January 6, 2017

WaPo gets it badly, hilariously wrong.

The fine print on this cover to WaPo's free publication Express is about a "massive march" in support of women's rights:



What an embarrassment.

They tweeted an apology — "We made a mistake on our cover this morning and we’re very embarrassed. We erroneously used a male symbol instead of a female symbol" — and a visualization of how it should have looked.



That's not as good graphically. If they'd known they'd have to use that shape, I don't think they'd have gone with that idea at all. With the female symbol, you lose the centrality of the circle and the dynamism of the moving-onward arrow. You lose the symbolism of people gathering together in a circle and then marching out — shooting forward.

With the female symbol, the circle is shunted off center by the clunky cross, which absorbs too many of the little people, and they're not breaking out into a march, but fixed and planted, like a stay-at-home wife, no symbolism of progress at all. In fact, they're at cross-purposes and getting in each other's way at the jammed intersection.

No wonder WaPo got it wrong. The male symbol is a better symbol.

And quite aside from the mistake, there's the problem of constructing a circle out of lots of tiny beings. It looks like this:



IN THE COMMENTS: traditionalguy said:
Maybe the artists were still under the spell of Hillary's campaign signage posted all over the WaPo offices.


And Laslo Spatula said:
They got it right the first time.

A mass of women, drawn together by the force of One Man.

He gives them their Shape as a whole: the Shape to put in all their fears and narcissism and self-congratulation, all within the context of Him.

A herd, they have been corralled...

I am Laslo.
That called to mind the famous frontispiece for "Leviathan":



"This is the most famous picture in the history of political philosophy," writes polisci prof Larry Arnhardt.



"The king's body is composed of the human bodies of his subjects, who have their backs turned to the reader as they stare upward at the king's face.... These pictures convey visually Hobbes's teaching that a state of nature without government must become a state of war, in which human life must be 'solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short.' Therefore, to escape such a condition, any government is better than no government. And a highly centralized government with absolutely sovereign power is best of all."

63 comments:

exhelodrvr1 said...

I want to know what happened to the people in the arrow? What are they - just collateral damage?

David Begley said...

Intentional action by WaPo to draw attention to this free magazine. WaPo learning from Trump.

DavidD said...

How deliciously ironic.

policraticus said...

Layers and layers of fact checkers...

David said...

Penis envy may be making a comeback.

traditionalguy said...

They had a 50/50 chance.

Maybe the artists were still under the spell of Hillary's campaign signage posted all over the WaPo offices.

Laslo Spatula said...

They got it right the first time.

A mass of women, drawn together by the force of One Man.

He gives them their Shape as a whole: the Shape to put in all their fears and narcissism and self-congratulation, all within the context of Him.

A herd, they have been corralled...

I am Laslo.

Larry J said...

policraticus said...
Layers and layers of fact checkers...


And they're filled with the certitude that know know what's best for us rubes out here in flyover country.

rhhardin said...

They're just signs for planets, Mars and Venus respectively.

I'd change to whatever the symbol is for comet Kohoutek.

rhhardin said...

Before its close approach, Kohoutek was hyped by the media as the "comet of the century". However, Kohoutek's display was considered a let-down,[3] possibly due to partial disintegration when the comet closely approached the Sun prior to its Earth flyby.

- wikipedia

Fen said...

Damn Laslo, nicely done.

rehajm said...

Symbol envy.

Tregonsee said...

Reminds me of a mistake a major grocery chain made 10+ years ago. In the weekly flyer, they had a sale on hams, with the caption "A great way to celebrate Passover."

Curious George said...

"...150,000....signed up..."

What's the over/under on how many will show up.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

How are they supposed to know what gender a symbol is when they can't even tell what gender a person is?

rehajm said...

It's a male symbol that identifies as female.

hombre said...

David's take (6:44) on this one looks good. Let's call it The WaPo Penis Envy Parade For women.

WaPo's error may be traceable to the fact that the women in this parade are likely to be those who have forsaken the cross.

MarkJ said...

Well, they could have always used the "Artist Formerly Known As Prince" symbol:

http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/31RTkEQzZ3L._AC_UL320_SR286,320_.jpg

Comanche Voter said...

Of course this honest mistake in gender signs is understandable. With at least 32 "official" flavors of sexual orientation these days, it's easy to get confused. With 32 it's even harder than picking one of the 26 letters of the alphabet. How about trying "I" for idiot?

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Remember when WaPo ran a big front page ad for the Tea Party marches and proclaiming them massive before anyone even showed up.

My guess is this March will be a couple of thousand of the usual suspects.

If we get real lucky, the anarchist and BLM rioters will be out in force on inauguration day.

exhelodrvr1 said...

Why is no one complaining about the name of the magazine being Express?

Eugene Podrazik said...

The male symbol is the spear and shield of Mars, the god of war. The circle with the cross is the looking glass of Venus, the goddess of beauty and love.

Penny Bonnar said...

Bill Walsh, a chief copyeditor at the Washington Post, posted a notice on his FB page (https://www.facebook.com/copyslot/) that the paper is hiring copyeditors. In light of all the recent errors, I guess so ...

JLScott said...

The person doing the layout chose a stock photo that looked great for the reasons you mention and that person had no idea it was a symbol for male. And neither did the editors. Another example of our know-nothing journalist class.

madAsHell said...

Hallmarks of incompetence, and the intellectually un-curious.

mockturtle said...

Laslo has nailed it perfectly.

jaydub said...

"He gives them their Shape as a whole: the Shape to put in all their fears and narcissism and self-congratulation, all within the context of Him."

The two feminists that I know who are going to the big shindig on the 21st certainly fit Laslo's theorem. Both preached the "peace and love, why can't-everyone-just-get-along" sermon when they thought HRC was going to win. But, as soon as she started to circle the toilet bowl on election day both turned into raving lunatics who, in mirror image fits of inclusiveness and diversity, broke off contact with anyone they suspected of not supporting the correct political dogma, including my wife and me. Unfortunately, one is my wife's sister and the other a long time friend who my wife once mentored through some tough times; so, my wife was pretty upset about the whole thing. Me, not so much. I'm betting two fewer smug, narcissic, self-absorbed feminists in our lives will turn out to be a good thing.

DrMaturin said...

Reminds me of another recent journalistic blunder. Before the election Newsweek distributed the Madam President special issue because they assumed she would win. It contained some very inflammatory language about Trump. When confronted after the election the chief at Newsweek admitted that the entire issue had been outsourced and that no one at Newsweek had actually read it.

karlpopperghost said...

WaPo gets it badly, hilariously wrong."

The fine print on this cover to WaPo's free publication Express is about a "massive march" in support of women's right


Meh. Nice try Washington Post but the winner is............ The Democrats!

Big Mike said...

So this wasn't a march by men in support of men's rights?

Oh.

aritai said...

Even better, those of us at his age, envy his ability to leave his dance partners smiling after running into his arms. In a less sexist society they'd be paying him. Or at least taking him to dinner and giving him flowers.

Better yet this provides the best of exercise, relaxing while keeping the heart healthy, no need for a drink to get high, the high of a high school student in the pursuit means he gets to focus continuously on "the deal" and helping people, as he's always done. A teetotaler? he must not be human, and considering he mostly leaves his dancepartners smiling, not corruptable.

William said...

It's meta. The symbol is meant to demonstrate how meaningless symbolism is, particularly when it comes to sexual differences. The nuances here are very subtle. You have to process the information holistically to see the larger point that they are making.

Qwerty Smith said...

The Hobbes frontispiece is actually pretty subversive. The medieval idea of the "body politic" was differentiated: the crown was the head, the nobles were the arms, the merchants the stomach, the peasants the feet, and all (including the prince) were regarded as estates rather than individuals. While the frontispiece envisions an absolutist government, it is a government overseeing a civil society comprising equal, middle-class individuals.

Bob Boyd said...

They were so absorbed in making sure all races were proportionally represented amongst the tiny figures that they lost sight of the big picture.

docweasel said...

The problem is obviously that the patriarchy created a lame symbol for Venus. Feminists should reject it and create their own, vagina-inspired symbol (seeing as they seem fixated on their vaginas, see the vagina hats and costumes being created for the march).

Scott McGlasson said...

Why...it's almost as if the college-grads they had working on this didn't learn anything in college.

Michael K said...

"WaPo's error may be traceable to the fact that the women in this parade are likely to be those who have forsaken the cross."

I suspect they have also forsaken the penis, or if not voluntarily, haven't seen one for a while.

TwilightofLiberty.com said...

I do hope the women and beta-male hangers-on that join them feel very, very strongly about murdering their offspring. Was talking with one of the organizers for the inauguration and security is going to be nuts. It wont be a pleasant day in DC for anyone who isn't a Very Important Politician.

Fen said...

"feminists should reject it and create their own"

Women already did this. They are called "breasts". No other primate has permanently full breasts, just homo sapiens. I'm told they evolved this way on purpose over the course of thousands of years. All to attract the Male Gaze...

Same reason they paint their lips vaginal pink ;)

Feminism has a lot of catching up to do. LOL

Fen said...

And thanks to whoever gave us the "Venus symbol is looking glass" info. Did not know that, and I should.

HoodlumDoodlum said...

Curious George said...
"...150,000....signed up..."

What's the over/under on how many will show up.


Yeah; at best they're looking at, what, 25% of the people who march in the March For Life each year? Weird how that particular large gathering doesn't merit much Media coverage though, huh? Those must not be real women, I guess.

tcrosse said...

It could have been worse. They could have used the symbol for Uranus.

mockturtle said...

Hoodlum observes: Yeah; at best they're looking at, what, 25% of the people who march in the March For Life each year? Weird how that particular large gathering doesn't merit much Media coverage though, huh? Those must not be real women, I guess.

Someone should confront the MSM about this obvious disparity. Not that it would alter one whit their agenda.

n.n said...

The female symbol is humanistic, something that feminists destroyed with the revival of abortion rites for political progress. The female symbol embeds the Christian cross, something that female chauvinists revile as they work to degrade their progenitors' philosophy in a feverish race to establish the Pro-Choice Church.

Quaestor said...

"Poor. nasty, brutish, and short"...Therefore, to escape such a condition, any government is better than no government. And a highly centralized government with absolutely sovereign power is best of all.

The best piece of rhetoric in the history of Western thought, but is it true? Paleoarchaeology suggests not. The Neolithic marks the transition of culture from a society of nomadic hunter-gatherer bands of a few dozen individuals to a society of farmers and artisans living in permanent settlements of hundreds or thousands of citizens under some kind of collective sovereignty able to make and enforce laws. For over a century the consensus interpretation of the agricultural revolution was that the change from hunting to farming entailed an increase in wealth, health, and longevity — that people chose the settled permanent community because it offered a superior lifestyle. Lately, that assumption has come under considerable doubt. Studies of human remains from Neolithic farming villages show just the opposite of expectations when compared to the remains of coeval hunter-gatherers. The farmers were generally less healthy and died younger than their nimrod contemporaries.

There are lots of speculative explanations being debated, but not an abundance of evidence to account for the observed facts. There is hard evidence of parasitic infestations among those early farmers that isn't found in the hunters, which is attributed to the fact that farmers live in close proximity to their livestock — and their wastes. Others say that hunters lived less stressful and more contented lives than the farmers, pointing out that hunting is an adventure, while farming is a lot of repetitive drudgeries. Comparisons to modern hunter-gather tribes like the Kalahari bushmen have led cultural anthropologists to generalize that Neolithic hunters lived in a society of agreements, if you didn't agree with your fellows you upped sticks (if you owned a stick) and joined a more agreeable tribe. Neolithic farmers, by contrast, lived in a society of laws, which meant living with Neolithic cops and Neolithic tax collectors and Neolithic lawyers.

While it may be true that these ancient tillers of the soil lived shorter, less healthy lives than the ancient deer slayers, it is also true that their population and governance allowed them to organize vast building projects without precedent among traditional hunter-gather clans, the henges and standing stones of Western Europe being prime examples.

Quaestor said...

The female symbol embeds the Christian cross, something that female chauvinists revile as they work to degrade their progenitors' philosophy in a feverish race to establish the Pro-Choice Church.

Hmmm...

The "female symbol" dates from the humanistic Rennaissance (Humanism was coined by the Rennaissance philosopher Erasmus and doesn't have the meaning American evangelicals have attached to it.) and was the astrological symbol for the planet Venus. The "male symbol" was used to denote Mars. The cross is not the Cross, and the pointy thing isn't a penis. The cross is a handle, folks. The Venus symbol is a stylized hand mirror referencing the mythic vanity of the Goddess of Love and Beauty. It's not a head and tits. The Mars symbol is a hoplon and spear, fitting accouterments for the God of War. It's not a phallus. What kind of freak has a dick growing out of his head?

Outside of astrology and alchemy those symbols were widely ignored and obscure. It wasn't until genetics became a science that they were adopted to indicate Man and Woman. Scientists like to chalk symbols on a blackboard, makes 'em look esoteric. Geneticist didn't have all those cool Greek letters the physicists appropriated or the Latin letters assigned to the chemical elements, so they grabbed a bit of astrological arcana and used them on their pedigree charts. Then the idiot feminists stole the Venus symbol and profaned it with a commie fist. (Come to think of it, the use of an emblem of self-regard was unintentionally appropriate to the movement. LOL) So let's not get too interpretive about the minutiae of symbols, OK?

mockturtle said...

Quaestor asks: What kind of freak has a dick growing out of his head?

A dickhead?

Quaestor said...

A dickhead?

When I wrote that about the Mars symbol I knew somebody would go for that obvious pun. It's irresistible. Should I point out that dickhead means someone has a figurative dick where his figurative head should be, that the protuberance on the shoulders contains more testosterone-fueled folly than mindful reticence?

It's nice to know I'm read closely enough to see the opportunity for some jocularity at my expense.

n.n said...

Quaestor:

Actually, I just observed the symbols as they are, free of historical, cultural, and other baggage, and noticed a correlation with certain objects. Humanistic as in human. Cross as in Christian cross. Purely objective.

Quaestor said...

Purely objective.

I like you n.n, and I often agree with you, but that's looney.

Quaestor said...

I carefully explained that the astrological/alchemical Venus symbol has nothing to do with Christianity or humanism (please don't consult the likes of Pat Robertson for a definition of humanism). And you just ignored me. Your obsessive compulsion to interpret right angle intersections in esoteric terms is frankly nuts. How do you cope with architectural details, window panes, and roadmaps? Does the sight of a cartesian grid involve a religious experience in you? How about the letter t? Does that trouble you? Maybe it should since Jesus and every other low-caste criminal executed by the Romans died on a structure that resembled a capital T much more than the symbol modern Christians revere. Have you ever considered your Cross might be blasphemous? First and second century Christians didn't use it, and some of them met and spoke with the Apostles. If those who knew Jesus as a living man didn't ordain the Cross, which they didn't, why are you so sensitive about it?

mockturtle said...

Quaestor, I always read your posts. With admiration.

Goldenpause said...

The editors and reporters at The Post are not capable of embarrassment. If they were, they wouldn't be creating such a poor newspaper day after day.

Paul Zrimsek said...

So they're expecting maybe a quarter the number of people who turn out every single January for the March for Life? Not that the latter is expecting a cover story any time soon.

Bill Peschel said...

"Quaestor, I always read your posts. With admiration."

Agreed. I can appreciate learned commentary and the opportunity for a dick joke. I contain multitudes.

mikeski said...

It's also, per the text inside the circles, the "Modest start of a Massive March".

Alliteration.

And alluding to the Million Man March? How sexist! (And it would have alliterated with the original Male/Mars symbol...)

n.n said...

Quaestor:

I touched on something of particular interest to you. It was not my intention to explore that area. My point is that I am not referencing any external parameters, other than noting some common correlations that may further amuse the antagonists.

The "Modest Start of a Massive March" supporting women's rights. I consider women to be equal and complementary to men. I support women's rights, men's rights, baby's rights, human rights. I oppose women's rites and other quasi-religious practices.

Joanne Jacobs said...

Obviously, the graphic was showing women marching toward a new gender identity.

A Facebook friend enthusiastically posted about women knitting pink "pussy hats" to protest Trump. I think this is . . . ill advised. It makes the women look silly and weak. Why should Trump care?

Trump haters should start organizing to elect more Democrats to state legislatures, statehouses and congressional seats in 2018. They should be thinking about how to appeal to Trump voters, instead of trashing them, and how to find candidates that will inspire non-voters to turn out.

HT said...

"The male symbol is a better symbol."

As someone who's had to write the symbols as shorthand of "men" and "women" a lot - notes, note-taking - writing the female symbol is much more fun and interesting than writing the male one, which I can never seem to do as smoothly as the female one.

Rusty said...

Questor @ 11:50
I have often speculated that former hunter gatherers became farmers not out of efficiency but because they were forced to. Gathered together for protection against larger bands and farming came from that.

Quaestor said...

Gathered together for protection against larger bands and farming came from that.

An interesting idea. There definitely are some chicken and egg dilemmas lurking in prehistory, and exactly how people made the transition from nomadic hunter-gatherer to settled farmer is one of them. You're either moving or stationary, there's no in-between state. One hypothetical scenario has it that having discovered edible wild cereals some hunters learned that sowing plots of earth with the seed produced more food later in the year and that uprooting the native inedible plants on those plots also increased the yield. Having planted the crop the hunters would move on, continuing to follow heir accustomed prey herds and leaving the crop to mature its own. Later in the year, the hunters would visit their plots to gather the ripe seeds... Seems slightly bollocks to me, For wild cereals, even semi-cultivated ones, to become a significant food source would take too much work and time for nomadic hunter-gathers. They would fall far behind the schedules of their big game prey. By the time the work was done the bison or whatever would have moved out of range, so to speak. So now they're stuck without meat while they wait for the measly wild barley to ripen.

What is reasonably clear that cereals became a viable food source after key mutations happened in the wild strains. In the case of wheat, it was a mutation in the size of the kernels. They became too heavy to be dispersed by the wind. Consequently, the enlarged seeds tended to fall straight down where their germination would interfere with the parent plant — normally a fatal characteristic. However, humans discovered how to exploit the big grained wheat and to cultivate it, i.e. to domesticate the mutant wheat. As in all cases of domestication, the process is an example of co-evolution which benefits both partners. Without the humans, the wheat can't propagate. Without the wheat, the humans can't eat. Using the genetic clock of the Triticum genus scientists estimate that this key mutation happened about 10,000 years ago, which agrees with earliest traces of settled agriculture in Mesopotamia.



Quaestor said...

Reply to Rusty con't.

Mutations in the other major cereals made their domestication practical. In the case of maize (Indian corn) the mutations (there were several) entailed much more drastic morphological and biochemical modifications. As in the case of wheat, the corn ears became larger and the kernels more starchy, but there were more changes. Here's where the history of Indian corn really becomes interesting. Other mutations made the corn less toxic. The ancestor of Zea mays was poisonous to eat. Around 5000 B.C.E. the ancestral strain underwent a mutation that changed the biochemistry, making Indian corn a potentially viable food source. Let us emphasize potentially, because while the mutant strain wouldn't kill you it was still toxic enough to make your violently sick.

Paleoindian hunter-gathers discovered how to use acorns as a seasonal food source by repeated boiling of the shelled kernels to flush out the tannins. Ancient Meso-Americans perhaps used that folk wisdom to develop a way to use maize as a staple crop. However, simple boiling alone wouldn't make their maize fit to eat. To neutralize the toxins it was necessary to soak the ground corn in lime water, which meant quarrying limestone and making lime from it. Hard work. To make a living from corn the ancestors of the Mayans, the Olmecs, the Toltecs, and others had to invent complex societies with division of specialized labor. They had to invent civilization just to survive. All this happened after 5000 B.C.E., which put the Meso-Americans three thousand years behind the development of the Old World, which may explain why it was the Europeans who colonized the Americas and not the other way around.

Quaestor said...

Gathered together for protection against larger bands and farming came from that.

This gathering together for protection, or more accurately, the lack of it, may have been reason Homo sapiens replaced Homo neanderthalensis.

There aren't many fossil Neanderthal skeletons, just a few dozen, and they come from widely separated locations and times — from the Middle East to Iberia, and from 250,000 years before present about 35,000 BP. Among this broad sample, a significant number of specimens show clear evidence of butchery – The Neanderthals were evidently cannibals. And it appears to have been hardwired into their behavior. This characteristic may have capped the size of their bands to about a dozen. In a group of twelve primitive hunters, there would be one or two adult males, two or three adult females, and the rest would children. Twelve is about at equilibrium in a self-cannibalizing group. There aren't enough adults to reliably overwhelm another adult in the group if their weapons are sticks and stones, and if the adults eat the kids the group dies out in a few years. It's when the group grows bigger that cannibalism of adults happens. Two adult males with the assistance of an adult female could safely take out one adult male. Thus when the group expands to thirteen or fourteen... well, dinner is served.

The newly arrived Modern Humans weren't nearly so cannibalistic. They could live in larger groups without the many ganging up and devouring the few, and thus gain the advantage of numbers over the Neanderthals as they competed for available big game,