As usual, my thoughts on some noteworthy media and tech stories from the past week.
Art Spiegelman withdraws his planned Marvel collection foreword
Art Spiegelman, the famous creator of “Maus,” was going to be the writer of a foreword to a Marvel reprint collection of early Golden Age stories. However, Spiegelman’s foreword made a disparaging remark about Trump: “In today’s all too real world, Captain America’s most nefarious villain, the Red Skull, is alive on screen and an Orange Skull haunts America.”
This led the collection’s publisher (the Folio Society) to ask for the remark to be removed, claiming Marvel’s trying to be “apolitical.” (Despite, well, the history of comics, including political cartoons.) Ultimately, Spiegelman refused, and withdrew his essay from the collection, publishing it in The Guardian instead.
Still, driving off one of the medium’s most noteworthy figures probably says a lot about Marvel. As plenty of people have noted, Marvel’s CEO is Ike Perlmutter, who’s a very fervent Trump supporter.
2019 Hugo Award winners announced
The winners included “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse” for “best dramatic presentation, long form” (beating fellow Marvel films “Black Panther” and “Infinity War”). Another winner was “Monstress, vol. 3: Haven” for “best graphic story.”
Android Q to drop dessert nicknames, now just “Android 10”
Google announced on Thursday that the next version of Android will be known as “Android 10.” Until now, it was known as “Android Q,” with much debate over which dessert-themed nickname it’d receive. However, Google also announced that it’s dropping the use of such names for all future Android versions.
Among other reasons, Google wants Android to be known as a global brand, which some dessert names don’t convey. Some desserts aren’t popular in some parts of the world (such as marshmallows), while others either aren’t always a dessert (pie) or are regional cuisine. Google also said some dessert names (like “lollipop“) are hard to pronounce in some languages. Thus, numbered OS releases were deemed more inclusive and easier.
I admit I view nougat as “the stuff inside of a candy bar,” not as its own dessert (as apparently the case in some parts of the world). Still, while all good points, it’s sad to see this naming tradition go by the wayside in favor of a more uniform (but blander) name.
I wonder if Google could’ve switched to, say, naming each OS version after different cities around the world (one city starting with “Q”, one with “R,” and so forth). The press release/publicity could even show, say, the Android robot with a dessert associated with that city. It would’ve been both creative and still inclusive.
Still, creative names aren’t dead yet in the tech sector. Apple still names its MacOS versions after California locales; Debian still names its operating system versions after “Toy Story” characters; and Ubuntu famously comes up with “(creative adjective) (alliterative name of animal)” as OS version names.