Ordinary Fonts (Updated)

Picking a new font for this here shindig – or for the shindig Over There, since there’s no rule a sub-blog can’t have its own fonts – is a challenge for one particular reason beyond normal aesthetical diffidence: We’ve grown used to a showily serif font, “Goudy Bookletter 1911,” for headlines and titles – so the traditional sans-serif title/serif paragraphs contrast isn’t available to us. You’ll occasionally see people try the reverse – serif titles and sans-serif paragraphs – and reports of vomitous nausea and other undesirable reactions tend to accumulate. Still, we can do whatever we want. There’s no rule we can’t go Goudy Bookletter for both titles and paragraphs and any and everything else, for example. The current paragraph font at OT – also used for most non-headline purposes – is “Domine.” For reference, as of this writing, you can look at this paragraph right here. Since I’m likely to change the font at this sub-blog, here’s a sample for future reference.

Domine

Domine

It’s not a bad font at all! It’s just a bit bland, but may just be overly familiar. The word that occurs to me when I look at it – and, like any other OT reader, I look at it a lot, by definition – is “balky”. When I look at possible replacements, I want something more striking on first glance, in keeping with the site’s general retro/steampunk/retro-future aesthetic, but still susceptible to fading into virtual transparency, or able to step aside and just let the reader read. So, I don’t think we want something too distinctive, but I think we could stand trying out some alternatives. Anyway, here’s a gallery of samples all in Lorem Ipsum, under a sample post showing a current OT front page – so Goudy lettering for the post title and navigation tabs across all samples. You’ll want to be viewing the gallery on a desktoppish-size monitor (too small on mobile, plus the font title captions and side-scrolling very probably won’t show for you). Click on any thumbnail to bring up a large image, hover over to the right or left to bring up an arrow that’ll let you scroll through the gallery sideways. Tell me if any stand out to you as majorly fab or truly terrible. Note: These are all free fonts, mostly from Google Fonts (hardly the only foundry, but free and highly functional, and easy to use). I’ve also thrown in a few”web safe fonts” – fonts everyone has and a lot of people still use – so don’t be embarrassed if you find yourself liking the most generic font there is, the one you just got through saying you never wanted to see again. Any of these would be easy to apply at any time, and also easy to switch out. If you want to scan some others, you can use the tools at Google Fonts. If you want to recommend a font from some other service – Typekit is another excellent one, and either free or very inexpensive – let me know what you discover. I’d be happy if we narrowed it down from a list of 24 possibilities to several we’d mostly all be OK with trying. I’ll withhold my own preferences for now.


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TV pundits and op-ed writers of every major newspaper epitomize how the Democratic establishment has already reached a consensus: the 2020 nominee must be a centrist, a Joe Biden, Cory Booker or Kamala Harris–type, preferably. They say that Joe Biden should "run because [his] populist image fits the Democrats’ most successful political strategy of the past generation" (David Leonhardt, New York Times), and though Biden "would be far from an ideal president," he "looks most like the person who could beat Trump" (David Ignatius, Washington Post). Likewise, the same elite pundit class is working overtime to torpedo left-Democratic candidates like Sanders.

For someone who was not acquainted with Piketty's paper, the argument for a centrist Democrat might sound compelling. If the country has tilted to the right, should we elect a candidate closer to the middle than the fringe? If the electorate resembles a left-to-right line, and each voter has a bracketed range of acceptability in which they vote, this would make perfect sense. The only problem is that it doesn't work like that, as Piketty shows.

The reason is that nominating centrist Democrats who don't speak to class issues will result in a great swathe of voters simply not voting. Conversely, right-wing candidates who speak to class issues, but who do so by harnessing a false consciousness — i.e. blaming immigrants and minorities for capitalism's ills, rather than capitalists — will win those same voters who would have voted for a more class-conscious left candidate. Piketty calls this a "bifurcated" voting situation, meaning many voters will connect either with far-right xenophobic nationalists or left-egalitarian internationalists, but perhaps nothing in-between.

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Understanding Trump’s charisma offers important clues to understanding the problems that the Democrats need to address. Most important, the Democratic candidate must convey a sense that he or she will fulfil the promise of 2008: not piecemeal reform but a genuine, full-scale change in America’s way of thinking. It’s also crucial to recognise that, like Britain, America is at a turning point and must go in one direction or another. Finally, the candidate must speak to Americans’ sense of self-respect linked to social justice and inclusion. While Weber’s analysis of charisma arose from the German situation, it has special relevance to the United States of America, the first mass democracy, whose Constitution invented the institution of the presidency as a recognition of the indispensable role that unique individuals play in history.

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[E]ven Fox didn’t tout Bartiromo’s big scoops on Trump’s legislative agenda, because 10 months into the Trump presidency, nobody is so foolish as to believe that him saying, “We’re doing a big infrastructure bill,” means that the Trump administration is, in fact, doing a big infrastructure bill. The president just mouths off at turns ignorantly and dishonestly, and nobody pays much attention to it unless he says something unusually inflammatory.On some level, it’s a little bit funny. On another level, Puerto Rico is still languishing in the dark without power (and in many cases without safe drinking water) with no end in sight. Trump is less popular at this point in his administration than any previous president despite a generally benign economic climate, and shows no sign of changing course. Perhaps it will all work out for the best, and someday we’ll look back and chuckle about the time when we had a president who didn’t know anything about anything that was happening and could never be counted on to make coherent, factual statements on any subject. But traditionally, we haven’t elected presidents like that — for what have always seemed like pretty good reasons — and the risks of compounding disaster are still very much out there.

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