Why Did the Modernists Love Sans Serif?

by John Holbo on November 22, 2009

This post is going to have it all: comics, fonts, broadbrush high-lowbrow cultural opinionation, curiously reasonably priced British TV.

We’ll start with fonts. Why did the modernists go ga-ga for sans serif? Take Tschichold, my recent subject of study. Early in his career, he dogmatizes that there is something technically obligatory, inherently suited to the Engineering Age, about sanserif type. What induced him to make such an implausibly strong claim, and induced others to buy it, was somehow a tremendous aesthetic impulse in this direction. This felt so necessary. Human beings aren’t skeptical of arguments that give them exactly what they want, so bad arguments are often most interesting as indices of desire. But what was the Big Deal with filing down all the little pointy bits, all of a sudden? [click to continue…]

A vaguely passive-aggressive post on commenters

by Chris Bertram on November 22, 2009

Ten types of commenter, of which the last are the rarest.

  1. The commenter who has not read the post properly, decides they know what it says anyway, and fires off a series of disgusted observations.

  2. Commenter who applies the most uncharitable possible interpretation to the post, and goes straight into rant mode.

  3. The commenter who takes the opportunity to make some sarcastic remarks highlighting his (99% of cases are male) own superior scholarship/intelligence and damning the CT author. “If only Chris has read the second treatise of Heinrich von Pumpkin in the original German, he’d be aware ….”

  4. The commenter who uses every comment as a peg on which to hang his (yes, “his”) own obsessions about, e.g. analytical philosophy, populism, Palestine, etc

  5. The commenter who simply wants to make nasty personal remarks about the CT author, often about female members of the collective, often using an alias.

  6. The commenter with a sense of grievance against CT following their treatment in some comment thread back in 2004.

  7. The commenter who notices that a CT author said P in 2005 and not-P in 2008, and who gives every impression of compiling an archive of such contradictions.

  8. The commenter who has posted in the thread in error, and angrily denounces literary theory in a discussion of Irish cuisine.

  9. The spambot.

  10. The commenter who reads what we write, tries to have a conversation, is occasionally appreciative, points out mistakes helpfully rather than as “gotchas”, brings their own knowledge to the table.