Tag: TV

The typography of Sacha Baron Cohen’s “Who Is America?”

I couldn’t help but notice how jarring the titles for Showtime’s “Who Is America?” are, but I couldn’t put my finger on why. It’s clearly some condensed extra bold, which are often pretty ungainly, with some exceptions (Futura Bold Codensed, of Nike fame). My first thought was that it might be something like Calibri or Tahoma, some unsightly humanist sans that was even possibly manually stretched.

I Googled around for a screenshot of the titles, and what I found instead was a lot of promotional material that primarily does use Futura Bold Condensed:

(And Arial Bold, unfortunately.)

I can’t help but wonder if the designers behind the titles in the aired show were trying to mimic Futura Bold Condensed, but either weren’t able to or didn’t know they weren’t using the same typeface.

I admit I had to look it up, but the typeface they are using is Abadi Condensed Extra Bold. Why this typeface? After a little more Googling I learned that Abadi is included in several Microsoft products.

What isn’t included in most Microsoft products? Futura Bold Condensed.

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Colbert, O’Reilly, and God

Skip forward to about 2:20.

Update: Here is the original video from which Colbert’s clip was taken. More from O’Reilly about us being “lucky.”

It is so plainly obvious how deeply flawed O’Reilly’s reasoning is here, and these are more words than the subject could possibly deserve, but I can’t help but want to address it.

What’s really peculiar about it is that he doesn’t seem to be saying that the creation of the moon can’t be explained by ordinary, mechanical events. I’m sure he’d agree that it’s viable to theorize that a huge asteroid smashed into the earth a couple billion years ago and formed the moon. It has explanatory power, although there is no way to know for certain that that happened, because we can’t observe it directly. And that seems to be his point; it’s one thing for apologists to point to something that can’t be explained in order to suggest that there is a god — “Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is the gravitational constant what it is?” — but here he’s invoking something so trivial, something that can be explained, but whose explanation we can’t verify with absolute certainty, and suggesting that it has the same logical heft.

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Video: That MTV “Vertebrae” Commercial

Hey, I didn’t say it was good.

I guess what I find so fascinating about it is: When did MTV ever condone being unpopular? Between the Spring Break programming and drunk girls crying on The Real World, it was an odd change of pace, but one that reminded me of the attitude MTV used to have, in the ’80s, before they became shameless culture-mongers. Still, it’s important not to ignore that this guy actually is attractive, and dressed fashionably, and — at least at my school — probably would have been popular. I guess it would have turned too many viewers off to have presented him as acne-ridden, overweight, without any sense of style, and listening to black metal?

Something I forgot to mention last time is that this was part of a series of commercials, if I remember correctly, that played on the “V” in “MTV,” although I forget the titles of the other installments.

Thanks to La fille des montagnes (“The girl mountain”?) for sending me the video.

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That Old MTV “Vertebrae” Commercial

Of which I completely expected to find a copy on YouTube, but about which I could find only a single internet reference at all.

Do you remember that?, where the kid is walking past the lockers in high school, and he has those big can headphones on, and all the jocks or whatever are sneering at him, and he just smiles contentedly and turns up his music?

I think it may have been an MTV2 campaign specifically. Anyway. I remember that.

Holy crap I can’t sleep.

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