}

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Internet Wading for February 21

Statue of Julian of Norwich
There are a lot of things I see on the Internet that interest me, but that I don’t write about on this blog, for whatever reason. Once a month, I gather together some of those things that I thought were interesting, but that never became blog posts. So, let’s get started with this month’s typically varied collection—some history, some graphic arts and creativity, pop culture—but no politics, oddly enough.

First up this month, for no particular reason, Atlas Obscura told the story of “The Rebel Virgins And Desert Mothers Who Have Been Written Out Of Christianity's Early History”. It’s a long piece about early Christian women who were both as odd as some of the early Christian men, but also oddly fascinating. For me, it’s always fun learning about forgotten history.

In December, they also published a story about a medieval “anchorite”, a female Christian mystic, who was known as Julian of Norwich (pictured), though her real name has been lost. Walled up in a church, as was a fad at the time, this 14th century mystic wrote what is believed to be the first book in English attributed to a female author, Revelations of Divine Love, about her visions.

Speaking of writing, Charles O’Meara published “I’m old but I can write” on Medium, and takes younger writers—and their readers—to task for, well, a lot of things, actually. But, points to Medium for publishing a piece critical of itself.

Also on writing, something relevant to anyone writing online, including bloggers: “No one cares if I write,” Jennifer Garam begins in a piece on her personal site. In the piece, “How To Keep Writing When No One Gives A Shit”, she lays out the struggles a lot of writers face in an online world dominated by all sorts of information gathering about readers and their habits. She concludes with a sentiment I share:
When you write something, you never know who it is going to affect, or how it could help someone who’s struggling and feeling alone, or how in a low moment in their life, desperately searching on Google for answers, they will come upon your words when they need them most. And despite what our culture will have us believe—that metrics and stats matter above all else, that the number of clicks tells the whole story—somehow, in some calculation, impacting one human being has got to be worth more than all the unique page views and Shares and Likes in the world.
And speaking of social media metrics, MIT Technology Review published “The Social-Network Illusion That Tricks Your Mind”, in which, as they put it, “Network scientists have discovered how social networks can create the illusion that something is common when it is actually rare.” It explains a lot about why it sometimes SEEMS like everyone feels a certain way about something when it’s not actually true. This is something political activists in particular should heed (our nephew shared this one online—one of the few things I’m including this month where I know how I found it).

And a merger of social media and graphics things was in something I rediscovered recently: “Idiotic Hipsters Complain About The Font Of ‘I Can’t Breathe’ Protest Shirts”. Because, Comic Sans. Look, I know it’s not a pretty font, but I simply can’t understand why some designers seem to hate it with unbridled passion. Seems like a monumental waste of energy and passion to me (and entirely beside the point of the shirts, of course, and that’s as close to political as I get in this post).

More humorously I ran across, “Logo Design Gone Wrong: 10 Offbeat Examples” and (even though both have some of the same images) “15 Images That Show Why Letter-Spacing Is Important”. Both show things far funnier than the temerity of those using Comic Sans.

Roger Green (from whom I stole borrowed the idea for these amalgamation posts) has been writing about “The Black Comic Book” (part one is here, and part two is here). The comics are parodies of well-known comics using black people in place of the familiar white characters. It’s not just parody and satire, though—it’s also social commentary, and Roger’s comments clarify them and their place in history from today’s perspective.

“What if Tim Burton directed all Disney classic movies?” That’s the premise of a project by Russian-born, Los Angeles-based artist and animator, Andrew Tarusov, who imagines Disney movies as if they were directed by Tim Burton.

And in music: “ELO's Jeff Lynne: My Life in 15 Songs” in which Electric Light Orchestra's frontman talks about the songs he wrote for ELO and others, including George Harrison and Roy Orbison, and a bit about the studio work behind them.

‪That’s enough for this month. I’ve been wading so long my skin’s getting pruney.

The photo above, “Statue of Julian of Norwich, Norwich Cathedral, by David Holgate FSDC” is by rocketjohn [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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