Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Things I Like Which No One Else Does

Part Two

Let's speak some truth to the youth of America, shall we? Comic Sans is a font. A font. The fact that the mere existence of such an innocuous device as a font has caused so much incredible gnashing of teeth across the wide world is, frankly, bizarre.

I'm not going to lie to you and say I have some great love for Comic Sans. But you know what? I don't think it's possible to love a font, anymore than it is possible to hate a font. Unless you appeared in this movie, I don't really think you should probably get so attached to fonts, or fetishize your hatred of same. Yes, even you professional or semi-professional web designers and publishers in the audience - I can feel you firing up your keyboards with fierce anti-Comic Sans jeremiads. Would you like to know a secret? How to ensure that you never have to worry about Comic Sans? Delete it from the fonts file in Microsoft Word. Then you won't feel the horrible temptation.

But the thing is, lots of people do use it - just as I'm sure there are even weirdos out there who use Wingdings (probably eight-year-olds, but I digress). If you're one of the many anti-Comic Sans agitators, take heart: some people just aren't as advanced a specimen of the human race as you, with all the brainpower devoted to the history and application of fotns and typefaces as yourself. That's so awesome that you know the names of the guys who invented Helvetica (Max Miedinger with Eduard Hoffmann). Really, the knowledge that Carolingian minuscule grew to prominence in Northern European scriptoriums following the Carolingian Renaissance, and that it serves as the basis for many modern typefaces, is just unbelievably great. You're a better person than me. Really. And obsessing over a typeface isn't just another way of reifying a self-justified sense of superiority over less fortunate, design-challenged peons. It's not just another way for nerds to justify smug feelings of condescension, with an added patina of veiled classism, really, it isn't. I promise.

I use Comic Sans - I used to use it for my comics remixes, back in the day when I did such things. Hell, I use to love the fuck out of Cooper, and you can't tell me that's not an ugly font. Because, you know, I don't really care. Maybe it speaks ill of me, bad breeding or whatever, but I just can't be motivated to care. You know what my favorite font is? Courier New, because the even spacing and legibility looks good on my eyes when I'm staring at the computer screen for hours on end. I hear you about to say: "well, the font you choose says something about you and the information you are trying to present to the world, much like wearing a Big Johnson T-shirt to your interview might jeopardize your chances of getting a job at Sun Microsystems". But hey, have you looked at this website lately? I'm using the same gaudy orange Blogger template I've been using since day one (save for a month where I switched to a black template out of respect for Sleater-Kinney's break-up); half of the links in my sidebar are dead or to sites I don't read anymore; hell, I've still got a link to the "Al Gore in '08" grass-roots organization website, and some ad toolbars that I don't even know what they are.

Really, in 2009, sloppy design and useless clutter is an aesthetic choice as much as anything else. So I celebrate my right to use Comic Sans, if for no other reason that it is the one sure-fire way to piss off all the elitist assholes who have this taped to their cubicle walls.

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