On (not) seeing red
I left a bunch of YouTube news-about-Ukraine links in yesterday’s post, but forgot to say that more than 99% of my understanding and misunderstanding of the war comes firsthand from friends, in-laws, acquaintences, co-workers, volunteer and professional soldiers, minus the ex pat community, although I vouch for Yuri’s depictions of what’s needed. Also Triple C’s dispatches from eastern Ukraine document the resistance underway. Both will be back in Kyiv this October to sign autographs.
The war has many facets and is variously viewed a struggle between dictatorship and democracy, between revolution and counterrevolution, fascism and anti-fascism, that which is morally right and profoundly immoral and wicked. Being located smack dab in the thick of it, I see it, first and foremost, as a genocidal campaign, generally. Specifically, it is deliberate attempt to murder me and therefore personal. The military maneuvering and battle plans are continually updated and depicted on colorful maps. In addition, new information about the start of the war has bubbled to the surface, allowing students of recent history to accurately understand what actually took place during the run up to the Revolution of Dignity.
You are never very high above sea level in southern Ukraine. The above map is interesting because it reminds me of at least two car trips from Zaporizhia to Yalta via Melitopol and back during the early 2000s. Stretches of monotonous, flat, predominantly low-lying landscape reminded me then of a vast unpaved Long Island parking lot.
Trying to get the full story about the whole kit and caboodle and not just pockets of the region’s bloody mess is impossible, but we can apply the same basic logical framework that helps us think about White Terror during the Spanish Civil War, especially the gruesome deaths of militant anarchists thanks by fascists in Germany and Italy1. While the White Terror did involve widespread violence and the targeting of individuals and groups based on their political beliefs, it did not specifically aim to exterminate an entire ethnic or religious group, what Russia is trying to do in Ukraine now.
Moving on: apologies to the 7–10% of you so rudely disrespected since I tweaked the settings yesterday. In one of those regrettably too-clever-by-half design decisions, influenced by the hardcore tradesman’s newsprint shop belief (which indeed goes way back to scribal rubrication) that the universes of thought conveyed through text need never arrive in any color but black, or sometimes red, I had chosen to differentiate hyperlinks within text with that sometimes color2.
Militant anarchists in Spain played a significant role in the early stages of the Spanish Civil War, contributing to the defense against Franco's uprising and attempting to implement anarchist principles in areas under their control. However, their influence waned as the war progressed, and they faced internal and external challenges that ultimately contributed to the Republican side's defeat.
I also changed Slab to Sans.
It’s always good design practice when indicating differing kinds of text to change one parameter at a time: what patent disrespect to both writer and reader to go too far, as many designers do, and interrupt the simple process of reading to pile on multiple indicators (weight, decoration, size, colour, background colour, popups, whatever) just to flag that some text is clickable (imagine driving along a smoothly paved road, then being on a block with an Olive Garden on it, information conveyed not only by the Olive Garden sign but by the road suddenly being paved with thin red sauce and shitty cheese).
My one parameter shift, however, didn’t take into account the sizeable percentage of people unable to easily differentiate red from black, effectively rendering the parameter change to zero. This accessibility issue should always be taken into account.
Much as I prefer the red from a text design perspective, the hover-on-over underlines will have to do until some night next week when I’ll no doubt wake up remembering underlines trigger epileptic seizures and memory loss.