The Null Device

Things Younger Than McCain

Things __ People Like + Democrat sympathies = Things younger than Republican Presidential candidate John McCain. Includes entries for things like nylon, Helvetica, The Grapes of Wrath, the Golden Gate Bridge, Kodachrome, both of Barack Obama's parents and various other notably old and cranky politicians.

And, via the Helvetica entry, various designers weigh in on McCain's use of the Optima typeface. The usual things come up (Optima being a bet-hedging typeface, the use of a bold weight outweighing any elitist connotations of the regular weight, Optima's association with the dental profession, and, of course, its resemblance to the inscriptions on the Vietnam War Memorial), but most interesting was type designer Matthew Carter's claim on how Optima McCain's choice of running mates:

I set the possible names in a bold weight of Optima caps and certain things became clear. HUCKABEE looks awkward in Optima, and ROMNEY is afflicted with the same difficult ‘EY’ combination that has plagued the current vice presidency. Perhaps because Optima is a German typeface, the word SCHWARZENEGGER looks predictably good.
Although it’s German, Optima took its inspiration from Quattrocento inscriptional lettering in the cathedrals of Florence and Siena, which may explain why GIULIANI looks so simpatico. In the end, however, my research suggests that the optimal running mate — so long as you don’t have to typeset her first name — is RICE.
Is typography destiny?

There are 1 comments on "Things Younger Than McCain":

Posted by: mark Thu May 15 12:51:24 2008

Torn over that "things younger than John McCain". On the one hand, it's a very funny concept, and some of the items there provoked a chuckle. On the other, many of them are things that really aren't that old (teflon, velcro, Alaska, Pat Buchanan, Maccas ...), and it's quite mean-spirited. It would be more interesting if it was a bit more light-hearted and a bit less bitter ... and if it had more of the genuinely /old/. I can see someone complaining one day that the Apple Mac is younger than I am ...

(How did John McCain turn from being The Republican Democrats Respect to Some Old Fart We Can't Dare Allow Into The White House? Surely a front-runner like McCain is a reason to rejoice? Look, no more Bush! No more Reagan! A reasonable Republican for the first time in decades! It's win-win! No?)