Imitation: Truly the sincerest form of flattery?

Recently, as I’ve worked on my capstone project “The Narrows,” I’ve found myself often thinking about imitation. Since “The Narrows” is a fictional, dystopian short-story in the vein of a choose-your-own-adventure piece, I have had to imagine fictional character and institutional names to populate my creative universe. While brainstorming many of these names and basic background elements, I have struggled to balance the fictional constraints of my piece with my overarching desire for it to function as an allegory for political polarization in modern American society.

Specifically, I’ve found it difficult to design fictional political parties for “The Narrows,” given that I am wary of appearing to make a broader progressive or conservative political argument and, in the process, driving away audience members. As much as I want to imitate or draw inspiration from certain characteristics of the Democratic and Republican parties in my project, I also want to craft a fully-fledged and independent universe that is entirely detached from America today.

So far, I have come-up with two distinct political parties with entirely fictional and purposefully verbose names (for example, one is: “The United Covenant of the Everyday Citizen”) unrelated to real political philosophies like conservatism or liberalism. I’ve also created symbols and color schemes for each party (e.g. “three silver boxes” on a gold background) that avoid using any blue or red elements. Although I think this represents a good start, I’m eager to hear any thoughts or suggestions anyone might have for maintaining an objective, impersonal perspective as I continue writing my short-story. I’d also love to hear any ideas for political issues or debates I could include in my piece that are detached from actual contemporary political issues. Ideally, in my short-story I’d like to imitate the American political system without actually appearing to do so.

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