If you bring deconstruction within 16 yards of American politics Cokie Roberts will kill this dog

Interesting NYT op-ed on the typographic semiotics of the Bush and Kerry logos by the creative director of Texas Monthly. There are some valid points, and it’s a sexy read, but there’s a very conservative bias that doesn’t really take into account the fascist overtones of what Scott calls “the big and the bold” nature of the Bush logo, nor the implications of calling attention to Kerry/Edwards’ “visual poverty.” Nothing indicates the underpinnings of the race, or media coverage of it, more explicitly than this comparison: “Big and Bold” cowboys who deserve their spoils vs. effete, grasping liberals.

Taken point-by-point as individual moments of semiotic review, it’s a brilliant, hot fuss. Taken altogether, there’s that ugly op-ed line cutting through it that betrays its bipartisan aspirations. Taken as a sidebar for an imagined study in actual, intelligent typographic interrogation, it’s very seductive.

The fact that the creative director of Texas Monthly — itself generally overtly masculine and jumbled in design — feels confident that he can give any kind of rigorous (if Umberto-Eco-style dilettante) reading of political signage is about the awesomest sendoff to Derrida imaginable. I wasn’t really sure how to approach his death because no matter what I thought, I could still hear him laughing, but now I know. By checking out his shadow in unlikely, adorable places.

I’m reminded of that part in Snow Crash where the death of Christ is read as a dissipation of grace throughout humanity, and the resurrection a retraction, apostolic hack of that act. I hope nobody brings back Derrida in three days. Let’s defer that forever. I’d like to see more readings like the one discussed above.

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