Napkin Politics

When I posted my first blog, I tried to pretend I'd talk about aesthetics. But vocationally, I'm more of a conceptual thinker and actor than "an artist," so this a space for that, more so. Just a heads up.

Politically, I was pretty flaming liberal in college. Grown ups told me I would become "smarter" and more moderate as I aged. I resented them. But they were right. But I've also come to have a very different perspective - much less simple and lineal than our my prior conversations permitted.

So with politics, folks talk about "right" and "left" and "moderate" as though there's a spectrum. However, when you step beyond the bounds of our "civilized" models, and go to their extremities, I assumed I'd find communism on the farthest left, and anarchy on the farthest right. A few years ago, I realized how damn similar communism and anarchy are. In reality, they're both pretty ugly. But the people who believe in them don't care a ton about realism - they're idealists. Who, among many things, probably really believe people are good at heart. In their ideals, communism and anarchy are very similar. If you saw a functioning village that practiced one of them, you may not know the difference. If you're a myers briggs nerd, the P's are probably anarchists, and the J's are communists. So there. 

So it was then I realized our political leanings don't fall on a linear spectrum -- it's a circle. This idealism was at the top. And at the bottom, necessarily, is realism. (It turns out I'm actually closer to the bottom.) So I've come to see people political orientation like this:


And I wanted to share this concept with others, that simple. As much now as I care or discern if folks approach problems from right (hands off) or left (hands on), I've started to become equally intrigued with if they approach problems from top (idealism) or bottom (realism).

When you get fired up about how to solve the next problem in the world, consider that people's collective personalities really are expressed in how they conceive of solutions.


These writing are (hopefully) humbly presented. I write with a devil on one shoulder, saying things like "people have researched things for years, what right have you to comment?" "you're disqualified" and "it's not about graphic design - stop being irrelevant." I'm slowly but surely trying to listen to the still small voice in my other ear that says "share!" So as always, please take my thoughts with grace, dialogue with me, and if I'm unaware of a huge established community of existing commentary, let me know. :) 

Yellow Car Game

A couple years ago on a trip to Asia, I spent one brief day in Bangkok. What struck me most? Color!

First of all, here's a photo of my Thai Airways flight over (left) contrasted with a typical US Airways flight (right).

Thai Airways plane interior vs. US Airways plane interior

Thai Airways plane interior vs. US Airways plane interior

Keep in mind, the photo at left I found posted online with the caption "The Ugliest Plane Ever" -- but I seriously disagree.

When we got to Bangkok, the norm was fluorescent colored cars.  It all prompted me to wonder, at large, why western civilization likes things neutral colors: our buildings, our cars, etc... why grey? navy? maroon? tan? When we could make things pink? green? yellow? purple? 

photo by  Eric Brochu

photo by Eric Brochu

There's a game we used to play on long road trips called the "yellow car game" - just an excuse to punch each other when we saw a rare yellow car. In the states, let's be real: if you drive a yellow car, you're an oddball.

Sure, I don't want to be that girl in yellow car, but it's a nasty peer pressure that keeps our culture in bland "polite" saturations. It does make you wonder what the ripple effect of these colors choices have in our collective psyche.

Right at the juncture of east and west, here's a neighborhood of Turkey that's confronting that bit of culture. It hasn't quite prompted me to lead our color revolution yet - but it did make me smile.

Sebnem Arsu/The New York Times

Sebnem Arsu/The New York Times