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Postrel, Reason & Soros

Virginia Postrel has one of the smartest weblogs I frequent, and no wonder; she is also a talented journalist and cultural critic. She gave a wonderful lecture at South by Southwest Interactive about the Substance of Style (where she made the argument that consumer choices tend to be driven by aesthetics rather than substance, and that good businesses need to take advantage of that.

Here is where she summarizes a recent debate about the meanings behind the fonts of political bumper stickers. She writes:

When designing a logo to attract 50 percent plus one, the most important thing is not to alienate people, and you can’t go wrong with red, white, and blue. (Jimmy Carter’s unusual excursion into green, like Jimmy Carter’s presidency itself, just demonstrates how odd post-Watergate politics was.) But, of course, candidates also need to hold their bases; hence, the typographical and rhetorical signals that only the especially attuned pick up. And the electoral college adds a wrinkle to the median voter theory of design. What you really need to know is what kind of typeface they like in Ohio.

Here’s a post about why she thinks the Texas school system is suffering from experimentalism, a typical piece that shows her grasp of economics as well as cultural discussion.

On another note, Reason’s Hit and Run isn’t that substantial, but it has lots of interesting posts (often about libertarian matters). Here’s one of the articles it linked to: a biographical thinkpiece about George Soros by Jane Mayer. I actually worked for the Soros Foundation in Ukraine and have only positive things to say. He is one of my heroes. I’ll make the point again here that Soros’s focus would better be spent on indirect advocacy and rebuilding educational institutions rather than directly intervening in the election campaign. How ironic that you have to be a billionaire (Soros, Kerry, Perot) to have the chutzpath to level with American people these days.

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