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April 27, 2017

A Political Dilemma

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Since the early 1990s, when my writing career first took off, I’ve taken advantage of the US President’s picture in my books. To avoid legal entanglements, I use a public domain image of a well-recognized figure. I choose the US President’s image as a tradition, but now I’m having trepidations.

The politically-charged atmosphere is extreme, not only in the US but all over the world. Donald Trump is President of the United States. By tradition, I should use his photo in my books. I feel pressure not to do so, not from the publisher, but from the outraged mobs that daily protest everything that Trump does. No one wants to piss off a group of angry people — or give someone a reason to boycott my books.

As a review, Figure 1 shows an image from Word 95 For Dummies, which used both Bill and Hillary Clinton. I got flack for the image from some readers, who asked that I keep my personal politics out of my books. Again, it wasn’t personal politics; Clinton was the US President. I used other pictures of him as well, all public domain.

Figure 1. A figure demonstrating how to place an image into a table in Word.

I can’t readily find any images of George W. Bush in my archives, though I know I did use his image in a few of my books. Since my first Android book came out about five years ago, I’ve used Obama, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Obama has been in my phone’s address book since I wrote my first Android book.

That phone number is the White House main line, by the way.

For the record, the last presidential candidate I voted for who won was Ronald Reagan in 1984. After that, my track record is pretty dismal. I am not a registered Republican or Democrat and I have friends from both parties. Still, if I use Trump’s image in my books, I fear flack and feedback. So the intimidation from the anti-Trump forces actually works in that I don’t want to be a target, especially to a target-hungry group of angry individuals. Yet to avoid using his image in my books, I bow to pressure and skip my tradition.

So can I use the Pope? I suppose I should give Vatican City a call . . .

3 Comments

  1. Hmm, I suppose as a non-US citizen I did not exposed to the politics, in the UK similar things have happened when using the Prime Ministers image…

    Comment by glennp — April 27, 2017 @ 7:01 am

  2. I’ll have to check some of the foreign translations to see whether they change the image to something local. That change could also lead to political impact, especially in EU right now.

    Comment by admin — April 27, 2017 @ 7:23 am

  3. Good idea!

    Comment by glennp — April 27, 2017 @ 7:57 am

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