Friday's Visual Treat - Day 5/Objects of Desire



It's the last day of the work week, and the final day devoted to 'objects of desire.'  Books, magazines, newspapers have all played a prominent role in my life and thus, without any hesitation, they are nominated for the final spot on our list of O/Ds.  The joy that is derived here is two-fold; first the visual pleasure that is experienced from the book's cover (the graphics, the art, the colors and so forth; similar concerns are central to a newspaper's visual appeal, in which aesthetics, a context, a history is at play; plainly speaking, a voice all of its own and distinct from that of the novel, magazine, or bi-monthly scientific journal can be heard (and seen).  After, we can address the contents (or content) through which perhaps the entire civilizations of both East and West have transmitted knowledge, shared ideas, created dynasties, shaped history, demarcated heaven and earth, and fostered the concept(s) of an after-life, or life thereafter.  Without the written (and later the printed) word, oral traditions could have cemented all forms of communication and facilitated society's demand for continuity, yet through no fault of its own, this was not to be.  And the debate over the primacy of Speech or Text continues well in the wee hours.  

My favorite historian, Jacques Barzun brilliantly wrote, "{that} To the modern lover of books, the product of the {printing} press is an object that arouses deep feelings, and looking at Durer's charcoal drawing of hands holding a book, one likes to think the artist felt the same attachment.  The book, like the bicycle, is a perfect form.  With multiple copies of works available and new works rapidly coming out, the incentive to learning to read was increased.  The one drawback to print is that the uniform finality of black on white leads the innocent to believe that every word so enshrined is true.  And when these truths diverge from book to book (for the incentive to write and publish is also increased), the intellectual life is changed.  From being more or less a duel, it becomes a free-for-all.  The scrimmage makes for a blur of ideas, now accepted as a constant and fondly believed to be, like the free market, the ideal method for sifting truth.

A strange place we find ourselves in today as both camps claim victory:  headlines simultaneously herald the ascendancy of the Noon/Kindle/I-books, while bookstores (both chain and independently owned) struggle to stay open, yet sales as well as the amount of new books published has increased.  Go figure!!

Enjoy the weekend, and thanks for being a design-obsessed peep who clearly enjoys the visual treats show.


PS:  Today's visual treat is dedicated to the memory of my father who lovingly encouraged me (and my siblings) to read, read, read; and to return the library books on time.



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