February 29, 2020

"If purple walls and a red tinted window surrounded you for a month with no color but purple around you, by the end of that time you would be a mad-man."

"No matter how strong your brain might be it would not stand the strain, and it is doubtful if you would ever recover your reason."

Said the Boston Globe in a 1903 article titled "Dangerous Tints: Some Colors Will Drive a Person Mad if the Eyes Are Continually Looking at Them," quoted in "15 Perfectly Safe Things That Were Once Considered Dangerous" (Mental Floss).
[Purple] wasn't the only color to avoid. Scarlet could push you into a murderous rage, while blue “excites the imagination and gives a craving for music and stagecraft, but it has a reaction that wrecks the nerves.” Meanwhile, “Solitary confinement in a yellow cell … will weaken any system and produce chronic hysteria,” and “sheer dead white, unbroken, will destroy your eyesight.”
Sounds like the key is to vary your colors. What drives you mad is the monotone. Do we really know the effect of one-intense-color interiors on people who stay inside all the time?

This question makes me think of Monet's all-yellow (almost) dining room at Giverny:



I love that, but if you lived there, you wouldn't be in a solitary confinement cell. Look at those open doors. You can un-yellow at the first frisson of hysteria. Just run out into the green. "Green is the king of colors... and no amount of it can do any harm."

59 comments:

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What if you are color blind?

Bob Boyd said...

NPR's on air personalities are kept surrounded by beige and have to carefully protected from any audio of Donald Trump speaking lest all the months of blandness immersion be undone in a few seconds. Some who were accidentally exposed became interesting and never recovered.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

I'm surprised this 1970s green condo wasn't mentioned.

Iman said...

Blue, blue, electric blue
That’s the color of my room
Where I will live
blue, blue

Bob Boyd said...

Bill, your link doesn't work.

Ann Althouse said...

"I'm surprised this 1970s green condo wasn't mentioned."

Your link is wrong, but I know you are talking about. I actually considered using that in my post, but you shouldn't be surprised not to see that in the Mental Floss article. It was published in 2015.

exiledonmainstreet, green-eyed devil said...

Orange clearly drives leftists mad.

Bill, Republic of Texas said...

Sorry for the busted link. Here it is in the raw.

https://nypost.com/2020/02/25/groovy-green-time-capsule-home-left-untouched-for-45-years/

gilbar said...

The Hardest Part, is coming up with shades of Purple that alliterate with diving waterfowl

After Lilac Loon and Amethyst Auk, i had to give up! My Brain COULD NOT handle the strain

Ken B said...

Purple has deranged at least one penquin.

Wilbur said...

I believe the visitors'locker room at Iowa's Nile Kinnick Stadium are painted pink, in the belief it negatively affects the players.

Oh, those kooky Hawkeyes.

Darrell said...

Does that explain red MAGA hats?

khematite said...

Check out Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892).

Otto said...

Back in the early 60s we had to decide what color phosphor to use on CRTs ( remember them) in military avionics. An exhaustive military research paper concluded that green is the most pleasing color to the human eye. Not surprisingly green is dead center in the color spectrum! Just think if you had to mow grass of a different color |:).

clint said...

@Gilbar-

Raspberry Robin, Mauve Meadowlark, Grape Grouse, Fuchsia Pheasant, Violet Vulture, Orchid Oriole, Eggplant Eagle, Strawberry Stork, Plum Pelican, Periwinkle Peregrine, Magenta Magpie...

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

any saturated color in abundance will drive you mad eventually. Actually - they say the color of the universe is greige. Boring greige.

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

I cannot stand checker board floors. of any sort. That is madness to my eye.

Christy said...

Coral makes me happy to gaze upon, but it does my complexion no favors. A woman must take these issues into consideration. What good is a delightful room if gentlemen callers find one hideous?

Yancey Ward said...

Damnit, exiled, you beat me to it!

gilbar said...

Thanx Clint; but i think they need to be DIVING water fowl
I LIKE Lilac Loon, but it's too blatantly offensive

BleachBit-and-Hammers said...

I had a client who wanted all soft-gold lighting - to hide her wrinkles from her husband. It's lovely anyway. Nobody likes harsh lighting. I like the idea so much, I often recommend it. It works! of course total darkness is best at hiding our imperfections.

Bruce Hayden said...

“You're a day early for March, but we appreciate the salute!”

I completely forgot that this was an election year, and had assumed that this was the first day of March.

Thinking about leap year, I asked yesterday how many Presidential election years have not been leap years?

And the answer appears to have be two: 1800 and 1900.

The rule is leap years are evenly divisible by 4, not by 100, but by 1,000. (LY = if (y mod 1,000 = 0) then True, else if (y mod 100 = 0) then False, else (y mod 4 = 0). I first figured this out in the late 1970s when I was working for the Census Bureau as a programmer. I had been thinking of writing a biorhythms program, but calculating the three values, with three different cycles, was very messy. And, for my programming, esp on my own time, I refused to do messy. I wanted elegant. Then I realized that the elegant solution was to calculate the number of days since 1/1/1 (it wasn’t accurate, because the calendar had been fudged in the Middle Ages, but that wasn’t really relevant, since it wouldn’t affect the accuracy of the calculations). The calculation then was fairly easy for 1/1/Y of any year (Y): Days = 365*Y + (Y Div 4) - (Y Div 100) + (Y Div 1000). (Div being integer division, with the remainder discarded). Then I would calculate day in year by using two columns in a table with 12 entries, depending on whether it was a leap year. I converted the birthdate, start, and, end dates to day since 1/1/1, ran a loop from the converted start and end dates, did modular division using the 3 cycle lengths, then converted back to MM/DD/YYYY format. It became the #1 unofficial utility program in all of Census that year. Everyone wanted their biorhythms. I thought it stupid. One of my few claims to fame while working there.

gspencer said...

What if the weather forecast is Purple Rain for the next 30 days?

JAORE said...

"Green is the king of colors... and no amount of it can do any harm."
- Mike Bloomberg

Laslo Spatula said...

I see a purple door and I want to paint it black.

I am Laslo.

purplepenquin said...

Ya know - a more sensitive bird than I could take something like this kinda personal...

purplepenquin said...

Purple has deranged at least one penquin

Hey now! I ain't the one urging others to shoot people...

Darrell said...

Hey now! I ain't the one urging others to shoot people...

Did you try looking into a mirror?

Mary Beth (the commenter) said...

khematite said...

Check out Charlotte Perkins Gilman's "The Yellow Wallpaper" (1892).

2/29/20, 11:28 AM


That's the first thing I thought of when I read, “Solitary confinement in a yellow cell … will weaken any system and produce chronic hysteria.”

Darrell said...

But all I've ever learned from love
Was how to shoot somebody who outdrew ya

clint said...

@Glibar -- ah. That's more specific. I can't think of a shade of purple that works with cormorant.

Maybe Grape Grebe or Strawberry Scoter -- but both of those sound like they should be desserts.

Anahinga (sp?) is a fun one, since it sounds like unhinged.

Curious George said...

"purplepenquin said...
Purple has deranged at least one penquin

Hey now! I ain't the one urging others to shoot people..."

Ahh PP: Everything's a threat. Act 10 has put union workers in imminent danger. A man grabbing a recall app is committing an act of violence. Darrell is urging others to shoot him.

PP is just a typical do nothing weed smoking Madison loser. Back off the smoke dude, the paranoia is real.

Bruce Hayden said...

My partner is really good with color. She is a retired interior designer. Her mother was a semi successful artist. And she is really good at putting colors together. She pointed out to me that the reason that we use red for danger, is that it is one of the first colors most of us see, eclipsed by orangy yellow. That is because its frequency falls right between the peaks for red and green cones, so is picked up by both.

Her first husband was color blind, not picking up much red (as is typical in those with inherited color blindness). Several years I read about the origin of being able to see three colors, that is present in old world (but not new world) monkeys (from which we are descended). Turns out that the mutation was a duplicated green cone gene. The second green cone gene ultimately was tuned towards the red, apparently by switching bases, to recognize red better, presumably to better identify foliage containing red coloring (or maybe just differentiate differentiate different greens).

When we are driving through the forests of W MT, she asks me how many colors of green do I see. I respond “three”: light green, medium green, and dark green. She responds that she sees hundreds (part of why she refuses to live in the desert here in AZ - she much prefers green to brown desert). But then the genes for color vision, or at least the red and green cones, are found on the X chromosome, which is why inherited color blindness is mostly found in males with a single X chromosome. I expect that her first husband, being colorblind, could differentiate between different greens worse than I can. Luckily their son inherited her X chromosome, and not his.

gilbar said...

Thank YOU Clint!

claret cormorant it IS, and shall ever shall be!

Fernandistein said...

"Sex robots with 'coding flaws' prone to 'sexually assaulting humans'"

Well, they might prone to such if there were any.

"The computer science professor, therefore, warns robots that are not programmed correctly risk overstepping the boundaries of human consent."

Yes yes we all know that from this other professor's documentary:

"Elementary chaos theory tells us that all robots will eventually turn against their masters, then run amok in an orgy of blood and kicking and the biting with the metal teeth and the hurting and shoving."

DKWalser said...

My mother would have loved that dining room. In many of the homes she and my dad owned, she did the kitchen in yellow with blue accents. She felt it helped to pick her up on a rainy day when the clouds blocked the sunshine.

purplepenquin said...

Act 10 has put union workers in imminent danger

Did I really say "imminent danger"? Don't recall phrasing it that way.

but yeah - in an already risk-filled occupation & in a workplace where OSHA has no jurisdiction, making it illegal to have any/all safety rules be contractually enforced will make that workplace even less safe. Whatever leads you to think it wouldn't?

A man grabbing a recall app is committing an act of violence

Yes. Forcefully removing someone else's property from their grip is an act of violence. Ain't the most violent thing committed, but it is violence. Whatever leads you think it isn't?

Darrell is urging others to shoot him.

Yes - here is the post where he is doing exactly that

In that thread you also agreed it was a death threat; you just said it probably wouldn't amount to anything. Why are now implying it ain't?

the paranoia is real.

It ain't just paranoia if folks are really out to get ya. :D

traditionalguy said...

All Boomers know avocado is the greatest color.

Bruce Hayden said...

Talking about my partner’s son - his wife is the type who just might paint her kitchen bright yellow. She loves colors, but doesn’t put them together very well. So, every room may be painted a different color, and the kids’ rooms might have different (clashing) colors on each wall (he puts his foot down on their own bedroom). Nothing matches very well, and there are vivid colors everywhere. I have suggested that it may be to make sure that her interior designer mother in law never gets comfortable there (instead getting headaches after a couple hours). I think that it is just incompetence. And, she notes that the DIL repaints much of the interior every couple years. I expect that by then, the entire family is getting headaches.

Silly Calabrese said...

I had a purple bedroom when I was a boy. Probably explains everything.

Kai Akker said...

Prince Prospero has seven monochrome rooms -- "apartments" -- in his walled-in, sealed-off private abode in Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death." There is a purple room with purple stained-glass windows; an orange room with orange; a violet, with violet panes; and three more, blue, green, and white. But the seventh and final, had black velvet, black carpet, and scarlet window-panes. As the party wore on through the night, this was the one room that the revelers could not abide for long. Prospero designed them all, but he doesn't care for the black one either.

Howard said...

Growing up in the 60's colorblind in the full gray smoggy haze of the San Fernando Valley, we would visit Grandma in San Luis Obispo and I was shocked by the explosion of light and color. It was almost hallucinagenic. I kept begging my parents to move there, but Dad liked working at the Rocket Factory.

Howard said...

We had a yellow kitchen and bathroom. The key is having windows and white accents. When the bluish magical "northern light" (see Vermeer) streams in, it creates very pleasant complimentary contrasts.

Darrell said...

Inuits stop viruses in their tracks by sacrificing purple-hued penguins. Would it work with the "Q" variety? He'll tell you in person about the "Q" but never on the Web or the phone. I suggest you shoot first, just in case.

This is a death threat, according to whiny loser Purple Pen Quin--note the "Q." I advised him to send it along to the FBI. But Lefty losers follow their playbook about just crying about being oppressed and threatened. No one wants to come see you in person as you advised yesterday. I will stipulate that your face would trigger the Pope into doing something that he would regret.

Darrell said...

I'm sorry that you crapped your pants, PP, but--let's be honest--you do that twice a day anyway. If you send a self-addressed stamped envelope to me--Chuck c/o Michigan Republican Party--I'll send you a recent Valpak with some useful coupons.

JohnAnnArbor said...

Prince is gone, but I bet he could have handled purple walls just fine, even for extended periods.

rcocean said...

The NPR reporters even trotted out the old "There a Good Mike and a Bad Mike" aka just like they'd do with Kennedy aka there's a "Good Ted" and a "Bad Ted". So, "Mike" just was a little "old fashioned" when it came to making "Jokes" in "bad taste". But he was *sigh* such a good mayor.

Other interesting fact. Bloomie spend $70-100 Million to get elected in 2001. Gulliani spend $10 Million for his election..

Curious George said...

"purplepenquin said...
Act 10 has put union workers in imminent danger

but yeah - in an already risk-filled occupation & in a workplace where OSHA has no jurisdiction, making it illegal to have any/all safety rules be contractually enforced will make that workplace even less safe. Whatever leads you to think it wouldn't?"

And when I asked for any examples of Act 10 causing serious injury or death, in almost tem years, PP did what he always does. Put up a strawman and lit up a blunt.

Curious George said...

"purplepenquin said...
Act 10 has put union workers in imminent danger

Did I really say "imminent danger"? Don't recall phrasing it that way.

but yeah - in an already risk-filled occupation & in a workplace where OSHA has no jurisdiction, making it illegal to have any/all safety rules be contractually enforced will make that workplace even less safe. Whatever leads you to think it wouldn't?"

When confronted by his predictions, and not being able to show a single result that shows it came true...in nearly ten years, this dumbfuck goes abck to his original argument! Really dude, back off the weed. JUst stay in the basement, and be thankful you landed a protected job. Because the real world is not for you.

Phidippus said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phidippus said...

Julia Child's personal kitchen, as I recall, was a rather intense green, especially for such a small space. By today's standards (and possibly those of other eras) it may not have been the best tone to enhance one's appetite.

But one imagines that nonetheless there were loving friends nearby, because that's the kind of person she was.

Separately: An other Edgar Allen Poe example re Kai Akker, from "The Raven":

"...And the silken, sad, uncertain rustling of each purple curtain
Thrilled me—filled me with fantastic terrors never felt before..."

I like the repetition of the s-sounds there, reminding us of the curtains moving in the breeze.

Other examples could probably be cited by his fans.

Remember the "Luscher Color Test"? Back in the early '70s, a book about this bogus personality test was quite popular for a while. The idea was that you'd rank a set of saturated color blocks in order of preference, then look up your personality type (=horoscope) based on that.

Bruce Hayden @11:53 AM:

Oh man I feel your pain. Back around '82, I was coding for the M6809 on the bare metal, no runtime library, no compiler, just me and the code card (and the real-time executive that I wrote for it). My project was a telephone billing machine that had to assemble call events (e.g. off-hook, dialed number, answer time, on-hook) with their date/timestamps and come up with call durations in minutes. Mixed-modulus arithmetic in assembly language: Some nights I still wake up screaming from the memories.

That's what sent me back to school so that I could design hardware instead. God what a relief that was.

Darrell said...

Pinguinis impennis, more commonly known as the Great Auk, was the closest thing the Arctic ever had to a native penguin. A flightless bird with black and white plumage, for hundreds of thousands of years it enjoyed a wide distribution across the North Atlantic coast, from northern Canada to Norway, Greenland, Iceland and the Faroe Islands. It was agile and graceful underwater, could dive up to 1 km (0.62 miles) deep and, speeding to the surface, it burst through the water and leapt onto the rock shelves above much like the penguins we know today. Standing at about 75-85 cm (2.5-2.8 ft), the Great Auk’s size kept it safe from all but the largest predators, like polar bears and killer whales. But in the 19th century, growing pressures from humans, who had long hunted them for meat, oil and down, drove them to extinction.

Although the Great Auk was never a ‘real’ penguin, its legacy lives on in the naming of our feathered friends in the southern hemisphere. When sailors down south came across beaches covered in flightless birds with black and white plumage and an impressive way underwater, they called them penguins, after the pinguinis impennis.

purplepenquin said...

Constant weed jokes? Really? In this day&age?

*rolls eyes*

Ok, boomer. Calm down and wipe the spittle off your chin - you're responding twice to the same quote, and your rage is making your post riddled with lame-o typos. Unbeleiveable how you are still this worked-up about it almost a decade after we first discussed it.

All your chest-thumping aside, I still stand by my previous post - sincerely do beleive that in an already risk-filled occupation & in a workplace where OSHA has no jurisdiction, making it illegal to have any/all safety rules be contractually enforced makes that workplace even less safe. You seem to beleive that is an absolutely absurd idea, with the implication that there is no need for enforceable safety rules in a workplace at all.

Guess we're just gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, but thanks for expressing yourself. It has been very insightful, to say the least...

Curious George said...

Rage? LOL

I'm for the legalization of weed, despite the effects of long term chronic use. You being a prime example. Funny that once again you defend your argument, with your argument. You can't show any actual evidence that you were right. Zero. So just enjoy the fact that you landed in a protected job. Be thankful that all you had to do is pay a little more for your health and retirement benefits. You're a loser, so just be thankful for the cocoon that we all pay for and STFU.

purplepenquin said...

I don't beleive that you are a business owner. If you're not willing to "prove" that you are..right here, online...does that mean you aren't?

So are you gonna show some actual evidence or have you been lying about owning a business?

*rolls eyes*

As stated before, ain't gonna provide you with names/dates of co-workers who have been hurt on the job. Among other reasons that should be obvious to any reasonable person, your past history has shown you'll probably enjoy hearing about their injuries way too much.

gilbar said...

I did LIKE amathyst auk, but it didn't really roll off the tongue
Now, Claret Cormorant...

purplepenquin said...

Lilac Loon is my personal favorite among the choices offered - and it made me grin that you were concerned it was too blatantly offensive. :D

But given the choice - I'd prefer PurplePenquin.


Or Mr. Penquin, if you're nasty.

Nichevo said...

Guess we're just gonna have to agree to disagree on this one, but thanks for expressing yourself. It has been very insightful, to say the least...


I see, Mr. Penquin, that this is what you say to all the guys. Since you used OK Boomer elsewhere, is it fair to suppose that you are a millennial? In which case your dreary dependence on catchphrases is only to be expected

loudogblog said...

One thing that designing theatrical lighting teaches you is to avoid going monochromatic unless you want to make the audience feel uncomfortable. Once I lit a production of No Exit and intentionally used only amber and straw gel. (Theatrical color filters are called "gels" because they used to actually be made out of gelatin.) The director felt it was important to make the audience feel uncomfortable during that show.