March 19, 2019

"Who Still Buys Wite-Out, and Why?"

They're asking the rite question at The Atlantic.
But correction fluids are not only surviving—they appear to be thriving, with Wite-Out sales climbing nearly 10 percent in 2017, according to the most recent public numbers. It’s a mystery of the digital age....
Yeah, Mike Nesmith's mother... Liquid Paper... We needn't go back into that history. I'll just say Wite-Out is to Liquid Paper as Oreo is to Hydrox. Back to the question at hand: Why are people still buying a lot of correction fluid?
Even as paper sales dip, up-market stationery is one sub-segment that is expected to grow, thanks to a Millennial affection for personalized stationery. Tia Frapolli, president of NPD’s office-supplies practice, pointed to bullet-journaling and hand-lettering as paper-based trends that could breathe some life into correction fluids....

[T]he attraction to the material is the same as any other hand-made or small-batch product: The physical act of covering up a mistake is imperfect but more satisfying than simply hitting backspace. There’s also a poignancy to a screwed generation gravitating toward Wite-Out.

You can’t erase the past anymore than you can erase a printed typo or written error—but you can paper it over and pretend it didn’t happen.
That's interestingly written. I should name the author: David A. Graham.

It should be noted that correction fluid is useful aside from the written word. It's a standard art supply for those who use pen on paper — especially if you don't begin with a pencil draft (to be erased after it's inked in) and if the work will be distributed as a reproduction (such as a comic strip).

Oh, but wait... From Comic Tools:
Wite out is the horrible, foul smelling goop made by Bic for making small corrections to typing and letters. It's not archival, isn't terribly opaque, bleeds and isn't easy to draw over.

WHITE-out is another word we cartoonists use for what is really a specialized guache for correcting ink drawings. It's super-opaque, has very high quality pigment, is archival, and when applied at the right thickness can be drawn over almost (though not quite) as well as paper....
Here — you can buy the recommended Deleter White-Out. At Amazon, where it looks like this:


"Commodity for both sexes"!

51 comments:

mockturtle said...

Titanium dioxide is the pigment which is also used in real paper to enhance brightness and opacity.

Robert Cook said...

For whiting out mistakes on a pen and ink drawing, white acrylic paint works well.

FullMoon said...

paper-based trends that could breathe some life into correction fluids....

White Nationalist Boomers still sniff it to get high, duh !

CJinPA said...

WHITE-out is another word we cartoonists use for what is really a specialized guache for correcting ink drawings.

Also the word used for extracting white males from TV, film and advertising roles after a century of dominance.

J. Farmer said...

Who still buys wite-out? Huffers. Why? Too huff.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Commodity for both sexes

How very binary-normative of them

Mike Sylwester said...

I use white-out every day at work. I have to fill in some forms by hand.

Francisco D said...

correction fluids are not only surviving—they appear to be thriving, with Wite-Out sales climbing nearly 10 percent in 2017

That seems to correspond with the apparent surge in White Supremacy and White Nationalism.

Not a coincidence.

Are milk sales up as well?

Sebastian said...

"You can’t erase the past anymore than you can erase a printed typo or written error"

True, under the new Althouse policy it's a pain to erase a typo or error.

But of course you can erase the past: the Soviets did it all the time, few people in China know the dirty details of the great Leap Forward, the Met erased James Levine, and before long the South will have erased any public trace of the Confederacy or the Jim Crow era.

mikee said...

There is a cable show called Forged in Fire where bladesmiths compete making knives, swords, axes and so on. In one technique, where multiple metal types are mixed together to make a Damascene blade, stuff like ball bearings, iron powder, springs, etc., is put into a welded metal box and heated in the forge to become a solid ingot.

White Out is used to coat the inside of the metal box, to form a ceramic layer between the desired metals and the box material, allowing the ingot to be separated from the metal box with some ease.

Modern problems require modern solutions.

Ann Althouse said...

"white acrylic paint"

You want something that you can draw in ink over top of. I think acrylic paint is too plastic. No bite.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

I use white out for my journal, which is a hybrid art/diary type book. I love good paper, so far the best I’ve used is Tomoe River paper in a sewn binding hard cover journal. I vacillate between loving my two fountain pens and hating them. I love the smooth Uniball Signo and Microns always. As for the artsy portion of my journal I use Distress Inks and Qxides. If I do my own drawings, I use Copic markers or watercolor. The whiteout is used mostly for the writing though.

Inga...Allie Oop said...

Also, Uniball Signo makes a terrific white pen that covers even the blackest of inks if allowed to the dry completely first.

purplepenquin said...

We use hand-written time sheets at work, so I keep a bottle of Liquid Wite-out in my locker 'cause the form doesn't allow any room to cross-out & re-write mistakes which may be made.

Anonymous said...

When you said white-out I thought you were talking about Democratic Diversity.

Shane said...

I'd be willing to bet serious money that Mike Nesmith still buys Wite-Out!

rehajm said...

Bullet journals would seem to be the answer. You're nobody without a bullet journal these days...

The bureaucracy buys the rest.

Yancey Ward said...

J Farmer beat me to it- I was going to ask if one can huff it? I don't remember what it smells like since I haven't used it since I stopped using typewriters 30 years ago, but it wouldn't surprise me if it has volatile organic solvents in it.

John said...

Have you ever seen FORGED IN FIRE? The contestants use "White Out" all the time in their forge welding. Apparently, it helps the steel they are welding together not stick to the light steel cans they have it in.

Robert Cook said...

"'white acrylic paint'

"You want something that you can draw in ink over top of. I think acrylic paint is too plastic. No bite."


I've used it successfully. In fact, I've used the same container of white acrylic that I bought in Florida 40 years ago. The container is still half-full. Of course, this presumes one is not painting wide swaths of white paint over the page. My errors tend to be small, and the corrections also small. I suppose white gouache would work, or...white casein?

Yancey Ward said...

Perhaps they use it by the gallon in Broward and Palm Beach Counties.

robother said...

As their computer screens show, blonde secretaries account for the continuing demand of law firm for wite-out.

gspencer said...

It's used when existing documents are altered (and then photocopied or reproduced via computer manipulation) in order to create a false impression, as in a forgery. The left is quite familiar with this. In an age when "your truth is your truth, and my truth is my truth," it would stand to reason that wite-out products would still find usefulness.

traditionalguy said...

Do I smell White Supremacy in the term. Better call it correction fluid or you will be deemed an honorary racist out inciting New Zealanders.

We do still use Correction Tape on pre-printed forms that have to be hand typed to fill in blanks. God help us if the last electric typewriter in captivity ever breaks down.

Tank said...

If you have white walls or white cabinets, it works well to fill in a little chip or nail pop up.

Kevin said...

I use white out for my journal, which is a hybrid art/diary type book.

Boy, would Drago like to get a look at that!

Ann Althouse said...

“True, under the new Althouse policy it's a pain to erase a typo or error.“

That’s an incentive to proofread. Another plus!

Maillard Reactionary said...

Well, if Deleter doesn't have the same solvent in it as Wite-Out, I for one am not buying it.

You don't need a typewriter to have a use for Wite-Out.

FullMoon said...

Do I smell White Supremacy in the term.

Not in South Africa, White? OUT!

Francisco D said...

I vacillate between loving my two fountain pens and hating them.

I was a fountain pen collector for many years. After a ten year hiatus (and giving away least favorite pens) I started again. In my view, it is a travesty to wipe-out what you write with a fountain pen. It ruins the flow of thoughts that it stimulates.

My favorite pens are Pelikans (M800, M600, M200) and three Aurora Optimas. I love them all dearly except for one of the Auroras.

Wince said...

Why do they still buy White Out?

Trump’s fault, obviously.

bagoh20 said...

I believe the market strength of White-Out is due to Democrats using it to cover up their ubiquitous blackface episodes.

Hey, whatever happened to those Dems in Virginia having all those racist and sexual harassment issues? I still hear ever day in the media about Trump saying something racist over two years ago, or paying off someone for a perfectly legal sexual encounter even further back. It's almost like there is double standard, but that wouldn't be good journalism, so it can't be that.

bagoh20 said...

I make a lot of mistakes and often correct them by deleting. I'm likely to just let them be now. It's going to be up for along time before I get back to see it. FYI, I only read my own comments, so this policy is stressing me out waiting to see what I actually wrote with my eyes closed.

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

A commodity for all genders

FIFY

Steven said...

Doing a newspaper crossword in pencil is a pain; newsprint doesn't handle pencils well (tearing, etc.), and it's hard to read. Thus, a good pen is the only reasonable choice, and erasable pens don't erase effectively on newsprint. And, of course, technological advancement means nobody buys newspapers except to do crosswords and the like.

So the answer to "Who Still Buys Wite-Out, and Why?" starts with, "1) The only people with an actually rational reason to buy newspapers anymore."

Char Char Binks, Esq. said...

Or most genders.

richlb said...

"You can’t erase the past anymore than you can erase a printed typo or written error—but you can paper it over and pretend it didn’t happen."

It's that use of "anymore" rather than "any more" that is bugging the crap out of me. I want that corrected!

Leora said...

I sometimes use correction fluid to redact tax ids bank numbers or other personal information prior to scanning when I need to send people copies.

tcrosse said...

How about Political Correction Fluid to cover up those Politically Incorrect gaffes?
Send Biden a case. At least it's white.

wholelottasplainin' said...

"You can’t erase the past anymore than you can erase a printed typo or written error—but you can paper it over and pretend it didn’t happen."
********************

Had he known about correction fluids, maybe Omar Khayyam have have written:

"The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Wite-Out erase a Word of it."

Anthony said...

Maybe it's because typewriter sales are, if not booming, at least increasing? Sales are booming at Manhattan typewriter store, mostly thanks to young people (and Tom Hanks)

I've been using a 1951 Smith-Corona Silent (one of Hanks' faves) for a few months to write letters to people, but never use any sort of correcting fluid. But who knows.

Maillard Reactionary said...

Anthony said: "Maybe it's because typewriter sales are, if not booming, at least increasing?"

It's nice to hear there are other reactionaries out there!

I photograph only with film, almost always using my 4x5 field camera. I develop and print my pictures in my plumbed and temperature-controlled darkroom. My wife and I use only clamshell phones and have nothing to do with Facebag, Twitter, or the rest of the "social media" cesspool.

And although I was a digital TV engineer for 23 years, I never watch TV.

Retro life is fine indeed.

funsize said...

I have a regular pen and paper correspondence with a friend. Sometimes we even use fancy stationery and fountain pens. When I make a mistake, I just cross it out. She's not judging my handwriting. Writing by hand is a lovely act, and if you keep it in a journal, mega tech giants can't steal it from you and claim it as their property.

Gospace said...

Logkeeping in an industrial plant for when you put the numbers in the wrong boxes.

But the white correction tape works better.

FullMoon said...

“True, under the new Althouse policy it's a pain to erase a typo or error.“

That’s an incentive to proofread. Another plus!

I intentionally misuse grammer and make typos. Simply another thing in a long list to pretend that:


I'm just average, common too
I'm just like him, the same as you
I'm everybody's brother and son
I ain't different than anyone.

On the other hand:

Oh Lord it's hard to be humble
When you're perfect in every way
I can't wait to look in the mirror
Cause I get better looking each day
To know me is to love me
I must be a hell of a man
Oh Lord It's hard to be humble,
But I'm doing the best that I can

Be said...

Liquid Paper, as imperfect as it is, still comes in a range of colors that can work with most standard office papers.

Mike said...

I use white out to paint the front sight of my Smith & Wesson Model 36 so that I can see the damn thing.

ALP said...

On a somewhat related note - I'm into using fountain pens. Have had them for a while but had put them aside a few years back. Got the urge to draw again so dug them out, cleaned them up, wondering all the while 'why did I put them away in the first place"? Bought some more pens, started exploring sheening inks...and plan to experiment with folded nibs soon.

To my point: I was stunned at how many 20-somethings were into fountain pens as well, many are really into the joy of writing. Must be interesting to be that age and to discover a non digital thing like fountain pens. Journaling...writing thoughtful notes in greeting cards, copying meaningful quotes are all popular activities. I am pretty confident our species will never stop making marks on paper (or something like it) because it is simply too...primal? In the same way walking can be a nice change from driving, actually writing with a non-digital tool will never go away. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

c365 said...

Sales of a product like this that don't make sense cause me to think of creative alternate uses out there in the marketplace. So I googled and pintrest searched whiteout crafts, and there you go. It's always the mommy bloggers.

https://co.pinterest.com/pin/564357397031506141/

CuznDon said...

Mechanics like to keep correction fluid on hand for a variety of uses.
It can be used on hard to read dials to mark the pointer, for touch up jobs, etc.

Blue@9 said...

I bought and used some the other day. I have a form that I have to fill out by hand for work. I then scan it and send it to the powers that be. I don't want to print and fill out new forms every time when I only need a few small changes, so white out!