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.

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.

Con­tin­ue →

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.

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.