Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Clipart Horrors

So I was looking at Microsoft clipart. Which typically consists of stuff like stylized one-eyed walking cornucopiae.

Oh, you think I'm kidding?
I have no sense of humor I am aware of.
But sometimes you find weird stuff in Microsoft clipart, too. Here are some WTF images that I found while doing searches for (almost) perfectly normal things.

For example, the search term "puppies" yielded this graphic:

I swear to you, the alt-text caption for this charming little drawing was "two playful puppies wrestling" and not "dogs having sex missionary-style." Which is totally what it is.

Searching for "food" brought up a plethora of pictures of meals, feasts, dishes, kitchen scenes, and the like. And this:

This is "German food and the Brandenburg Gate." I don't know what that dish is - it seems to consist of the breaded entrails of a small animal, including its penis bone, plus a hard roll. Germans will eat anything (cf. sauerkraut) if they think it will give them the fortitude to conquer Europe. Fine. I'm just wondering under what circumstances would one need an image of entrail and penis goulash sitting on a rock in front of the Brandenburg Gate? What would be the topic of, say, a magazine article requiring this particular illustration? I'm thinking "25 Foods To Avoid in Germany If You Don't Want to Puke on Their National Monuments."

Here's another bland, safe search term: Exercise. I found this image:

Nothing wrong that picture. But the alt-text caption says "Man doing martial arts outside for exercise." That seems presumptuous. How do we know it's for exercise? Maybe he's fending off an attacker just out of frame. Maybe it's a zombie. Maybe he's about to deliver the Blow of Eternal Sleep to some goddamn voracious zombie's windpipe. Sure, that's bound to be good exercise. But given the possible subtext (which really is pretty likely, the more I think about it), the exercise angle seems to be beside the point, which is, you know, death to zombies. You think Microsoft would at least mention it.

Speaking of goddamn zombies, you don't get many results for that search term. You do get a number of sound clips, which I didn't play because, well, creepy. Among the few images that return is this:

This is not a zombie. This is a voodoo doll of some lady who clearly has enough problems without being voodoo cursed and/or erroneously labeled a zombie. I mean, if your effigy has a janky eye and bad hair and a weird two-tone sock thing going on, clearly there is little to be gained by an enemy from poking pins in your extremities. The point is, this is not a zombie. Fail, Microsoft clip art. Fail.

Finally, we have this:

Oh, my God. Seriously? The word "DEATH" spelled out in children's blocks? I feel dirty. I want to apply a filter to my Internet to keep me from even accessing any content that might use this picture to illustrate, well, anything. Why would someone even photograph this? Why would Bill Gates make it part of his royalty-free clipart library? Why would this image come up in response to a search for "happy prancing unicorns"?

OK, just kidding. The search term was "death." It kind of flowed naturally from the whole zombie thing. But the last thing on my mind was a literal representation of the term in the style of a classic toddler amusement.

Dear mother, do come see what I spelled with my wittle blocks.
See, this is why I usually end up ripping off images from other people's websites and getting C&D letters from chicken artists. Generic clipart carries too much hidden meaning. It's part of a vast conspiracy to undermine reality and freak me out.

Unlike that Fugly.com picture up there. I'm OK with mindf*ckery. Just be up front about it, please. Kthx.

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