I keep telling you Michael Bierut oughta give up the pretence of being an important design writer and just host his own goddamned game show! (Or at least podcast.) He did it before and he’s done it again – at the second “Command X” game show at an AIGA conference, where students are given a limited time to complete three design projects.

It’s harder to watch this year’s video coverage than the same from two years ago because you can’t download it onto your iPod. It’s Flash-in-browser video all the way (Episodes 1, 2, 3).

There’s captioning, but captions aren’t positioned and they’re dwarfed into nothingness in fullscreen view.

Tiny captions dwarfed in fullscreen view of ‘Command X’ stage

This is admittedly much better than nothing. (If you’re clever, you can download the plain-text caption files masquerading as XML.)

Now. Bierut? Zinger after zinger. Stage presence that, like a black linebacker’s ass, you could bounce a quarter offa. He even recovers from mistakes well. Watch and learn. My God, I love him.

But what else happened?

Gays in village

  • The final challenge involved visiting the National Civil Rights Museum and producing some kind of call to action. The results were weak. My blood began to boil when the obviously gay contestant, Ryan Fitzgibbon, claimed he had a hard time addressing the topic as a white male. I see the identity politics of hateful 1990s leftist girls are still goin’ strong down there. Seriously, where’s a whip-wielding Camille Paglia when you need her?

    I thought the American concept of civil rights applied to everybody, not just minorities. (Is the Constitution just for whites? No? Then who’s it for?) And anyway, this guy is a minority and he does not have the same civil rights as straight people where he lives.

    Who’s the better designer – married Roger Black or Roger Black amid a harem of tall, strapping assistants? Does honesty get you more than a clean conscience? Is your work better if you refrain from telling lies of omission?

    I suppose it was kind of Chip Kidd not to call bullshit on this, but I would have stormed the stage.

  • Episodes 2 and 3 were somewhat tediously introduced by the obviously gay Sean Adams, who pre-interviewed contestants before their work was ready.

    Screenshot: Sean Adams, Partner, AdamsMorioka (as ‘Tim Gunn’)

    Tim Gunn he ain’t. Adams’s Facebook profile merely describes him as “married.” Straight people never hide who they’re married to.

    So that’s what, two more gay graphic designers? We’re up to how many now? A dozen?

“You and the Cap’n Make It Hap’n”

Assigned the task of redesigning the packaging of Cap’n Crunch (consistently mispronounced as “Captain” Crunch) for hipster adults, Bobby Genalo went balls-to-walls and illustrated the Cap’n with an implied hard-on under his tricorner hat. (Well, hello, sailor!)

Chip Kidd barely contained his visible disgust and said next to nothing onstage, but opened up to the Reflex Blue Show (excerpted):

I don’t even remember what his name is – I don’t care. The pornographic cereal box… I decided to check myself, largely, because what I would have said is “This is a giant fuck-you to the jury and I think you’re an asshole for doing it.” Like, why would you throw away… It was a stupid card to play. “Risk” involves some intelligence to me.

Genalo’s ethos? Burn out, not fade away. He did blow a chance to honestly answer the question “What’s the free toy inside?” with “A cock ring.” Not quite enough guts for glory there.

Why is all this not on TV?

Why is Bierut not on TV? Or a podcast?

What’s it going to take to disabuse him of the notion that because his day job involves marks on paper the only way he can discuss similar marks on paper is by marks on paper? What’s it going to take to persuade him that he doesn’t have to be all classy all the time and write tedious designery exegeses in 79 different fonts? Get back on the fucking stage, Michael.

The foregoing posting appeared on Joe Clark’s personal Weblog on 2009.12.29 14:25. 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:

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None. I quit.

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