A few months ago I was coerced got the opportunity to photograph my friends Laura and Jeff’s wedding. They knew that wedding photography was typically not my thing and in fact something I usually detest but Laura was persistent.
“We don’t want a wedding photographer. We want a photographer we like.”
She played to my ego and thinking and it worked. When I finally agreed, Laura told me they sent this photo to their parents with the caption: “We picked a wedding photographer!” The wedding went well and I’ve published a few of the shots publicly so far: here, here, & here.
Laura is a member of the über-cool NESrock band I Fight Dragons (LP forthcoming on Photo Finish Records) and has an affinity for all things 8-bit and I had a free moment today so I made this in her honor.
This got me thinking last night, especially when contrasted with this. Tesla’s letterhead is striking, artistic and thought provoking. Edison however goes for a more distinguished look that I think is boring, unoriginal and uncreative even for the time.
Those who know me will tell you, in additon to being a design nerd, that I’ve got a quirky sense of humor. This is often misinterpreted and rubs people the wrong way because I tend to appear like an opinionated jerk. In reality, I like to challenge people’s ways of thinking, I enjoy arguing strange or absurd points and do so with a passion. I don’t always agree with the point I’m making but I enjoy provoking someone sure of their beliefs out of their comfort zone.
I’ve been known to joke about the concept of death and I am fascinated by people’s seriousness around the topic. Whether you’re religious or not, (I’m not) death to me has always seemed like just another phase of life. I’ve lost people I love and in some pretty tragic ways, and I don’t make light of that. However, when I talk of my own death I want people to chuckle, I don’t want to be mourned, I’d much rather there be a big party in my honor than a grieving. I want my sense of humor to be reflected, normal is boring.
I’m very fortunate to have made some amazing friends who, thankfully, appreciate my antagonistic behavior and sense of humor. In the event of my death I’ve made two of them, Dan and Christine, responsible for certain things. Dan, I’ve asked to eulogize me but only if he leads off with the following:
Thing is, I’m not kidding, he thinks I am but I’m not. I’ve made him promise to say that under penalty of haunting. IE: If he doesn’t say it, and there is a way for me to do it, I will haunt him from the afterlife. And believe me, I will, he knows it too, and assuming he outlives me, Dan has reluctantly agreed.
The other ritual in the event if my death is my headstone inscription, for which Christine is responsible. To explain that, you need to understand something else.
I hate Thomas Edison.
Yeah, I know, pretty random. That statement has a tendency to piss off or confuse people. Especially coming from someone who works in technology, claims to be a Buddhist (it’s called “practicing” for a reason) and really tries not to use the word “hate” anymore.
However, when I tell this to people (especially those from New Jersey) they often don’t believe me, “How could you seriously speak ill of ‘The father of invention?!'”
Then I show them this:
They usually get it then.
Yes, Thomas Edison electrocuted an elephant in an effort to show the superiority of his direct current vs. Nikola Tesla’s alternating current. Edison’s rivalry with Tesla is extremely well documented and the man went to outlandish lengths to prove himself right, to discredit Tesla and to destroy his life.
In the end, Edison was wrong but he managed to nearly erase Tesla from the popular vernacular. To this day most in our society while most have no clue who Tesla was and think of Edison when they think of electricity.
Learning of this made me rethink much of what I thought I knew. I love occurances like that, stuff that subvert and disrupt the status quo and evoke thought. That, to me, is what subism is about.
It’s because of my beliefs as a subist and these enlightening truths that I want my death to not be taken seriously, I’d rather make someone laugh at society or think than cry for me. This is why I’ve also made Christine responsible inscription on my headstone, which will read exactly as follows:
“Fuck Thomas Edison. Seriously.”
If that offends you, good. If it makes you smile, even better.