[ by Charles Cameron — and if you experience vertigo reading any of these cascades, feel free to hang in there vertiginously — or let go ]
Alright, here’s a DoubleQuote in images:
I don’t believe there’s a direct borrowing (aka plagiarism, theft) here, but both images rely on a shared puppet cascades convention.
It’s been a bit of a yawn to say art is theft — at least since a few borrowings past Picasso, and maybe before him — what makes this pair of puppet cascades interesting is:
First, that each depicts a portion of a cascade of puppets — in the earlier, My Fair Lady version, Bernard Shaw puppeting Henry Higgins puppeting Eliza Dolittle, while the recent New Yorker graphic might as well be X (unshown) puppeting Steve Bannon puppeting Trump with Jeff Sessions and Scott Pruitt, maybe.
Second, note the X (Bernard Shaw) in the later version, and then ponder the idea that cascades may have a source, or may continue backwards ad infinitum, but Someone or Thing implicitly or explicitly needs to fill that X space. In the earlier version, Bernard Shaw does it, but that only begs the question, is Something puppeting Bernard Shaw? Deity, perhaps, or Muse?
And in the contemmporary version, where the upper puppeteer is cut off from vision, They‘s a good guess for the X Who‘s puppeting the Bannon figure, because Bannon, They, and Puppetry are all widely associated with conspiracy theory. Oh, and think, X-Files!
Hey, in reality Lerner and Lowe were making musical out of Shaw‘s theatrical Pygmalion out of Gilbert and Sullivan — and the cascade theft goes on and on, back into the mists and myths of antiquity..
The actual figures in the New Yorker cascade are X, Lord Bell (representing Bell Pottinger, the PR firm), and, below, the brothers Atul, Ajay, and Tony Gupta. The article itself, The Reputation-Laundering Firm That Ruined Its Own Reputation, is well worth a read. And look at the illustrations careful documentation of the ownership-lineages it’s pilfering from:
Illustration by Ben Jones; photographs by (clockwise from top): David M. Benett / Getty; Martin Rhodes / Gallo Images / Business Day / Getty; Foto24 / Gallo Images / Getty; David M. Benett / Bell Pottinger / Getty
Property is theft, now — that’s Proudhon.