Most recent issue of CA

Eric_West's picture

I was at BN tonight, and I picked up the most recent issue of CA. Now I really like CA, so don't think I'm knocking it. See cover. I'd like to hear thoughts on the illlustration, whether it's implied meaning (commercialization/exploitation) could have been expressed with more clarity and sophistication. My thoughts after a few seconds were, the illustration was repeating itself multiple times over, given the audience (us) the point would be made immediately w/o the swoosh or 'pod buds. IMHO

William Berkson's picture

Edel, I have spent a lot of years talking to people of differing political opinions, including on this forum. I am struck that people are amazingly impervious to facts when it comes to politics. Politics is a realm where people are vulnerable to particularly irrational thinking. 'Are you on the side of the good guys?' seems to be the main question.

If it were more rational people would be asking 'What social problems are to be solved?' and 'What are the best solutions?' The question of parties and personalities would come after you have some answers to those questions. But unfortunately, that's not the way it is.

Symbolic posturing, as you satirize in your 'Che' picture, seems to be the most pervasive form of political communication.

hrant's picture

Nigella: I enjoy looking at photos, and I take a lot of them myself. But there's an aspect to photography, arguably its central aspect, that's a myth: its alleged ability to "capture the moment", to reflect Life, or whatnot, which is completely a self-validating modern illusion. If you look to the early discourse concerning the "existential fallacy" of photography, before the time when it started making enough money for enough people that people started thinking "well, OK, what the hell", you will find some lucid arguments of why this particular technology is essentially entertainment. When we try to get closer to Life by increasing CCD resolution for example, we're entirely missing the point.

You could say that photography is too Modernist to really be humanly relevant.

hhp

ER's picture

Funny, you must be reading my mind, I'm sitting here chowing on a pizza and watching a football game. France 0 Switzerland 0. Great game, and great pizza.

Don't think I got an answer though, still wondering why you thought he was wearing such a "great shirt". Grew up around folks with such lofty language and ideals. Saw them really destroy a homeland and drive the human will for life and fun to the ground. So, yes, give me pizza and football, such joy. Gooooooaaaaaal!!

er

hrant's picture

The shirt was great because he meant it. If you can't/won't die for a good cause, it's still better than ignoring it, and certainly better than apologism for treating your fellow humans like dirt. Nevermind actually voting for a war criminal for president. Or really, voting at all in such a rigged system.

The posers you complain about do exist, but they're really no different than the ones brought up to think "nuke 'em"! Among the affluent masses, politics is subject to fashion just like anything else, and different people go different directions. But alongside those peons there exist truly concerned people, and ignoring that is a self-serving, weak escape from personal responsability.

--

I'm not reading your mind, I'm describing what I see around me,
of which you're more a part than I am. On the other hand, I was
thinking of the football with the funny ball, so luckily for you
you're not at the heart of it.

When you watch Brazil play, think of their slums, and what kinds
of things have caused them to exist and persist... y ¡buen provecho!

hhp

ER's picture

"The posers you complain about do exist, but they’re really no different than the ones brought up to think “nuke ‘em”! Among the affluent masses, politics is subject to fashion just like anything else, and different people go different directions."

This is what I was trying to say. That, in the end, it's all just the same. I could have done a blank cover, or an Ampersand with earphones! But this is how I thought it would best be said.

I still feel that an attempt at democracy and people speaking out is the best we can do. You say they vote for a war criminal, yet you forget the other half that didn't.

And I also watch the football with the funny ball. Now really, in your argument about the masses is there such a difference between the two. It's still a bunch of folks sitting around watching a ball. You will tell me that soccer fans are just a higher being. You make distinctions that just benefit what you like. The round ball is good. The BBC is great, except for the Irish stories. Again, it's all the same.

When I watch Brazil play, yes, I think of the slums, and what causes them. But I grew up in a slum and something caused that too, called Communism. What slum did you grow up in exactly?
There's a whole world of slums, and making a living drawing type or writing stuff in a discussion group ain't doing a damn thing to solve them. So, I guess I'm realistic. Either join in and work for what you're so passionate about or just go about working for the man. But don't work for the man and wax poetically about the struggle. Join it.

And I like pictures.

I'm your alter ego, but hey, we can talk.

er

er

londontype's picture

Hrant - You're right on the money (capitalist expression) about photography. I was a photojournalist for ten years and I know it's easier to mislead - intentionally or not - with pictures than with words. Until recently people found pictures more trustworthy than words, but digital has killed the illusion of photography's credibility. It used to be very easy to deify or demonize with one picture. I'm not so sure of that anymore.

Paul Cutler's picture

Hrant's observation that the empire is crumbling is something I've felt for a long time.

Entropy is inevitable.

I look forward to the day that this empire breaks into smaller entities and California (or parts thereof) can be self-governing.

In the meantime I try to avoid prison, especially one of my own making…

peace

ER's picture

Now I get it, everyone here is from California! All makes sense now.

er

Paul Cutler's picture

You mean you're not? Moderator… :)

peace

ER's picture

CA vague LI cloudy FOR wispy NIA language

Miss Tiffany's picture

Ah. C'mon. We don't have to agree but we do need to get along. And, no, we aren't all from California.

fontplayer's picture

CA vague LI cloudy FOR wispy NIA language

In some kind of genius way I can't access does that make sense?
(from CA)

lorp's picture

I have to say I can't remember what I "meant" by wearing the T-shirt. Even if it was an attempt to provoke, I certainly didn't and don't intend to "communicate" by wearing certain clothes.

Of course people interpret T-shirts in various ways, whether there's text on them or not. Those interpretations are sometimes interesting, often manipulable, occasionally dangerous. In this case, one would be forgiven for thinking I was a supporter of the Cuban Revolution. I'd heard, probably from the Guardian, about directors of French companies being barred from the USA if their company supplied spare parts to Cuban x-ray machines, and that pissed me off. I'd also heard, probably from Michael Moore, about the Cuban health service being far better than the USA's, and that pissed me off too. The American embarrassments of the Bay of Pigs and the Cuban Missile Crisis seemed, inexcusably, to explain their isolation of Cuba. So I had a few things to talk about over a drink if someone approached me because of the shirt. But I was also well aware that I wasn't being particularly daring wearing the shirt. For a start, Massachusetts is not Miami. And the police normally let people wear stuff like that: getting arrested is unlikely. The biggest risk was probably that I might be thought of as silly.

Perhaps a couple of years before TypeCon 98, I'd turned up to the Royal Courts of Justices on the Strand to hear Helen Steel and David Morris (the McLibel two) defend themselves against McDonalds. I wore a shirt that said "It's time for all honest citizens to turn to crime". I rather liked the idea of the juxtaposition and thought I was being a bit daring. In the event... I felt like a teenage jerk and never wore the shirt again.

During the "smart sanctions" bombing of Iraq (1991-2003), bearing in mind a Jesus-themed T-shirt of Easter 1999, I told a friend I was thinking of having a T-shirt made up in that style but depicting Saddam Hussein instead of Che or Jesus. If asked, I'd perhaps have made some comment about supporting neither Saddam's murderous regime nor Clinton's. It could have inspired some interesting debates in pubs. But there would have been serious risks: my favourite café in Cardiff was run by a lovely Iraqi man (who was later to tell me that everyone in Baghdad was waiting eagerly for the Americans to arrive). Some other Iraqis, who helped me out when I urgently needed a car stored for a week, had several edgy rottweilers on their semi in Rumney. Provoking such people is not big or clever. The friend, who might himself have been interested in wearing a Gerry Adams themed shirt, strongly advised against the Saddam shirt.

After that I mostly lost interest in clothing that can easily be (mis)interpreted politically, apart from wearing a long black leather coat to ATypI in Leipzig. I checked with Adam Twardoch whether he thought it likely that it would be interpreted as a Nazi symbol. He reassured me it would not – however he still takes some pleasure in reminding me of my ridiculous outfit at that conference. Sadly I don't think it inspired any debates to rival those where the rehabilitation of blackletter is discussed.

Edited to change "interpreted" to "(mis)interpreted"

paul d hunt's picture

I look forward to the day that this empire breaks into smaller entities and California (or parts thereof) can be self-governing.

Viva Cascadia!

I fully intend on moving there once they gain their independence.

fontplayer's picture

Viva Cascadia!

A wonderful concept, but their flag sucks.
; )

timd's picture

"It is not just a simple game. It is a weapon of the revolution" Che Guevara
Just to tie football and images of Che.


Mind it has also been a weapon of fascism and communism.
Tim

ER's picture

"Ah. C’mon. We don’t have to agree but we do need to get along."

It was a joke. Do I need to say something was a joke all the time around here or put in one of these :) silly things. California is a nice place, full of great people, who deserve their well earned independence. A place that picks a former body builder movie star as its leader should be an example for the entire world to follow. :) that, was a joke.

"CA vague LI cloudy FOR wispy NIA language
In some kind of genius way I can’t access does that make sense?"

Just mixing something Sorkin said before with CALIFORNIA. No genius, just messing. In Spanish there's a word, "joder", which is to joke, poke fun, because you like somebody. There's a lack of humor around here, so I'm just trying to lighten some of the existential talk.

lorp, thanks for the long explanation on the shirt, I'm sure everybody that wears one of those has a story. There's just a lot that people that wear these things need to know about what their unofficially backing. The free education in Cuba is not free. You work in the morning, on a field, picking potatoes, not for Cubans, but to export to Europe, then you go to school in the afternoon. They barely feed the students. The free health care is there if you can get a foreigner to send you the medicine you need and have a car to take you to Havana. The doctor that decides he's had enough can't leave the country, because the government owns your education. You know, because it was given to you for free. Marriages are split because one leaves and the doctor wife is forced to stay behind. I'd rather own my own education and do with it as I please, go to any country I choose.

And the police won't arrest you in Miami for wearing a Che shirt. They, like the Iraqis you mentioned, might just suggest it's not the smartest thing to walk around in one. You'd be surprised how many Iraqis, Cubans, and many of those "opressed" love America. With all its problems, its still a better option for them.

er

hrant's picture

Destroying other countries is certainly a great way to bring in cheap labor.

US Citizenship Question: Which president freed the slaves?
Best Reply: Is that a trick question?

hhp

fontplayer's picture

There’s a lack of humor around here

That may be, but I have several good laughs reading the posts in the different forums today. I think the group may be improving in that regard.

Miss Tiffany's picture

Edel. The "Ah c'mon" was me being a little sarcastic too. No, you don't need to be clear. There is a lot of negativity running around here lately and I am having a little trouble with it. I don't feel like I was mean. I was just asking, and since you say you were just joking then there isn't a problem. Not that there was a problem in the first place.

William Berkson's picture

Which country freed Hrant?
Best Reply: USA

hrant's picture

Which country directly witnessed the genocide of Hrant's people, driving them off their ancestral land (something you didn't suffer, in fact you gained back yours - be grateful, not snide) but now helps the guilty country cover it up? Which country helped the country where Hrant grew up become unsuitable for college education, causing him leave? Which country did Hrant adore as he was growing up, until he actually did grow up and saw what had really been happening, and what was going to keep happening more and faster? And which country is Hrant dreaming of leaving, if only that country would stop destroying the countries Hrant would want to move to? Your country is great for you. It kills and rapes for you. But it's not great for the rest of the world, including many who move to your country (who for some mysterious reason never get fully integrated). For millions of immigrants it's merely a lesser evil, and furthermore an evil that helped cause the evil back home.

hhp

Paul Cutler's picture

Can any country free you?

Thoreau freed himself, as did Bohumil Hrabal, Naguib Mahfouz, Li Po and countless others over time…

peace

dezcom's picture

Tyranny is an equal opportunity employer and has been for all of history. I often hear great praise heaped on my ancestral countryman Alexander the Great. They say he brought "civilization" to the world he conquered. That is a nice romantic notion a couple of thousand years after the fact. He was a bully and a marauder who conquered the world--meaning he was responsible for lots of killing while bringing "culture" as a gift to those he plundered. How was Alexander any better than the Ottoman Turks years later who conquered and enslaved Greece? No better, no worse. I am Greek and have heard many stories from my grandparents of Turkish tyranny heaped upon Greece. I will bet that there were similar stories during Alexander's time about him as well.
There have been villains from every corner of the world. For every villain killed, another rises to fill the void. Every power from the Egyptians enslaving their neighbors at the time of the Pharaohs to the Greeks, Romans, Turks, English, Spaniards, French, Dutch, Russians, and Americans have done deeds most foul. There is no place on this earth where a border can be drawn that does not contain their fair share of evil. This is half the nature of humanity. Thankfully, there is a good part in all as well. The duel between both parts of human nature is endless and timeless. Draw your borders. Blame whatever country or government you wish. That does not solve a thing for more than a moment. Both the problem and the solution rests within each of us. The blame-game is fruitless guilt dumping. Do something positive.

ChrisL

Paul Cutler's picture

I'm with you ChrisL. All external kingdoms are suspect…

peace

William Berkson's picture

Chris,I agree there is plenty of blame to go around--and also praise, by the way.

There is a saying 'blaming keeps people helpless.' What I reject is the 'victim mentality' that gets stuck on blaming others, and fails to take responsibility and organize with like-minded people to try to create a better world.

ps. I just voted in the Virginia primary. :-)

dezcom's picture

"ps. I just voted in the Virginia primary. :-)"

Me too!

ChrisL

Miss Tiffany's picture

Aight. What is "victim mentality" to some might be a reality to others. Even if people really do understand and are informed it is more polite to not assume.

lorp's picture

Edel: Part of what I was saying was that I was not backing anybody, unofficially or otherwise. I wanted to talk to Americans about Cuba – that's the main reason I wore the shirt. I'd love to have to bumped into you, for example.

A couple of things you seemed to misinterpret.

And the police won’t arrest you in Miami for wearing a Che shirt. They, like the Iraqis you mentioned, might just suggest it’s not the smartest thing to walk around in one. You’d be surprised how many Iraqis, Cubans, and many of those “opressed” love America.

I meant the police in Massachusetts and the Miami Cubans as two separate groups, but never mind. When I mentioned the Baghdadis eagerly awaiting the Americans, I meant with open arms, not as a Bushian "bring ’em on!"

William Berkson's picture

>What is “victim mentality” to some might be a reality to others.

I don't know if the term "victim mentality" is precisely defined, but it is often used in both psychology and sociology to describe an outlook of passivity and fixation on blaming.

It is a real phenomenon, and not healthy and not helpful. It is also easy to slip into. One of the sites I just found googling on the term explained it using the ideas of the famous psychologist Victor Frankl. When Frankl was in a Nazi concentration camp he found the key to survival in rejecting a victim mentality, even though he was certainly a victim. Suffering is a very real part of life, and some of us are dealt immensely tougher hands than others. But how we respond to our situation is in every case partly our decision--that is what Frankl emphasized.

Tiffany, I don't think it is impolite to bring this issue up. I think it is an important issue. How much any individual suffers from a 'victim' mentality is up to them to search their own soul and decide. It is not my call, and I'm sorry if it sounded like I was making any personal judgment, which I am not doing.

I do note, however, that a lot of political venom is spit out on typophile in blaming, and very little energy in discussion of positive alternatives. Your discussion of EULAs is a good example of a healthier way: positively trying to make a difference, rather than just grumbling about 'the man' 'the establishment' 'the system' etc, etc.

I am just suggesting that a fixation on blame is not a very healthy or productive thing. I'll leave it at that.

hrant's picture

It's very easy to be utopian when you're not threatened.
And it's downright beneficial when you're the oppressor.

--

I would never tell a Jew not to blame the Nazis for the Holocaust.

hhp

ebensorkin's picture

That *was* an incredibly useful & thoughtful & smart thing to do. ( Creating the EULA thread ).

Rather than create an incredibly long thread that has for the most part stopped talking about the subject initially presented or it's immediate ( & legitimate) tangents - perhaps it is time to create a new thread...

ER's picture

>“ps. I just voted in the Virginia primary. :-)”
>Me too!

That's just wonderful. I get a lump in my throat. thanks.

Also, I think it would be easier to understand hrant's point of view if there were more details, what is your ancestral homeland?
Everyone here has been very detailed in their discussions, seems like it would shed some light. Or are details all bourgeoisie and you'd rather wax poetically about the abstract struggle against the abstract powers that be. Without detail I just keep thinking you grew up in some suburb in California and the toughest gig you slaved at was a part time at the Micky D. Just trying to understand the source of your beef.

thanks, er

ER's picture

New here. What's the EULA? If you set something else up, maybe I'll go there. It has nothing to do with ampersands, does it?
Although, I think I may be done soon. This has been good, thanks all, I may be back with type queries in the future. You're a bunch of talented, smart, passionate folks I can count on to tell me what you really think.

er

ER's picture

Hrant, I've been made more aware of your story, apologies for the Micky D snark, sometimes you just don't know who's a poser on the web. In the end, we probably have a lot more in common than we think.

er

hrant's picture

Edel, I actually tend to talk too much about myself. When I seem
cagey it's often because I want to spare people the agony of hearing
it all over yet again.

What I really should do is have a FAQ that I can just refer to! :-)
In fact I've already thought of a cool domain for it: hhpov.com
Because that's really all it is, or can be.

hhp

ER's picture

hhp,
Yep, I understand what you mean about repeating the stories all over again. People are interested, cause they're curious, and you want to inform, but one feels like one might be exploiting the matter sometimes.

I just met too many people through my college years that talked endlessly about struggles but grew up in a suburb, go to the Starbucks for their lattes, on and on, so I just roll my eyes a little too quickly when I see someone talking about the man.

My point with the cover was that I had this one place to say something. The magazine was doing two stories, one on my work and another on Cuban design. I had a feeling the Cuban design story was going to praise the Revolution, how wonderful it was for poster design, blah, blah. It went over the top with praise for the whole system, as many writers tend to do with the Revolution. And the glorious Che propaganda posters inside the magazine just added to it. So, I, having a different opinion because of my childhood, felt I needed to counter the impression all of that would give. In the end, I don't think the writer of the Cuba story was too thrilled with my work because it went against his premise, but the editors went with it, probably for balance.

If, say, they were to call you to do a feature on your work, and you knew there was another large story inside that would praise the greatness of America, with images of Jasper Johns' flags, Norman Rockwell paintings, and detailed studies of the design of the Constitution, might you not be tempted to do a cover with your take on the letters WE THE PEOPLE?

er

fredo's picture

Timd:
re: Rorschach.
Dear old Walter has retired. Needed a facelift. Hrm.

Hrant:
re: Freedom from Choice
Excellent piece of Devo-lyric there. Ya dig?
re: FAQ
As in Frequently Answered Questions? One for You and one for Popper perhaps.

Can You whacky kids guess whose birthday it is today by the way?

ƒ

timd's picture

Many Happy Returns Che
Tim

Thread takes another turn:)

{edit: okay I assumed it was Fredo's birthday and Che is unlikely to have a happy return}

dezcom's picture

Fredo,
If it is you, have a happy Birthday!

ChrisL

fredo's picture

Not meeee but Cheeee.

ƒ

piccic's picture

Paul wrote:
"I see no difference between design or art or music and life itself."

Sorry, Paul. I can't see what this statement means, as a comment to what I said in my post. Could you tell me more?

Hrant wrote:
"It’s very easy to be utopian when you’re not threatened.
And it’s downright beneficial when you’re the oppressor."

I don't think William's opinion is utopical. Why do you think it is? Considering themselves victimized will not show threateners anything but a reflection of their own rage, or banal egoism. I'm not saying injustice should be encouraged, but Gandhi's legacy is very less talked about than Hitler's. Should we continue this way?

I appreciate William Bergson and Chris' posts. The essence of such a discussion does not ignore or deny the value of personal struggle, misery and difficulty. Ask how do we learn to love, instead. This is not utopical, Hrant. I admire what you do, but not the form of your talk.

hrant's picture

Happy BD, Che.

> Frequently Answered Questions

Hey, I can use that!

--

Claudio, it's utopical to expect somebody* who is being threatened not to defend
himself. In fact it is inhuman. Maybe you believe that defense and attack can be
totally separated? Not so, they're like Yin/Yang.

* Or a people.

hhp

ER's picture

>it’s utopical to expect somebody* who is being threatened not to defend himself. In fact it is inhuman. Maybe you believe that defense and attack can be totally separated? Not so, they’re like Yin/Yang.

With all due respect, is this not a perfect rationalization for what America is doing, they feel threatened, and they're attacking.

er

ER's picture

"Though he is seen by some as a hero, opponents of Guevara, including some Cuban exiles, think of him as a killer and terrorist. They point to what they see as the less savory aspects of Guevara's life, taking the viewpoint that he was enthusiastic about executing opponents of the Cuban Revolution. Some of Guevara's writing is cited as evidence of this tendency, as quoted in an article by Álvaro Vargas Llosa. For example, in his "Message to the Tricontinental", he writes of "hatred as an element of struggle; unbending hatred for the enemy, which pushes a human being beyond his natural limitations, making him into an effective, violent, selective, and cold-blooded killing machine."

Happy Birthday Che

er

hrant's picture

> they feel threatened

Yeah, it's on TV after all, so it must be true!

--

And what is worse, a killer of individuals who admits it, or
killers of peoples who act like they're doing them a favor?

As I said in another thread, there is the darkness in all of
us, and it comes out due mostly to circumstances beyond
our control. But we're still all human, and most of all we
need to see the darkness as human.

hhp

hrant's picture

And here's the reality on the ground concerning people
who bring up Gandhi, and the healthy business of slavery:
http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/business/5079590.stm

BTW Claudio, Gandhi isn't brought up in the States (and hence the West*) for a number of reasons. One is that peace is bad for business; another is that the powers that be have nothing to gain politically from reminding people of him, unlike Hitler, who is a dream-boat, highly-leveraged symbol of the mythical "enemy".

* Especially in Italy, which until very recently was a
puppet regime, and still is highly servile to the empire.

hhp

ER's picture

> they feel threatened
>Yeah, it’s on TV after all, so it must be true!

It wasn't on t.v. for me, it was in front of me. It might have been on T.V. in C A L I F O R N I A. And I felt threatened.

But, you're right, I forgot, this is all part of the vast conspiracy put together by the powers that be to take over all the world's resources. Idiots that can't run relief supplies after a hurricane or get their approval rating past 35% . You give them a lot of credit. It's not conspiracy, it's just incompetency. I know, the incompetency IS part of the plan.

er

Paul Cutler's picture

The world is like color. Contrast is necessary.

The question is how do you balance the color?

The answer is forged by our experiences and personalities.

I like that.

peace

kristin's picture

Either join in and work for what you’re so passionate about or just go about working for the man. But don’t work for the man and wax poetically about the struggle. Join it.

Edel, I know we citizens of the USA are all ignorant bores and whiners (joke), but there are actually people here who do a tremendous amount of good work and are extremely involved in political struggle. You just don't happen to hear about it because we talk about type most of the time. Occasionally our politics will come out in a discussion, and that is something I enjoy. I enjoy reading your point of view, but hate hearing your assumptions about mine or those of anyone else here (even *gasp* hrant).

I liked your cover because that particular image of Che is definitely a "brand" removed from the reality of who Che was and what he believed. The Nike swoosh and the iPod earbugs are equally removed from the reality of the production of shoes and personal electronics.

I disliked your cover because of what isn't clear. What's lost, unfortunately, is the difference between Che, the person, and Nike/iPod, the corporations. It's not just that a different political philosophy is represented (communism vs. capitalism) but also the unfortunate juxtoposition of individual/corporation that evokes a particular political issue in the U.S.; the increasing trend toward assigning the rights of individuals to corporations:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corporate_Personhood

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