Logos, the good, the bad and the downright obscene

March 26, 2017

Last week I listened to Radiotopia’s magnificent podcast about design 99% Invisible. The particular show featured an interview with award-winning designer Michael Bierut. He is author of How to use graphic design to sell things, explain things, make things look good, make people laugh, make people cry, and (every once in a while) change the world, which came out in 2015. He is a partner at Pentagram in New York City and is the man behind the Obama and Hillary’s logos for the last three presidential elections, as well as designing the sign outside of the New York Times building on 8th avenue and these signs outside the Cathedral Church of St. John the Divine in New York, which elegantly remind dog owners of their responsibilities:

Logo is an abbreviation of logotype. Wanting to identify yourself, your work or your compsny is not new. In the past there were such things as coats of arms, signature seals, watermarks, silver hallmarks and literal brands. The first trademark legislation in England was passed by parliament during the reign of Henry III in 1266 and required all bakers to use a distinctive mark for the bread they sold. Nevertheless, it was the Bass red triangle which would revolutionise international brand marketing. in the 19th century Bass began applying red, blue or green triangles to their casks of Pale Ale depending on which of their three breweries they came from. After 1855 the triangles were all red and on January 1st 1876 the Bass Red Triangle became the first trademark to be registered under the UK’s Trade Mark Registration Act 1875. The rest is history.

Logos come in all shapes sizes and styles. Bierut has identified three types

  1. wordmarks: Google, Disney and Coca-Cola
  2. pictorial logos: Apple, Shell and Mercedes Benz
  3. abstract iconography: Adidas, Chanel and the Nike Swoosh

These are archetypes and a design may have more than one feature. For example, the famous I love NY combines 1 and 2.

The interview on 99% Invisible is called Negative Space Logo Design with Michael Bierut. The concept of negative space is essential for understanding many logo designs. Positive space refers to the areas in a logo that are the subjects, or areas of interest. negative space is area around the subjects. The classic example is the one when you either see two faces or a vase.

If you are seeing a vase, then you are seeing the white area as the positive space. The black areas become the negative space. If you see two faces, then you are seeing the black areas as the positive space and the white area as the negative space.

This allows designers to be very playful in what they do. They can often conceal messages. A famous example is the FedEx logo, which has am arrow between the E and the X:

Many other companies have hidden messagrs in their logos:

Baskin Robbins are famous for their 31 ice cream flavours and you can see the number in the logo:

The first letter in the Pinterest logo resembles a pin:

The Amazon logo has two for the price of one. First, the arrow points from “a” to “z”, suggesting the huge range of goods Amazon offers. And secondly, the entire thing looks like a smiley face:

Logos can be overrated. In the end they derive their meaning and usefulness from the quality of the company or organisation they represent. If a company is second rate the logo will eventually be perceived as a failure. Colour is a key element in logo design and plays an important role in carving out a brand identity. Colours acquire connotations and associations, though these will vary in place ant time. Here is achart I found online which shows how colours are used by companies:

Since the fist appearance of the red Bass triangle in the 19th century logos have conquered the world. but not everyone is happy with this. Sometimes logos can be attacked. One group who have been active for nearly three decades are the Adbusters Media Foundation. The Canadian not-for-profit, anti-consumerist, pro-environment activists are famous for their campaigns – Buy Nothing Day, TV Turnoff Week and Occupy Wall Street. I do not share their ideology but I do enjoy their spoofing of popular companies and advertisements.

Here are a couple of examples:

Sometimes, though, the damage is self-inflicted. One recent example is the logo for Trump Pence in 2016. Onceyou’ve seenit, it is impossible to unsee it :

When logos go wrong, sex is often the cause. Here are some examples that I found online:

Locum – a Swedish real estate company.

Megaflicks

Catholic Church’s Archdiocesan Youth Commission

I do have my doubts if they are all real.   This has been my brief tour of the fascinating world of logo desgn.


A couple of videos

March 26, 2017

Here are a couple of videos about logos:

Michael Bierut talks about what makes a truly great logo.

22 Hidden Messages In Famous Logos


All Out War : the first draft of the Brexit story

February 26, 2017

all-out-war

I have to admit I have become a bit disengaged from politics over the last few years. But after the political earthquakes of 2016 I felt I had to get back into it. The book I chose was All Out War by the political correspondent of the Sunday Times, Tim Shipman. This job seems to have been given access, going back for years, to most of the major figures in this story, except perhaps to Team Corbyn. Subtitled “The full story of how Brexit sank Britain’s political class“, it is a chronicle of the campaign that would lead to Brexit. It was well worth reading and has drawn plaudits from both sides of the debate. In fact, it is necessary to talk about all sides as what this book makes clear is that both “Leave” and “Remain” were coalitions of rival forces which at certain stages, as Shipman chronicles in exhaustive detail, seemed to spend more time  attacking factions on their own side rather than against those of the opposing campaign. If you like tales of bitter political infighting, this is the book for you.

Let’s take a look at those in favour of Brexit. The official campaign group for leaving the EU was Vote Leave, with its big rival being Leave.EU. There were other groups too such as Grassroots Out, Get Britain Out and Better Off Out, but Shipman focuses on the first two. Vote Leave was created in October 2015 by political strategists Matthew Elliot and Dominic Cummings. It was conceived as a cross-party organisation. Its two most prominent advocates were Conservatives Michael Gove and Boris Johnson, who gave it more respectability. They tended to play down immigration and highlighted global trade liberalisation instead. Leave.EU, which was originally called The Know, The campaign was co-founded by Bristol-based businessman and UKIP donor Arron Banks and property entrepreneur Richard Tice. They were The Bad Boys of Brexit” as Banks called his diary of the campaign. Their mantra for the campaign was immigration, immigration, immigration. In the end this double punch was effective, but there was a lot of hatred and there were even coups within Vote Leave.

Opposing them were the Remainers. Their principle figure was of course the PM. David Cameron felt that he had to promise a referendum in order to stem the tide of defections to Ukip, and lead a united party in the 2015 election. Not expecting to lose, Cameron made a number of tactical errors as he was outmanoeuvred by the Eurosceptics in his party. For example Remain fought the campaign with one arm tied behind their backs as Cameron wanted to avoid avoiding direct “blue-on-blue” attacks on fellow Tories. After the successful deployment of scaring the voters in the Scottish independence referendum of 2014, it was decided to repeat the strategy. It stressed the economic risks of leaving. There were messages from the Chancellor, the Governor of the Bank of England, Christine Laggard of the IMF and even Barack Obama who said that Britain would be at “the back of the queue” for trade deals if she left the EU. They may have overegged the omelette, but Remain generally won the economy debate. But this did not prove the decisive factor. Maybe with a sympathetic press it would have proved more effective. But little attempt was made to paint a positive picture of the European Union and Britain’s place in it. After three decades of Euroscepticism, this was always going to be a hard sell.

And then there was Jeremy Corbyn. They say that the problem with political jokes is that they get elected. Corbyn may have been elected as Labour leader twice, but he surely has no chance of ever being PM. I can’t be the only one who thinks that if the Tories had planted someone in the Labour party twenty years ago, he couldn’t have done a better job for them than Corbyn has.  The chapter called Labour Isn’t Working is about how Corby and his aides effectively sabotaged Labour’s Remain stance. Shipman portrays Corbyn as a puppet in the hands of shadow chancellor John McDonnell and chief of staff Seumas “Stalin wasn’t so bad” Milne. Lacklustre is the most positive way to describe Corbyn’s strategy of disengagement. McDonnell is said to have refused to travel on his party’s designated battle bus because to do so would have been “too New Labourish”. They were graduates from the Tony Benn school of anti-EU agitation, and many believe that Corbyn actually voted for Leave.

All this meant that Remain came across largely as Tory-run. Given the chaos of the campaign, 48% almost seems like a good result. They lost by 4% or 1.2 million votes. If Remain had won, we would be talking about the chaos that was Leave. It is interesting to compare these results with referendum held on 5 June 1975 in the United Kingdom to gauge support for the country’s continued membership of the European Communities aka the Common Market. In this case Yes won 67% of the vote. For such a transcendental decision I think there should have been a 60% threshold. Alas no such measure was in place, so we now have to accept the result.

 


Michael Lewis and The Undoing Project

January 22, 2017
Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky

Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky

I have to admit I wasn’t sure whether to read Michael Lewis’s latest offering, The Undoing Project. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a devotee of Lewis. He has had three films nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards for The Blind Side (2009), Moneyball (2011) and The Big Short (2015). He has knack for finding hidden treasure that other writers have missed. He often features mavericks or people who are not normally in the spotlight. His book Liar’s Poker (1989) described bond trader Lewis Ranieri, who revolutionised Wall Street in the 1980s with securitisation. This product was to play a massive role in the Global Financial Crisis of 2007 and onwards. Moneyball (2003) featured baseball manager Billy Beane, a pioneer in the use of sports analytics. But the book goes beyond sports; Lewis was foreshadowing the rise of the quants, the experts at analyzing and managing quantitative data, who would also be involved in the GFC. Another sporting book, The Blind Side, set in the NFL, featured not a glamorous quarterback, but an offensive left tackle. This may be an unsung position, but it is vital for the protection of the quarterback. The player Lewis chose was Michael Oher, who has won one Superbowl and appeared in another one in his eight seasons as a professional. The Big Short dealt with main players behind the creation of the credit default swap market that was a massive bet against the collateralized debt obligation (CDO) bubble. They would end up profiting from the crisis, but I would definitely not blame them for what went down – they had spotted flaws in the system. This is a common theme in Lewis’s work.

The Undoing Project looks at the work of Daniel Kahneman and Amos Tversky, who are also interested in human failings. The reason I had doubts about reading this book was that I was already familiar with their work. Indeed, I did a post about Kahneman and his book Thinking Fast and Slow: The irrational world of Daniel Kahneman. I should have had more faith in Lewis. The Undoing Project is a fascinating read. I thought I knew most of their story, but Lewis has found a way to produce an absorbing book about an arcane subject. Lewis has a real gift for explaining complex ideas, but what I liked about the book was the human element. The author provides the human story to the two men who revolutionised the way we think about how people think.

Born in Tel Aviv, British Palestine in 1934, where his mother was visiting relatives, Daniel Kahneman grew up in Paris, where his parents had emigrated from Lithuania in the early 1920s. He was a child of the Holocaust. Between the ages of seven and eleven he and his family were hiding out from the Nazis in southern France. He watched his father die because he couldn’t seek medical treatment for fear of being captured by the Germans. Lewis recounts how at the age of seven Kahneman had been playing with a Christian boy and was caught on the streets after curfew by an SS soldier. He had turned his brown sweater inside out so the man didn’t notice the yellow star. Instead he hugged little Danny and, full of emotion, showed him a photograph of another young boy. Then he gave the boy some money and sent him on his way. Kahneman recalled being fascinated by the complexity of humans.

Amos Tversky was born in Haifa, British Palestine in 1937 to parents who had emigrated from Poland and Russia. He had a happier childhood than Kahneman. His father, Yosef, was a veterinarian and his mother, Genia, was a member of the Knesset from its establishment in 1948 until her death in 1964. What is most striking from his life was his distinguished service in the Israel Defence Forces. Tversky was an officer in the paratroopers, an elite unit. He eventually rose to captain and served in three wars – 1956, 1967 and 1973. It was in 1956, in a border skirmish, that he was awarded Israel’s highest honour after saving the life of a young soldier who had frozen after having lit the fuse of an explosive charge. Tversky, who was a few metres behind him, rushed forward, dragged the young man a few yards away, and then dived to cover him, taking the shrapnel into his own body. The other soldier emerged without a scratch while Tversky had metal in him the rest of his life.

According to Lewis, the relationship between Kahneman and Tversky was as intense as any marriage. And like a marriage, their relationship could be fraught at times. They have been called the Lennon and McCartney of the academic world. Kahneman was the ideas guy, whereas Tversky was the analytic one, able to provide the academic rigour for Kahneman’s ideas. Tversky was once asked if their work had any bearing on artificial intelligence. His reply: “I’m much more interested in natural stupidity than I am in artificial intelligence.” The psychologist Richard Nisbett had a simple one-line intelligence test: “The longer it takes you to figure it out that Amos Tversky is smarter than you, the stupider you are.”

These days Kahneman and Tversky’s views of human psychology have found widespread acceptance. But when they began in the 1970s in the backwater of Israeli academia their theories were new and controversial. The academics would eventually find posts on American campuses. And it was the charismatic Tversky rather than the introspective Kahneman who got much of the fame. Their ideas about human biases are both illuminating and eminently practical. I explore them in detail in The irrational world of Daniel Kahneman.

There is no doubt that Lewis admires the two men and believes they are right about everything important. Someone who has written books like Liar’s Poker, Panic: The Story of Modern Financial Insanity., The Big Short and Flash Boys is not likely to be a cheerleader for rational economic man. But this is no hagiography.

The younger Kahneman is portrayed as a depressive. He is unsure of himself and rather needy. We also see him as envious of all the attention his partner was getting. Tversky, on the other hand is more of an intellectual bully contemptuous of many academics and not one to shy away from an academic spat. Despite their different personalities, they had a fruitful relationship. They would sit together in an intellectual back-and-forth, switching between English and Hebrew.

Like many marriages or Lennon and McCartney, they would endure a painful break-up. They did, however, make up after Tversky was diagnosed with a malignant melanoma. In the end, after many years spent complaining that Tversky was getting all the plaudits, it was Kahneman who won the Nobel Prize for Economics. The award cannot be given posthumously.

I too am a fan of their work. I am fascinated by human decision-making and how we can all go wrong. Perfection in choices is impossible, and uneconomical, just as, in a world of scarcity, developing a perfectly safe automobile is impossible—and uneconomical. We need to take short cuts. If we look at the world, we can see the fingerprints of irrationality everywhere. If I am sceptical, it is about psychology experiments. How accurate are laboratory settings at recreating the information and incentives of real market situation. The story of Kahneman and Tversky’s intellectual love affair is beautifully and vividly told by Lewis. However, I would be surprised if this were made into another film.


Ads, damned ads and online advertising

October 22, 2016

This week I heard a fascinating interview with Columbia Law School professor Tim Wu on NPR’S Fresh Air. An open Internet advocate, Wu is increasingly worried about the direction in which the World Wide Web is heading – advertising just keeps getting heavier and heavier and heavier. Wu has just written a history of advertising: The Attention Merchants: The Epic Scramble To Get Inside Our Heads.

Many of the founders of Internet were utopians. According to Stewart Brand, we owe it all to the hippies:

Forget antiwar protests, Woodstock, even long hair. The real legacy of the sixties generation is the computer revolution

But as time has gone on it has gone what has taken place has diverged from this vision. The internet has lost its innocence.  Yes, a lot of content is free, but this comes at a price. We are constantly being bombarded with advertising. Not only is it ubiquitous, it is becoming increasingly difficult to close. We like the idea that that we can get stuff for free. This is a notion that is particularly prevalent on the internet. Newspapers are caught in this dilemma. Going behind a paywall doesn’t seem to be a particularly viable option. You lose a lot of influence this way; newspapers have traditionally wanted to be at the heart of the debate. But giving everything away doesn’t work either. Advertising just doesn’t bring in enough revenue for newspapers. There are some companies making money from online advertising – the Internet powerhouses Google, Facebook and Twitter.

Wu describes Google as the most profitable attention merchant in the history of the world. They began as a very idealistic company, but what they didn’t have was a business model. Their route to wealth would be with advertising. What is particularly ironic about this is Google’s founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin actually hated advertising, which they thought would corrupt the goal of the search engine, which is to try to give you the most important information, not what someone paid to be there. They wrote all this in a paper, The Anatomy of a Large-Scale Hypertextual Web Search Engine, which they wrote while studying at Stanford in 1998.

We are in what is known as the attention economy. Human attention is indeed a scarce commodity. As we have such digital overload, companies struggle to get into our brains. To attract interest one of the online marketer’s most potent weapons is clickbait. Merriam Webster defines this as:

online material (such as headlines) designed to make readers want to click on hyperlinks especially when the links lead to content of dubious value or interest.

The earliest citation on the Wordspy website goes back to 1999. In reality what they are doing is using many of the techniques perfected by tabloid journalists. All we have is a 21st century version of The Sun’s notorious Freddy Starr ate my pet hamster.

Wu’s central idea is that if we really care about content, we should be willing to pay for it. He gives food for thought. An ad-free version, he claims, would cost $12 a year. I don’t take such an alarmist view. True, it can be irritating when you are on the mobile phone. But I don’t find Facebook ads particularly irritating. I see it as a reasonable trade-off. I’m still in awe at everything that you can get on the web. There has been a loss of idealism, but I have never been a cyber-utopian. I know that they are looking to find my weaknesses, but I don’t think that we are such passive victims.


Some thoughts on the Brexit

June 26, 2016

I don’t normally write about what’s in the news, but this week in view of the vote to leave the EU, I thought I would give my point of view.

  • My initial reaction is that it has been a huge mistake. We are now facing a huge period of instability. The reaction in the markets is a taste of what is to come. There is a real possibility of recession in the UK.
  • I am pretty used to politicians backtracking on promises, but the leave campaigners are breaking all records. The £350m for the NHS seems to have vanished. And the promise to control immigration is an illusion. I am believer in immigration. Here is the economic case for immigration:

  • Anti-immigration has been at the heart of the Brexit vote. One of the key things in politics is that just because you vote for an outcome does not mean this that this will happen; reality is not optional. Chavez and Maduro won elections for years, but they couldn’t suspend the laws of economics. In this case the Brexit campaign was based on misrepresentation of reality. In a piece called, A tragic split, The Economist pointed out the fundamental dilemma. Britain will surely need access to the EU’s single market, a source of prosperity. But the price of this access is that you have to accept free movement of people. If you reject this, you will be excluded from the single market. It is a stark choice between curbing migration and maximising wealth.
  • The collection of supporters of Brexit makes interesting reading Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage, Donald Trump, David Icke, George Galloway, Arthur Scargill, Katie Hopkins and Julian Assange to name but a few. Of course in the end you have to judge the arguments, and not the people who support it.
  • Then you have to be critical of the Remain campaign. At times it was a bit arrogant. Cameron called the referendum to heal the divisions on Europe in the Tories and undermine the popularity of UKIP. He achieved exactly the opposite. Cynics say that he had only promised the referendum because he thought that he wouldn’t have an overall majority and that the Lib-Dems would veto it. And Jeremy Corbyn was missing in action. Indeed, it is said that he was a supporter of Leave. The intervention of Barack Obama was probably counterproductive.
  • The wave of populism that is sweeping the world was another cause of this result. Globalisation doesn’t benefit everyone. Today in Spain we have an election and Pablo Iglesias, long-time communist and admirer of Venezuela, has a real chance of getting into government. And Hilary Clinton may yet fall victim to this wave of populism. President Trump doesn’t seem so inconceivable now.
  • I do think that the EU needs to learn from this debacle Unease about Europe is surely not confined to the UK. The EU is a flawed institution, which has tried to do too much. Boris Johnson was able to create a comic-version, but there is too much bureaucracy. I think the Euro was a mistake. I am more in favour of a free-trade area and the free movement of workers. Then there should be regional aid. But the Common Agricultural Policy is a terrible policy. Having said the situation has improved. In 1985, around 70% of the EU budget went on agriculture. In 2013, this was under 40%. Curiously, the editor-in-chief of the rabidly Eurosceptic Daily Mail benefited from at least £88,000 in subsidies from the European Union for his country houses in Sussex and the Scottish highlands in 2014.
  •  But Britain should be there fighting its corner. But now that is not possible, do we’ll have to make the best of it. There are interesting times ahead.

The wisdom of Nicolas Maduro

June 12, 2016

I always think a woman looks better when she just runs her fingers through her hair and lets it dry naturally. It’s just an idea I have.” When I heard this quote from Venezuelan leader, Nicolas Maduro I had to laugh. But the situation in Venezuela is anything but a joke.  The economy is in a sorry state today. The collapse in oil prices, which account for over 95% of its exports, is part of the reason, but the malaise goes much deeper than that. There is nothing in the shops, and the Venezuelan Pharmaceutical Federation has informed that only 20% of the drugs that doctors require are available. Meanwhile the country’s currency is pegged officially at 6.35 bolivars to the dollar, but on the street, a dollar will buy over 900 bolivars, according to the website Dolartoday. The International Monetary Fund expects inflation to reach nearly 160%.

Of course if you believe if you believe the former Economy Czar Luis Salas, a sociologist. In a 2015 pamphlet called 22 Keys to Understanding the Economic War he wrote:

Inflation does not exist in real life. When a person goes to a shop and finds that prices have gone up, they are not in the presence of ‘inflation.”

Salas does not believe that excessive printing of money causes inflation – an almost universally accepted tenet of economics. He insists prices rise primarily because corporations seek excessive profit margins. I have been critical of the dismal science, but maybe sociology is not the answer. Salas, though, has mastered left-wing rhetoric such as speculative-parasite-vulture capital or global war of the planetary plutocracy. He was sacked five weeks after taking on the job. That is quite an achievement; Salas is too ignorant of economics even for Venezuela’s President Maduro! As Socialism for the Twentieth Century comes to grinding halt, I thought it would be a good idea to look at some of the quotes by the Nicolas Maduro:

1) “Do you want to have a fatherland or toilet paper?”

What is about communism and toilet paper? This is what happens when you put price controls. You get a double whammy. On the one hand, if a good is cheaper then people will demand more. At the same time, producers will not be willing to supply a good if it is priced below cost. The rest is commentary.

2)Cilia and I keep 50 chickens at our home. It’s time to start building a new culture of production.” and “I call Venezuelan Youth to move to the country to build the revolution by harvesting potatoes.”

I’m really glad to hat Nick and Cilia, the first lady are into self-sufficiency, but he seems to be channelling Chairman Mao.

3) “They inoculated Commander Chavez with that illness to get him out of the way, and create a situation of destruction for Venezuela and its independent revolution.” “We have the intuition that our Commander Chavez was poisoned by dark forces that wanted him out of the way,”

So, Maduro claims that Chavez was given cancer. I’ve heard some wacky conspiracy theories before, and this one is right out there. Chavez died of prostate cancer, which is as far as I know is medically impossible to give to someone.

4) “We know that our commander ascended to the heights and is face-to-face with Christ. Something influenced the choice of a South American pope, someone new arrived at Christ’s side and said to him: ‘Well, it seems to us South America’s time has come.”

Maduro claimed that after Chavez died that he must have been the one that influenced the decision to make Francis the pope.  Nicolas Maduro was raised as a Roman Catholic, although he is said to be a follower of the late Indian guru Sathya Sai Baba. This must have helped him find Chavez’s spirit.

5) Suddenly a teeny little bird entered and flew around me three times. It landed on a wooden beam and began to whistle, a beautiful whistle. I stayed there looking at it and also whistled. ‘Well, if you whistle, I whistle.’ So, I whistled. The little bird looked at me strangely. It whistled for a short while. Flew around me once and left, and I felt his [Chavez’s] spirit.”

6) “Sometimes I come at night, sometimes I sleep here [at Chavez’s grave], often. You don’t even realize it. The neighbours sometimes realize.”

Now, that’s just creepy

7)  “Similar questions were posed to Allende as to me. Allende was told that he blamed everything on a conspiracy, on the economic crisis, that he blamed the high inflation that sabotaged him on the United States, and that he was frequently accusing the little lambs of Nixon and Kissinger of a coup. But everything became known later.

I have no doubt that the Americans are capable of engaging in dirty tricks. This is a massive Waste of time and money. The role of the United States was disgraceful, but Allende’s policies would have led Chile to the ruin anyway, as I pointed out in Roast pigeons in the mouths of comrades‏.

So there we have it. It would be wrong to single out Maduro without mentioning the man who came before him. In my previous post about Chaveznomics, I made a point of not attacking the democratic credentials of Chavez. I don’t think that Chavez was a dictator. What he was was an opportunist. He was an incredibly charismatic figure. A lot of the problems that came from Venezuela came from the fact that he was trying to win elections, and he did that by giving stuff away – televisions, microwaves, refrigerators and homes. He did make improvements but this was completely unsustainable. Government policies which prioritise consumption over investment will show good economic signs at the beginning. But they will be followed by an inevitable decline and generally disaster. It led to corruption and ultimately left the country without any money after having made so much during these years when the oil prices were high. Chavez’s highly interventionist impoverished Venezuela’s masses while the oil revenue was there he managed to continue with the policy.  The anti-capitalist policies in Venezuela have worked so well that the number of companies in Venezuela has now shrunk to a fraction of what it once was. That will reduce capitalist exploitation, won’t it? However, according to Salas, Venezuela is still too capitalist.

But I leave the rest of my vitriol for what Nick Cohen described as the radical tourists who have been deluded pimps for Venezuela. Michael Moore, Noam Chomsky, John Pilger, Seumus Milne, Ken Livingstone, Sean Penn. In Spain we have Pablo Iglesias, who might even be Spain’s President in two weeks. Here is the blurb for Venezuela: The Movie:

Venezuela has “redistributed wealth and power, rejected western neoliberal orthodoxy, and challenged imperial domination”.  Seumus Milne

“Hated by the entrenched classes, Hugo Chavez will live for ever in history. My friend, rest finally in a peace long earned.” Oliver Stone on the day of the leader’s death

“Hugo Chavez’s economic miracle” David Sirotta, writing in 2013

Will these people learn? I very much doubt it. It would be nice to see a little bit of intellectual humbleness from these people. No, they will move on to their next fantasy project. There is no accountability here.