A particular aesthetic

One particular aesthetic that has always struck me ever since I grew up can be found in the textbooks that my school uses (and most other schools use).

It's fairly simple. In my textbooks, there are a lot of photos of things in daily life. Whether it's because of some law about child advertisements, undue prominence, or some kind of moral obligation felt by the writers of the textbook, however, the brand names are usually photoshopped out of the pictures. Sometimes it's as ugly as just pixelating the offending portion, but other times they more artfully replace the lettering with the appropriate background colour. Still other times, they do weirder things like add a ripple effect, or on occasion snowclone the name.

To my young mind, this feels a bit like an insult. With no understanding of trademark law or whatever odd machinations that required this in the first place, it just comes off as blatantly lying about what the real world actually looks like, or an implausibly poor effort at hiding some fact. It cemented in me the idea that there is some kind of power inside a brand name that absolutely needs to be hidden away let it leaks out and does unspecified evil things.

So that perception kind of got carried with me, that names are somewhat powerful agents that can't be shown in some context. And when I started writing things for myself, that aesthetic stayed, even though I eventually learnt several reasons why brand names are not shown in certain contexts.

Eventually it just came to be that I have kind of unreasonably fixated on this tiny little detail of life, and can't help but notice it wherever it comes up. Which, given the real reasons that it occurs, is fairly common.

Now that I am creating works of my own, naming things has become one of the key things I think about, supporting the general ideas behind language-oriented worldbuilding. Ultimately, this usually implies that names are distorted once, and then distorted again, and also have an in-world mechanism for distorting names as well. It creates a combination of two things: a surprising way to mark something as belonging to a particular reality, and a class of words that are affected by such a marking. The result is a concept that I think will go particularly far, which is why I like this particular aesthetic.


(It is a little bit disturbing to recognise the fact that a good chunk of my creative output is essentially due to the content and presentation of just my maths textbook, but I just can't refute it.)

🗼 gemini://isoraqathedh.pollux.casa/aesthetic.gmi