Saturday, November 04, 2006

You Can't Please Everyone

The new department logo is drawing fire for its obvious bias--Professor Weinberger accused me of Western Hemispherism, while writing in from Germany, Professor Hansen said the logo betrayed a clear Monroe Doctrinist tendency. So I tried an alternative:

Of course, this is sure to raise the ire of Asianists among us, wondering why China and other regional powers aren't given their fair shake. So I have compromised with the following new option:

This should make the Hawaiians among us particularly happy.

Humor aside, trying to use a particular image of the world is always tricky. I wanted a globe so to replicate the seal of the university, so other kinds of projections were problematic. But all of them are distortions of one sort or another, and often wind up looking quite convoluted. The irony is that the projection of the Western Hemisphere, on which our logo is based, derives from the Prime Meridian, or the intersection of latitude and longitude at what was decided to be zero degrees. And where is that? Greenwich, England. So the irony is that the Western Hemisphere projection is a function of cartography established outside of the Western Hemisphere itself.

Last bit of irony--the Western Hemisphere image I incorporated into our logo was licensed from a graphic artist working in...Malaysia.