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weblog archives
eXTReMe Tracker
Friday, August 15, 2003
One of the first things we wanted after hearing and reading about the great New York Blackout is to see how the world of weblogs and photologs will document the event. The BBC has a mild gallery, but their correspondent's description of walking through an eerily dark and silent (but by no means empty) Times Square made us hanker after more photos.

Of course, with the power still out at time of writing, there's not a lot of on the ground reporting making it onto the web. Nonetheless, it says something about the immediacy and familiarity of the weblog format that one thinks of turning to individual people, rather than vast media organisations, to get the low-down on a news story. We'll be checking in with the sites of snap-happy New Yorkers (slower, lightning field, kottke, etc., etc.) later today (update: whoops, we forgot. More on Monday instead).

At the moment, a search for New York Blackout Gallery yields nothing at all. Just wait. Unsurprisingly, there's a lengthy me-fi thread on the black-out, as well as a post linking to the Blackout History Project, with its archive of documentation and reports about North America's two most serious power outages, in 1965 and, most notoriously, in the summer of 1977, described by Time as a 'Night of Terror' (a pdf of a photocopy, by the look of things) and the 'Heart of Darkness' by Newsweek (also appropriately murky).

Elsewhere. Out of Lascaux has posted thoughtfully on two disparate subjects; the new Wonder Woman comic and Caravaggio's Beheading of St.John the Baptist. Some more Wonder Woman, courtesy of sugar-n-spicy. We remember reading somewhere that the early WW comics displayed their creator's penchant for seeing the amazing amazon in, er, tight situations. These scans certainly bear that out. Read a history of the character and creator, Dr. William Moulton Marston, here. Marston was a psychologist who paved the way for the polygraphic lie detector test: most authorities on the comic, and indeed Marston himself, don't deny his fascination with strong women.

"By their comics tastes ye shall know them! Tell me anybody's preference in story strips and I'll tell you his subconscious desires. These simple, highly imaginative picture stories satisfy longings that ordinary daily life thwarts and denies. Superman and the army of male comics characters who resemble him satisfy the simple desire to be stronger and more powerful than anybody else. Wonder Woman satisfies the subconscious, elaborately disguised desire of males to be mastered by a woman who loves them." (from Our Women are our Future, Olive Richard, Family Circle, 14 August 1942)

Earlier that year, Family Circle had asked "Are the comics bad for children?", an early expression of the high level anxiety that eventually led to the introduction of the Comics Code Authority in 1954 (24 years after the Hays Code set similar strictures for the silver screen). Amongst other things, the CEA stipulated that 'The letters of the word "crime" on a comics magazine cover shall never be appreciably greater in dimension than the other words contained in the title'. It wasn't good news for Wonder Woman, either. 'Females shall be drawn realistically without exaggeration or any physical qualities' and 'Sex perversion or any inference to same is strictly forbidden.' Getting in a bind had become a thing of the past: I, II, III, IV

The Journal of Contemporary Photography features solemn, black and white work / cartoon-like graphics and links at Tado / Pulp Magazine, New Zealand design scene / Freshness Mag is sneaker-obsessed, and gives us a good excuse to plug Dave White's upcoming 'Clash of the Titans' exhibition, starting next month at exposure ltd / the warning signs project, with shades of Phil Baines' excellent Public Lettering website. Baines, together with Catherine Dixon, have also just published Signs (Laurence King), an extended essay on typography in the built environment.

An excellent set of links from Caterina (walking stick self-defence is sweeping the web!) - personally, I can't get enough about secret underground tunnel complexes: Chicago Tunnel Company Railroad / Cities in Mexico / The Utility Pole Project, 'research in urban roots communication'.

We have a new review: Tony Wood's musings on Titanic, an exhibition on objects and artefacts salvaged from the great liner. These two images come from Flammarion's new series of pocket-size collectibles books, each beautifully illustrated and less space-consuming than the collections themselves.

click for enlargement

click for enlargement


Today is Good Manners Day, so have a very pleasant weekend.