American Idol: Who Cares Who Won it?

So Kris Allen won American Idol season 8, amidst a sea of media hype rapidly followed by a rich helping of good old controversy. And?

Let’s face it, the media hype will be sure to continue for a little while longer to milk the last dregs from the story. The controversy over whether the entire final was rigged will I’m sure continue to rage for as long as anyone still cares to listen. Then one fine singer will embark upon a probably successful career as a singer and the rest of us ordinary folk will get back to our daily lives.

Its the same with anything the media (in this case television) throws at us. Put on a show and fill it with all the right ingredients to get as many people watching as possible, for which said TV station will make a substantial fortune from all the advertising revenue it generates. Its not even a gamble any more, because TV psychologists know exactly which buttons to press to get an already primed public to tune in and lap it up. Such is this incredible power, that they’ve got millions of people glued to their sets to watch absolute crap and not only that but they think they actually enjoy watching it. Not because they think that for themselves, of course. They’re already pre-primed to think it.

Television has got the world brain washed and it beggars belief that so few people actually realise it!

How else can a TV show such as that which spies on a bunch of people off the street living together in a “house” and doesn’t include a single actor pull in millions of viewers? People sit glued to their TV sets for hours watching shows like Big Brother and its several voyeuristic clones people argue with each other about trivial garbage. Then they go to work the next day and sit around gossiping about what those morons on the show argued with each other about the previous night.

Hello? Do you have a life?

Apparently not. It would be sad indeed if a group of people could lead such empty lives as to have nothing better to do than to watch mindless crap on the TV then talk about it amongst themselves all day. But what is even sadder is that its not just a small group of people. Its millions! It would be sad enough if it were just Americans, who, lets face it, as a nation are slaves to their TVs. But its creeping all over the world! The UK, Australia, Europe, Asia (yes they all have their own “reality” show clones).

¬°Dios Mio! Has the world gone mad?

Can you imagine if Hitler had had access to this kind of power over people when he decided to have a go at conquering the world? He already knew the principles of mass suggestion and used it with frightening success with his propaganda machine. But had he been able to enslave not just his own nation, but every other in the world using the power of modern TV, the Third Reich would probably never have had to have shot a single bullet.

Hitler could have got the whole world to lay down on their backs and lift their legs in the air for him to rub their grateful bellies.

Is that a frightening thought?

Is it too fantastic to believe ot could ever happen?

Is it any more fantastic than getting several million people to not only watch, but think they’re enjoying watching a bunch of people in a studio house doing mundane stuff?

Is the light bulb coming on yet?

Mmmm. So next time you get into a heated argument with someone over what happened on the TV last night, stop yourself for a second and think it through. Ask yourself how much does it matter to your life to get angry about something you watched on TV that isn’t even real life. And something that cannot, now or ever, really affect your life in any way, shape or form.

If you still think it does, then congratulations, you have been successfully brainwashed and have given up your right to free thought.

If you think that I’m talking rubbish, then the brainwashing is more complete than you’ll ever be able to realise, because when you can’t think for yourself, you are thinking for someone else. Such as your TV masters who control your life and tell you what you need and what to buy and where to buy it from.

For the insignificant minority who know exactly what I’m talking about, there’s not much point in fighting it because its only a matter of time before scientists figure out a way to implant a TV chip inside everyone’s brain so we can never switch the damn thing off…

Then we’ll all be gibbering insignificant monosyllabic verbal effluent about whether a bloke that we know as Dave, if that’s his real name, is going to really tell a girl who calls herself Anne, if that’s her real name, that he thinks she’d look better in the little red dress rather than the little black dress…

And we’ll all care so much about who did or didn’t win American Idol, because our lives would be so pathetically empty without it… sob… sob…

Now lets see how many irate comments I get from the brainwashed masses…

Terry Didcott

Posting Pictures Legitimately

Posting pictures legitimately seems to be something a lot of bloggers and the odd freelance writer needs to do, but they often cross the line with regards to copyright. This is because published photographs that appear on the originating website often turn up on other people’s blogs without any credit given to the owner. While the Internet is a vast place chocked full of millions of pages of web content and images, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if you post someone else’s picture on your blog without due credit that you will get away with it because no one will notice.

There are some websites out there that do publish royalty free images that you can legitimately download and post to your blog. They make it clear that their images cane be used on a non-commercial basis which is perfect for most general niche blogs. So if these sites, some of which have many thousands of images to choose from, are allowing this then why do some bloggers still go out and steal photos that are not royalty or copyright free?

One reason may be that they can’t find exactly what they want on the free image sites and when they come across that perfect image on another site, they think “what the hell?” and take it anyway. Another reason may be that they want a higher resolution image. Free image sites generally only give away small images, say 300×200 at best which is fine for sprucing up a blog post, but no good if you’re designing a fancy header banner that requires a much larger image.

Whatever the reason for stealing someone else’s photos, its plagiarizing and the owner can come after you with a lawyer and give you all sorts of legal headaches. Not worth the trouble, really, but it wont stop anyone who is already actively doing it, because they probably think that they can’t be caught. Geographic location has plenty to do with this kind of blogger’s attitude. A blogger in China probably feels very safe from the US lawyers who think they rule the roost. That blogger is probably right if he steals an image from an American’s site, but if he steals one from a site based in China, he will be caught and prosecuted. It happens!

Same goes wherever you are in the world. Just because a site looks like it originates in a certain country, it doesn’t mean that it does. Many of my own sites look like they originate in the US because I’m targeting US traffic – even down to the American way of spelling if that’s what it takes. But I’m not in the US at all. Not even close.

I’m drifting away from the point of this post, which is to tell you about posting pictures legitimately on your blogs, so let’s bring it back. There are two ways in which to post images on your blog without upsetting anyone and still enhancing the look of it, assuming pictures are needed to do that. You may have noticed that I don’t personally use many pics in my own postings – for me they distract the reader from the beauty of the written word… mmm ok whatever!

1. Just sort through the royalty free stuff and use what fits most closely to what you need it for. Sure it’s time consuming, but you stay legitimate and that’s important.

2. Go out of the house with a digital camera, or phone if it has a good camera built in, and take some of your own!

The second point is something that I have been doing for some time now when I want that certain angle that I know I can get locally. I’m lucky in that I live quite near to the beach in a tourist town in southern Spain, so in summer the place is packed with tourists of all descriptions and perfect for taking “people” shots that can work. I generally stick to candid group shots rather than taking individuals, or they might get a little upset at being singled out and want to know why.

In fact, my new header image was taken recently on my phone while I was walking the dogs up in the hills behind where I live. Nice view from up there!

Sometimes, if you’re faced with this dilemma and want to photograph an individual, then be bold and go up and ask their permission. Explain what you want the shot for and they might be happy to agree. Remember, people are generally quite vain and the thought of their image appearing in the online “media” will sway any misgivings and they’ll most likely be happy to let you. If not, thank them for their time and move on to someone else.

The beach is not just for photographing people, but also I have great scenery with a backdrop of tall rugged mountains, a wealth of bars, restaurants and shops that can add character to any post especially in a locally oriented blog, castles, ruins and interesting old buildings, people walking dogs for dog and pet oriented blogs, plenty of traffic for shots of cool sports cars, even cooler motorbikes and all kinds of vehicles, plenty of scope for abstracts, sunrises and sunsets, moon rises, choppy seas, calm seas, low flying planes and helicopters etc.

Plenty of scope in fact to embellish with images a wide variety of blog themes and its all completely royalty and copyright free because I took the photos myself and I own the copyright.

So if you need an excuse to get away from the computer for an hour or so while still remaining in “working” mode, then grab your camera or phone and go take some images of your own. They may even turn out to be much better than what you can steal!

Terry Didcott