Rarely do ideas speak for themselves – the aesthetics of the pathetic socialist paper being handed out at a rally (and the person doing the handing out) as well as the medium of the paper itself can do more to sell or repel the audience than what’s actually inside. We wrap our ideas in art, fonts, paper, podcasts and videos, and the choices we make about how we speak themselves speak to our own influences, who we are and who we’re trying to reach. Tough to say, but the time’s running out on your “timeless style,” which will soon look just as much an artifact as flatcaps and newsprint. Newspapers and magazines give way to YouTube videos and comments sections on Facebook, which in turn give way to Discord chats and 15 second clips of dance and robot voices set to music.
Do you keep up?
This is a topic about how we dress ourselves, as well as how we dress what we’re saying for who we’re addressing. Trends can be fun, finding new ways of expressing yourself and your ideas can expand your range of experience as well as the range of people you can communicate with. But relevance has its own costs – trends are often driven and quickly consumed by corporations, and often live on platforms hostile to communication by anarchists. Messages can get lost in the medium. Changing with the times can mean ending up even more irrelevant than before, especially if done badly (“how do you do fellow kids?”). And for trendy people, you can easily end up consumed as just another look or fad among many (as overheard in a bookstore recently, “I’m buying a book by Karl Marx, isn’t that so like me?”).
So how flexible is your aesthetic? Do you jump into the pool and play when new mediums like TikTok come around, or are you more prone to holding to what you’ve been doing and letting “those who know” come to you? How do you do your own thing without becoming dated or out of touch, or how do you embrace the new without getting lost in the static?