"the deadliest bullshit is odorless and transparent" - William Gibson

Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Durer's practical joke

I found another great nugget as i'm slowly reading Paul Graham's Hackers & Painters:

"Good design is often slightly funny. This one may not always be true. But Dürer's engravings and Womb Chair and the Pantheon and the original Porsche 911 all seem to me to be slighly funny. Gödel's Incompleteness Theorem seems like a practical joke.

I think its because humor is realted to strength. To have a sense of humor is to be strong: to keep one's sense of humor is to shrug off misfortunes, and to lose one's sense of humor is to be wounded by them. And so the mark - or at least the perogative - of strength is not to take oneself too seriously. the confident will often. like swallows, seem to be making fun of the whole process slightly, as Hitchcock does in his films or Bruegel in his paintings (or shakespeare for that matter).
Good design may not have to be funny, but it's hard to imagine something that could be called humorless also being good design."


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