#piggate and Black Mirror

As the outrage over #piggate continues on social media, many have pointed out the eerie similarities between this scandal and an episode of the TV show Black Mirror, The National Anthem.

Although, of course, the specifics are not exactly the same, the reaction of both the public and the press is almost certainly accurate to how we are responding to these allegations.

The comments left on a YouTube video outlining the demands made in exchange for the kidnapped Princess Susanna in Black Mirror are pretty accurate to that of Twitter and Facebook today. Comments such as ‘oink oink’ and ‘it’s snoutrageous’ are almost an exact copy of the tweets made in the last 24 hours. As the wife of PM Michael Callow said in Black Mirror: “[People] love humiliation”, hence why social media has blown up with remarks about #piggate,

Moreover, a scene involving a news team discussing how to approach the story could have easily been one taken from any national news broadcaster. Lines from the script such as “everyone has seen it”, “how do we even describe it” and “I hear Facebook’s coverage is pretty comprehensive” were almost certainly what many reporters were thinking today when approaching the allegations of Cameron engaging in an “indecent act” with a dead pig.

As Brooker put it himself in an interview with Buzzfeed: “There’s a whole scene in it relatively early on where there’s a TV newsroom and the reporters are all complaining that everyone on Twitter is talking about the prime minister and the pig and that they are not allowed to discuss this on the air and that this is an intolerable state of affairs. And I thought that this scene must have played out in a lot of newsrooms this morning. And they’re debating on what language to use within the show. They’re worrying about how they can possibly even describe this to viewers at breakfast, so all of that side of things is bizarre.

As well as this, the public’s confusion at the beginning of the episode as to the lack of coverage of the story can easily be seen in the animosity felt towards the BBC today after their hesitance to report the allegations.

However, there is one key difference in the reaction. In ‘The National Anthem’, we as the viewer feel sympathy for the Prime Minister for having no other option but to engage in the indecent act. Today, though, there is no kidnapped princess. There is no life or death situation. Regardless of whether it is true or not, the allegation that Cameron performed an indecent act as a initiation has only provoked outrage, disgust and mocking from the general public.

Of course it is a complete coincidence, but it also a testament to the research conducted for the episode of Black Mirror that they were able to mirror the public and press’ reaction so well.

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