I am about a third of the way through Jeff Vandermeer’s newest novel Shriek: An Afterword and am enjoying it immensely. I’ve been a fan of Jeff’s works since first getting a whiff of City of Saints and Madmen way back when. Shriek is an incredibly satisfying book thus far, with a unique structure that fractures time, as so many contemporary “post-modern” narratives do, but in an altogether more intimate and rewarding way. I won’t say anymore since this isn’t a review, I haven’t even finished the book yet after all, but anyone interested in more in depth reviews can see the following: SFCrowsnest, Shaken & Stirred, or Infinity Plus. What I wanted to share with you tonight was something entirely more specific, a short section that might very well represent the greatest book rejection ever put in print. With Jeff’s kind permission I will reprint it for you below.

10.26. filed under: books. fiction. observations.

Graphis Annual 1971 / 1972

So I managed to get my grubby hands on yet another vintage Graphis Annual, this one, a loner, representing 71 / 72. The book and its contents are beautiful, as always, though stylistically this books represents a bit a of a shift from the late 50’s issues I’ve showcased thus far. (See parts 1, 2, and 3.) I’ve limited the post to 18 examples, drawn from nearly all of the 20 subject groups, simply displayed in the order they were scanned. Before we get to It here are a few words from editor Walter Herdeg…

“Our society relies for its existence on the consumer behavior of its members. And consumption depends on– inter alia –advertising. Is this yearbook of advertising graphics, then, concerned with our society? Is it, indeed, a critical commentary on society? We leave the reader to form his own opinion.”

10.21. filed under: !. design. 12

It is usually my practice to limit my image posting here to those things which I find pleasing and which I assume you might find pleasing as well. This is only natural. We all like pretty pictures. Today, however, it is my intention to post some decidedly ugly images, images which are so ugly, in fact, that they might correctly be called “the ugliest” images in existence. Don’t fret, they are not close-up proctological photos used for diagnostic purposes. Images of that nature are not meant to be pretty, but rather functional, and in the satisfying of that function do have a certain merit; No, the images I am about to show you were created by human hands to fulfill a purpose (like said proctological images) but to simultaneously be aesthetically pleasing as well. The ultimate statement on their awfulness is that they fail miserably on both counts, which is to say their ugliness is so great that it actually hinders their intended functionality. That is the definition of failure in design I’d say. Brace yourself…

10.08. filed under: !. criticism. design. observations. 13

Lives of the Saints (4)

Should I call the police or The Weekly World News? I can’t decide.

This isn’t a joke John, alright?

Well what you’re saying is you were just raped… by a “God.” Is that correct?

I didn’t say “raped.”

10.07. filed under: !. fiction. 2

The death of the White Goddess

Or: The Meerschaum Pipe.

Admittedly pipe smoking has long since passed its peak of popularity. The days of gentlemen sitting in their book-lined studies puffing at a fine pipe whilst sipping at a tumbler of brandy are long gone, thrown out with the servants, the wife-ruling, the mistresses, and the dishwater. With them so too has passed the glory days of the pipe carver. Sure there are stragglers, both smokers and carvers, but I’d wager that today most pipe smoking is done sans tobacco and I think anyone who has ducked into a head shop, out of need or curiosity, can attest to the fact that pipe craft now strives to fulfill a different set of demands, and adheres to a very different “aesthetic.” So, digging now into the “dying arts” file, I bring you some images and some history of the once great meerschaum pipe.

10.01. filed under: art. !. design. history. 11

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