Thursday, 5 January 2017

Thor (4½ Stars)

I was recently asked by well-meaning family members why I don't try to get money for my blog. For years I've been putting effort into my writing, an hour or more every day, and all I've received for my troubles is a few pennies commission from people who click on my Amazon links. Hint hint!

In recent years there have been stories of bloggers making millions. Uninformed people might think that it's easy money. As an insider I see the truth.

First of all, the bloggers who make money are in almost all cases video bloggers. I prefer to write. There are a few reasons for this. Mostly it's because I enjoy writing. For me writing is an art (or at least it should be), whether it's a 1000-page novel or a 20-line product description. I make sure that my spelling and my grammar are first class, whatever the subject matter of my reviews. I plan what I write in advance. I'm not a person who would talk spontaneously into a camera. In theory I could write a text and read it aloud, as some video bloggers do, but it looks artificial. Then there's my intention that my blog isn't just something transitory, it's meant to be something that will remain online for decades after my death, maybe longer. The amount of online material is growing exponentially from year to year. A limit will come to what can be archived, and more importantly a limit will come to what people want to remember. Videos will be the first to disappear, because they're the most data intensive. Then sound clips will go. Then pictures. Text will be the last to fall.

Then you have to remember that the bloggers who make money are paid by the companies they endorse, whether it's fashion or cosmetics companies. Am I the only person who sees the problem in that? They're the prostitutes of blogging. They pretend to be impartial, but they're accepting money to say that something is good. In my eyes that's totally immoral. If I dislike a film, no amount of money would make me lie and say it's good. I would be betraying my readers.

There's also the possibility of making money by adding advertisements to pages. Google offers its own variety of paid advertising, Google Adsense. When I first started blogging in 2010 I used Google Adsense. My fellow bloggers will know that when you start a new blog with Google's blogger software Adsense is strongly recommended as a great way of making money. I tried it out. Why not? It's money for nothing. After a few weeks I checked my blog on a slow computer, a laptop belonging to my daughter. I was horrified to see how slow the pages loaded. There were delays while external addresses were decoded. It was awful. I deleted the Google Adsense links immediately. I want my readers to enjoy reading my blog, not be annoyed by slow pages and flashing images.

The only method of making money that I've retained is Amazon links, for, and I can add these links statically without slowing down page load times, and the links aren't intrusive. The first picture of each post, like this one, is a link to Amazon, where the film can be bought on DVD or Blu-ray. In my recent reviews I include a box at the end of my posts with further links. I also have links in the sidebar. I don't earn anything if a person simply clicks the link. I only earn a commission if he buys something. Note that I said something, not necessarily the article advertised. You can click the link, then go to Amazon's search box and pick something else. I'll earn commission on any product you buy after entering Amazon via my link.

I said my Amazon links aren't intrusive; in fact they aren't intrusive enough. I have a few friends who frequently order items from Amazon. I've asked them to use my links instead of the Amazon homepage, but they don't. Maybe they think there's a catch. There isn't. You'll pay exactly the same price and I'll earn money.

Now, before I forget that this post is supposed to be about "Thor", let me just make a few remarks about Idris Elba. I've already said in the past that he was miscast. He's a Norse God, so his skin colour should be white. Asgard is a world of fair-skinned Gods, so casting a black man is pure idiocy.

Having said that, I have to give Idris Elba for the way he plays the role. He's a magnificent actor, and he proves it by giving Heimdall a sense of power and dignity that few other actors could have achieved. He shouldn't have been given the role, and nothing will convince me to say otherwise, but he makes the best of what he's been given.

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