24 September 2008

Helvetica, german acuity, and rump-watching.

I have finally finally gotten to see Helvetica, this most Excellent documentary. It has, until now, been perpetually out. I've tried to rent it like, four times, and finally started checking in daily to catch it upon its return. Its perpetual absence, though, excites me, in some subversive way, that normal human beings have some strange predilection for a documentary about a typeface.
Anyhow. I must say the highlight of the documentary was one dedicated fellow named Erik Spiekermann, who confesses that his love of type is a disease, and likely a mortal one, and definitely disturbing. "Other people look at bottles of wine and girls' bottoms, I look at type"
I was watching the doc with the german subtitles turned on, and would like to point out that girls' bottoms is in fact one word in german (aren't they efficient): Frauenhintern. Commenting on this in one of my aforementioned gratuitous emails today, I was asked, then, what the word is for mens' bottoms. THAT WAS MY FIRST QUESTION, I had to confess. But I couldn’t look it up, I mean how does one look it up? Under men? Under bottoms? I could surmise that it might be Männerhintern oder männlicheEsel (manly ass, literally translated). But here we are. It's like the unfortunate (or very fortunate) truth that there is no antonym for misogyny.

By the way.
I’m so clever they moved me up three levels in my german class last night. No Joke. I had to call and organize this morning a formal switch, after an earnest post-class discussion where I nervously confessed that I felt a bit too comfortable with telling people my name, where I come from, and what language I speak over and over again, and would we get much further?
The teacher agreed that I should check with the administrator and revise accordingly.
Who knew my ten year old german would loiter so tenaciously in what really is an overused and exhausted brain?
Must have been the MännlicheEsel.

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