-- Leo's gemini proxy
-- Connecting to midnight.pub:1965...
-- Sending request
-- Meta line: 20 text/gemini
I stepped beyond the walls of this cute little pub, floated up into Gemini Space, ventured through the HTML gardens and hopped over the wall into the outside world. What I saw upset me greatly: computery-types may call it "bloat". But this is not the same species of "bloat" we hear so much about. This is an ancient evil, stretching back hundreds of years. An evil that has not only made me nauseous, but that has somehow convinced the rest of the world that is not bloat, but rather "beautiful".
I will be using https links to communicate with the beast here, ladies and gentlemen, I hope you don't mind.
First few examples:
Personally, I find more beauty in walls of clickbait Youtube thumbnails. This villain that plagues the Western mind, it insists on covering every surface with images, every space must be filled, every shape must be complexified. The respected architects of the past would design the tacky websites of the present, if only they were born in our time. This mindset turned once functionally-beautiful swords of Medieval times into, well...
For added effect, imagine being a member of a different civilisation, being skewered by one of these swords, as the Western world forces its ways in and your simpler "barbaric" ways out.
I wonder what what beautiful clothes people of this beautiful civilisation wore:
Western Civilisations unhealthy obsession with accentuating sexual dimorphism is a whole other topic on its own...
Okay, now I'm being nit-picky. I'm making fun of some ugly clothes like a catty character from Mean Girls. Let's do some reading:
Oh, perhaps not. I have nothing left to say. Would anyone like to play a game of Connect4? I always carry a pocket-sized set with me.
(For peeps who can't see, the pictures are examples of baroque, overly decorated, greeble-filled architecture, clothing, writing etc).
Yeah. I love a simple wooden bowl weathered with age and use♥
But can we separate baroque surface from baroque implementation?
"Medium" is a web page that's faux minimalist that looks clean but is a disgusting mess under the hood.
Similarly, a carpenter told me that beautifully minimal corners (such as the edge between wall and floor) are way more difficult than if you put some sort of covering there. When we complain about bloatweb, we complain more about under the hood (and all of that's consequences on accessibility and energy use) than the surface.
I do think you are cherry picking examples. There are other examples, also much part of western culture, of the opposite. Extreme asceticism well beyond what anyone would consider reasonable today.
Cynics like Diogenes is form one counter point. I don't think people today quite realize how big of a deal they were, culturally, as we get the wacky hijinks retold to us at best, but not their rationale. There's a speech by Roman Emperor Julian (a.k.a. Julian the Apostate), half a millennium after Diogenes' death, which lauded him as an example of virtue, as a defense of paganism against the enchroaching Christianity.
Christanity also had its roots in extreme asceticism. Early christians lived communaly and denounced private property, and the desert fathers that followed turned it up another several notches. These are the origins of western monasticism. Various anabaptists still follow their antimaterialist example. This is also very much western culture.
There are also, if you look, quite a good number of gawdy cultural expressions in other cultures. In Indian culture, in Chinese culture, in African culture, in Mesoamerican culture.
Western culture did not invent materialism or lavish displays of wealth.
This is why modernism is the way forward. Function over form.
And in an ironic turn of events, "minimalism" is "high culture" like this New Yorker comic reminds me of
Very good post!
I think all your examples have something in common, aside from horror vacui: function is no longer the main concern, showing status is. As you say, when swords were useful they weren't quite as ornate.
I'm not sure if the modern web is too different!
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