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“This is historic times.”
-George W. Bush, April 20, 2004

In the past five days since the U.S. Presidential elections there probably has not been a person connected to the internets who has not received some sort of graphic in their email. Following is an overview of just five days of work. And you thought you worked fast…


Named after Massachusetts Governor Elbridge Gerry, to Gerrymander is to aggressively redraw electoral districts to the advantage of a particular political party. The map is an easy, sometimes objective, sometimes controversial device to convey information or opinion.

Since many of us around the world are familiar with the final red/blue — red for Republican, blue for Democrat — post-election map, the shape of the United States makes a good beginning point.

Our first example comes from Jeff Culver in Seattle via Boing Boing. Instead of showing the extremes of red and blue, he used their percentages to create more nuanced hues and a better understanding of President Bush’s “mandate”.


A district-by-district color mix can be found here. Scroll down to an amazing image of population density for comparison.

This java-script map is found at electoral-vote.com The size of each state was determined by their relative number of electoral votes.


Next, something else making the email rounds.


A typography/map hybrid editorial cartoon from John Sherffius of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:


…and another version from Doug MacGregor of the The Ft. Myers News-Press:


Red and Blue in an international context:


Cartoon maps from Drew Sheneman of The Newark Star Ledger…


…Terry Mosher (also known as Aislin) of The Montreal Gazette…


…and Bob Englehart of The Hartford Courant:


A couple of Gerrymander proposals…


… including one from Muslim Wake Up!:


And our last ‘map’ comes from a recent issue of Le Monde:


Charts & Graphs

There are other ways of visually describing the extent of the Bush “Mandate”. For example, we’ve seen a classic pie-chart…


…but there are other methods available too. Here’s the top section of a chart by Christopher Evans which compares voting trends against unverifiable average IQ scores…


…and a selective masking of the front page of the Los Angeles Times from Bag News:



In some districts when one casts a ballot, they are given an “I Voted” sticker; which is ripe for parody. Here’s the sarcastic response of Igor Knezevic…


…and a more ambivalent one from Lalo Alcaraz of the LA Weekly:


Home-done redesigns of Time Magazine have made frequent appearances in our inboxes. One could shrug off this most recent one…


…if it wasn’t for the appearance of this cover from the Daily Mirror in England…


…or this cover of Courrier International, which loosely translates to “(expletive deleted) four years!”


So as we leave this quick survey, if anything we have shown has offended you; please accept our sincere apologies.


Many thanks to Diane Cohen, Jonathon Rosen, Kristin Hambsch, Beth Tondreau, Ken Thomson, Mary Eiben, Armin, Laura O’Keefe, Robin Silverman, Cheri Dorr, Janice Pedley, Jurgen Miller, Marian Bantjes, Denise Schiffer and Pooja Badlani for forwarding us their email.

Maintained through our ADV @ UnderConsideration Program
PUBLISHED ON Nov.07.2004 BY M. Kingsley & debbie millman
Daniel’s comment is:

Igor Knezevic's is my favorite.

On Nov.07.2004 at 11:03 PM
Dyske’s comment is:

On my own site, Ken Stuart argues that the closeness of recent elections are not incidental, but an effect of the modern communication technology. Both sides are able to respond to one another almost instantaneously if they detect any slip in the polls over any particular issue. That is, politics can be played like an interactive game with real-time feedback.

Furthermore, in their effort to stay “objective”, the media outlets are consciously putting equal weight on both sides. It does not matter which side is right or wrong, more factual or fictitious, more reasonable or irrational; their idea of being “objective” is to put equal emphasis on both sides. Naturally, this would even things out.

So, this isn’t just about Bush being a divider. We need to get used to the idea of “too close to call”.

On Nov.07.2004 at 11:39 PM
haydesigner’s comment is:

1) Being nitpicky, since everyone knows Bush did not actually know this, but there IS more than one internet, so "internets" is technically valid...

2) The IQ table has been debunk as a hoax (sorry... and IQ scores are not overly valid anyway on a general level)

3) I loved this post! I haven't laughed so hard since the election ended! I'm going to link to it and swipe a couple of lines of HTML to put on our blog. Everyone's invited to visit Chaos Digest, our group blog, with political commentary intermixed with geeky stuff...

On Nov.08.2004 at 01:42 AM
marian’s comment is:

My favourite is the Free vs. Slave States comparison. Whoa.

On Nov.08.2004 at 02:28 AM
Ben Kiel’s comment is:

Just so that there isn't any confusion, the Daily Mirror cover was actually a cover. I'm over in the UK, and saw it on newsstands everywhere.

On Nov.08.2004 at 04:21 AM
ben’s comment is:

Maryland is the ACC's John Kerry...

hint: check the scores for this weekend

On Nov.08.2004 at 08:51 AM
geeky’s comment is:

Great collection! It seems people got very creative in voicing their opinions in this election.

However, I feel that you should add a note that the IQ chart is a hoax - as haydesigner pointed out - because it is misleading.

On Nov.08.2004 at 09:21 AM
Rob’s comment is:

Maryland is the ACC's John Kerry...

Ben, that would be the cheap shot of the year. We'll see you on the hardcourt.

From sports back to politics, I love this post. Thanks guys, it was nice to actually be able to laugh a little about the election. It is quite interesting to see how much power the least inhabited states in the Union get through the Electoral College system.

I have the Daily Mirror cover as my screen saver for the time being. Those of you who want a copy of it, can find it here.

On Nov.08.2004 at 10:49 AM
Sarah B.’s comment is:

I agree with Marian My fav. is the Free vs. Slave States comparison.

So many creative ways to think about this here. Very informative, Thanks for the great post!

On Nov.08.2004 at 11:33 AM
Levi’s comment is:

Thank goodness that the Vulcan-IQed Democrats are here to save the rest of us from ourselves. Don't you just hate those right-wing hicks?

On Nov.08.2004 at 02:04 PM
jenny’s comment is:

Great post!

I'm with Marion on the slave states map, too.

Interestingly, Louis Henry Gates, Jr. recently wrote in the NYT about the moment the Republicans "lost Black America" (and just as importantly, started wooing the white south) in October 1960 - when Martin Luther King, Jr. was sentenced to several months in a chain gang after a sit-in, and no Republican called Coretta Scott King to offer condolences...

On Nov.08.2004 at 02:24 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

... and now I hear Travis Tritt (R) and John Mellencamp (D) are going to thrill us with and album to bring us all back together.

The IQ chart isnt a hoax. Just look at where our best colleges are...?

On Nov.08.2004 at 03:05 PM
Nicole Ferentz’s comment is:

This post was awesome! The nuanced map from Jeff Culver makes it more acceptable to stay in the US. I love the apology page!

Although the IQ thing was a hoax (unfortunately), it would be a nice thing to find out what the true IQs of presidents are.

On Nov.08.2004 at 03:35 PM
dave parker’s comment is:

Here is the best representation, with the red and blue states, the red and blue counties, and all of the above in more accurate shades of purple, all turned into cartograms, which skew the sizes of said counties and states based on population. Extremely enlightening, and encouraging, at that.

On Nov.08.2004 at 03:55 PM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Dave--this information on cartograms is amazing. Thank you!

On Nov.08.2004 at 03:59 PM
Armin’s comment is:

On a similar note to Dave's link is this other interesting view, by chester of Thirstype.

On Nov.08.2004 at 04:20 PM
Andrew Twigg’s comment is:

Yes, haydigest, the chart has been debunked. The Economist ran the chart and retracted it, offering instead two other charts which might give insight into voting and similar criteria. Look under the heading "Clueless in St James".

I'd still be curious to compare this to other socio-economic information...

On Nov.08.2004 at 05:40 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Intersting stuff. Nice summary!

On Nov.08.2004 at 06:05 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

it would be a nice thing to find out what the true IQs of presidents are.

The closest I've seen was an analysis of the vocabulary level of the candidates during debates. (This was just a small sidebar in our local paper):

Lincoln: 12th grade.

JFK & Nixson: 10th grade.

Kerry: 7th grade.

Bush: 6th grade.

We've gone downhill, I guess. ;o)

On Nov.08.2004 at 06:20 PM
Keri S.’s comment is:

In response to the Daily Mirror magazine cover... I completely agree. As my friend has been saying since the election "it amazes me how many people can vote for ignorance and bad grammer!"

I also was amazed by the comparison to the slave states map...

and it's true...We're Fucked.

On Nov.09.2004 at 12:31 AM
haydesigner’s comment is:

Hey, Andrew called me haydigest... =;-)

I also got a new map (that CBS supposedly did) from a link at

Truth Girl's blog... let's see if I can correctly link it here

This seems to be a bit more telling than the image Armin linked to above. Apparently Chicago is the "Beacon of Blue" in this land of ours...

�Viva la Daley!

On Nov.09.2004 at 02:22 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Mr Kingsley & Ms Millman, great post! It was a perfect start to my week.


Now to some of the responses...

"it amazes me how many people can vote for ignorance and bad grammer!"

Nice one, Keri.


The Mirror cover

The Mirror (one of Britain's ugliest papers) was so violently against the war that they bought & published faked pictures of British troops urinating on Iraqi prisoners without bothering to check the source. I guess they would know what Dumb is.


The power of pictures.


51% to 48%. Hardly a mandate, but it's interesting how many of us need the reassurance of a visual representation before the numbers seem real.


In her Massive Post Marian referred to the beauty of information graphics created by scientists & engineers. The images that Dave Parker linked to are Stunning.


Broad brushstrokes.

I am a bit abnormal in that I am an evangelical Christian who voted for Kerry. I know a lot of people from both the red & blue sides. Many of them are intelligent.

As I have read the responses here and at the end of Mr Swanson's "What Do You Do?" post I have been somewhat amused, but mostly disheartened by the tossing of everyone who voted for Bush into the ignorantracisthomophobeidiot pool. I hope it's only an emotional reaction to a big loss.

Surely as visual interpreters of all kinds of messages we have the ability & the energy to understand that intelligent people can come to entirely different conclusions.

Or maybe some of you are right, and 51% of America wants to bring back slavery & kill all the fags & arabs. If that's the case we really are in trouble.

But I don't think it's that bad. You probably don't either.

On Nov.09.2004 at 05:59 AM
debbie millman’s comment is:

Jeff Gill said:

Or maybe some of you are right, and 51% of America wants to bring back slavery & kill all the fags & arabs.

But I don't think it's that bad. You probably don't either.

No, I don't think it is that--only that those folk may not support a woman's right to choose, stem cell research, marriage to all, a non-partisan future for the supreme court, and a distinction between church and state. That's all.

On Nov.09.2004 at 08:56 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Debbie, the thing that gets me is the assumption of stupidity and the playground-style name calling. Like I said before, I would like to put it down to post-defeat blues. It was a long emotional campaign & both sides need a release.

I happen to know a lot of the folks who don't support the things you do. Guess what. They come to their views with the same mix of rationality & emotion that you do. And if Kerry had won, there would be a bunch of conservatives lamenting the stupidity of 51% of Americans & predicting the end of all that is good. Neither side has the lock on morality & goodness that they think they do.

What I wish for is people who are willing to make an effort to understand the other side. There is far too much yelling in America, & not enough listening. (I also wish that fluffy bunnies could ride on the backs of friendly tigers through crowds of adoring foxes. Oh well.)

On Nov.09.2004 at 10:17 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

smart vs. dumb, cultured vs. ignorant, tolerant vs. bigoted

To Jeff's point, it is actually just half vs. half. People voted for both sides for a variety of reasons, good and bad. Stereotyping everyone in Middle-America as being simple and racist and homophobic is just as bad as actually being any of those. What's the word for fearing Middle-America?

I also can't think of a better way to mobilize Republicans to get out and vote, than to let them know how much better you are than them. Michael Moore definitely helped Bush as well.

On Nov.09.2004 at 10:55 AM
szkat’s comment is:

i'll probably get killed for saying this: i didn't vote.

i understand that people died for this right, and i understand that i'm from the demographic with only a 17% turnout.

but i couldn't bring myself to do it. i can't stand by or believe in either candidate. so i said to myself, i don't care who wins. what i will do is try to live my best life despite how the world changes.

the first and best thing my father ever said to me was "always be happy. it's entirely up to you. you have no control over what happens to you, but you always have control over what you do with it." and under that mantra, i'm still going to volunteer at my church, promote my favorite bands, babysit for my neighbors, and visit my grandparents.

none of these things are categorized in the morals and values of the presidency. my taxes will rise and fall, gas prices will shift, and i might be drafted. but i will live my best life. my life's humanitarian goals are not democrat or republican, and i refuse to waste my time promoting or degrading either person chosen to represent those sides. when someone comes along that i will stand up for, i will do so wholeheartedly. but until then, i'm going to be an asshole and say "lucky me, to be alive here at this time in history" and get back to my life as it was before i wanted to have Jon Stewart running for office.

On Nov.09.2004 at 11:01 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

51% Bush + 48% Kerry =

http://www.68k.org/~jrc/blog/" target="_blank"> From John R Chang

On Nov.09.2004 at 02:14 PM
Greg’s comment is:

Creepy. I think I'd vote for that guy. I'm guessing he's a moderate?

On Nov.09.2004 at 02:53 PM
Keri S.’s comment is:

oops...that's what i get for making a response with only an hour of sleep and using dictionary.com to check my spelling... But hey...that's why I didn't become an English Teacher like I'd planned... Figures my first post would make me look as dumb as Bush...But at least I admit my mistakes.

On Nov.09.2004 at 03:56 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Name calling is silly post-election. Pointing out ignorance isn't name calling, though. It's being cogniscant of a rather serious issue as we go forward in our mass-media world. This election was won on ignorance of the issues. Not all republicans are ignorant of the issues. Probably not even a majority. And there are certainly ignorant democrats. But Rove knew how to target that key base and spin, spin, spin. As designers, we should be inviting Rove to all our conventions as a marketing genious.

On Nov.09.2004 at 04:17 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Rove. Genius, yeah.

But evil genius. Check out his lengthy profile in the November Atlantic Monthly.

I don't think I could live with myself if I operated like him.

On Nov.09.2004 at 04:36 PM
Tan’s comment is:

>Neither side has the lock on morality & goodness that they think they do...There is far too much yelling in America, & not enough listening.

The difference is Jeff, that one side is exclusionary and aggressively prohibitive to rights of others, while the other half is inclusionary and proponents of an individual's right to choose.

How do you talk to someone who insists that you don't have a right to choose and think for yourself? And that Jesus gave them that right to be an authority over you. It's hard to listen when it's a one-way conversation — that's called a sermon where I come from.

It's too easy to say that things are equal. They are not.

We are quietly becoming a nation ruled by intolerant, Christian conservatives. I don't think there's any misunderstanding here.

>Michael Moore definitely helped Bush as well.

I totally agree, David! For months, I was convinced that Moore's boorish antics and the prominence of Fahrenheit 9/11 would actually have the opposite effect as was intended — that it would unite and fortify conservatives' resolve more than ever. It's just like the fucking Nader supporters — I mean, really, what the hell was their point this time?!

>i didn't vote.

szkat — your apathy shows your youth. It's a national tragedy that so many young people like you didn't decide to vote and affect their own future. You will inherit the financial debts and burdens regardless — so live it up now! Oh yeah, you might be drafted in a year or so for service too. I hope you're good with a rifle. Good luck in Iraq or North Korea or wherever!

What the hell is wrong with young voters today?! I remember being devastated because I wasn't old enough to vote for Carter's second term. In college, I remember that classes were practically closed during November 2nd so students could go vote. The 17% turnout of 17-29 year olds in this last election is incomprehensible.

If you're among this group who didn't vote, then you have absolutely no fucking right to complain one word if you can't find a job after college or get laid off because of the economy. Not one. single. word. You had your chance.

On Nov.10.2004 at 02:14 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Tan, Thanks for your absolutely perfect negative illustration of my point.

On Nov.10.2004 at 04:54 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Tan, Thanks for your absolutely perfect negative illustration of my point.

And, Jeff, I think your comment was a pretty good illustration of Tan's point. ;o)

On Nov.10.2004 at 10:18 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Darrel, please forgive my stupidity & elaborate, because you totally lost me there.

On Nov.10.2004 at 10:28 AM
Tan’s comment is:

>absolutely perfect negative illustration of my point.

I wasn't trying to do that. While I appreciate and share your sentiment that people need to listen to each other more — really, I do — in this situation, we're talking about one group whose ideologies is based on intolerance and control of the other group. (I said intolerance, not bigotry.)

It's not simply a disagreement of interpretations or perspective. It's about oppression. It's almost Fascism if you think about it.

So...how does one listen equally when one group has less rights because of the other?

On Nov.10.2004 at 11:53 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Well, it seemed like you were making the plea of "What I wish for is people who are willing to make an effort to understand the other side."

Tan was pointing out that the core base of Bush supporters are exclusionary. You then seemd to see that as name calling.

(And maybe I misinterpreted everyone's point there.)

But to take one polarizing issue as an example, let's look at gay marriage. One side goes out of their way to purposely deny the rights of a group based on irrational fear. The other side points this out as bigotry. I've been hearing that 'unless the left stops calling the right names, things won't change'. But I'm left scratching my head...if it's not bigotry/homophobia/religious zealotry, then what is it? If we must understand it, then they must explain it.

I'm all for civil discourse, of course. It means we actually need to get to the DISCUSSION...rather than the petty 'he called me a naughty word!' shenanigans.

On Nov.10.2004 at 11:57 AM
Keri S.’s comment is:

As Darrel pointed out, we need to have discussion with name calling. This is true, and I know that I am guilty of this, so don't think I'm saying I didn't say Bush was dumb, cause I did.

I took this election as a very important matter to me, personally. I am a 21 year old college student who will be graduating in May. This was my first election, and a registered to vote, just so I could vote for Kerry. I honestly am fearful for this country now that we have Bush as the leader for the next four years. I feel this because there are a lot of matter that directly effect me and my peers because of what Bush stands for.

I am a bisexual liberal southern baptist (try to figure that one out!) who will be looking for a job in a few months and does not want to join the military. With Bush in power, I may never be able to marry, if I fall in love with a woman, but if I fall for a man, I can...what sense does that make? I have yet to hear one valid argument for why gay marriage can not be legalized. The only decent argument I have heard is of a religious nature, but in our country, the church and state are supposed to seperate, so even that argument should not be taken into account.

As I also stated, I will be graduating soon and will be looking for a job. Now, with Bush still on power, will I find one? Will I be able to support myself? I am afraid that I will not be able to and that all my schooling and had work will have been for nothing.

There is a lot more I could say, but this post is already long enough, sorry about that! But I just felt I needed to say what I was feeling. Thank you.

On Nov.10.2004 at 01:59 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Gotcha, Darrel. Thanks.

I want to write something sensible in reply, but if I don't go do the dishes right now I am going to be in trouble.


Keri, don't be afraid. Really. America will survive. More important, fear blinds you to opportunities. There are always opportunities, no matter who's the prez.

On Nov.10.2004 at 03:24 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

It'll be alright. What's done is done. Stretch out your arms and change what is within your reach. Volunteering down at the furniture bank is (to me) a far greater display of civic duty than participating in a broken down old system that cares not a whit for the people nor—for that matter—the greater good.

It's a radical stance... putting one's vote in escrow. Would that we could do the same with taxes.

On Nov.10.2004 at 04:48 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

I think I'm going to spare Tan the full force of my devastating arguments (ha), and let the existing comments lay where they have fallen.

I've had this idea kicking around in my head for a few months of a project to help designers increase their understanding of people they disagree with. I'm not entirely sure that it is a good idea. Personally, I find it threatening. I would be interested to read what some of you think about it and if you know of anything like it that is already being done.

The idea is this: Start with a group of willing designers. This could be done by a single person, but I think a number of participants would make the exercise richer. Each designer must:

1. Choose a cause, a market segment, etc. to which they are normally opposed. For example: An evangelical Christian might choose gay rights. A pro-choice person might choose the pro-life cause. Less extreme opposites could also be chosen, but it should be something that you have strong differences with.

2. Choose an organisation or company that is part of the cause they have chosen. This could be a national organisation, but a local one or a local chapter would be better for this exercise. The Christian might choose a support network for people with AIDS. The pro-choicer might choose the local Crisis Pregnancy Centre.

3. Design some sort of promotional piece for their chosen organisation. There would be no restriction on medium. This is where it gets hard & where the understanding begins to grow because the piece must be effective and not satire or a subtle protest. Through research, the designer must try understand the work of the organisation & find something that they can actually promote. It would be best for this research to be done by actually talking to the people in the organisation, but it could also be done through reading & observation.

4. The finished pieces would then be displayed somewhere, probably on the web, for all the designers to look at, talk about &, most importantly, share what they learned.

There would be no obligation for the pieces to actually be put to use (although that would be fine) because the object is increased personal understanding, not a total change of heart & mind.


So what do you think?

Armin, Mark & Debbie, my apologies for hijacking this thread. If you want to move this somewhere else or save it for later, that would be fine.

On Nov.11.2004 at 05:32 AM
szkat’s comment is:


szkat — your apathy shows your youth.

i'll admit i'm young, but i'll also submit the idea that this decision was as difficult as choosing either president.

If you're among this group who didn't vote, then you have absolutely no fucking right to complain one word if you can't find a job after college or get laid off because of the economy. Not one. single. word. You had your chance.

i have a job. if you ever, ever hear me complain, i'll give you the *fucking* right to put your foot up my ass. i recognize that i've relinquished that right, and embrace it. i'd rather take this path than vote for someone who would make me want to wash my hands after doing so. it's NOT apathy. don't mistake my choice for that. it's a deliberate, conscious decision.

what the hell is wrong with young voters today, you ask? not that much. what you should be asking is what the hell is wrong with our system when kerry is all we can come up with to throw at bush. i stand by my decision, and without promoting or suggesting the same path to anyone, will not regret it. this was not an uninformed decision.

On Nov.11.2004 at 09:57 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

szkat, you are able to rationalize not voting in a deliberate manner. Why then couldn't you extend yourself to further investigate the differences between each candidate, and actually go vote? Your comments on Speak Up indicate that you are an intelligent, sensitive person — just the kind of voter this country needs, no matter what side you choose. The bargains are always Faustian and we rarely know in advance if we're about to elect the next Hitler, (Down people, it's only an extreme example to make a point. Step away from your keyboards.) but the devil and your future are in the details.

Jeff, you haven't hijacked the thread... yet. We expected a degree of ranting back and forth.

On Nov.11.2004 at 01:03 PM
szkat’s comment is:

i very much apprecieate the compliments, but would like to point out that you yourself just said the devil is in the details.

paraphrased from articles found today on


george bush is a bully, an overzealous Christian, irresponsible with every resource he touches, went into iraq under false and misinformed premises, has seperate "issues" with each parent, has done drugs, has a shaky military and no voting record, will ruin our job security and economy. people say that if osama's goal is to hit our economy, just let bush keep doing his job. his reelection reportedly caused a man to go to the 9-11 site with a bottle of whiskey and a shotgun and kill himself.

john kerry married up, consorted with north vietnamese, is "a flip flopper," screwed swift boat veterans, created false military documents, doesn't answer questions, is gullible and simple-minded - to quote Stalin's term "a useful idiot,", the most liberal politician we've ever had - has "spat upon" all traditonal ways of life, will ruin israel, has called the youth vote (due to the 17% turnout) "unreliable brats," and has people trying to get him jailed for treason and war crimes.

now, who should i have voted for? what of these are true?

i am by NO means suggesting that i speak for a generation, or that i represent anyone else. i don't know why 83% of my demographic didn't show. i think it's sad. but i also think that for me, voting would have been nothing but an empty formality. i did actual research. i talked to all kinds of people. i paid attention to the leanings of people i respected. but then the big day came, and i was only disappointed by my choices. so i abstained. and i was totally honest when i said that this choice was as deliberate and diffcult as choosing a candidate. i went home and cried. i'm praying for and nervous about the good of our country, and didn't feel i was helping it by supporting one old man or the other.

how do you feel about your faustian elections?

i was a conscientious objector.

On Nov.11.2004 at 03:16 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Oh my, dear szkat — if your Google results represent the kind of research you did...

You still haven't given us a good reason for why you didn't vote. Yes, the choices were distasteful; but the process itself is certainly a whole lot less unpleasant than going to the dentist or doing your taxes. And when I said the devil is in the details, I was referring to platform issues, propositions, voting records, policy and what your wishes are for each. Character assassination, fear mongering and cries of "asshole!" are the distasteful part of campaigns; but underneath that is your responsibility to yourself. Your responsibility to help determine how much in taxes you're willing to pay, if you want to be drafted, etc.

As designers, we're called on to make judgments every day: typeface, color, position, photo or illustration... These choices represent a complex juggling of issues which have ramifications on how expensive something is to produce, how much return it can gather, and how well you've advanced your client's position or product. To many outsiders, there's no difference between Helvetica and Ariel; but there is! And that difference makes all the difference in the world to us — and maybe the difference in result for your client.

Sometimes we have to choose between the lesser of two awful photographs, sometimes it's the lesser of two candidates. But we make those kind of choices every day, and the more we exercise that judgment muscle, the better our choices are.

On Nov.11.2004 at 04:15 PM
Ron Hubbard’s comment is:

It looks like szkat strictly went to the Republicans web site for info about John Kerry and to the Democrats site for the info about George Bush. You have to look past the negative sound bites and talking points for what each candidate is about.

If anything you could have voted for one of the various other candidates. Sure they aren't going to win but at least you are a part of the process. The least you can do for the soldiers dying in Iraq is to use your right to vote. They deserve that much.

On Nov.11.2004 at 04:49 PM
szkat’s comment is:

i was only using google to show how immediately prevalent and accessable all of the rumors and slander are. i took a look at every detail you mentioned. if you think google is the extent of my searching...

how about just a sliver of credit. jesus.

and frankly, if you dare to equate typefaces to presidents, i don't think i'm the naive one making questionable choices.

maybe it's not a good enough reason for you that i'd rather not vote than vote for something i don't believe in. it's not just character assisination, it's outright lies on both sides about all the things that matter in my country. i can't say it any clearer: i don't believe anything they say, therefore i don't believe that my vote means anything. i may as well be voting for door number one or what's behind the curtain.

that's enough of a reason for me, and i can't believe that i'm the only one of my 83% of demographic non-voters that feel this way. there's obviously some kind of common affliction with my group, and i think i'm hitting a little part of it.

Ron - it sounds like you're suggesting voting just to vote. why throw one down for Nader, or someone else guaranteed not to win? how will that save lives in iraq? my boyfriend is an army ranger. i send him care packages every month. i think he deserves that more than one vote in a state guarateed to go democratic (IL).

and let me say again that i don't want to universalize my opinion. i don't think that voting doesn't matter. i printed off AIGA posters and registered to vote. it's not like i didn't in the last election. it's this one, specifically.

On Nov.11.2004 at 05:03 PM
Tan’s comment is:


I don't know what to say other than to second Mark's comment — that you should've looked further, no matter how disgusted you may have been.

You may think of yourself as a conscientious objector, but when it comes down to it, you're not objecting to anything. Quite simply, by not voting, you consigned to whoever won and whatever conditions may come as a result. There's just no reasoning or justification that's sufficient against that.

To vote is always a better choice than not to.


On a lighter note. I know we said no name calling, but this article is just too funny not to pass on. It's the absolute...how did Jeff put it?..."absolutely perfect negative illustration of my point."

GOP supporters and Southerners may want to avert their eyes...Fuck the South article

On Nov.11.2004 at 05:09 PM
Ron Hubbard’s comment is:

szkat-I am in no way suggesting that you voting will save a life in Iraq. (although I think Karl Rove said that each state that bans gay marriage an angel gets its wings)

Actually what I meant is that the guys in Iraq are dying for our this country. If you listen to George Bush he would say that they are spreading freedom. I think that is a bunch of bullsh*t posturing but they are at least giving there life for our country and the rights that come along with being a citizen. Voting is one of them but I guess you could say that not voting is also your right. Whatever helps you sleep at night.

Tan-I am from the south...but the link is right...fuck the south. I am just a blue guy in a red state.

On Nov.11.2004 at 05:32 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

You’ll want to extend your Googling to look at food. According to the stories I’ve read, every bit of it is either deadly in its own right or so soaked in poison that it has become so. A complete cessation of eating is the only answer.

On Nov.11.2004 at 05:36 PM
Ron Hubbard’s comment is:

You have to love the fear mongering.

I am surprised anyone goes out of their house anymore.

On Nov.11.2004 at 05:52 PM
Tan’s comment is:

I think you missed Gunnar's sarcasm to szkat, Ron :-)

And btw, I grew up down South too, in Houston — the fucking lair of the Bush dynasty. Most everyone I know down there, including family and close friends, are Republicans who voted against their own economic interests and welfare despite the overwhelmingly depressed economic conditions throughout the state. It's difficult to fathom why.

On Nov.11.2004 at 07:26 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> and frankly, if you dare to equate typefaces to presidents, i don't think i'm the naive one making questionable choices.

I'm sorry szkat, I assumed you would have read my missives to you with the same degree of consideration with which they were written.

I'm not equating typefaces to candidates. I'm equating the ability to make abstract comparisons between fonts to the ability to make abstract comparisons between candidates. I'll repeat that if you're able to rationalize choices and make firm decisions in your profession, then you have the ability to do so in the voting booth. This isn't a na�ve position, but (I would hope) a logical conclusion made through analogy.

Not making a decision is, in effect, making a decision. And I would argue that the decision you arrived at, not to get involved, is more rooted in cynicism or resignation than either hope or fear. To further defend this position becomes more problematic as we continue this thread. So to that, I'll just wish you and your boyfriend good health and a prosperous future.

On Nov.11.2004 at 08:14 PM
The Narrator’s comment is:

Jeff Gill sits amidst the resounding silence contemplating his utter failure to hijack the thread. He asks himself, why no one responded to his idea. Was it too stupid? Was it too threatening? Was it less fun than beating up szkat for not voting? Did people think he was trying to sign them up? Jeff realises that if he doesn't do Something and quick he will be overwhelmed by neurotic fear, so he switches to Mail & sends a p�té logo to a shop for British ex-pats in Italy.

On Nov.12.2004 at 04:46 AM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Jeff, I think it's a fantastic idea. I would gladly help you hijack this thread toward something, oh... creative and constructive. I will engage in this challenge with all and any who are up for reaching out and understanding. Thank you.

On Nov.12.2004 at 09:02 AM
Armin’s comment is:

OK, who died and made everybody here Judge Judy? Seriously, blasting szkat for not voting is as exclusionary and aggressively prohibitive to rights of others, oppresive and fascist as the Republicans are being called here. First, szkat has the courage to not vote and I at least find that brave, then she decides to tell us all here that she didn't vote, that is fucking courageous, then she gets crucified for having exercised her rights: to not vote and to tell us about it. Questioning her judgment like this is very shortsighted and ultimately insulting.

This may be the fever that I got yesterday talking for me, but I find this character questioning as bad as scaling type horizontally.

On Nov.12.2004 at 09:16 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Hey, wait a minute here, I can only speak for myself, but I said "szkat — your apathy shows your youth." and then, "I don't know what to say other than to second Mark's comment — that you should've looked further, no matter how disgusted you may have been...Quite simply, by not voting, you consigned to whoever won and whatever conditions may come as a result. There's just no reasoning or justification that's sufficient against that...To vote is always a better choice than not to." I don't think that's quite "blasting" her character b/c she didn't vote. I realize that it's her personal decision, but just disagree with her justification — but I think you're accusing us of condemming her or something, which I don't think was true. At least from me. Read it again.

I'll agree w/ you that it was brave of her to admit it — but then again, she put it out there knowing people would disagree with it.

But you're dead wrong re: voting Armin — there's nothing courageous about deciding not to vote.

On Nov.12.2004 at 10:12 AM
David Weinberger’s comment is:

To vote is always a better choice than not to

Judge Tan, that is one of those things that looks like a fact and sounds like a fact. But that's no fact.

Armin and szkat are correct in that a non-vote is just as valid a choice as a vote.

On Nov.12.2004 at 10:29 AM
Armin’s comment is:

Not condemning?

Oh yeah, you might be drafted in a year or so for service too. I hope you're good with a rifle. Good luck in Iraq or North Korea or wherever!

Look, all I'm saying is that whether she was right or wrong in not voting it sounds like it was a decision made very consciously. We can all disagree with it but by default it is being turned into an apathetic or cynical decision.

On Nov.12.2004 at 10:32 AM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Sometimes we forget... the right to vote is not really the right to vote. It is the right to choose whether to vote or not. Freedom.

On Nov.12.2004 at 11:00 AM
Tan’s comment is:

That's sarcasm, not character assassination.

Look, I didn't condone the dogpile or any of the language directed her way. And you know, I admit that I'm guilty of the very thing I blasted back in the very beginning when I join SU — when politics mixed with design in the Hell No event.

So with that I'll stop.

Bye everyone. It's been fun.

On Nov.12.2004 at 11:02 AM
Ron Hubbard’s comment is:

Tan-My comments were also sarcasm based on Gunnar's sarcasm. A little trickle down sarcasm.

szkat-I commend you for registering to vote and taking the time to do research. You went way beyond many of the 83% over others in your demographic. It is too bad that you didn't find a candidate that you felt you could vote for...maybe next time.

I see this discussion is winding down so I just want to wish everyone good luck for these next 4 years. It will be interesting to see where we end up at the end of the Bush regime. Everyone keep up the good fight.

On Nov.12.2004 at 11:34 AM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Hey Armin, who died and made you sysop? Oh... wait... strike that.

Anyway, questioning how a decision was made can be a valuable exercise. Consider it a kind of crit.

On Nov.12.2004 at 12:11 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Not as intelligent as others... but since Tan wants to f**k the south, why not?

On Nov.12.2004 at 12:14 PM
Armin’s comment is:

> Anyway, questioning how a decision was made can be a valuable exercise.

Mark, I agree, but it seemed like any reasoning put forth was being shunned.

On Nov.12.2004 at 12:58 PM
Keri S.’s comment is:

As I have stated, I am young, a senior in college. This was my first election and I was not going to vote. I did not do as much research as szkat did, but came to my decision to vote based off of what I knew about Dubya's policies. I have to say that not voting and being willing to say that she did not vote is brave. To judge someone for not voting is as bad as judging someone because they voted for Bush when you voted for Kerry, and vice versa.

In response to the comparison between voting and choosing what to do for a design, it comes down to a discussion my class had last year. Do you compromise your beliefs and design something you do not agree with? or, Do you compromise you beliefs and vote for someone you do not agree with?

Everyone is free to decide to do what they want or feel is right, that's the priviledge we have for living in the United States of America.

And I am not just saying this because I am young and naive, I am saying this because I believe that everyone has a right to chose how they want to live their life, as long as it does not hurt someone else. Someone might be thinking "Well, by only 17% of the young voters voting, they hurt our country," Well, you never know...those 83% could have voted for Nader or for Peter Griffin from the Family Guy (Hey...maybe the Adult Swim had the right idea!) . No one knows what the future will hold. All we can do is try to live in peace and do our best to ensure the future is a good one.

(I know this post is late in the entry, but I spent yesterday at the new IKEA store in Tempe!!! woo!)

On Nov.12.2004 at 04:02 PM
kp’s comment is:

It's too bad that skat ended up being the focus of so much criticism in this thread. What happened to our thoughts on the maps, charts and illustrations?

Thanks to M.K. and D.M. for collecting these. It seems to me that the most interesting maps tell the tale of two countries in a way that makes it clear that we are not divided unequally. You didn't get your mandate from me, Mr. Vice President.

See the maps of votes by county (sorry, no link) to realize that the real divisions aren't coastal/Great Lakefront to Central/South, but Urban and Rural, possibly our country's oldest defining juxtaposition: if you believe in history, anyway.

And a thought for skat after all: The only person to judge you for voting or not is you (despite the vociferousness of opinion here at SU), and it seems you did just that. Instead of feeling defeated by the realism of the election (a choice between two men you found distasteful), why not embrace your idealism and vote for someone else, write in your candidate if you have to, and then it's chin up, you did the best you could given the circumstances? Also, (and here is where a little lecture enters into the thread) can you really tell me that there were no other elections going on in your state? No other issues (like all those state constitutional amendments for "marriage=man+woman") that you could have voted for or against?

Jeff Gill: the day you get one of those protesters outside of Planned Parenthood carrying a sign printed with "God doesn't forgive murderers" or "Save you baby and your soul"—who may also be a designer— to then turn around and produce some material for PP...well, that's the day I write you a check for a million dollars and back it up.

And you won't find me working to promote Christian fellowship. Several thousand years of visual history tells us that art mostly served to worship deities. They don't need my help.

On Nov.12.2004 at 05:09 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Armin and szkat are correct in that a non-vote is just as valid a choice as a vote.

Not when the reasoning is 'I didn't like either candidate'. It fails to point out the obvious:

- there's more than two candidates for president

- there are many, many local races that have a much bigger impact on your life that you should be voting for

On Nov.12.2004 at 06:38 PM
szkat’s comment is:

there were other candidates, but so what?

let's pretend i supported gene amondson. what good would it do to vote for him when everything is so clearly down to the obvious race of bush vs. kerry? it's a moot vote, in my opinion.

also, "i didn't like either candidate" is a gross oversimplification. i'll leave it at that.

the points made about local elections are absolutely valid. i missed an opprotunity. as i've said, i do believe in voting, and i should have followed through with that.

and with that concession, i'll do my best to bow out gracefully. and also apologize to the point of KP; i never meant to take so much attention from the thread. it was not my intention.

On Nov.13.2004 at 01:05 AM
Chris Keegan’s comment is:

I am totally amazed at the disdain for conservative America that I am seeing on this thread. So - the "folks" that voted for Bush are: dumb, apparently pro-slavery, and to quote Tan: "How do you talk to someone who insists that you don't have a right to choose and think for yourself? And that Jesus gave them that right to be an authority over you." ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? Do you honestly think conservatives feel this way?

I used to visit this site quite often - but I can't take the Bush-hating, conservative bashing!

Unfortunately most of you are as intolerant as you claim the conservatives are.

On Nov.13.2004 at 10:28 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Just a brief appearance to defend my words on this thread, which I stand by 100%.

I don't want to continue to hijack this thread or debate via this forum anymore — so please email me directly if you really want to debate the issue and are prepared to be challenged in return. Consider that a dare.

On Nov.13.2004 at 11:58 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

So, KP, I'll put you down as a "maybe" then.

If you were to re-read my idea you would see that the point of this theoretical exercise is not produce materials to be used by "the other side." The point is to increase personal understanding, to move beyond stereotypes, to increase one's personal effectiveness. The means is the end, & the end result is simply the means.

I'm under no illusions that hordes of designers would love to participate in something like this. Heck, I'm still working on convincing myself.


Isn't it interesting the drive that we humans have to Be Right & to convince other people that We Are Right?

On Nov.13.2004 at 01:57 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

Apropos the IQ chart "hoax" issue... this appeared on today's CNN/Netscape News page:

States Ranked: Smartest to Dumbest

The smartest state in the union for the second consecutive year is Massachusetts. The dumbest, for the third year in a row, is New Mexico.

These are the findings of the Education State Rankings, a survey by Morgan Quitno Press of hundreds of public school systems in all 50 states. States were graded on a variety of factors based on how they compare to the national average. These included such positive attributes as per-pupil expenditures, public high school graduation rates, average class size, student reading and math proficiency, and pupil-teacher ratios. States received negative points for high drop-out rates and physical violence.

State rankings




New Jersey


New York








New Hampshire





North Dakota



South Dakota

Rhode Island


North Carolina







South Carolina

Texas ties with West Virginia
















New Mexico

On Nov.16.2004 at 01:12 PM
Chris Keegan’s comment is:

Here's a conservative look at this issue: www.isteve.com/Web_Exclusives_Archive-May2004.htm#38115.6465670139

If ya'll are so much smarter why didn't you win :)

On Nov.16.2004 at 04:01 PM
Keri S.’s comment is:

wow...I thought we had moved past the name calling and playing the "my side is smarter than your side" game...obviously Chris Keegan missed the memo...

oh, and Chris...it's 2004...the Bush/Gore election was four years ago...try using statistics that are current.

On Nov.16.2004 at 10:18 PM
Gunnar Swanson’s comment is:

Monday night I was crawling through some especially nasty San Fernando Valley traffic between shopping for a new monitor and going to watch Chris Do show cool video at CalArts. I spent quite a bit of time behind a car with several peace stickers including “War is not the answer.” Next to it was an image of Che Guevara. Oh, well. What was the question?

On Nov.17.2004 at 03:05 PM
Chris Keegan’s comment is:

Keri, with all due respect...

1) I never called names

2) My post was in response to MKingsley's post of states ranked smartest to dumbest, which is a continuation of the "my side is smarter than your side" game. My last comment was made in jest, indicated by the :)

3) There are links on that same article to more current information if you're interested

On Nov.17.2004 at 03:09 PM
M Kingsley’s comment is:

> 2) My post was in response to MKingsley's post of states ranked smartest to dumbest, which is a continuation of the "my side is smarter than your side" game. My last comment was made in jest, indicated by the :)

Chris, you're reading more into my comment than you should. Debbie and I received some abuse about even reproducing the IQ chart in the first place — even though the post was mainly intended as an archive of activity in the five days after the election. I invite you to draw your own conclusions when comparing the posted IQ list against the Morgan Quinto Press ranking. Does it mean anything? Maybe, maybe not.

The Morgan Quinto Press ranking was submitted simply as information, without comment — and seemed germane to the subject. I try to avoid emoticoms because they too can be misinterpreted.

Perhaps you should have tried a ;) instead of a :)

It could have avoided the :O

Peace :)

On Nov.17.2004 at 03:31 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

yeah, the ;) is definaltely in order.

as well as one, perhaps two of these:

sorry. i know its bad design, but

it'll put a smile on TN faces.


On Nov.17.2004 at 05:46 PM
Chris Keegan’s comment is:

I must admit, I'm not an emoticon expert, since I've probably posted online less than 10 times, so thanks for the tip.

Mark, maybe I am reading more into it than was intended, but I'm not sure. I understand that the essay was intended to be a survey of the 5 days post-election, but the majority of the examples you chose to show were from one particular viewpoint. Of course, this was your essay, and are free to say or show whatever you wish. I found some of the examples to be very derogatory. Again, you're free to use your podium as you will. I am of the opinion that both sides need to work a bit better at listening to the other side, and I include myself in that statement. The first three maps were informative, and in my opinion it slid rapidly downhill from there :(

At this point, it's best to move on.. I'm not trying to incite any further ill will. And I was late coming into this to begin with.

Felix good work on the cover illustration for Discipleship Journal, just picked it up today. I was afraid someone was out there trying to duplicate your style, was glad to see it was actually you. Thanks for the additional emoticons, there are a few that will come in handy.

Peace to you all as well... on both sides of the Mason-Dixon line.

... With all due respect from a transplanted Alaskan in Tennessee.

On Nov.17.2004 at 07:25 PM
marian’s comment is:



isn't that emoticon abuse?

or something?

where are the sysops when you need them?

On Nov.17.2004 at 10:55 PM
Feluxe Socksmell’s comment is:

cover illustration for Discipleship Journal

Thx. Unfortunately they took the liberty of reusing the cover illustration 4 times on the inside (they were only allowed two) as well as recoloring everything themselves. At my church thats grounds for a public shaming.

Then again, I'm usually on the new East River pitch swearing, smoking and losing.

On Nov.18.2004 at 10:55 AM
Armin’s comment is:

> isn't that emoticon abuse?

It's so absurd, I'll allow.

On Nov.18.2004 at 11:37 AM
Michael A’s comment is:

Awfully late to chime in, but what a great post. I enjoyed every moment, image, and idea.

Now, one thing that I haven't read in any of the comments is an interesting fact, one that surely was responsible for Bush being re-elected. Americans, historically, have a difficult time changing leadership during times of war or great crisis.

Regradless of how horrendous Bush has been in his first term, we are in a state of War. First the terrorist attacks of 9/11 and then Bushes' own terrorist attack: the invasion and destruction of a nation based on nothing but lies. I am no fan of Sadam, but he has never been directly tied to the attacks of 9/11 nor has he threatened to attack America.

Bush essentially wiped out a secular nation and gave Bin Laden the possibility of his dream: an extremist superpower. No offense meant to Muslims, it is just that the effects of our invasion and the carnage that follows is resulting in a 70% or so move toward favoring a non-secular state in Iraq. Good work Bush.

So, the issue isn't "the economy stupid" this time around. The perception that we are safe because we haven't been attacked again (yet, we will) and that we are at War is the only rational reason I can think of to explain the election.

Can you think of anything that has happened in the last four years that is positive, even humane? It has been the worst four years in our recent history. We are hated by most of the world, seen as a nationalist terrorist superpower and are in a deep resession (it is called a depression, actually).

So, a little political science to add to the mix. God help us all.

On Apr.17.2005 at 11:28 PM
a guy from pluto’s comment is:

God help us? He kinda just fucked us. Funny, i'm from California and moved to B.C. Canada after 9/11 and some of them despise me being "american" before even knowing I hate bush and that California= anti bush.

On May.29.2007 at 09:45 PM
Alec’s comment is:

I found this quite offensive, apparently you think that people from the southern half of the country, and republicans are dumb. I happen to live in atlanta georgia, not only do i live in the south, I voted for George W. Bush. You know what, I scored a perfect on both my SATs and my IQ is at 197. I would like to know why you think that souther republicans are dumb. I suppose that you are a Liberal northerner, would you have our society be run by a half wit boring idiot who scored lower than president Bush on his SATs I know I wouldn't. This is one example of this complete bullshit that the democratic party tries to throw at the republican party. Oh and most democrats haven't even attended an IVY school, lets hear you say that thing about souther republicans being stupid again......

On Nov.18.2007 at 02:02 PM