HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM

Camille Paglia (yes), Glittering Images:

  • On Mondrian:

    At first, Mondrian used blended colours against a grey background; then he shifted to bold primary colours against white. For the rest of his career, his only colours were red, blue, and yellow. He scrapped chiaroscuro, the shading by which Renaissance and Baroque painters created volume…. He built up his white areas so that they did not recede, falsely implying depth. Everything for him had to operate on and across the surface.

    What reproductions cannot catch is the texture of Mondrian’s brushstrokes, grooving his whites in contrasting directions. Mondrian’s black lines became more prominent in the 1920s, with horizontals usually thicker than verticals. He said his black lines were “deadly” until he glossed them with shiny varnish.

    Structure always came first: He sketched lines in charcoal on paper or canvas and added colour later. Mondrian’s lines hypothetically shoot out into infinite space, creating a charged new relationship between a painting and its surroundings. Hence his revolutionary step of discarding the frame, that heavy, ornate golden rim of traditional portable paintings. Thanks to Mondrian’s innovation, every department store today sells narrow black frames and frameless plastic blocks for mounting art and photographs.

  • On Pollock:

    His whirling lines hover in a strange, unidentifiable zone between his very shallow background and the rough surface, thickly layered with pigment and sometimes embedded with actual objects…. Pollock’s textured pictures have the shadowed concreteness of sculpture – the genre toward which he had first aspired.

    Pollock’s colossal paintings are impossible to appreciate in reproductions, which shrink them to a dismal page. Seen in person, they overwhelm the visitor with their majesty. Only close-up snapshots of details can convey the mesmerizing intricacy of those rippling, tangled surfaces, sprinkled with sand and glinting with metallic paint and broken glass.

Now one considers a densely entitled but extremely valuable book: Reductionism in Art and Brain Science: Bridging the Two Cultures by Nobelist Eric Kandel. In this well typeset, easily understood triumph of explaining science to laypeople, Kandel carefully paces an explanation of how the brain processes visual stimuli and matches those revelations to the progression of the way painters have dealt with faces (particularly), to some extent landscape, and figure/ground relations.

Two facts Kandel teaches us:

  1. The classic beholder’s share describes the contribution that the human visual processing system makes to understanding the world. An object does not exist by itself but is also interpreted by the eye, retina, and brain. You the viewer complete the picture, which does not exist without you (by definition). This indeed has the disturbing philosophical implication that the world does not exist unless we look at it. (I wonder what that means for blind people.)

  2. You see the object first, then, later in time, you discern its texture.

    • The texture of an object activates cells in a neighbouring region of the brain, the medial occipital cortex, regardless of whether the object is perceived by the eye or by the hand…. This relationship is thought to explain, in part, why we can easily identify and distinguish between the different materials of an object – skin, cloth, wood, or metal – and can often do so at a glance.

      Surprisingly even to me, I can tell you what category of plastic an object is made of at a glance (polyethylene, polypropylene, ABS, PET, polycarbonate [not a “plastic”]).

      I assume this also has something to do with the ability – not always accurate – of experts in art forgery and theft to identify a forgery on sight. Or the countless other visual processes that happen instantly and can’t be made to happen if you invest more time into them.

    • When we first look at a painting or any other object, our brain processes only visual information. Shortly thereafter, additional information processed by other senses is thought to come into play, resulting in a multisensory representation of the object in higher regions of the brain….

      In fact, the perception of texture, which is central to both Willem de Kooning’s and Jackson Pollock’s paintings, is intimately tied to visual discrimination and to associations in these higher regions of the brain…, which have robust and efficient mechanisms for processing textured images. Combining information from several senses is critical to the brain’s perception of art.

    • Pace the unsympathetic Gerry Leonidas (but the older one gets in typography, the less sympathetic one becomes), you must always inspect the original object. Actually, I see that is the University of Reading’s observation (but Leonidas is in a picture there):

      Our collections span early printing, the development of newspapers, ephemera, corporate identity, British modernism, and many other areas. We are particularly strong in type-related areas, with extensive collections of historical and contemporary type specimens, original drawings for many scripts, wood and metal letters, and letterpress as well as hot-metal equipment.

      We make near-constant use of our collections…. For example, when discussing Greek we examine original editions covering the full 5½ centuries of Greek printing….

      We always work with original artifacts: Experiencing the scale, material, and reproduction technology of designed matter is essential for understanding why this is worth discussing.

    • The experience of letterpress type fits Kandel’s description exactly: You read the letters and you perceive their dimensionality.

    • I also suspect that these perceptual stages explain why even type-naïve persons can evaluate how well a layout works by looking at it upside-down. I also find I have a different sensation, for want of a better word, when looking at layouts in scripts I can’t read, even though I still spot errors in such layouts (like rivers).


There are reasons to look at things, and the pleasure and edification we get from looking at them, which lasts only the time we spend so doing, is worth it. Not everything has to be written down or set in stone, and not every experience has to stand the test of time.


As I tend to do these days, I sat on the vegan meat substitute of this posting for quite a while. I imagined myself trying to explain the delight and excitement of the well-known facts about visual perception that I never even knew about. I associated it with a literal lifetime’s pleasure at beholding printed objects – and indeed quite a few artworks, colour-field works especially.

I certainly better understand why I like cars without being able to drive, and why, for example, apperception of a perfect Citroën DS – situated in Death Valley, in the present day – borders on a religious experience.

Slate-grey Citroën DS parked in foothills and seen in profile among burnt-ochre mountains

And these are just pictures, for God’s sake. (Digging these up right now [via Jeff Suhy], I actually muttered “Mother of God.”)

But as sure as texture follows image, I then got discouraged right away, because I’ve been trying to impart my knowledge for 20 years and how’s that been going for me.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.08.18 16:08. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/08/18/kandel/

(UPDATED) Mark Rippetoe (no relation) is the wuvvably assholish Texan expert on weight training or strength training (see below). Rippetoe’s book Starting Strength is in its third edition (some with multiple versions) and has sold 350,000 copies, his bespoke publishing house claims. It has bizarre typography and washed-out photographs, but is chock full of bitchy aperçus – just what one demands of a book about deadlifting and such.

Four line drawings of hip joint with caption: Hip impingement, the primary factor limiting squat depth. This contradicts the conventional hamstring-flexibility theory of squat depth, and it pleases us to do so

“Ask Rip” (sic), Episode 51 (some crosstalk elided):

WOMAN: I’ve got a vegan lifter of about 150 pounds. How do I help him to… recover?

“Recover” here has the specific sense of being physiologically ready to train the same muscle groups again. Everyone in the room knows that, but pretends not to.

— Well, you put him in a home. [laughter] How do you support him?

— As far as nutritionally – to recover.

— He’s got an eating disorder, Joyce. He has an eating disorder, and I – I don’t know…. I think you’re practising psychiatry if you do that….

Like, any of you guys have a vaygun diet question? I don’t wanna hear it. [laughter] I get that a lot.

We’re – I’m not a psychologist. I can’t deal with your eating disorder. It’s not my job to deal with your eating disorder. And it’s an eating disorder. That’s all it is…. But it’s an eating disorder and I don’t know that you’re qualified to deal with it, you know? I mean, what do I say to this guy? Logic doesn’t seem to be working…. Nah, I’d stay away from those people.

Rippetoe then goes on to describe “a standard little skinny high-fashion, you know, upper-middle-class little chick with an eating disorder” (who “wouldn’t eat”). “I trained her for about a month and fired her.” The two are apparently equivalent.

I looked up the traineuse who posed that question, and, while also teaching her not to top-post, we had a discussion via E‑mail that shows she knows what she’s talking about. (Then why ask God-Emperor Rippetoe, who knows nothing, in the first place?) I was quite insistent that she had to be adaptable to whatever needs her clients or students had, whether that be missing a limb, being blind, being vegan, or being a 99th-percentile godlike figure (this means Steve Langton). And, rather amazingly, she denied any such obligation. (Then why become a certified coach if your goal is to fire imperfect or inconvenient students?)

This traineuse mused about following up on my suggestion that she actually study certain characteristics of vegan strength athletes, including (again my suggestion here) any deficits that cannot be realistically overcome.

Equating vegans to anorexics is like comparing lesbians to pedophiles. Sometimes one does mess with Texas.

A rat bastard, but our rat bastard

The Q&A later covers obese lifters. As fat as I am, Rippetoe asks? (“How obese? The critical question. Obese like me, or, like, 585-pound obese?”)

Somewhat overweight 59-year-old with cinnamon beard seated between classic meathead and slim Greek

That part is a tad unfair. Muscle for Life (sic) podcast, Episode 91: “Now, I’m 60 years old and I’ve got a pot belly, because (1) I don’t care, and (2) I don’t really care. So – you know, and I eat too much and I drink too much and all this other stuff. But, you know, I probably – I weigh about 230 at 5′8″. I still deadlift 500; I bench close to 300; um, knees are kinda creaky these days – I’m not squatting heavy much. But, aside from the pot belly, I look like a relatively muscular probably-50-year-old guy.”

Watching and listening, I think Rippetoe betrays a bit of boredom at the sheer repetitiveness of training these pikers, but, as with Stu McGill for back pain, this is the expert one heeds. One just does everything he says. I can tell you that as an expert in other fields who is ignored completely, so I choose to take my own medicine. Experts all become contrarians at some point unless they have the patience of a saint, and who the hell has that?

Yes, he’s a rat bastard, but, like Nassim Taleb (who also deadlifts and “looks like a butcher”), he’s our rat bastard.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.08.11 07:27. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/08/11/askrip51/

Gavin McInnes talking with Chadwick Moore (Episode Nº 399) about tranny cruises (excerpt, .MP4).

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.08.10 13:16. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/08/10/trannycruises/

Conservatives, broadly speaking, are incapable of communicating visually.

Cluttered Gays Against Sharia UK poster (mostly “typeset” in Arial)
  • They use Windows (Rush Limbaugh a prominent exception), an antitypographic platform that leaves you afraid of your own computer, which really is out to get you. (I’ve done paid work – indirectly – for Microsoft Typography. Some of my best friends work at Microsoft. Facts are facts.)

  • When your only means of communicating with the world are top-posted E‑mails in Outlook; Word for Windows; and PowerPoint, you have no actual design vocabulary.

    Since you’re afraid of your machine and because Microsoft Office defaults and templates are so vile (requiring expert competence to override them), you just bang shit out using those defaults and templates. There is a cognitive style of PowerPoint.

  • It is impossible to teach Windows users anything about typography. You can’t even get them to understand what an apostrophe is. It’s been attempted for a full generation and simply cannot be done.

At some level, those complaints apply to all members of the inferior species that is Windows users. Now we get to the repercussions of the conservative mind. [continue with “Conservatives cannot design” →]

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.08.06 11:21. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/08/06/conservativedesign/

(CORRECTED) 2Bad2Late (perverse official orthography: 2BAD2LATE) is a tiny YouTube “channel” that mislabels itself as a “podcast.” In it, junior right-wing assholes here in Toronto – for diversity points, they all seem to be vizmins and/or first-generation Canadians – trade right-wing-asshole talking points. That’s the general format, though the interview segment with Proud Boys Toronto, in which guests described what happened to them at a protest I attended, was highly useful first-hand testimony (except it was on another “channel” – my mistake).

Also part of the general format is young right-wing assholes shitting on gay men and lesbians. While I still prefer to be stabbed in the front, I had the impression that the younger right-wing assholes, like younger card-carrying Conservatives, weren’t homophobic anymore. These guys are. (But I know another of 2Bad2Late’s guests and he’s fine.)

  • — And the thing is, I wish we could find clips of old Pride events. Like, you should – we should try and find clips where – see what the floats and see what everyone was doing in, like, I dunno, like ’90? How long has Pride even been going on?

    — I dunno.

    — So we’ll find clips of, like, one of the first couple runs of Pride and see what they’re like.

    My response was “You mean like James Leahy’s painstakingly assembled videos, some online for two years now?”

  • That same (“podcast”) episode featured extensive griping about old guys walking around naked in Gay Pride, and how their kids, which none of the participants actually have, shouldn’t be exposed to that sort of thing. Of course it’s pointless to explain the history of TNT Men, or the fact that you aren’t actually naked in Ontario if you’re wearing socks or shoes. All these explanations are pointless.

    (Prediction: These young men, if and when they go to the gym, never appear nude there under any circumstances. Supplementary prediction: These guys don’t actually go to Gay Pride and have never seen anyone “naked” there.)

  • It was just this week when a female-identified vizmin guest told us “And, interestingly enough, I heard that lesbian couples are more violent than gay couples.” SOUR RIGHT-WING VIZMIN HOST: “Yeeeah! I love that statistic so much!”

  • One thing they did get right: Typesetting an Š in a Lithuanian proper name. I didn’t know they had it in ’em.

Is there a punchline? Of course there’s a punchline. These free-speech warriors not only ignored every opportunity to learn something for once, they blocked on Facebook exactly one person exercising free speech. (Take a wild guess.) That’s the sort of thing I associate with downtown progressives, trannies, “LGBT+,” the 519, and the like.

Young guys are brash and headstrong. I was one once, and these boys will grow out of it. (The host won’t outgrow being sour, and may stay a homophobe forever. God help any faggy gay son he may have.) But when that point of maturity finally arrives, they’ll look back and make the most important realization there is: I was right all along.

2Gay2Homo has about 4,300 total video views, 0.1% of which are mine. The power-law or Zipf or Pareto effects are all at work here, and these guys are going nowhere.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.08.03 11:50. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/08/03/2gay2homo/

At lengthy intervals, the Big 5 publishing cartel, operated by females but run by heterosexualist males (and Jonathan Galassi), dares to publish literary homosexualist fiction. (Michael Cunningham: “I can’t help noticing that as soon as I write a novel without a blowjob, they give me the Pulitzer Prize.” Gay is not what fiction is about.)

For reasons known only to this intelligentsia nested within an elite, some white trash from France now has the full force of the American publishing industry on his tail. Édouard Louis, a nom de plume, as he appeared in FANTASTIC MAN:

INCREDIBLE ÉDOUARD LOUIS reinvented himself from scratch

Louis’, or Belleguele’s, The End of Eddy has no real 21st-century function or role. It is a book full of eternally recognizable archetypes of the young sissy. It’s just that those archetypes have been translated from the French (also into Deutsch). (Like all Big 5–published books, this one’s typography is indifferent and apparently produced on Windows using circa-1998 software.)

It is torture to read a novel not just because nobody in it goes to the bathroom, spends every night watching TV, or surfs obsessively on their phones, nor just because the novel was permanently discredited by David Shields’ Reality Hunger as a Victorian form that has not evolved. (I’ve never been the same.)

If gay literature (and gay cinema) are Literatures and Cinemas of Recognition, where the job of the creator is to cause the beholder to pause and nod “Yes,” then The End of Eddy represents Farrar, Straus & Giroux, which name is a stickler’s minefield that’s as tricky to pronounce as Knopf, deploying a 20th-century army to represent 20th-century homosexualist archetypes using a 19th-century form.

Why, though? [continue with “»Das Ende von Eddy«” →]

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.07.30 13:34. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/07/30/bellegueule/

Large letters, printed on vinyl wrap across sidewall and opened windows of streetcar, read BLUE or BRUL

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.07.28 13:26. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/07/28/blue-blur/

At least a couple of decades. Certainly the entire time I’ve lived here (almost 30 years).

  • Lionel Tiger, Men in Groups, third edition, 2005 (discussing the first edition of same, 1969 [!]):

    Among other things[,] I endured bomb threats at lectures in Vancouver and Montreal. I was warned of a “kneecapping” should I persist in giving an invited lecture at the New School University for Social Research in New York – a large security guard accompanied me during my entire visit there…. A cover story about the book in Maclean’s magazine in Toronto generated a raucous demonstration by outraged feminists and became national news. Canadian feminists have been especially unforgiving and narrowly harsh ever since[,] and reviewers of my books there appear to reanimate their post-adolescent sociopolitical zeal of 35 years ago.

  • Russell Smith (q.v.), How Insensitive, p. 241 (really the ur-text covering this phenomenon):

    “I should deal with this Moonfire thing,” said Ted. “Can I write at your desk?”

    “If you can clear a space.”

    Ted pushed aside the magazines on John’s desk and found a clean sheet of paper and a working pen. He began to write,

    First, let me make clear my sympathy with the cause of the humane treatment of animals, and with the international feminist struggle. My intention – if intention there was, in a few unguarded jocular moments – in making the comments Next printed, was entirely humorous. Of course some humour is more acceptable than others, and I now realize how insensitive

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.07.28 13:09. This presentation was designed for printing and omits components that make sense only onscreen. (If you are seeing this on a screen, then the page stylesheet was not loaded or not loaded properly.) The permanent link is:
https://blog.fawny.org/2017/07/28/howinsensitive/

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