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Word It For July

A trademark
or distinctive name
identifying a product
or a manufacturer.

A product line
so identified.
A distinctive category
a particular kind.
A mark indicating
identity or ownership,
burned on the hide of an animal
with a hot iron.
A mark burned
into the flesh of criminals.
A mark of
disgrace or notoriety;
a stigma.
To mark with
or as if with a hot iron.
To mark
to show ownership.
To mark
with disgrace
or infamy; stigmatize.
To impress firmly;
fix ineradicably
To put
an actual distinctive mark
upon in any other way,
as with a stencil,
to show quality of contents,
name of manufacture.
A name given
A recognizable kind
Identification mark.
To indicate ownership.

As if it were branded on my mind.

On my mind,
for the word it in July:

With that said, please read the specifications for submittal.
Word-its will be updated on a weekly basis.

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ARCHIVE ID 1991 FILED UNDER Speak Up Announcements
PUBLISHED ON Jun.25.2004 BY bryony
Sam Potts’s comment is:

You know, it's all well and good to have someone anonymously post a "parody" of the YWCA logo under the name Bush Cheney, but I would seriously like to know what prompted someone to actually bother to repeat the offense. This Word It, which only just today popped up on my screen, is the most hateful thing I've ever seen on this site, and I'm rarely moved to bother to point out such things out anymore. However. Don, really, what the fuck? Have a little wit. Have a little, just the barest fucking minimum, originality (unless of course, you posted the original as Bush Cheney). Take a moment to consider that nothing, absolutely nothing, of worth or interest or humor or satire is expressed in this little exercise.

Back to my Frank Briggs & The Hard Case eight tracks

On Jul.12.2004 at 02:34 PM
CCHS’s comment is:

It was actually I who posted the Bush Cheney YWCA parody, and it was meant as satire, not an endorsement of those values. I'm unlcear from your post as to why this has upset you so.

Can you clarify?

On Jul.12.2004 at 02:43 PM
Sam Potts’s comment is:

I object to a number of things. Mainly, I don't see the point or value of repeating the thing that had appeared in the YWCA discussion. This just puts it into circulation further. It's all the more lame given the fact that it wasn't even his idea originally.

But more to the point, in what sense is this satire? Clearly that's the intention. I didn't take it as someone actually endorsing misogyny and racism. Nor should we bother discussing whether some people will read it literally. The mere fact that one can read it literally as a pretty stark piece of hate speech makes it:

a) unfunny

b) unenlightening

c) unworthy of sharing with the general public

Satire (and if experience is any indication, this thread will derail into a semantic discussion of satire, which will be just freaking peachy) should have a message, or express through irony one's values. If the message of your so-called satire is to endorse the opposite meaning of what the words literally say, then what's your message? Isn't it simply identical to the original YWCA tagline? What point has any of this served, except to put a hateful group of words out into the world? Flipping the words doesn't express any value so much as the idea that it's worth your time to flip some words around. And that you didn't bother considering how lame that is.

Anyway, that's all. Someone will come to your defense in the name of free expression and someone else will chime in with how they'd rather say what they want than pussyfoot around some PC bullshit, as if that had anything to do with it. And eventually some corporation will roll out a crappy new logo and all will be back to normal, except everything will have tended just slightly less, rather than more.

On Jul.12.2004 at 03:05 PM
CCHS’s comment is:

With all due respect, Sam, you're being ridiculous.

It is what it is, and that is satire. It is folly. Wit. Irony. It is derisive. But the derision is not aimed at women, nor at people of other races (not that you know what mine is), it is clearly aimed at our dear GOP, with the insuation being that they as a group do represent these twisted values. If it is hateful and unfair towards anyone, it is Repubicans. But I can live with that.

Do you really think that any reasonable person would see this as a literal endorsement of these hateful values? I think not, and I'm surprised that you do. Are you really concerned that such heavy handed satire as this will be lost on anyone? If so we should immediately strike all metaphors and similes, symbolism and icons from our work and simply state what we are trying to say in the plainest of terms so as not to risk confusing the great ignorant masses that shuffle unimaginatively about the earth.

On Jul.12.2004 at 03:28 PM
CCHS’s comment is:

Oh, and...

It is quite possible for two people to come up with the same idea simultaneously and independently, so I don’t think it’s fair to say that Don’s idea isn’t original simply because it was posted after mine. You presuppose that he even saw the image in the original post (which he didn’t). It’s a pretty obvious idea, in my opinion, and I’m sure we weren’t the only ones to think of it.

On Jul.12.2004 at 03:36 PM
Don’s comment is:

Hi Sam,

Thanks for noticing. Regrettably, I had not seen the Bush Cheney version, but certainly the statement of "eliminating racism" is a bold claim. I wish YWCA would have gone public with their solution years ago. As a society we would all benefit tremendously.

This is a design forum right? The message was not intended for the greater public. The fact that the idea can be so easily subverted without a major impact on the "logo," for lack of a better descriptive, speaks to it's lack of distinction. When placed next to the MoMA logo in the earlier post I actually missed it entirely and had to go back for a second read.

The point to the Word It was just that, to prove a point. To play Devil's Advocate for moment. This is a fairly generic solution and the obviously offensive counter message was just begging to be underlined. Parody deserved. Twice even.

It will be interesting to see how enduring this solution will become. Change is almost always slow at large institutions and corporations. In the eagerness to modernize, many decision makers (designers and clients) seem to become overly enthusiastic by sudden momentum and opportunity to shake things up, losing sight of the equity and heritage that has already been established. It is also okay to evolve at a structured pace. Someone sold this to them as "the next great thing" and they bought in. Bold moves can also have bold consequences... they should be thought through including best and worse case scenarios. (UPS, YWCA, Prudential a financial institution that in the 80's gave up the equity of "The Rock"?! what the...?).

Let's wait and see who's next. But, let's not be the ones to steer them down a shaky path.

On Jul.12.2004 at 03:42 PM
Sam Potts’s comment is:

Do you really think that any reasonable person would see this as a literal endorsement of these hateful values? I think not, and I'm surprised that you do.

Chris, I did not. As I said: "I didn't take it as someone actually endorsing misogyny and racism. Nor should we bother discussing whether some people will read it literally. "

Neither your nor Don's thing have the GOP in the logo itself. So the image looks like a parody only of the YWCA. And furthermore, taking the metaphor point immediately to the extreme


On Jul.12.2004 at 03:46 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

>Do you really think that any reasonable person would see this as a literal endorsement of these hateful values? I think not, and I'm surprised that you do.

Actually, someone looking at this quickly very well might. As may "unreasonable" people, to borrow your phrase, whomever they may be. I'm with Sam on this one. While I do believe in free speech and I am loathe to tip-toeing around PC bullshit, I find that kind of humor senseless and useless and a bit offensive. If it were something you truly believed I would actually have more tolerance for it, as it would've been a sincere belief that just didn't jive with my beliefs. But to use the idea of "eliminating women" and "empowering racism" and position it as an attempt at humor or just joking around is just, well, imho, not very funny.

But that's just me.

On Jul.12.2004 at 03:49 PM
Don’s comment is:

For additional consideration, I submitted the Word It with the option of being placed under Ooops! or Brand(ing). Looks like it made it to the right place.

Now a GOP parody would always be interesting. Except that most of these groups are self-parodying by default.

On Jul.12.2004 at 03:56 PM
Armin’s comment is:

In my opinion, this is getting blown out of proportion more than it should. We have had Word Its that are more offensive, more unfunny, more unenlightening and more unworthy of sharing with the general public than Don's.

I'm not siding with anyone, just sayin' that I've seen worse.

No more comments your Honor.

On Jul.12.2004 at 04:04 PM
Don’s comment is:

P.S. For the record, I would never advocate either of these issues. Cover my new baby girl's ears and eyes that the message be misinterpreted away from this forum...

I simply aspire to continually do better, and more meaningful work. In my opinion a powerful opportunity was missed, and lost in this new solution. That's all. Maybe they'll prove me wrong with the ensuing campaign.

Thanks Armin, it's nice to know I'm not the worst to date, I think.

On Jul.12.2004 at 04:16 PM
Sam’s comment is:

In my opinion, this is getting blown out of proportion more than it should.

Armin, exactly how much should it get blown out of proportion, then? Hee hee hic.

Back to my copy of Blogging Into Oblivion

On Jul.12.2004 at 04:17 PM
Armin’s comment is:

Exactly how much I don't know, but less than this.

On Jul.12.2004 at 04:28 PM
CCHS’s comment is:

Actually, my parody does reference the object of the parody within the image. RNC.ORG pretty much places the Republicans squarely within the logo's target.

As for being offensive, I still don't understand how you are seeing it as such (other that in the way it is obviously intened to be). The very concept of racism is an offensive one, as is a society in which women still need to be uniquely empowered. In the case of the YWCA logo, the values expressed are those of equality, presumably in the face of a condition in which it is not the norm. The struggle of equality is just that, a struggle, and to struggle one must have an opponent. In the case of the parody, that opponent is identified using the same language as is used in the original. Hence, satire.

On Jul.12.2004 at 04:50 PM
Don’s comment is:

I get it, which adds the extra wit to your solution that mine is lacking ;)...

In the Word It option, note the inverted lowercase "y" which evokes the shape of a small white hood, albeit in further bad taste, representing the wca - a fictitious group for whom the unfortunate slogan could apply. This becomes buried and almost overlooked by the overpowering message, which is powerful in Helvetica Black, but could in fact be any message. The nutritional information on my lunch seems of equal importance.

On Jul.12.2004 at 05:16 PM
Sam Potts’s comment is:

My mistake, Chris. I was looking at Don's when I wrote that. Point taken.

On Jul.12.2004 at 05:21 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

CCHS, Hollis, Sam and DM inna haus.

Holla. wuttup wuttup.

seriously, you guys are makin my head hurt.

has anybody seen this logo?

On Jul.12.2004 at 06:26 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

i hear they want to change it to reflect

how Debbie feels about the GOP.

couldnt till for August's RNC poly-word it...

On Jul.12.2004 at 06:30 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

eh, i can never learn....

On Jul.12.2004 at 06:33 PM
Don’s comment is:

Word It Socks,

Now a GOP parody would always be interesting. Except that most of these groups are self-parodying by default. 'Nuff said.

I'm sure you could submit this under re-brand(ing) also, so there would be another Word It up for discussion. Still waiting to hear if Sam likes it or not...

Back to my Comedy for Dummies book on CD, chapter 2.

On Jul.12.2004 at 07:25 PM