Reading: Raising Daughters, The Slender Man, Typography, Church Abuse, Hayao Miyazaki & More

Also: BuzzFeed quizzes, the coder’s high, Google’s new design aesthetic, understanding Genesis in its cultural context, and more.
Holding Hands

As a father who’s grown tired of all of the machismo-laden posturing about daughters, dating, and suitors, I appreciate Jen Wilkin’s piece on raising daughters: “Here’s the problem with shotgun jokes and applications posted on the fridge: to anyone paying attention, they announce that you fully expect your daughter to have poor judgment. Be assured that your daughter is paying attention. And don’t be shocked if she meets your expectation. You might want to worry less about terrorizing or retro-fitting prospective suitors and worry more about preparing your daughter to choose wisely.”

S.D. Kelly considers the disturbing story of Slender Man: “[I]f the character of Slender Man didn’t already exist, we would make him up. Because we are always making up reasons to do bad things. The devil made me do it. The Slender Man made me do it. Either way, something outside of myself is responsible for my own awfulness.”

Gracy Olmstead on the necessity of good typography: “Fonts are integral to storytelling and communication — they build our language, communicate our ideas. They draw or repel the eye, depending on their shape, size, and other attributes. […] [E]ach font is an artistic statement. It takes words, and turns them into art. It makes language beautiful to the eye as well as the ear.”

Speaking of typography, Kenneth Ormandy recently released Normalize-OpenType.css, which promises to improve web typography support better kerning, ligatures, and more.

Karen Swallow Prior on church abuse and a heartbreaking hashtag: “Perhaps if the church dealt more honestly with sexual temptation, temptation would lead less frequently to acting out on it. Keeping talk of such temptations taboo leads naturally to imagining that one’s temptations are somehow unique, which leads, in turn, to imagining oneself as somehow unique and, therefore, entitled in one’s status as special’ to act on one’s temptations.”

Samuel Sattin discusses the idiosyncratic, curmudgeonly, and unique genius of Hayao Miyazaki: “There is one famous animator who rebukes modern technology in favor of hand-drawn, 2‑D conventions. His grumpiness knows no bounds, and he seems to be interested more sometimes in what will perish than what will live on. But in many ways, even at Pixar where the future of the industry is being assembled brick by brick, he is looked to as a constant source of authenticity and inspiration.” Related: A collection of giant Studio Ghibli images, perfect for your desktop background.

If you care about your personal data, then you should think twice before filling out that BuzzFeed quiz: “It starts out with some pretty basic things, like whether you’ve connected your Facebook account to the website, your home country, and your age and gender (if that information is available). But things quickly get a bit more serious, especially for anyone who spends a good deal of time filling out the site’s popular quizzes.” Lots more info and discussion here. Via

I, too, have known that sublime joy known as the “coder’s high”: “I would lock my vision straight at the computer screen, trance out, and become a human-machine hybrid zipping through the virtual architecture that my co-workers and I were building. Hunger, thirst, sleepiness, and even pain all faded away while I was staring at the screen, thinking and typing, until I’d reach the point of exhaustion and it would come crashing down on me.” Kottke has more: “I’ve definitely had productive multi-hour Photoshop and writing benders, but coding blocks out the world and the rest of myself like nothing else.”

One of the most interesting things to come out of Google’s recent I/O Conference was the announcement of “Material Design,” Google’s new design guidelines that are to create a unified experiences across its applications. Although the obvious implementation of this spec is in Android apps, I’m particularly interested to see how it’ll apply to their web apps like Gmail and Google+ (since I’m not an Android user). I love the spec from a purely visual and interactive perspective: while some might see “Material Design” as the latest incarnation of “flat” design, Andrew Coyle argues that it’s “inherently skeuomorphic.” Via

Fr. Lawrence Farley argues that reading Genesis as merely an explanation of how the world was created is misguided: “The stories of Genesis cannot be read apart from their original cultural context, and when we read them as they were meant to be read, we see that the creation story was a gauntlet thrown down before the prevailing culture of its time… These stories affirm that the Jewish God is powerful enough to have created everything by a few simple orders. They affirm that Man is not the mere tool and slave of the gods, whose job it is to feed the deities and care for their temples. Rather, Man is a co-ruler with God, His own image and viceroy on earth. And Woman is not a thing to be sold, inferior to Man. Rather, she shares Man’s calling and dignity.”