Why Trump happened to America and what he’s up to

This is the oddest, most interesting and probably most insightful thing I’ve read about Trump’s ascendency. Strap yourself in and get ready for some 4chan, chaos magic, Pepe the Frog, Jungian Archetypes and more. (When Greer writes about the people of the chans and their chaos magic, notice the strong parallels to Charismatic Christian support for Trump.)

  1. The Kek Wars, Part One: Aristocracy and its Discontents
  2. The Kek Wars, Part Two: In the Shadow of the Cathedral
  3. The Kek Wars, Part Three: Triumph of the Frog God
  4. The Kek Wars, Part Four: What Moves In The Darkness

Todd the Toad lives

Big news: Todd the Toad is a real book that you can buy! Let me tell you about it.

1. A fun book

I had more fun with this Todd the Toad than any of my first five books, and all of those were good fun.

2. A collaborative book

Here’s the back cover blurb:

Todd is a simple desert toad searching for a little moisture…

Todd and his epic journey are the creation of seven students at Penmaenrhos Education Centre and author/illustrator Jeff Gill. Through a unique project called Finding Your Voice, they invented Todd and told his story as a group. The illustration work was divided among the creators. Each one interpreted Todd’s adventures in their own way. The result is this unique comic story told in many visual styles but with one collective voice.

3. A good book

Sometimes, too many cooks spoil the broth. Other times, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Todd the Toad is the result of other times. It’s worth owning even if you’re not the parent of one of the authors.

4. A book for sharing

Teachers, leaders and comic book makers, this section is especially for you.

Normally, I make my books in Adobe InDesign, the industry standard page layout software. I made Todd the Toad using Apple Pages. I wanted to find out if it was possible to make a high quality comic book using a free, easy-to-use app. It is!

If you are interested in a class or personal comic book project that results in a real, affordable book which anyone can buy on Amazon, email me. I’ll send you my Todd the Toad Pages or Word template.

I’m happy to provide email support to help you through the process too.

The Righteous Mind: why we can’t all just get along

Since the election of Donald Trump, I’ve been trying to figure out why so many good, kind people that I know and care about voted for him. I’ve read a lot and talked to a number of people who voted for him. I’ve heard a lot of reasons – good, bad, stupid and thoughtful – but I never felt like I really got to the core of why.

The question I really wanted to know the answer to was bigger than the specific disaster that is Trump. What I really wanted to understand is: how can good people be conservatives? (If that question feels offensive, just reverse it.)

The best answer I’ve come across so far is in Johnathan Haidt’s book The Righteous Mind.

His ideas based on his years of studying morality are eye-opening, challenging and useful. If you’ve wondered why

  • so many good people have a morality that feels patently wrong to you
  • we can’t just get along
  • people on opposite ends of the political spectrum talk past each other instead of to each other
  • people of all convictions offer so much obviously stupid reasoning for their beliefs,

then, dear rider, see if you can coax your elephant in the direction of this book. You’ll find good answers and learn how the human brain is like a elephant and its passenger.

One question this book doesn’t answer is why right-wing Americans are still so obsessed with the Clintons. If you could explain that to me, I would be most grateful.

Todd the Toad – the cover

From the back cover:

Todd is a simple desert toad searching for a little moisture…

Todd and his epic journey are the creation of seven students at Penmaenrhos Education Centre and author/illustrator Jeff Gill. Through a unique project called Finding Your Voice, they invented Todd and told his story as a group. The illustration work was divided among the creators. Each one interpreted Todd’s adventures in their own way. The result is this unique comic story told in many visual styles but with one collective voice.

Carll Cneut’s colours

This illustration from The Golden Cage by Carll Cneut appeared on my Tumblr dashboard today and I fell in love. The illustration is exquisite. It’s full of birds. But the thing I love most about it is the colour palette – black, white, yellow that occasionally veers red, and then a few small touches of blue that make the image come alive. Genius.

See more Carll Cneut at Picturebook Makers’ feature full of his beautiful images and in this video:

No one sends letters anymore

But I received a letter this week, from one Jason Roger Chui. He’s a Swiss banker and wants to unload ‘$9 Million USD’ into my account.

I think if someone goes to the trouble of printing out their scam letter and physically posting it to me, they deserve a reply. Here’s what I wrote:

Just to be on the safe side, I set up an anonymous email account. The bank account belongs to HMRC. The telephone number is the Zurich police.

I eagerly await a reply.


Update on Friday 6 July 2018

Jason Roger Chiu replied. Unfortunately, he doesn’t know how to follow directions.


Update on Saturday 21 July 2018

Sad face. Jason Roger Chiu stopped writing. I don’t think I’ll ever see Uncle Leo’s fortune.

Stack o’ Jam

stack o’ jam

I made a stack of jam for a client but then something changed and they didn’t need a stack of jam. It you do need a stack of jam – vectorised and going cheap – give me a shout.

Brutes!

brutalistwebsites.com

The kids are making visually stark websites, harsh websites, sometimes ugly websites. This, I said to myself yesterday, seems to be a new brutalism.

Today, in a completely unintended internet adventure, I stumbled upon brutalistwebsites.com. It’s a ginormous collection of links to all the stark, harsh and ugly you can handle.

I like it. A lot. Because:

  1. There’s some brilliant and inspirational experimentation with what a website can be.
  2. There are a million tools that make it easy to make pretty. This is a collection of sites that aren’t using these tools or that are using them ‘wrong’.
  3. The world feels pretty messed up right now with Brexit, Trump, the rise of populist nationalism, the war in Syria, Russia’s serious attitude issues, the ongoing plight of the Palestinians and Rohingyas, the Philippine state-approved murder of drug users, plastic everywhere… Young brutalism feels like a visceral response to the mess we’ve made. It’s like, ‘Wake up! Things are fucked and I’m not going to paste a layer of pretty over the rubble and pretend like it’s all fine.’ (Or maybe it’s just a fad that has no deeper significance but I don’t think so.)

As I scrolled, something about the sites felt familiar. Then I realised where I had gotten this vibe before – street fashion. Brands like AntiSocialSocialClub Wavey Garms and Supreme (obvs) have been doing this for years now.

Seth Godin talking about stuff

Read the full interview.

On creativity:

…folks think we need inspiration to be creative. I don’t believe that this is true. No one gets plumber’s block. They simply do plumbing. Creativity is work, it’s not the muse, or lightning or the result of burning incense. I write daily because I’m a professional, and this is what I do.

On social media:

I spend zero time wondering if I should be spending time on social networks instead of doing my work.

On worrying about what people think:

Worrying is the key word. I haven’t stopped building trust, haven’t stopped contributing, haven’t stopped trying to push the envelope. I simply stopped worry, measuring and checking. My work got better instantly. So did my life.

On marketing:

Empathy and humility are at the heart of successful marketing. We ignore that our peril.

On making a living as a writer:

Can you make money writing articles or books? Not easily, not out on the long tail. The opportunity is to build yourself a niche, a place where you and you alone are the one to copy.