I stopped my New York Times subscription today. I’ve really enjoyed the time I’ve spent in the paper every Sunday the past six months, but I’ll no longer be sketching out my ideas for them and posting them online.
This blog was created as an exercise, an avenue for exploration. It removed me from a computer screen and forced me to read, think, and put my ideas on paper. I’m glad I invested time into these 70 posts. But with a job change and a new personal project starting soon, I’ve decided I want to stop spending time here.
I hope you enjoyed the sketches. Thanks for following.
Of Bile and Billionaires
"Now we know what, in today’s warped political economy, $10 million buys you: a hit job spectacular not only in its cynicism but also in its idiocy."
This article discussed, in yet more detail, the story that the Times broke this past week about a billionaire who contemplated spending $10 million attacking Obama via his association with his old pastor.
The original story is fascinating, and this article is important in its call for politicians (and their wealthy backers) to focus on substance instead of slander. While I applaude the sentiment, it certainly feels as if the author is shouting into the void.
Sunday Dialogue: Making Taxation Fairer
I love the tagline for this article: Readers offer ideas for tax reform but doubt it will happen.
Sunday Dialogues are formatted like this—one person writes a short piece stating a position, others write in supporting or rebutting it, and then the original author finishes things off with their response. The original author started by saying that while it’s good to have wealthy Americans paying more taxes, all citizens should pay more if we expect to have an economically healthy country.
Others responded to the arguments, but there was, overall, a pessimism about tax-reform in the US.
My piece would highlight both the responsibility of citizens to do more, by showing a giant tax form, but also visually represent how complicated the issue is by imposing a real tax form into the image.
Reading Together, Knowing the Ending
I’m a sucker for articles like this. The author of this piece recalls how talking about books brought him and his mother together as they dealt with her cancer. It was deeply sentimental without delving into weird, melodramatic waters. This is why I love reading the New York Times.
My idea for this piece was to create a realistic open book, with the words on the page jumbled together to form two silhouettes talking to each other. This would allude to the books they were reading through together, but would also bring to mind how our memories of loved ones are like books. The author’s mother is now gone, but he has the ability to open the pages of this book and relive the experiences they had. When those pages close, it brings the two of them together again, closer than ever.
The Amygdala Made Me Do It
This was an article about our obsession with figuring out how our brains work.
My concept is simple—our minds are a maze we’re trying to figure out, so why not visualize that? The maze, executed cleanly, would form a brain, and our attempt to decipher it would be portrayed as a rough, almost childlike line that’s exploring it.
I’m a firm believer that science yields answers to life’s complicated questions, but I still think, compared the complexity of our minds, our endeavors to explore the unknown can appear crude. But we praise childlike creativity, so boldly go forward into the abyss!
The Post-Cash, Post-Credit-Card Economy
Another direction for the article about paying via cellphone. I think I’ll set up my fictitious kids with a budgeting app so they can see how much of their weekly expenses are candy related.
Terrorist Plots, Hatched by the F.B.I.
This super interesting article asks how we should approach terrorist cases where our government is involved in equipping suspects with fake equipment and arresting them when they try to use it in real attacks.
My illustration would portray two men in a relay race, one handing off a baton of dynamite to another man who’s already strapped explosives. This mirrors the question asked in the article—the FBI is approaching suspects who seem primed to explode in an act of terrorism, but how complicit is the FBI in igniting them to do the deed?
Sunday Dialogue: When to Hold Recall Votes
This Sunday Dialogue debated the merits of recall elections—does democracy mean we get to vote out people we voted in while they’re in the middle of their term?
My sketch would recreate a 2010 ballot, with a vote for Wisconsin governor Scott Walker erased from it.
The Post-Cash, Post-Credit-Card Economy
I think this article was kind of like a public service announcement to the NYT subscribers who still have the paper delivered to their house. “People are going to start paying for lots of stuff on their phones!” It was by no means a bad article, but it was amusing to compare it to what’s published daily on dozens of tech blogs.
My tendency is to compare technological progress to what we’re losing—in this case, the ability to pay for everything conveniently rids the world of things like saving change. Not a bad thing, but a strange thing to think about. If I have kids someday, what will giving them an allowance look like?