How to Recognize a Vicious Circle

As always, thanks for using my Amazon Affiliate links (USUKCanada).

« How to Tell Your Friends About Your Embarrassing Health Issues | How to Wear a Hat »

Reader Comments (26)

That's "cycle", not "circle". You don't have to explain the cyclical nature of the phrase if you simply use the right phrase :P

Both are in common usage, with "circle" appearing to be the original, and "cycle" an acceptable variant. The Ngram comparison is pretty telling. ~Missy

November 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTelanis

Not even surprising......

November 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJack

Now I'm trying to picture surrealist furniture.

One advantage would be (sound of Salvador Dali popping his hand off his open puckered mouth) that you can pay for it in butterflies and dreams.

November 12, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

I have a buddy with a melted clock chair. I guess that would be surrealist furniture. There's also that chair that looks like a gob a phlegm from someone who chugged a glow stick.

November 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSimpler Simon

Having to furnish my new apartment, I've been hitting up the Ikea store a lot. I like the "Hemnes Collection" because it looks simple and it's wood. Now, the PS 2012 line looks like something from 2001: A Space Odyssey.

November 12, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterIkeaWhatYouDidThere

Whatever happened to your 800 person goal for the subscriptIon service? Did you make it?

Note from Scott: Not even close, but I'm not complaining. Even at the lower subscriber count I'm making more than i would off of advertising, and I don't have to clutter up my site with a bunch of ads over which I have limited control.

Also, this way the income comes directly from readers who value my work, and that is a great feeling.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterdave

It's less surreal if you view it more as ex-modern. Even futurism has been and gone.
As an after-the-end (concept not mediocre movies) nerd, I will now go look at furniture.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSharon

However came up with the term "modernism" didn't show much hindsight, and is to blame for the fact that "vintage modernism" SOUNDS surreal, while actually it isn't, considering that modernism has been around for quite some time by now.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBird of Prey

Wouldn't the next step after modernist furniture be post-modernist furniture? I'm thinking a set of chairs that challenge the definition of "chair" -- "is this crate of apples you can sit on more or less a chair than the thing with four legs, a seat and a back which is hanging from the ceiling?", your angry dinner guests will demand of you, but there are no answers, only further questions.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJohn

@Bird of Prey

I always thought that too. And then they went ahead and started labeling everything Post Modernism, as if that wouldn't exacerbate the problem. In 100 years we'll be seeing Post Post Post Modernism.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBurnEdOut

Obviously, nobody has even thought of the Salvation Army or Goodwill as a source of furniture. If one is broke and can't afford the new stuff, one does what one needs to do. These places are full of stuff that is in the style one desires. And if modification is needed to meet a need, one isn't out very much if the effort goes wheels up.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMr. Obvious

It costs a lot of money to be a hipster.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKilebasi Kid

"They make stuff expensive because you like it."
That explains MY life...

Panels 2 & 3 FTW.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCR

I grew up in a place and time where there was a large item trash pickup once a month. People put their unwanted furniture at the curb, and those of us just starting out on our own would take the useable stuff. Thrift stores were a step up.
Now there's too much risk of bedbugs.
I'm glad no one has seriously mentioned buying furniture online; if it looks good and it's also cheap, it'll fall apart. I didn't fall for this, but I know a few who have.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDee

Wondered while reading how the "circle"/"cycle" debate would go. The anticipation, while a bit distracting from the comedic genius, made the strip more enjoyable.
How many comments in would it start?
How would start?
How would it end?
I am not disappoint.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeardo

@Dee I still live in such a place although it only takes place every other month. We recently left an old sofa (I'd like to think it's design was classic modern) out there but there were no takers, which is just as well as the reason we had to get rid of it was due to one of our cats deciding that it made a convenient litter box. Then again, a few years back after one of our cats also mistook a suitcase for a litter box, when we left that out on the curb it was gone within an hour.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterTimP

Salvador Dalí did indeed design furniture! His most famous creation was a sofa shaped like Mae West's lips.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMad Dan Eccles

@Dee In the Boston area that happens on the weekends before and after June 1st and gets called Allston Christmas (after the ground zero neighborhood full of moving students). The authorities go around and tag soft furniture with "Beware of Bedbugs" stickers/flyers. Metal recyclers and vintage dealers will grab it anyway.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterjfmurphy

Mad Dan, in my happy place, the couch resembles the ones around her mouth.

November 13, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterkhereva

The problem with the "modernism" nomenclature is that it pretty much means "right about now"... in whatever year or decade you say it.

"mid-century modernism" distinctly means the mid-20th century... until the mid-21st century comes along, and then... uh... where am I? What's going on here?

November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterMatt

Beardo>Wondered while reading how the "circle"/"cycle" debate
>would go. The anticipation, while a bit distracting from the
>comedic genius, made the strip more enjoyable.
>How many comments in would it start?
>How would start?
>How would it end?
>I am not disappoint.

Um.. I don't think a single comment, with a single response from Missy, exactly qualifies as a "debate".

I am disappoint.

November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterboB

So, so delightfully funny! Thank you, Scott. Your comedic brilliance finds uproarious humor in the most surprising of places. Thank you, thank you!

November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterPipeTobacco

@boB - It was an extremely succinct debate.

November 14, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLythande

FEI: Modernism doesn't mean simply mean "current." Like a transcendentalist believes in transcendence, or an atheist believes in a lack of god, a modernist has a belief</rm> in modernity, which in application means a belief that one mustn't be bound by past styles or conventions. What we call modernism now is the style produced by modernists when modernism was in its heyday, around the 1930's-40's.

The irony of course is that a proper contemporary modernist, in the original sense of the word, would eschew any hint of such 80-year-old stylistic conventions. Modernism as the term is used now is by definition vintage, which is hardly strange at all. There's nothing so traditional in art as periodic attempts to break from tradition.

So long as I'm pontificating: Post-modernism doesn't simply mean "after modernism," but refers to a reaction to modernism, that there is in fact no need to break from past traditions and conventions, and that they can be freely incorporated into contemporary works. Often this means a playful awareness of these conventions: if you hear that Frank Zappa is a post-modern musician, or The Simpsons is a post-modern television show, it's often meant in this sense.

November 14, 2013 | Unregistered Commenter1Mac

This makes me think of pricing tea ceremony stuff in Japan. The founder of the Japanese tea ceremony was a big fan of simplicity and humility, so he encouraged his students and followers to use simple, common tools, rather than expensive, fancy ones that show off wealth. Today, tea implements in the style of "common" 17th-century tools can cost tens to hundreds of times what the modern, cheap equivalent would cost... yet everyone still uses them whenever possible.

November 20, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterEveryl

Since modernism fell from favor in the 1970s and post-modernism is currently in vogue, all modernism is now vintage modernism.

November 21, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGregory Bogosian
Editor Permission Required
You must have editing permission for this entry in order to post comments.