Monday, April 1, 2013

Tasty signature


[Photograph by Michael Leddy.]

Tastykake Cupkakes in Illinois? I had to buy a box. And thus I saw the similarity between the kake’s scrawl/scroll and the much derided signature of United States Treasury Secretary Jack Lew. And then, having taken some photographs and schemed a post, I discovered that back in January, the Internets had noticed the similarity between a Hostess product and Lew’s signature.

Richard Posner, in The Little Book of Plagiarism (2007):

[O]ld ideas are constantly being rediscovered by people unaware that the ideas had been discovered already. . . . A rediscoverer or independent discoverer is not a copier, hence not a plagiarist.
One could even argue that it is the earlier discovery of the similarity that counts as plagiarism — an instance of what Winston Churchill called anticipatory plagiarism.


[Jack Lew’s signature.]

Related reading
All plagiarism posts (Pinboard)
Fauxstess cupcakes

comments: 4

Sean said...

And here all this time I thought Tastykake was the pastry arm of Bach scholarship:

http://www.hpschd.nu/tech/tmp/lehman.html

NB: Growing up in New Jersey, Tastykake Krimpets were for me an entire food group.

Michael Leddy said...

Amazing. It reminds me a little of playing Beatles records backwards, though I wouldn’t doubt Bach’s ability to create something so cryptic. Do you buy it?

I loved Tastykake cupkakes and pies when young. The new product alas is no madeleine.

Elaine Fine said...

I suppose, then, that the loops in Michael's Tastykake can also be used to tune guitars.

Sean said...

No, I don't buy it; that kind of inductive, top-down thinking leaves me wanting. And if a word like "hidden" is used to describe the context of the information, I think it's necessary to explain what would possibly motivate Bach to "hide" it, and that would open up avenues that seemingly always have dead ends.

Though some argue that there are many "hidden" aspects to his music (e.g. his use of gematria, etc.), I would argue that they are in plain view for everyone to see. Put another way, even if I accept the usage of "hidden" with regard to the content of his music, both the context and the craft with which he did so is in no way analogous to the "squiggle".

When I first read about it I was hoping there might be more of a bottom-up explanation. For example, if tuning systems represent a certain kind of patterning or organization, what similar (or analogous) context-dependent pressures might be influencing the drawing of the patterns found in the "squiggle"? What lies beneath?