The curious case of the mushroom cloud

Peter Sellers in Kubrick’s 1965 film, Dr Strangelove. Image from

A light little post for you after the death of planning ding dong.

Ever since I had my statcounter installed I have been able to tell the proportion of people coming from different countries. On the average day about 40% of my visitors are from the UK, 40% the US and 20% from the rest of the world.

But one of the other advantages of Stat Counter is you can tell whether a visitor has come directly to you or via another site. Every day around 10% of these US visitors come from Google Images and, rather worryingly, they are searching for one thing…. mushroom clouds.

A while ago I wrote a post about the ethics of sales promotions aimed at children.
To illustrate it I used a picture of a mushroon cloud because it summed up perfectly the meltdown my three year old had over a Cars movie promotion on packs of Shreddies.
It’s a rather good image as it happens – high res’ and with a cheeky signature from an airman who presumably felt quite chipper about destroying Nagasaki and the decades of ill health and birth defects to come for those who survived the blast.
But the weird thing is that ‘my’ mushroom cloud now comes up forth on google images – with no reference to the original source. Hence the bus loads of American school kids trucking up to adliterate to bring their Weapons of Mass Destruction end-of-semester project to life.
What they make of adliterate and whether it is converting a generation of American youngsters into wannabe planners we will only know when Miami Ad School looks at its 2012 entry applications.
But a final twist was provided by someone who emailed me recently wishing to use the image on a DVD cover and asking if I knew who owned the rights. Because I was the square root of no use at all he then contacted the National Atomic Museum in Albuquerque.
Turns out that Nagasaki is open source – so download away children of America.

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8 Replies to “The curious case of the mushroom cloud”

  1. Most of my peculiar visitors come searching either for ‘today is the greatest day I’ve ever known’ on google, or my ‘puzzled head’ image.
    How about oddest country someone has visited you from?

  2. And by reposting the image along w/ multiple occurances of “mushroom cloud,” you’ve further search-engine-optimized your blog for that keyword!

  3. You’re lucky. Most people come to my site looking for pictures of Zach Braf, Jon Stewart, and “girls getting their cherry popped.”

  4. Is it wrong that I went straight to your site, Lauren?
    I think my weirdest one is “who steals from death” but recently I’ve been getting a few for “porn pillow fights”, “easybits russian checkers” and “robin hood porn”
    [What in the name of Jenna Jameson is Robin Hood porn?]

  5. That’s funny.
    But it (again) highlights how bloody powerful Google is. We run about 4 sites over here and on all of them Google is in the top 3 referrers. The search terms are suitably varied and random, but it’s all through Google none the less.

  6. Presumably Robin Hood porn somewhere along the line involves a character called Try-A Fuck.
    Or something better and funnier than that.
    I’ll get my coat.

  7. when john L said he had a different perspective on this (… blogging) argument do you think he meant this?

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