Carol Twombly.. Please help me!

softbluecries1's picture

I have spent the past 3 weeks trying to obtain every piece of information about Carol Twombly for a project in my typography class. I keep seeing things on the web about interviews with her.

If anyone knows where (website) I can find an interview with her it would extremely helpful.

I am also looking for information about her life today. Is she married? any kids? that kind of information. The last thing I found is that she retired from Adobe.

hrant's picture

BTW, I just noticed something interesting about the sexual orientation business: opposition to the philosophy angle is rife, but nobody seems to mind the stand-up comedian angle! :-)

hhp

John Hudson's picture

But Hrant, who are these people who think of Sappho as a philosopher rather than as a poet? I simply have not come across this view before. It seems to me both highly unlikely and unsupported by a) the relatively few and fragmentary surviving writings by her and b) her reputation in classical Greece. Her writing is lyrical poetry mainly concerned with love. Hence, she is known as a lyrical poet. And a very fine one. This isn't in any way do dismiss her wisdom, which Aristotle acknowledged, but the ancients made a distinction between philosophy and wisdom literature that our language doesn't reflect very well.

Just to be clear: I'm not saying Sappho was any the less for being a poet rather than a philosopher. Heck, I'd rather read poetry than philosophy any day of the week.

hrant's picture

Forget Sappho - she is many degrees of relevance away from all this.
Think instead of why most people cannot name a female philosopher.
Is it all due to institutionalized chauvinism and/or gender-based social
expectation? I don't buy that.

hhp

Paul Cutler's picture

I don't either Hrant.

There is much crossover but there are also pursuits where gender difference is more clear cut.

It makes the dance more interesting…

…and I'm about to get slaughtered. :)

peace

rs_donsata's picture

This thread had some interesting comments that helped me to go trough all of it's lenght.

Which are those professions or occupations where women outnumber man? Dance would be one of them, maybe education, fashion, interior design and graphic design (there were at least twice woman than man when I was at design school). What else?

In Mx figures show that women are starting to slightly outnumber man on may careers at the universities with better grades also. This trend will show in a few years on the professional world.

I must admit this pleases me because it's a sign of reivindication but also scares a bit the little macho in me... I guess many man live these times with the satisfaction of knowing that a fairest world is being achieved for woman and man but also with the slight fear of lossing ground. I don't know, maybe it's just me exposing my own prejudice.

Héctor

billtroop's picture

>But Hrant, who are these people who think of Sappho as a philosopher rather than as a poet?

Ah.

>Think instead of why most people cannot name a female philosopher.

Maybe they're confusing them with poets.

John Hudson's picture

Hrant: Think instead of why most people cannot name a female philosopher.

I imagine a lot of people can't name a philosopher of either sex. If they can, chances are that it is a long-dead philosopher. If you take into account that women were excluded from the institutions of higher education for so long, that the university, for most of its history, was a specifically masculine academy, while at the same time the university became the seat of philosophy, I think it is pretty obvious why most people cannot name a female philosopher. The framework within which philosophy has been predominantly pursued in the west for seven or eight hundred years has only relatively recently been open to women.

By the way, on the subject of lesbianism and its connection to the island of Lesbos, I chanced to receive via an ancient near east listerve today a review of a new book on 'sex and gender in ancient Greece and Rome', which included these interesting comments:

Regarding the toponymic Greek verb lesbiazein "to perform ****," Krenkel is misled (p. 207) by the prejudice, as old as Hesychius, that the verb etymologically means "to act like a woman from Lesbos," while the ancient testimonia rather indicate that the euphemism rather means to act like "a person (i.e. either man or woman, indiscriminately) from Lesbos." A small point, true, but perhaps one that may throw light both of the verb itself as well as potential biasses in the glosses of Hesychius. On the next page, Krenkel also incorrectly states that the Greek verb phoinikizein (etymologically, "to act like a Phoenician") also means "to perform ****," when it actually means "to perform ****." Again, a point like this matters, not only for lexicographers who collect such things, but because it bears on the interpretation of literary texts; thus, for instance, when we find that a prostitute in Plautus' Pseudolus is named "Phoenicium," (Phoinik-ion) her name does not really imply "Miss Suckly" (as once suggested by W. M. Calder III in CP 70 [1975] p. 147, and quoted with approval by Krenkel p. 208 n. 8), and thereby indicate that **** is the special services which she performs for her clients; Plautus is rather openly and constantly advertising the predilections of her rival clients Calidorus (cf. his snivelling in Scene 1) and the Macedonian soldier ("dentatus" [!], v. 1040), and the privileges for which they are all too happy to pay her. (One could perhaps compare the famous fresco from the apodyterium of the terme suburbane in Pompeii, reproduced as fig. 14 in Antonio Varone's Erotica Pompeiana [Rome, 1994], p. 207.)

So there you have it: Lesbos wasn't known for its lesbians, but notorious for its fellatalists of both sexes.

[I've only skimmed this long and bizarre thread, and I still don't quite understand how Sappho and the Lesbians/lesbians got involved!]

hrant's picture

> I imagine a lot of people can’t name a philosopher of either sex.

When it comes to what I said, most, you imagine wrong.

hhp

John Hudson's picture

Yes, but my basic point remains: philosophy has for a very long time been pursued almost exclusively within the context of institutions that were not open to women*, so the reason why most people can't name a female philsopher is linked to the fact there have not been very many women philosophers until recently, and they are still a minority in the philosophy departments of universities. [I happen to know some female philsophers personally.]

Most people cannot name any female soccer players either. But of the people who can name an opera singer I'm sure all could name a female opera singer, and pretty much everyone can name a female pop singer.

*There is, by the way, a significant body of 'philsophical' writing, in the broader sense encompassing wisdom literature, by women that comes out of monastic institutions, and this includes works of philosophy as well as theology. Edith Stein is a good recent example of someone who studied philosophy (specifically, phenomenology, within the context of the monastic life.

hrant's picture

You're consistently skirting my basic premise: that social "role-pressures" cannot fully account for the lop-sidedness. Which is unsurprising based simply on the conviction that it does not make sense for there to be no fundamental differences between men and women. What does your religion say about this?

hhp

Thomas Phinney's picture

Think instead of why most people cannot name a female philosopher.

I hope I've done my bit to help with that, by naming my new typeface after one. :)

Regards,

T

Christopher Slye's picture

This is the craziest thread ever.

Paul Cutler's picture

You've been here for 27 weeks 3 days - give it some time… :)

My theory is that men live in a more artificial universe.

peace

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Maybe it's time to start posting more names of type designers who happen to be women.

dezcom's picture

Carol Twombly and Marion Anderson recently sang a duet from "Der ShrifterSinger" at a meeting of the "Philosophers Society and Typographers Union" to a standing ovation. Jesse Norman was quoted as saying, "Now THAT is what I cal a DEBUT!"

ChrisL

John Hudson's picture

Hrant: You’re consistently skirting my basic premise: that social “role-pressures” cannot fully account for the lop-sidedness. Which is unsurprising based simply on the conviction that it does not make sense for there to be no fundamental differences between men and women. What does your religion say about this?

I'm not skirting your basic premise. I think 'role pressures' is to vague a concept to which to nail anything, so I was looking at concrete systemic reasons that might account for the relatively few number of women in the history of philosophy. And it seems to me that the fact that there are now considerable numbers of women in the philosophy departments of universities does suggest that the previous barring of women from such positions is a contributing factor. As I wrote, I know some women philosophers.

Yes, there are fundamental differences between men and women, but before one can assume a causal relationship between these differences and particular social phenomena one must also look at potential social causes.

hrant's picture

> I was looking at concrete systemic reasons

Yes, I know, that's always the problem.

> one must also look at potential social causes.

Obvious and moot.

hhp

Linda Cunningham's picture

Yeah, like Hrant would ever admit that.... ;-)

hrant's picture

Aren't there like seven intelligenceses or something? How many you want lady?

hhp

Kristina Drake's picture

>>> I was looking at concrete systemic reasons
>>> Yes, I know, that’s always the problem.

Lol. So you're suggesting intuition, gut instinct, or a message from the Virgin Mary as better methods?

The subject of what drives people to make the choices they do, or be interested in particular pursuits/careers/hobbies is so wide, deep, and encompassing that I am certain we will not be able to reduce it to either social pressure or innate, gender-determined preferences to the exclusion of other motivating factors. Nor will we arrive at a definitive conclusion in this thread. People are a helluva lot more complex than that--women too. Arguing for or against either position is just ridiculous, ignorant, or playing devil's advocat. Oh wait! Or men being typically (naturally?) pig-headed. (oops, did I say that out loud?) ;)

C'mon! Give it up already.

I find, going back to the original post, that the whole concept of wanting to know if a type designer is married or has children somewhat suspect to begin with. Who cares? Is it really pertinent to the validity or success of the typeface, or to the designer's ability? Not so much. Incidental, environmental. Ok sure, we could say some things about overcoming obstacles and the demands of raising a family or the sacrifices required by certain social situations. We could also draw some very nebulous conclusions about soft lines and sweet bezier curves or hard angular lines and gender preference, we could even get into the length of the descender, the shape of the bowls and counters... but would you really reduce a person's professional achievements to such inanities? And if so, they must be equally pertinent when looking at male designers, although I would suspect in their case, the family/gender/sexuality issue is generally entirely ignored.

Start first by looking at the artist's art, not at the artist.

The things that make me tick, you would never entirely -- not even largely -- deduce from my gender. The reasons I have made the choices, had the successes, had the failures that I have in my life are far too varied and layered to be reduced to merely my gender or my social environment. To suggest that they might be somehow dulls the human experience, don't you think?

Discussing gender theory, identity, sexual politics, and societal-gender factors is great, but let's not confuse it with making sweeping generalizations about either sex based on feelings or impressions. Perhaps we could even discuss it for what it is, without using our generalizations, assumptions and hearsay to draw conclusions about a specific person.

/grumbles off to bed.

hrant's picture

> I am certain we will not be able to reduce it to either
> social pressure or innate, gender-determined preferences
> to the exclusion of other motivating factors.

Not more certain than I am.

> Start first by looking at the artist’s art, not at the artist.

First, shmirst. You look at as much as you can.

hhp

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Yeah, like Hrant would ever admit that…. ;-)

:-D

Kristina, everything you said... hear, hear!

And Hrant, you were only able to come up with one female type designer? Come on, make an effort, man!

I just want to make a scientific argument that, before our gender is determined, four weeks after fertilization, we are all the same.

P.S. No one noticed that I set the word balloon of the caveman drawing in Lithos... *sigh*

hrant's picture

Yay, let's hear it for three-week-embryo type designers!!

> I set the word balloon of the caveman drawing in Lithos…

Shame on you - you must have meant that all Greeks are cavemen.

hhp

Si_Daniels's picture

>This is the craziest thread ever.

Christopher, do a typophile search on "Fidel" and "Rolex" ;-)

dezcom's picture

Ricardo,
I noticed that the caveman baloon was in Lithos but did not get it beyond that. I guess I am losing it to a senior moment :-) Care to "Splen it to me Lucy?"

ChrisL

Linda Cunningham's picture

Hrant: Aren’t there like seven intelligenceses or something? How many you want lady?

ROFLMAO! "Self-referential" doesn't count, though.

Ricardo: P.S. No one noticed that I set the word balloon of the caveman drawing in Lithos… *sigh*

waving hand

Me, me, I did: just thought it was so obvious that it would have been poor form on my part to point it out.

No, really....

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

Yeah, you're right Linda... It was too obvious to be mentioned.

I noticed that the caveman baloon was in Lithos but did not get it beyond that.

Chris, the caveman thing needs some explaining because I was trying to be subtle and go easy on the people airing their views about the supposed differences between men and women... I was trying to say that these views of man's supposed superiority have been superceded, proved wrong, et cetera! I was originally gonna look for a picture of cavemen arguing, or maybe even a caveman dragging a woman around by the hair... :-D

In the end I went with the idea that even a caveman sees that women are superior... Trying to make my point without hitting anybody over the head with my club, so to speak... ;-) But probably I was too subtle or obscure... And, uh, should I also say that the caveman is quoting an old song that both Harry Belafonte and Robert Palmer used to sing? :-)

hrant's picture

> these views of man’s supposed superiority

Nobody ever said that here, least of all me!

Just because such idiocy has been common, and in fact often institutionalized, doesn't make it a good idea to lash out blindly. You'll hit friendlies.

What I'm trying to fight is idiocy in an opposite extreme: that there are no differences between men and women. This is an increasing problem, especially in the West, and it's turning us all into objects - machines for making the rich richer.

hhp

Kristina Drake's picture

Hrant: Seconding that!

Paul Cutler's picture

Hrant is spot on - no one said one gender was superior. That is your inference and hence, perhaps your bias.

We should celebrate the difference, not hide it…

peace

dezcom's picture

"But probably I was too subtle or obscure… And, uh, should I also say that the caveman is quoting an old song that both Harry Belafonte"

Ricardo,
I understood the cartoon right away (and I know the Belafonte song too "Smarter than the man in every way"). I just did not get what was significant about the choice of Lithos as a typeface. I know Lithos means stone but beyond that, is there something more?

ChrisL

hrant's picture

Hey for a rousing feminist you sure don't know your women!
Lithos was designed by Twombly.

hhp

dezcom's picture

I know it was designed by Twombly but this thread hasn't been talking about her for days so It never occured to me (he said while trying to figure out what a rousing feminist was and how he got to be one all of a sudden).

ChrisL

PS: I know that I don't know women. I am not that naive. I also know that there are no women who are "My Women".

hrant's picture

Yeah, she's only in the title of the thread.
Just be a man ;-) and admit you missed it.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Why do I even bother to feed the Troll.

ChrisL

Nick Shinn's picture

This is an increasing problem, especially in the West,

To me, it seems that things are going backwards since 20/30 years ago, with sexual identity in the West becoming more polarized and cliched, and that surely is far easier for capitalists to manipulate and objectify, as sex sells. Just track the increasing sexualization of My Little Pony over the years, or compare Barbie with Bratz. Pretty soon Mommy will be putting makeup on baby girls, and giving Jnr a military buzzcut every bathtime.
So while not denying that there are innate physical differences between people, I'd prefer to ignore them, especially in the professional world.


1984


2007

hrant's picture

> sexual identity in the West becoming more polarized and cliched

True, but this is largely superficial. When it comes to "serious" social debate the total lack of poles is even more worrisome. As for what capitalism leverages, selling more products thanks to gender difference is one thing, making slaves more plentiful and more pliant is another.

> I’d prefer to ignore

Won't be the first thing [in type].

hhp

Nick Shinn's picture

Won’t be the first thing [in type].

Wait till you see my Bulgarian Cyrillics.

hrant's picture

Yes, I trust that true to form you've firmly ignored any advice from Bulgarians. Except that guy you had lunch with once, although these days he calls himself Canadian.

hhp

twardoch's picture

If they have Canadian French, there is no reason for them not to have Canadian Bulgarian. I'm looking forward to seeing it :)

A.

paul d hunt's picture

i'm quite certain that Nick's Bulgarian Cyrillics will be well-informed, and he'll probably be the first western type designer to even take Bulgarian preferences into consideration!

dezcom's picture

There is quite a big Greektown in Toronto as well, Adam :-)

ChrisL

John Hudson's picture

i’m quite certain that Nick’s Bulgarian Cyrillics will be well-informed, and he’ll probably be the first western type designer to even take Bulgarian preferences into consideration!

No not the first. Luc(as) de Groot has holidayed in Bulgaria and I believe has incorporated Bulgarian variant forms into some of his fonts.

More interestingly, although contentiously, there is some evidence that those Bulgarian preferences were actually invented by a western type designer. Albert Kapr, from the Hochschule in Leipzig, was very involved with the development of design education in Bulgaria in the 1960s, and according to Maxim there is some evidence that at least some of the Bulgarian variant letterforms originate in Kapr's ideas. Some, like the ascending lowercase zhe, are also found in certain styles of Russian script types, but the application of these features to all styles of type, as in Bulgaria, seems to be a novelty.

hrant's picture

http://typophile.com/node/4933 _
Search for "Bulgarian".

BTW, I think Bulgarians consider themselves "westerners".
On the other side of the coin, some people would claim that
Leipzig is on the border. :-)

--

BTW, with this new Central European digression I now agree with Christopher: although a lot of threads have been crazy, this one, with its combination of sex, contentious claims and very broad spectrum just might be the craziest (so far).

hhp

paul d hunt's picture

I think Bulgarians consider themselves “westerners”

I'm sure they do. I met a Polish woman once that explained how Poland was the center of Europe. i'm still not quite sure i buy it... but if you include Russia in Europe, it might be true.

hrant's picture

If you include Russia friggin' Kazakhstan is the center of Europe.

hhp

dezcom's picture

Everyone knows the center of Europe is Thessaloniki :-)

ChrisL

Ricardo Cordoba's picture

> these views of man’s supposed superiority

Nobody ever said that here, least of all me!

Just because such idiocy has been common, and in fact often institutionalized, doesn’t make it a good idea to lash out blindly. You’ll hit friendlies.

But Hrant, all of your arguments made it sound -- to me at least, granted -- that you were implying that... If all you wanted to say was that men and women are different, you should have just said so. :-)

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