Monday, May 21, 2007

NuLab. And SMERSH.

Tom’s asking about the origins of the term ‘NuLab’ as a piece of hilarious satire on the term ‘New Labour’

I always thought that it was intended as a bit of cut-and-paste cyberpunk, derived in the same way as ‘Megacorp’ and its many cousins listed here.

To my eye, in one phrase, it is intended to imply a dystopian surveillance-heavy post-totalitarian state in which all powers are handed to a private corporation of one kind or another.

For the most part, this view only really survives in weblog comments boxes that actually believes that the current government are engaged in a project to abolish democracy and replace it with a megacorp type of entity. And, such bloggertarians identify themselves by their repeated use of the term NuLab or its derivatives.

Perhaps the nearest parallel could be Smersh. Remember them? Sinister leader? Underground bunker? Lots of faceless apparatchiks wearing orange jumpsuits?

It also reminds me of my favourite Euston Manfesto-related joke. When it was first published last year, a fair amount of the comment implied that it was a shadowy Smersh-like conspiracy, funded by Mossad with evil genius Norm pulling the strings and stroking the cat (n.b. that is not intended as a disgusting euphemism. Sorry Norm).

I pointed out* to an unamused group of Eustonites that the difference between us and Smersh is that we make other people wear the orange jumpsuits.

*I'm sure it was my joke. If it wasn't, I hereby claim it without apologies.


john b said...

I'd always chalked NuLab as more of a dumbed-down-brand-tastic thing, rather than a conspiracy theorist dystopia.

The real comments-box-conspiracy-nutters seem to go with ZaNuLab these days. Which I guess wins some points for pun-ishment.

Chris said...

Maybe, but that wouldn't make sense for some of the left-wing users as they also think of Mugabe as a victim of Western imperialism.

Also, it was SPECTRE that had the orange jumpsuits. Just saying.ihncg