"Space, the final frontier" - those opening words intoned on Star Trek - hook up now with Donald Trump's odyssey on planet earth. Last week, he debuted America's new logo for its Space Force, a military unit launched last year to protect the U.S. in the great beyond; but it doesn't look new at all. It looks like the emblem designed in 1960 for the TV series.

Close resemblance

The BBC calls the similarity a "remarkable resemblance." And the Daily Dot reports allegations from Twitter users that the design+ was "stolen" from Star Trek.

George Takei, star of the original show, tweeted: "Ahem. We are expecting some royalties from this..."

Seeing double

But Trump's self-congratulatory tweet about the logo suggests he's no Trekkie and is oblivious to intergalactic emblems: “I am pleased to present the new logo for the United States Space Force, the Sixth Branch of our Magnificent Military!”

I rush to say that imitating Star Trek in some form or another is practically a national pastime in American culture. I'm thinking of all the parodies of the series, including Saturday Night Live sketches and episodes of The Simpsons and Family Guy.

Warhol legacy

But the Space Force logo is not intended as a parody and therefore raises the issue of originality. Seeing its "remarkable resemblance" begs the question: is the one-of-a-kind concept too old-timey, too retrograde for the 21st century? My answer is yes. Call it the Warhol legacy. The Pop artist duplicated and reduplicated imagery, very nearly enthroning sameness. He did it with Brillo boxes, Campbell soup cans, and Coca-Cola bottles.

He even did it with a rendition of Jackie Kennedy grieving for her assassinated husband - as if to drum into our heads that the commonplace is in and originality is out.

Imitation art

All of which explains why Trump blithely palms off a fake Renoir - known as Two Sisters - as genuine, even though the original painting hangs for all to see in the Chicago Institute of Art. The way Warhol conditioned us, who cares if Trump's Renoir is a copy, right?

This disinterest in the difference between a true creation and a copy is everywhere. How else to explain Jeff Koons recreating art world masterpieces like the Mona Lisa on Louis Vuitton handbags? It took Leonardo da Vinci four years to complete the painting and Koons copied it with the press of a camera button. Legendary art also appears on fashions by Christian Dior. It's a free-for-all. Who needs museums?

The point

If you wonder how dug in the Warhol legacy is in our culture, you have only to see what Artists Network told a reader who asked if it's legitimate to sell art copied from another. "Pre-existing work is legal, so long as the original work is in the public domain (meaning that the copyright on that work has expired)." Such an answer completely misses the point.

Why copy art, even if legitimate? What happened to artists painting their own pictures? What happened to originality? Isn't it time to disown the Warhol Legacy?

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