Mark of Cain

John Rentoul

Cain and Abel 279x300 Mark of CainI did not know that the Mark of Cain was put on him by God to protect him from those who might want to do him harm because he had killed his brother. (Cain and Abel, by Titian, right.) So it is an analogy that does not quite work for Ed Miliband, then.

I have written about the clichés of the reporting of the Miliband v Miliband contest in The Independent on Sunday:

The election of a new Labour leader has been a case study in Use of English for Media Studies GCSE courses all over the country.

Top cliché is, of course, “Red Ed”, with 145,000 Google hits in the past week. It has been translated into many languages – Ed le Rouge, Der Rote Ed, Ed El Rojo and even Crveni Ed in Serbo-Croat. But it has been a good week too for the “family feud”, with 26,600 Miliband-related references.

The elder Miliband’s decision to step down from the shadow cabinet, to spend less time with one member of his family, has also prompted “sibling rivalry” 21,300 times, “brotherly love” 17,000 times and “brother’s shadow” 16,900 times. Surprisingly little interest in “Cain and Abel”, a mere 379 mentions, “fratricide”, 271, and “geek tragedy”, 206 times.

The “geek tragedy” phrase was first applied to the Milibands on Monday last week by Phil Collins, Tony Blair’s speechwriter, who is now a leader-writer on The Times. The whole thing has been a “psychodrama”, 16,100 times, although it has perhaps been a theatrical production that tells us as much about the psyche of the press as that of the brothers themselves.

Research: Joe Rowley

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  • Ciaran Rehill

    I thought the Serb for Red was the same as beautiful?

  • AlanGiles

    You have embraced quite a few of the cliche’s yourself Mr Rentoul. Now, are you going to start being supportive of the new Labour leader,and stop the attacks or are you going to support the coalition and their cuts, so many of which are going to hurt the poorest and most vulnerable in society the most?

  • bob idle

    Did you see ‘The Mark of Cain’ a ‘psychodrama’ about soldiers who tortured Iraqis? It had a powerful affect on me at the time and confirmed my opinion that the Iraq war was a huge mistake. The title was based on the speech by Tim Collins.

    Sorry for mentioning the war.

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