Posts tagged art

iPad

6

I thought about calling this post “iCrap” or something like that, but do I really need to come up with a parody to make fun of that name? I think the official name is enough of a joke that I shouldn’t have to bother.

My biggest complaint about the iPad is just that it’s a disappointment. I’m a huge fan of tablet PCs. I’m on my second convertible tablet, and I don’t think I’d ever want to buy a normal notebook again after getting used to the tablet. So, when the rumors of Apple’s tablet started I was excited to see what they’d come up with. And now after all of the build-up, when they finally announce their device, I look at it and what I see is not a tablet computer at all, but a giant iPhone. I feel like I’ve been hoodwinked.

I’ve found it kind of surprising that Apple didn’t jump into the tablet market sooner than now. Macs have a reputation of being perfect for artists, and whether that’s still well-deserved or if it’s just a hold-over from when their competitive operating systems were uglier, Apple still has an image as an artist’s computer. I’m sure Apple is aware of this reputation and loves it, and it seems like they’ve spent their advertising money to maintain that image. Even if Apple doesn’t target artists specifically with their recent advertising, they definitely target people who are artsy. The vendors of computing tools for artists support this image, too, as Adobe and Macromedia always made their software first for the Mac, and WACOM even made their external drawing tablets match the look of the Macintosh G4. So wouldn’t it have been natural for Apple to take that image and make a tablet PC that was actually tailored to these artists that flock to their company, and that are already using tablet equipment for drawing on their computers?

Instead of a tablet PC tailored to artists, with pressure-sensitive pens for drawing in the programs that already run on their operating system, Apple opts not to make a Macintosh tablet at all, but instead releases the iPad: a touch-screen built for use with the fingers that runs the iPhone operating system. They’ll try to make you feel excited about the fact that it will run all of the apps that have been built for the iPhone, but what you should really notice is that it won’t run the apps that are built for OS X, including all of the artist-oriented software that would have been great with a tablet PC, like Photoshop. Not that you’ll actually miss Photoshop on the iPad, because even if it ran OS X the screen isn’t pressure sensitive, so drawing on it would still feel like finger-painting.

Apple calls the iPad, “Our most advanced technology in a magical and revolutionary device….” Is that a little too optimistic for a device that’s just a big version of a device they’ve already had for years?

"Most Improved" and other burning instead of beauty

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Last week I saw an advertisement for a permanent make-up company in Salt Lake, and I was going to write a post about it, but I got lazy and didn’t do it. This week I found a new catalyst in that the young women in my ward are having a presentation on make-up as part of their weekly activity night.

Before I get into the particulars of my catalysts, let me just explain why I have a problem with make-up. I know there’s a lot of potential issues with make-up or even with fashion in general, especially when you try to reconcile it with religion, but I think the thing that sets make-up apart from other fashions is how intertwined it becomes with a woman’s self-esteem. If it were treated the same way as picking a belt or a pair of shoes, then I don’t think I would care. But it’s not treated the same. It becomes such a part of a woman’s identity that she is convinced that she is not pretty without it, and she’s uncomfortable being seen in public until after she has her face painted.

Cultural traditions are complicated and I know there’s probably a lot of factors that have gone into making and keeping make-up so connected to self-esteem as it is. I don’t know what’s to blame for that, but I do see that the make-up companies realize this connection and that they prey on women because of it, taking advantage of self-esteem issues to sell their products. You could probably make an example out of any number of advertising campaigns, but one that is particularly obvious to me is Mary Kay. When they have their little make-up parties to sell the product in women’s homes, they actually vote on who is the “most improved” because of the new make-up.

I don’t really know what my ward’s agenda is with this activity for the young women or how they’re going to present it. I think it’s entirely possible that they’re going to have a very tasteful presentation and try to teach the girls to be moderate in how they wear their make-up. Even that, though, I think is potentially damaging to the young women.

I’ve seen those reality shows where they give a woman a make-over, which usually involves teaching her how to properly use her make-up. I haven’t seen a lot of these shows, but every one that I have seen tells the woman to be more moderate and more sparing in how she applies her make-up. That’s fine. The problem is that even this approach (or especially this approach?) teaches the woman that this is the way that her face is meant to be painted. The make-over teaches her what clothes are in style, and maybe what is flattering to her out of that style, but with the make-up it teaches her what matches her, as though it is something permanent that her face needs and not something that changes with the seasons and her moods like other fashions. It teaches her that this is the right look for her features and complexion. Even if the end result is that she wears less make-up than before, it still emphasizes the idea that there is a correct look for this particular woman and that it is only achievable through the application of make-up.

So regardless of the intent, I’d just be afraid that by teaching the young women to use make-up, you’re really just teaching them that they need make-up.

Maybe it’s an extension of that idea that there is a single correct look for a woman’s face and that make-up achieves it that has led our society to the idea of permanent make-up. Anything permanent and unchangeable makes me nervous and I think the fact that there are women who are willing to have their make-up permanently attached just emphasizes how much the industry has convinced them of their inadequacy without it.

There is an additional thing that bothers me about permanent make-up. I’m sure that Salt Lake has more ads for tattoo removal than for tattoo parlors, but permanent make-up has no problem fitting in with all of the other ads for permanently changing a person’s body to fit some arbitrary image of beauty. The part of this that really bothers me is that some of the same people who have religious reasons for thinking that tattoos are immoral can think that permanent make-up is just fine. You do realize that they are the same thing, right? The only difference is the shape of the tattoo that you’re getting, but it’s still a tattoo. I think the women who find themselves in favor of permanent make-up but against traditional tattoos have forgotten why they are against tattoos in the first place. It’s so easy to be swept up in a cultural stereotype, but before long we forget our values and just start thinking that the definition of our religion is the same as our niche in that culture.

I guess it makes sense that the cultural associations blur the lines between make-up and tattoos for some women. After all, it’s only because of cultural associations that permanent make-up could ever have an appeal in the first place. Women have been taught that they don’t look good without it, and that they should always wear it whenever they are visible to anyone else, so it seems like an inconsequential step to have it permanently attached. Societal pressures have already permanently inked the make-up to our identity, so why not to skin?

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Ok, check out how good yesterday really was:
We got our tests back in Art History, and I was completely expecting to fail it because I didn’t know all of these dates and crazy italian artist names and such, but I actually got an A. How, you ask? Well, apparently the teacher liked the essay section of my test so much that it just completely overshadowed the crappy short facts section. I made some claims on the essay that kind of looked at things in a different light than how he presented it in class, but I guess he loved it. So class was good, and maybe I won’t fail after all. So I get out of class and Ben and Kim are like, You wanna go to Incubus? and I’m all like, I’m poor, and they’re all like ITS FREE! and I’m all like, sweet. Ben and Kim practically own 105.7. They won Green Day tickets, and Incubus tickets, and… well, probably some other stuff, too. So Incubus was pretty sweet (but we missed Sparta) and they did the coolest drum solo ever known to man, SO cool, in fact, that it took 3 members of the band mounting up on percussion instruments, ’cause just one drummer couldn’t contain all of the cool that they needed.

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