Thursday, December 27, 2012

Progress and Skepticism

Nostalgia is often misplaced, but so is untempered confidence in the march of progress. Here is what social progress looks like in America: 

And this is progress in the arts:

I offer to you a motto for the skeptic of the modern age:
"I will praise nothing just because it is new, and despise nothing just because it is old. 
I will praise nothing just because it is old, and despise nothing just because it is new." 


  1. My girlfriend is a graphic design artist, and even she says that new logo looks like s*!&.

  2. There is a long rant about that logo formulating in my mind. It nicely illustrates many of the prejudices and preferences of modern academia - no respect for tradition, hatred of religion even in oblique reference, and a self-assured arrogance that the new ways are right. Denis Dale's take on it is more refined, in Denis's way:

    "It's taken for granted there would be no continuity with the seal's biblical reference. The date too can't make the cut into abstraction. One had to be able to read to draw information from the old seal. The new one requires no literacy, no language even, and is presumed to be thus accessible to all. Globalization necessitates a less literate world. But any information the obscure and abstract conveys must be explained by somebody. Some elect. The very pretense of the postmodern academy.

    Some future alien anthropologist, digging up the seal and the logo, can see just what the former is, and, if say he finds a way to interpret English and our system of dating, can know precisely what it says. It becomes a means of understanding the other things he finds. The logo, dull and mute, can only yield its paltry UC and prompt a few surmises. Maybe that anthropologist will have some insight into how this all works on us in the present. We can only guess.

    If the university's intention was to convey enlightenment as a goal, they've failed miserably. If the worst stories of the academy are true, I'd say the new logo is perfect.
    update: I didn't realize the C is actually one of those animated icons used indicating an internet browser is searching."