Background checks

Now that’s just showing off – image thanks to Dartmouth College

It’s amazing how quickly we have become used to seeing the insides of people’s homes. Whether it is on a work call or an interview on television, more and more content is coming from inside where people live. The quality of the speaker and their subject, or lack of it, has led us to consider what is in the background. Inadvertently or deliberately this has led to a competition to see who can have the best view behind them.

At first it was all seeing up the speaker’s nostrils, or catching the top of their heads, staring at a white ceiling and glaring lights behind them. People quickly cottoned on and set up their laptops or phones so at least they were level with the audience. 

Then came a wave of superimposed backgrounds, a general open plan office, a caribbean beach or an image of the outside of the building where the speaker normally works have been popular. The giveaway has been black space around the speaker’s head as they move and the rendering has tried to catch up. The latest vogue is to replace these with a soft focus image of where you are.

Kitchens, conservatories and upstairs bedrooms seem to be popular. My background has usually been in the conservatory, with the blinds drawn or not depending upon the angle of the sun. I have also used the kitchen, an upstairs bedroom and my granddaughter’s nursery depending upon what is available. When I have been delivering a Dynamo event I have set up a banner as a backdrop.

Great sport is to be had in spotting the pretentious, especially while watching the rebellions. To be honest, I’m surprised I haven’t fallen into this trap myself as I have known tendencies. 

The book titles behind you show that you have read the read the right stuff while a creaking bookshelf demonstrates the extent of your knowledge. A chaotic background, filled with files and papers tells us that you are a hardworking academic, constantly researching your subject while the obvious positioning of certificates and commendations supports the assertion of your authority. Photographs of you meeting other dignitaries cements your standing in society and is a particular preference of the politician as is the draping of a flag. A good array of family portraits shows the warm and loving environment you live in while antiques and heirlooms hint at your family’s deep roots and good breeding.

No doubt fashions will change as we get bored with what is on offer, yet it is clear that we shouldn’t just  mind the content, we should also do the background checks.

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