LGBTQ Support

On Comic Sans and Awareness.

Story 1

Many moons ago my husband had a job that was not involved with the internet or social media. He programmed at a computer all day but never once had to be online. He wasn’t on reddit regularly and didn’t watch anything on YouTube. He sat at his computer, did his job (offline), then came home to veg in front of TV shows NOT on cable so NOT interrupted by messages from the nightly news. He didn’t have a Twitter he checked periodically and wasn’t active on Facebook. Big Things Happened in the world and he would have NO IDEA. There were huge trends in online language and apps and websites and he would have no idea what I was talking about when I would reference them. WHY WOULD HE? He’s not going to come home after 8 hours of programming to sit in front of the computer just to learn what Yik Yak is and why it’s CRAZY that people are going to have usernames now. But in some circles (mainly colleges) that story is HUGE NEWS.

(If that means nothing to you, keep that in mind for later reference.)

Story 2

Yesterday a Twitter friend asked me if I still “using [my] bullet journal” and then felt bad once I sent her my instagram account dedicated to it. This was her response:

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And I felt bad that she felt embarrassed because – how would she know? Do I expect everyone who interacts with me on Twitter to know about my bullet journal obsession? No way. There’s no way to know everything about everyone.

Story 3

I referenced on Facebook that I watched a video with Wesley on YouTube which was a guy (that I casually referenced “named Dan”) playing minecraft and it turns out This Guy Is A Huge Deal and everyone’s kids watch his videos. My kid watching some dude play minecraft is not only NOT unique but the guy he was watching is making like a bajillion dollars on his videos of himself playing Minecraft. And I’m all “we did something unique last night” and it is only unique if EVERY OTHER KID IN THE WORLD DOING IT MAKES IT UNIQUE.

None of these stories would leave you thinking that Donnie, Britt, or myself were dumb or uneducated. You would just realize that the world is full of things to experience and we were using our hours experiencing different things. You would not judge us or shame us for not being aware of these things we were unaware of. And I’ve had to remind myself of this lately in two arenas:

1) Font choice
2) Politics

I shot the serif.

Let’s discuss it as it relates to font choice first. A while ago I was mocking something done with comic sans on Facebook and someone said, “I know you make fun of it, but I like comic sans still. I use it a lot.” And I felt really shitty and terrible and I learned that this person only ever knew of ME making fun of it. She was an elementary school teacher and didn’t do a lot on social media or on the internet in general. She had no time during the day to bother with that stuff and why would she want to be online in any capacity at night? Similar to Donnie’s work situation except that he at least worked with a lot of designers so he understood the sub-culture of Comic Sans Font Hatred.

It got me thinking about my own hatred of comic sans and tracing it back. A lot of it comes from being in college and involved with tech/design/web in the late 90s when EVERYONE used comic sans for EVERY Powerpoint presentation and handout and web banner in the world. It was the first popular and easily accessible “fun” font so it was used by everyone. If you were not around the internet or college or online during the Extreme Overuse Years you did not get burnt out on it.

Then everyone stopped using because we all kinda got sick of it and other fonts became available. But we also forgot why we liked it in the first place, BECAUSE IT WAS A FUN FONT. So if you see it on your list of options and you were never burnt out on it then OF COURSE you’re going to choose it. And if you aren’t online at all, not on reddit or twitter or tumblr where the random “make fun of comic sans” post is frequent – you might not realize that people have made Making Fun Of People Who Use Comic Sans into a sport, then how would you know? I asked on Facebook for people’s favorite sans serif font and some people said “comic sans” as a joke and some said “comic sans” non-ironically because THEY DO NOT HAVE THE SAME EXPERIENCES THAT I DO.

It should come as no surprise that I don’t make fun of people who use it anymore. I STILL HATE IT from the overuse in the late 90s, and I’ll never use it because it makes me twitch, but I don’t make fun of people who DO use it. I try to understand how many different paths life can take and that there are probably 900 million paths that don’t even come close to the town where the hatred of comic sans was born. It surprises me every time I have to remind myself of that because in my circle online using comic sans would ONLY be assumed as ironic. But a lifetime can have an infinite combination of experiences and honestly – the majority of have nothing to do with font choice.

And now to the actual point.

In order to keep empathy alive this election cycle we really need to remember how many different paths a life can take and how many of them come no where near the paths our own lives take. Not everyone has seen the John Oliver takedown of Donald Trump. Yes. It was shared out in my own Facebook feed by at least 20 people, but think about how like-minded my Facebook feed probably is. Or think about how similar the life paths of all of my Facebook friends probably are. But what about the huge percentage of people who don’t even get on Facebook every day. Most of his supporters just know him as that guy from that show The Apprentice and they’re happy to see someone who is NOT a politician speak from their side of the aisle.

I’m not saying we give racists or xenophobes a pass, but I’m saying let’s not assume everyone who supports Trump is a racist and a xenophobe. Lack of awareness is not the same thing as ignorance or bigotry. How do you form your opinions? How do you get your news? Does your daily path lead you to Facebook or online news for information? Or do you just hear about it from the guy at work who only listens to that one Conservative talk show host who loves Trump? Our views are built from the knowledge we gain through our daily lives. If our daily lives are different, the knowledge we gain will be too. Yes, a lot of his supporters are probably xenophobes. But not all. I refuse to believe that. I feel like if someone sat a lot of them down and with a kind heart explained some of the terrible things Trump has said, they wouldn’t vote for him. But until then? They’re just excited to rally behind someone who is different from the system they feel like has been screwing them for years.

If we want to change their minds, we need to find a way to reach them on their own paths instead of shaming them for not being on ours.

1 thought on “On Comic Sans and Awareness.”

  1. Heh. I saw your Twitter question and had a moment of amused fear that the Calibri was now such a lazy option that it, too, had a hate group!

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