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February 20, 2013

Overnight Open Thread for Wednesday, 2-20-2013

Welp! Looks like it's fallen to me to weave together another puerile tapestry of the sophomoric and spectacular for the viewing pleasure of the Moron Horde. Not that it's an especially unpleasant task, mind you. It's actually kind of refreshing for a person of my refined tastes and sensibilities to rub elbows with the hoi-polloi from time to time. It helps to keep me grounded, you see. Otherwise, I'd be missing out on all the latest internet crazes like Rick-Rolling and ICQ.

Finding material to share on the ONT is more difficult than one might imagine. After all, the Horde is a diverse and eclectic bunch, rather more hep to the internet scene than your typical group of blog commenters. Odds are, even if you do find something humorous or intriguing, a fairly large contingent has seen it before. But, no matter how erudite a person might be, it's impossible for them to have seen everything. That's why I like to use compilations of extraordinary video clips cobbled together from multiple sources. The one below, for example, contains a few clips that I'd already seen in addition to some that caused my reproductive organs to seek shelter inside my torso -- an unambiguous indicator of high quality entertainment.

Unfortunately, given the hectic pace of life and access to content at the click of a mouse button, the average person's attention span has been shortened to such a degree that a ten-minute video seems to last an eternity. So, while technology has advanced to the point where full-length feature films can be downloaded and watched without the slightest hiccup, fewer and fewer of us are capable of taking in such fare in one sitting. Ironically enough, as technology enables us to consume richer, higher-quality entertainment with greater ease every day, one of the oldest mainstays of web content remains stubbornly popular: The animated gif.

While often crowd-pleasing, mindless entertainment, animated gif's aren't just the cotton candy of web content. In fact, they've reached the level of art to such a degree that some people have taken to creating them using outrageously expensive equipment like Hasselblad digital medium format cameras. Of course, using such equipment requires one to create something a little more polished in nature than the above example.

Unfortunately, not all of us have access to such highfalutin gadgetry, nor the technical wherewithal to create such content. It's one thing to be able to navigate one's way around the internet using a browser, or illegally download copyrighted material from torrents and file-sharing applications. Creating animated gif's does require a degree of tech-savvy well beyond that of the typical web surfer. But there's no law saying a person has to operate on the cutting edge of technology in order to share his artistic talents with the world. In fact, given a little talent, great art can be created using the most rudimentary drawing software available on any modern computer. And there are tutorials to help you do that.

Obviously, talent takes all manner of forms. I, for example, struggle to draw stick horses. I just don't have the knack for it. But, I do have some degree of writing talent and enjoy photography as a hobby -- sometimes making a buck or two in the process. I'm even somewhat musically inclined if the folks in the crowd on karaoke night are to be believed. Admittedly, I don't sing nearly well enough to record myself and post the results on YouTube for the world to see. But, thanks to such video sharing sites, people who do have great musical talent are able to do so, and all our lives are enriched as a consequence.

Take the fellow in the video below, for example:

Maybe your talent lies outside the strictly creative arts. Even though you may not be able to produce something tangible as a piece of music or a funny or evocative animated gif to share with the world, it doesn't mean you don't have a marketable skill. There is, after all, a great deal to be said for the power of observation. The ability to recognize the fascinating details of the world around us that often escape our attention in our busy daily lives is a gift unto itself. With an eye for such details, a person can take what to others may seem like nothing more than a simple piece of lumber and show us something entirely different -- a cat, for instance.

That's the great thing about the internet. No matter how obscure a person's talents may be, there is a forum in which they can be showcased before an appreciative audience. Maybe your talents lie somewhat outside the mainstream and the average person can't really appreciate them. Not to worry. The virtually innumerable array of resources available on the web practically guarantees you'll eventually find an appreciative audience given time and a little diligence. And, with a little luck and good timing, you could very well end up creating something that has far greater mass appeal than you ever imagined in your wildest dreams.

So, don't let the fact that no one seems to understand your creative talents stop you from pursuing them. More often than not, what keeps such gifts from being recognized for what they are is a simple matter of exposure. Many great artists and creative types throughout human history have languished in obscurity because their works never found the right audience. But, thanks to the advent of the internet, we all now have resources to help us actively seek out that audience with far greater ease than at any time in human history.

Tonight's ONT is brought to you by Steampunk.

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posted by Damn Dirty RINO at 10:00 PM

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