HE DOESN’T KNOW HOW MUCH I LOVE HIM

I keep track of the books I read, read then abandon, or do not actually get to. Net 154 printed books for ’017. All but about five were atrociously typeset, and almost anything “LGBT+”-related was packed to the walls with lies.

  1. Nonetheless, Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me revealed that Billy Hayes is the best gay writer I’ve ever read. It was said that every page of Leni Riefenstahl’s autobiography contained a stunning fact of her life (“does not contain a single unspellbinding page”). Hayes’ memoir of his life with Oliver Sacks, such life circumscribed by Sacks’ fatal illness, shows that no matter where you look in Sacks’ books, Hayes’ book, or any part of their lives together, everything is fascinating.

    How could one beat On the Move? Sacks’ (again) not-unspellbinding and fascinating memoir, with its recollections of riding motorcycles stoned, powerlifting on Venice Beach, yet also spending a lifetime suppressing his homosexualism after what sounded like a pretty good sexual encounter, showed how much more about Sacks was estimable and unique than we already knew. All this from a British Jew with, to paraphrase, a brain the size of a planet.

    Sacks would interview his patients and typewrite 500 words about each of them, their conditions, their lives. (Almost my exact approach when I meet anyone from another nation, tribe, or language group. I just don’t jot anything down.) Now, if only I could put my hands on the article that showed Sacks appearing last onstage at a neurological conference, after everyone else had recited dry “case histories,” and asking the attending doctors “Why aren’t any of you telling us what your patients are like?”

    Billy Hayes tells us what Oliver Sacks was like. And, elsewhere, what happened to the two of them when they dropped by a gay bar on Oliver Sacks Night.

  2. Meanwhile, in another part of the forest, Douglas Thomas’ well-researched, readable, comprehensive, and beautifully presented Never Use Futura is one of the rare actually valuable typography books published in the 21st century. Quite the shame I’ve been run out of the field on a rail, but that’s true of all my fields, and my aggressors have not quite killed me off yet.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.12.29 14:53. 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/2017/12/29/books2017/

  1. I had previously nominated Mr. JAMES BRIDLE as the smartest young man in publishing. He still is – though, while trenchantly documenting hidden ills, Bridle needs to stop lying about obvious ones.

    The asides I’ve kept in parentheses throughout, if expanded upon, would allow one with minimal effort to rewrite everything I’ve said, with very little effort, to be not about child abuse, but about white nationalism, about violent religious ideologies, about fake news, about climate denialism, about 9/11 conspiracies.

    He means “anti-White racism, Islam, mainstream-media lies, science denialism about biological sex,” and, I guess, 9/11 conspiracies. (I got an autoresponder when I ran most of those past him. He’s not going to bother replying in any event.)

  2. Next we have Mr. TIM POOL. I will begin with a criticism that could be levied broadly – the first syllable of the video that autoplays on a YouTube page must not be “Hey.” (Usability of initial seconds of YouTube autoplay is a real issue, which sits in an unending to-do list for ’017 that will continue not to end. I did write him about that issue and got no response.)

    I have known some smart journalists in my day (few can surpass Ms Jan Wong), but nobody at such a young age has demonstrated his degree of presence of mind, poise bordering on dead calm, and sheer articulateness in interviews. Pool’s tales of outwitting the cops (and sometimes losing at that), as told to Michael Malice, show a man wise beyond his years. He knows things about the Occupy movement that seemingly no other journalists do (and neither does Adam Curtis, who talks about Occupy at length and in many settings). Further, Pool does not deploy his multiracialism even defensively, let alone to score oppression points.

    I would like to be Tim Pool when I grow up were I able to regress to his age.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.12.28 16:00. 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/2017/12/28/twosmart/

To my surprise, even the lamestream media noticed that Unsavo[u]ry Agents’ guerrilla postering campaign against Meryl Streep and Hollywood was “a riff on” or “aping” Barbara Kruger’s signature type treatment. Babs has actually branched out quite a bit from Futura, but that’s surely her trademark (“Your Saucepan Is a Battleground”).

Poster shows B&W photo of Weinstein and Streep, with Streep’s eyes covered by “She knew” in white Futura on a red rectangle

(Note They Live–manqué store signage at far left [LIVE YOUR LIFE])

I dropped Sabo (“SĀBO”) a line to axe him why he redeployed the Babs Kruger trope.

No, I was not influenced by Kruger. Actually, I spent a bit of time helping a friend with this idea. His initial plan was to hit the poster for [the Meryl Streep film] The Post or to redesign it in our image, if you will. That’s where he was stuck.

I decided to take another route. I watched the movie’s trailer. In it was a scene of protesters holding posters of JFK with the word “Liar” across his face.

(That poster would have been essentially impossible to produce as shown in any era before recent desktop publishing. It’s a typographic ahistoricism.)

That is where I found my inspiration. I handed that idea off to my friend. He thought it worked – it only needed a few tweaks. I didn’t hear from him for at least a day. I was actually surprised when he showed up with the result that he did. I was happy he took the direction I’d started. However, his partner put his two cents in, one of which being the Kruger look. I had nothing to do with that.

Then, when I brought up how conservatives cannot design, Sabo almost but not quite denied being conservative. (Reordered slightly.)

[A] lot of people, regardless of their political leanings, can’t design. I don’t know if I can or can’t, but there are some things I put together that I actually like. Most are things intended to shake the political tree. I’m just happy it works as often as it does.

I believe we are wrong in so many ways when describing “conservatives,” and especially wrong when it pertains to art. Art simply is. It’s not Leftist or something found on the Right. My ability to defend myself is my right. (I’d say “God-given right,” but that will only open up a can of worms that I’m not interested in opening.)

You hear people say all the time that there are those who think with the right side of their brains and those who think with their left. What does that have to do with my ability to speak my mind? It has nothing to do with it. The problem is those on the Left have managed to convince generations of creatives to believe that because they think or feel a certain way then they are of a certain political stripe. That’s not so….

I should be able to sleep with another man and still believe I have the right to own a firearm to protect my partner. I should be able to support abortion rights while still believing I have the right or freedom to express myself, even in conservative ways. I know people who believe being gay is wrong but support abortion rights. Why is art any different?

The reason so many people on the “Left” are artists is because they are people who grew up wanting to be creatives and were told that if they were going to be such then they have to side with the Left. That notion has gone on for so long that it’s just a given. It’s foolish.

It works the other way. There are plenty of people who live-action-roleplay with the neat haircuts, the suits and ties. They have all the right conservative friends because they were told if they were going to go into banking or business they were then supposed to be conservatives or Republicans – when in fact they at the same time hold many liberal ideals.

Somewhat-grey-haired Hispanic in MUHAMMAD IS A HOMO T‑shirt

Sabo, who is rather hot, further notes that “my preferred pronoun is out for review.”

“Feminazi”

Sabo, on YouTubé:

This Barbara Kruger woman? This feminazi trainwreck-looking woman that probably hasn’t put any fuckin’ makeup on in God knows how long, whatever? That scary woman? No. She did not influence me. An image that I saw on the trailer of the movie The Post influenced me. If you want to blame anyone for that Barbara Kruger shit, blame the guy who I handed off the initial piece to. He took it from there. I had nothing to do with it.

And not to mention: That style of design? A fuckin’ monkey can do it. For God’s sake – she’s putting a bar across someone’s eyes with Helvetica or something.

Futura, dear.

I mean, a chimp can do that. Gimme a break. You don’t need to be inspired by anyone to do something so basic, or so base.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.12.28 12:19. 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/2017/12/28/sheknew/


Adam Curtis graciously declines to acknowledge that the least articulate interviewer he ever met was Tim Heidecker. Curtis (≈30:52):

The thing that… makes me shocked is the way that liberals in America are constantly insulting the people who voted for Donald Trump. They call them stupid and ignorant. They’re not stupid and ignorant! They’re frightened, lonely, isolated people who felt that the political system had completely ignored them and gave them no sense of any future. Then someone came along… and gave them a button, and that button simply said on it FUCK OFF, and they pressed that button….

And to turn ’round to those people and just say they’re stupid and ignorant makes it worse. That’s the reason why they voted for Donald Trump – because you say they’re stupid. They know you don’t respect them. And if you ever want to challenge Donald Trump’s power, you’ve got to go and reconnect with those people.

And they may be racist. But so what? Politics is about making all kinds of allowances, not necessarily with people who you believe are good, but actually who you think you can help and change and transform with really good ideas. At the moment… you just despise those people. And when people despise other people, it’s always out of fear. And I think the liberals are frightened of those people. […]

If people have voted for someone you really don’t like, go and find out why they did. Don’t make presumptions. Just go and find out…. Because if you’re ever going to change the world, you’ve got to ally with those people. […]

Maybe [they were “misinformed”]. But so what? I mean, why are they more “misinformed” than the people who thought that Hillary Clinton was bound to win? I mean, I would have thought the most gross piece of misinformation was the endless assumption from op-ed commentators, from economists, from political thinktanks, and from the pollsters, which led the very opposite of [the people I was just talking about] to believe that Hillary Clinton was going to win. Wasn’t that gross misinformation, gross stupidity? […]

What you have to do is have a generosity of imagination and find out what other people feel, and that includes going to talk to people who are racist and understanding where their racism comes from.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.12.20 15:18. 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/2017/12/20/sowhat/

I have learned a great deal from my distant acquaintance Bill Buxton, now some kind of research doyen at Microsoft.

I met him while writing about keyboards in the 1990s. Buxton was always at least marginally interested in talking about accessibility. He worked at – headed? – the U of T “lab” that actually invented multi-touch. As he points out, user-interface inventions take 20 full years to be commonly used, even if such a timeline seems incomprehensible in a computing context.

Of his advice, what has served me best is this: Every intelligent person, or every expert, will immediately say “I don’t know” when they really don’t know. And they’ll be fantastically interested in learning everything they possibly can when they meet an intelligent person or an expert in a different field.

I apply this lesson in particular when I shake down people I meet for their nationality, tribe, and language, all of which I can guess accurately 80% of the time. (But getting it wrong is when one learns.) Soi-disant anti-racists cannot understand that true anti-racism requires knowing as much about an individual as possible.

(I dropped Buxton a line to fact-check a couple of these points and did not hear back.)

Getting yelled at by teenagers

Buxton practised what he preached. I remember a short video segment on TVO with Buxton learning to ride a horse. He had set up his own video camera to record himself and his mistakes. (Another of his many projects, again 20 years ahead of its time, was “telepresence.” The best thing you can do to improve an office videoconference is rotate the cameras to portrait orientation, à la the Pet Shop Boys’ virtualized backup singers.) But he found that the telemetry he’d also set up between the camera and him and his horse had a time lag, so he aimed the camera slightly ahead of his location. Sometimes everything really is about usability.

In the process of learning to ride a horse, I also remember how Buxton told me about getting yelled at by an 18-year-old kid. This is the way he described it to BusinessWeek:

[W]hen at age 40 I decided that I wanted to ride competitively (never having been on a horse), I somehow convinced the top Canadian rider from the Los Angeles Olympics to coach me. I stated my desire to see if I could qualify for the Olympics, and then mentioned that I had neither horse nor saddle. She laughed, but she also took me on, and what I learned over the next decade not only got me on the talent squad of the national team, it helped my other work in myriad subtle and unexpected ways….

So, yes, my coach was an Olympian. But on the other hand, some of my most valuable lessons were learned from a 14-year-old girl who, while laughing at my incompetence on horseback, was also generous with her insights. Was she world-class? No, but her feedback was exactly what I needed. Riding in that environment was a very design-like experience in that we critiqued each other. It was a salient reminder: All of those in training are also coaches of a sort.

In my own ways and in my own fields, I have a range of expertise I would love to share. It has, and I have, been entirely shunted aside, and that expertise is set to die with me, to the satisfaction of many. I cannot emphasize enough how much of a hit some are willing to take if it means the blow they seek to land in a presumed enemy might just possibly finally be the fatal one.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.12.09 13:27. 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/2017/12/09/buxtonism/

Ten years ago, RRJ ran a thinkpiece about “literary journalism,” a genre the kids all discover in their own due time. Its only point of interest was a followup on a profile of Mike Harris that David Macfarlane had written for Toronto Life editor John Macfarlane. “The King of Common Sense” (June 1996; text archive) holds up well today by virtue of the metajournalistic letter to itself it itself contains.

After his article came out,

[o]ne night Macfarlane found himself at a dinner party where an old friend of the host had invited himself along specifically to meet the journalist behind “The King of Common Sense.” “This guy had worked closely with Harris on the election campaign, and is now a lobbyist for God-knows-who,” Macfarlane recalls. “So this guy shows up and he was exactly the Voice. He was smart, he was charming, very tough-minded, difficult to argue against, cruel in his right-wing views – and profane.”

(Emphasis added; q.v.)

The self-invited guest hadn’t sought Macfarlane out to cut down the profile. Instead, he went out of his way to confirm for Macfarlane that his intuitions had been correct, telling him, “Well, you certainly found the premier’s favourite word.”

“I found that quite revealing,” says Macfarlane. “Harris would never, ever in a million years say ‘fuck’ in front of me in an interview. He goes into an interview and there’s a certain image he wants to get across – to be bland, because it doesn’t do him any good not to be bland. But he apparently isn’t bland in cabinet meetings, and not bland on the home front, and not bland on the golf course. He’s profane. And that was there in the article.”

Right-wing assholes have been more amusing than their enemies, sworn, imagined, or self-styled, since time immemorial.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.12.09 12:42. 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/2017/12/09/argueagainst/

Ann Friedman, 5½ years ago:

In the dating world, an infatuation with Ayn Rand is a red flag. You might not see it right away: Your date is probably conventionally attractive, decidedly wealthy, and doesn’t really talk politics. But then you get back to his apartment, set your bag down on his glass-topped coffee table, give his bookshelf the once-over – and find it lined with Ayn Rand….

But that dog-eared copy of Atlas Shrugged tells you everything you need to know. He sees himself as an objective iconoclast. He’s unapologetically selfish, because it’s only rational, he says. Sure, he grew up with money[,] but he worked to get where he is today. He’s all about individual responsibility[,] but he just isn’t, metaphorically, into wearing protection.

This is the part where you collect your shoes and bag and GTFO.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2017.11.29 15:04. 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/2017/11/29/andgtfo/

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