Archive of October 2008

The Rove Realignment

Ryan Sager thinks the Republican Party is splintering into big-government social conservatives and fiscally conservative social moderates.

Red Sex, Blue Sex

Margaret Talbot discusses trends in sexual behavior among teenagers and maps the differences in family dynamics between red and blue states. The gist: abstinence-only education doesn’t work, and blue families have a lot to say about building successful marriages.

George Packer on the End of an Era

I haven’t been alive long enough to fully understand the long-standing trends of conservatism and liberalism in this country, but Packer’s opinion rings true to me:

The conservative movement was driven by the single unifying idea that government is the problem, not the solution. It attained and kept power through the highly successful political strategy of dividing the country into the hard-working, America-loving, God-fearing majority and the minority of élitist liberals who wanted to tell the majority what to do. What’s happened to that idea and that strategy over the past few weeks?

I think the simple answer has little to do with the current campaign and everything to do with the botched leadership of the past 8 years. In addition to needing to be called out for their war crimes, Bush and Cheney need to be called out for their utter disregard for true American values and reckless thwarting of the ideals that make America run.

Tiny Tim on Fresh Air in 1996

Shortly before he died on stage in 1996, musician Tiny Tim did an interview with Terry Gross. For a brief interview, it’s an interesting profile of the man, as he reflects not only on his way of thinking about his life, but shows how he really finds a way to embody all the music that he clearly has a passion for. His knowledge of music is stunning, and his description of new music as belonging to the young is apt and succinct.

The Weasel, Twelve Monkeys And The Shrub

In 2000, Rolling Stone sent David Foster Wallace to report on the McCain campaign. His profile is a fantastic read and full of insight into the political feelings, especially among younger voters, of the time. (I think… I was 15 at the time.) This passage about leadership is particularly striking to me today:

Obviously, a real leader isn’t just somebody who has ideas you agree with, nor is it just somebody you happen to think is a good guy. A real leader is somebody who, because of his own particular power and charisma and example, is able to inspire people, with “inspire” being used here in a serious and non-cliché way. A real leader can somehow get us to do certain things that deep down we think are good and want to be able to do but usually can’t get ourselves to do on our own. It’s a mysterious quality, hard to define, but we always know it when we see it, even as kids. You can probably remember seeing it in certain really great coaches, or teachers, or some extremely cool older kid you “looked up to” (interesting phrase) and wanted to be just like. Some of us remember seeing the quality as kids in a minister or rabbi, or a Scoutmaster, or a parent, or a friend’s parent, or a supervisor in a summer job. And yes, all these are “authority figures,” but it’s a special kind of authority. If you’ve ever spent time in the military, you know how incredibly easy it is to tell which of your superiors are real leaders and which aren’t, and how little rank has to do with it. A leader’s real “authority” is a power you voluntarily give him, and you grant him this authority not with resentment or resignation but happily; it feels right. Deep down, you almost always like how a real leader makes you feel, the way you find yourself working harder and pushing yourself and thinking in ways you couldn’t ever get to on your own.

Don’t you wish you could inspire people? I think Obama might be able to.

A Boy’s Life

Moving and thought-provoking piece on transgender children by Hanna Rosen.

Quirky serifs aside, Georgia fonts win on Web

I’ve referred to this several times, but it’s worth a re-link. Georgia was commissioned by Microsoft and designed by Matthew Carter in the mid-1990s. It has been a runaway success as one of the first major typefaces designed specifically for the screen. Much of its popularity is owed to Microsoft, who released the font for free through its “Core fonts for the Web” collection, making it one of the few serif fonts available to web designers.

Georgia has been lucky, but from an aesthetic point of view, I personally think it deserves its accolades and widespread use. It is truly a great screen font, and has held up incredibly well as anti-aliasing has become the norm. I still wouldn’t use it much for print work, but it is my go-to typeface for any of my web work that needs a strong readable serif.

Final Debate Reax

More Sullivan… this time he gathers a variety of reactions to tonight’s debate.

Book Covers

Awesome collection of book cover designs. (Thanks, Gabe.)

Why I Blog

Andrew Sullivan at his best. One of my favorite bits:

You end up writing about yourself, since you are a relatively fixed point in this constant interaction with the ideas and facts of the exterior world. And in this sense, the historic form closest to blogs is the diary. But with this difference: a diary is almost always a private matter. Its raw honesty, its dedication to marking life as it happens and remembering life as it was, makes it a terrestrial log. A few diaries are meant to be read by others, of course, just as correspondence could be—but usually posthumously, or as a way to compile facts for a more considered autobiographical rendering. But a blog, unlike a diary, is instantly public. It transforms this most personal and retrospective of forms into a painfully public and immediate one. It combines the confessional genre with the log form and exposes the author in a manner no author has ever been exposed before.

Love the photo of him, and really enjoying the new design of the site. Much more readable, and with a lot more character.

Twitter Election Coverage

I love innovative ideas. This is one of the most fascinating ways of, as Twitter puts it, “gathering public opinion” that I think I’ve ever seen. Something about it just feels very futuristic.

On a design note, I love that the feed pauses when you hover over it so that you can click on something.


I just spent like an hour racking my brain and then 20 minutes searching the internet for these stupid little things I couldn’t remember the name of. They’re pretty handy when you need one.