issue in any of this.
How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?
— HBO (@HBO) November 2, 2018
Despite being a fan of the show, I don't know the answer to this question. Which doesn't really matter, because it's an irrelevant question to begin with. Nothing about Trump's tweet and meme is in any way trademark misappropriation or infringement. There is no public confusion. No common marketplace. This is purely fair use. And HBO should know as much, so litigious and bullying have they been in the past -- both generally and specifically when it comes to Game of Thrones.
So, HBO... just don't. It already seems like politics invades everything, and intellectual property invades everything. Combining the two? That's way worse than any army of whitewalkers.
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Published on 07 Nov 2018 at 08:16PM