This article was written in response to “Kill the Weasels: Things I Abhor About Graphic Design,” which originally ran in AIGA’s The Journal in 1992 (vol. 10, no. 1). It’s part of a series in which we invite the original writers who contributed to The Journal to respond to themselves 20+ years later.
A little over two decades ago, I ranted for a bit about the most fatuous, glaringly idiotic phenomena surrounding graphic design. One would hope that, given more than 20 years to correct these blatantly misconceived errors, something would change. Sadly, little has. Sure, there are some differences in technology. Time has marched forward, but human behavior…not so much. For instance, what I moaned on about computer software can now be transferred to digital cameras: I loathe cameras that require you to memorize a 500-page manual in order to take a decent picture. Or even to focus. No wonder people are turning back to instant cameras and antique SLR’s.
And just so the greedy software makers know they’re not off the hook, why hasn’t creative software grown less expensive, like virtually everything else in the tech industry? Can you say “captive market?” I detest the idea that after gouging designers for years with newer and often incompatible versions of their software, they’re now going to rent it to us as if that were a great big f%!#ing favor. What snakes! I’m not naming names, but it could start with an “A.” That’s it. My lips are sealed.
Predictably, I still hate junk mail. It should still cost $2—no, make that $5—to mail anything that’s not hand addressed other than large checks payable to me. This includes the 15 or so catalogs I get annually from Williams-Sonoma. And from Chefs, and Restoration Hardware, and DWR, etc. The first one is informative, thank you. The other 14 are marketing, No thanks. I’d rather you cut down the correspondence as opposed to the trees. I won’t forget you exist. Promise.
All the stuff I previously hated in the way of junk mail has now become junk email, a.k.a. spam. I’m repulsed anew each time I get one of these unwanted, often disgusting missives. That includes, but isn’t limited to the torrent of unsolicited offers from Russian women, Canadian drugstores, hot housewives, artisan type houses, the 2,000 photographers who used to send me post cards, retailers of penis enhancers of every type, and those call-for-entries from unknown, lame organizations (Topeka Typographers Association, National Communicators Council, Brazilian World Design Awards, etc.) I hate spam. Really.
Years later, I still hate billboards, particularly the kind that have rotating images. In the pursuit of profit, their greedy owners made a bad medium even worse. Now all messages have 60 vertical lines through them, rendering them even uglier than before. It’s another piggish idea from the same folks who brought urban blight to virtually every roadway.
I still openly and adamantly loathe car dealers and their ugly-ass signs; their trashy, fake chrome trunk plaques; and their branded license plate holders. And I hate that I can’t buy a new Tesla in Texas because these weasels have a lobby paying off corrupt politicos to keep direct sale car manufacturers out of the state. What if all Apple stores were banned? It’s that stupid. Someone needs to eradicate these rodents and the sooner the better. Texas politicos have an extraordinary olfactory sense for danger and deep, deep holes into which they burrow at the first sign of a threat. So we’ll have to get rid of them one by one, but the dealers we could do en masse.
I used to hate TV advertising. Now I simply hate all mass market TV. Most TV, certainly all network TV, seems designed to captivate and entertain morons, or at least people who are really, really tired and just need a glimmering distraction from their otherwise miserable and boring lives. It’s become the opiate of the masses, to borrow a phrase. Sure, the advertising is horrible, but let’s face it, so is virtually all the programming. I hate it. Television began by emulating life, but now it appears life is emulating television. Don’t let your kids near it. It putrefies young minds and turns grown men into zombies.
Fact is, I hate almost all the same things as I did 20 years ago, or at least those which are still around. But there’s a whole plethora of new stuff that I hate even more. So much so that the editor of this blog is cutting me off here and splitting up my long-winded rant into a whole separate post. A part two of part two, if you will. I guess she figured no one could take all this vitriol at once. But the truly masochistic among will be rewarded for next week with more.