Wednesday, July 15, 2015

How Many Spaces?



<cue David Bowie’s Fashion>
Turn to the left…

The Debate on Form:  One Lump or Two?

I’m not much for commentary on typesetting because frankly, after you’ve completed a few dozen solar orbits, you’ll notice that the appearance of the written word is a matter of Fashion de Jour.  This go-round, I’ve been handed the quandary of spacing after a sentence (AKA “full stop”). 



“Why two?” 

While my contemporaries insist on a single space—and I mean all of them, from other novelists and typesetters, to fresh professors citing the latest style manuals (APA excepted)—my former instructors, who are all elder folks shackled to their IBM Selectric typewriters, demanded two, else red ink shall flow.  I am middle-aged, therefore this occurred from high school through college.  In a couple cases, even recently.  “For the love of God, why are you publishing with two spaces?!”

“It reads better.”

That’s what they all said.  APA cites this in their latest manual, and I happen to agree.  (Isn’t it ironic that physicians demand better readability?)  Two spaces work especially well if you’re fast-scanning especially thick tomes.  Well, it actually depends on the font and its kerning (the space between characters).  Some fonts I see online look horrid with one space.  Others, innocuous.  Style.

There are voluminous diatribes posted why two spaces were needed not too awfully long ago, and why one space is the new standard.  I enjoyed this one, and its follow-up, especially.  On first sight, you are dull and middle-aged if one of those entitled millennial editors get ahold of your manuscript.  Nothing like a good brow-beating to start your day.  I liken it to sitting at the Queen of England’s dinner table and being chided for ignorance of specialized tableware.  Thanks for the port glass education, Your Majesty, can we eat now?  Ah, but the likely reason is economics.  Publishers like saving paper.  Less space equals less paper.  How about adding a sixteenth to the margin?  Typesetting.  Proportional.  Monospace.  Style. Truth be told, zero feedback exists for spacing on any of my texts, so it’s probably critical to editors only.  GenPop could care less. 

I am the Reek of Two Spaces—tortured to its submission, tortured to redemption.

So, perhaps I need to give the relative noobs an ear and provide what they want—what seemingly the entire world demands: one space.  I’m not going to fight it, just like I’m not going to detonate while reading someone else’s scrawl—rife with uncommon flatware—beginning sentences with conjunctions, awkward had hads, and placing prepositions at the end of them.  And, emoticons! This includes my own. ;)  One space... 

There, how does that look? Better? Me? I’m in mourning. I’m also relearning how to type. But I’ll get over it. And thanks, young people.

Up next, Serial Comma Killers and Preposition H.



New Music?

Something else I don’t normally do is publically plug sales items for friends. You know, products, especially art products, are highly subjective consumables. Any endorsement carries intrinsic risks.

“You like THAT?”

I like a lot of things. That’s what makes the world go round.

Timothy P. Green (TPG) is about to release a new album. By new, I mean it’s not the formulaic, computer-manufactured derivative booty-pop gracing the radio. Wait. Radio? People still listen to static? I meant to say, “…gracing global media outlets.” There, that’s better. Avanti!

TPG’s approach is a fresh reminder of those fun, eccentric ‘70s and ‘80s male vocalists ala Steely Dan, Talking Heads, The Tubes, The Cars, and Bowie. TPG’s roster is chock full of Atlanta’s best performers too, so there’s no shortage of ear candy. Great stuff! Well, at least in my opinion.

WELL!

Check it out:


Get release updates and a different free digital single HERE: www.TimothyPGreen.net


Now on to a serious note…
(is this allowed?)


Who’s Winning the Race?

So much vitriolic nonsensical ignorance on the internet, it’s miracle you made it to this article without being bombarded by political jabs, 21st Century Snake Oil (penis enlargement “meds”), told your love life stinks, or guilted for pacifism. Ah…the internet.

“If you don’t have anything nice to say…”

That’s most of us, I think. The only defensive weapon if you want to play here is your own logic. I believe most reasonable people have the capacity to filter a truth, a hypocrisy, and deviance. Even better if they can detect motive and conclude a clear agenda. Or is it a case of simple mass hysteria? Junk mail, mostly. Junk reporting too. Click bait, all.

Regarding the tragic murder of nine innocent, law-abiding worshipers in Charleston, South Carolina, my observations tell me there is a coordinated distraction in play. It’s heartbreaking to witness, too—the fomenters of subversion via hate, chaos, misdirection, and propaganda. Is that William Randolph Hearst grinning down there? Probably. So, what happened?

In summary:

  • It wasn’t a flag, it was dropping out of the 9th grade and becoming a loner.
  • It wasn’t a flag, it was reportedly enduring an abusive father and a bitter divorce.
  • It wasn’t a flag, it was a history of toxic SSRI drugs and drug abuse.
  • It wasn’t a flag, it was insatiable jealousy after reportedly losing his crush to a black guy.
  • It wasn’t a flag, it was a flagrant FBI background check FAIL.
  • It wasn’t a flag, it was some screwed up, desensitized, angry, unloved kid who exhibits every classic trait of an anarchistic mass killer.

Solution?

Take down a flag.

You win, society.

(Please do not mistake the above as defense for the racist-used history of a certain Confederate flag. My sarcasm is aimed at the carefully executed misdirection of public attention away from simple, factual truths evident in this case. Questions about Dylan Storm Roof have largely been deferred. For example, why was his Facebook populated with many African-American friends?)

So apparently, everything is offensive to everyone now. Nothing is off-limits if you don’t like it. You’re probably offended just reading this! That’s okay. I jest. Flags of the Confederacy belong in places of proper context: museums, monuments, reenactments, rebel redneck T-shirts (‘cause you can’t tell who they are otherwise, right?), and the roof of the General Lee. They should not belong to hate groups or symbolize the act of one heinous moron. I just wanted to get that off my chest. The South must not forget why it lost.

I’ve been saddened lately by the destruction of important ruins and artifacts by the so-called Islamic State (oops, probably get another ping by Homeland). If ISIS doesn’t like something, their solution is to kill it off—total destruction. No making peace with it or learning its entire history, just do away with it entirely. It never happened. (Just like all the double spaces I’m having to correct, and Blogger deletes them anyway). The same phenomena is occurring in America’s southeast. Okay, it hasn’t quite happened fully yet, but there have been calls for it. Erase Stone Mountain? Digging up Confederate soldiers? Where does it end?

Tough question, but I think the answer begins with calculated media-stoking and hypocrisy. Can you tell when it’s occurring? Perhaps if we’re truly going to homogenize race in America, then we will need to eradicate every single reference to it. No more checkboxes on government questionnaires, no more color descriptions on police reports, no ethnic organizations allowed (KKK, NAACP, et al), and no ethnic-targeted businesses (BET, Univision), just to name a few. It’s not impossible to make that happen; it’s simply unlikely. Polarization sells. This is a timeless maxim the poor and uneducated never digest, the reasonable middle classes generally ignore, and the power-elite vigorously exploits. If you can’t change that, what do you change? My advice? Change the channel. Tune out.

<click>

There, that feels better. Now, about these dear, poor victims in Charleston who embraced their murderer while they prayed. Remember them, and remember the real reason why they were killed—why many mass shootings have occurred lately—a messed up, unloved kid on drugs, stoked by sensationalized media, and surrounded by people in disbelief. That’s where it ends.

/T

4 comments:

  1. For what it's worth, I don't think that going after the flag is necessarily the wrong thing, even if it's not as important as directly addressing the problem of racism in this country. The thing we all ultimately tend to forget about flags is that their whole point is to serve as a rallying point (both for community and ideology). In this case, the flag clearly has been utilized as a rallying symbol for people spouting racial hatred. Though Roof probably would have still turned as the hateful person that he did due to a background that he shares with a tragically large amount of our national population, that flag almost certainly allowed for him to better find that there were (and are!) more people just like him.In turn, that just as certainly contributed to his belief that his cause was just and that others would follow his action. Though we are certainly expending more of our attention on the flag than we should in this whole scenario, it's still definitely an important thing to discuss rendering the flag as a cultural taboo until either it can be transformed into a better symbol or we make better inroads on fixing our problem with racism. Once it stops being used as a rallying point for bad people, then maybe it can be used as a fun symbol of rebellion (of course, at that point, there's still a perfectly good American flag to use in the meantime).

    I won't deny that this whole experience has perhaps exposed a further community for which the flag serves as a rallying point: assholes. As insulting as this may be, let's face it, if significant portion of the national community says "Hey, that makes me uncomfortable (because of an extremely understandable historical context)" and your reaction is "Well I'm just going to rub it in your face even more," you might be an asshole. Chances also are that the people who join you in that rallying point will also be assholes. While maybe we do have a problem with people getting offended a little too easily, I think it's perhaps just as easy to forget that not everything is an example of the PC police crying fowl over spilt milk and that maybe there's a legitimate reason behind it.

    Also, while I'd normally agree that exhuming a soldier's corpse is going to far, I don't think I'll be shedding any tears over that soldier being Nathan Forrest.

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  2. Well said, Mr. Taylor...regarding all of the above!!! (Including single spaces.)

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  3. Of course, I am enjoying the video recommendation as well. ;-)

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  4. Thanks for the comments and kind words. I always appreciate everyone's viewpoints, even if provocative or slightly edgy.

    The particular flag in discussion certainly has its share of unwanted advocates. Reportedly, the Sons of Confederate Veterans (SCV) reportedly consulted their legal team a couple decades ago in a bid to claim ownership/stewardship of all Confederate symbols, specifically to thwart misuse by the hate groups - something they admit has gone on too long. Before any suit was launched however, their attorneys' research indicated that the effort would be another lost cause, stating that use of those symbols are part of free speech and unobtainable for ownership by any one group. By this logic, pretty much any public domain symbol has the potential for misuse and subsequent "practical ownership". Shame, really. If you dig deep enough into some of the recent KKK reports, you might catch the CSV's denunciations. Too little, too late, I'm afraid.

    In any light, the flag debate should not detract from the reasons and remaining questions as to why Dylann Roof pulled the trigger. It should also be noted that the recent shooter in Chattanooga -- as is becoming all too common in these cases -- was also off/on a mix of medications, including anti-depressants. The evidence is building.

    /T

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