ads that are saying 'the memos are fake' or 'Kerry's
isn't a hero' are the main focus of the campaign
right now," comments High Times contributing editor
Preston Peet in the course of a very spirited
debate about the disputed Killian memos on newsroom-l,
one of the Internet's principal email discussion
lists for journalists.
sick, to put it mildly," he observes.
me, it's not all that bad, because I think that
campaign ads are the distilled reflection of the
candidates' personalities. The discussion brings
this out even further. The real question under
scrutiny is whom do you trust. Moreover, because
I have devoted my life to type, whether as a journalist
or a graphic designer, I am happy that TV screens
are filled with discussions of arcane font identification
details and the capabilities of the otherwise
forgotten IBM keyboard devices at which I spent
much of my youth.
they ever invite me to go on TV to explain the
difference among MS Times New Roman, Linotype
Times Roman and Monotype Times New Roman, I will
ask them to display the interesting visual experiment
now featured on Newsroom-l.
Look what happens when I match up the scan of
a date from one of the Killian memos (blue) with
the same text composed in Word in MS Times New
Roman and Bembo, laser-printed at 300 dpi and
scanned at 300 dpi. Bembo was designed by the
legendary British typographer Stanley Morison,
who also created Times New Roman for the Times
(London) in 1931. Judge for yourself which one
of the case against the Killian memos rests on
the claim that the typeface is MS Times New Roman,
which was not available on typewriters in 1973,
although other versions of Times were. My general
impression is that this is way too tricky to call
without seeing the original documents or, possibly,
excellent scans. At the same time, after very
close study, I don't think this is MS Times New
Roman. It's not Bembo either, but it could be
a bastard version that I think combines elements
of Times and Bembo (or a similar face). It might
be either Aldine or Press Roman, which were created
by IBM for the Selectric Composer.
world-reknowned authority on type who wishes to
remain anonymous at this time assures me that
based on his mathematical calculations of character
widths (an unerring type identification fingerprint,
he says), the memo face is MS Times New Roman.
He's probably right about that. In a media urination
contest, however, which will be more effective
-- a mathematical formula or a visual image?
it comes to trust, Bush just got hit with a faceful
of unrecycled horse manure. It's worse than the
Swift Boats. Kerry had plenty of documentary and
eyewitness evidence to demonstrate not only that
they were lying, but also that he was a hero.
the preponderance of the evidence is that Bush
never showed up for duty, even if you discount
the Killian memos, which are now related to the
category of hearsay. Arguing about the authenticity
of the Killian memos just keeps bringing the subject
back to four little letters: AWOL.
is possible that the documents were forged. If
so, maybe some Democrats learned a lot from the
Swift Boat Veterans for Truth. I don't approve,
but it does make me smile.
was talking about some of this with my beloved
bride, the beauteous Anita Brown. She's more conservative
than I am. I mentioned the right wing argument
that this is all old stuff, that even if Bush
committed youthful indiscretions, they have no
bearing on the election. She replied, "If he is
to be forgiven for his youthful indiscretions,
why should the youth of today go to prison for
the same offenses?"
Jules Siegel is a writer and graphic designer
whose works have been published in Playboy, Best
American Short Stories, Library of America's "Writing
Los Angeles," and many other publications. He
administers Newsroom-l, one of the Internet's
principal email discussion lists for journalists.
Posted: September 11, 2004