Picturing Reed Richardson

Reed F. RichardsonI think of myself as kind of public nuance rather than a stalker. And no one really seems to care. For example, Brad DeLong continues to ignore my helpful suggestion on cleaning up his very ugly blog. And Corey Robin (who is more than willing to correspond with me about history and politics) is silent on the important issue of font color contrast and it relevance to computer accessibility.

The case of Reed Richardson is an interesting one. He has been exceptionally good natured about my pestering. (What do you expect? Just look at his picture!) As best as I can tell, he was once an intern working with Eric Alterman at The Nation. Alterman is the writer of smart and learned liberal books that start with the letter “W” (which is “M” depending upon how you look at it). Thus far, he’s used four:

His last book was The Cause: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. I was sad that he didn’t call it Where We’ve Come From: The Fight for American Liberalism from Franklin Roosevelt to Barack Obama. Then he would have had a matched set!

I’ve been reading Eric Alterman for years. And like it is with anyone you read a lot, I’ve gotten kind of used to what his take is on any given subject. That doesn’t mean he isn’t interesting to read, but I don’t look forward to his articles every week the way I used to. But luckily, Alterman has a special weapon: his former intern Reed F. Richardson.

Reed Richardson - Artist's RenderingEach week (but not last week, to my great disappointment), Eric Alterman ends his blog post with, “And now here’s Reed.” Normally, they work together so that they discuss different aspects of the same issue. This adds a great deal to the coverage—especially given that Richardson has a distinct take on these things. Plus, he isn’t quite so gloomy as Alterman.

Anyway, over the last few months I’ve bugged both of these guys. Most recently, I requested that they put in an anchor link to Richardson’s articles, because I find myself more often linking to them than to Alterman’s articles. Eventually, the link was set up, even though it is often broken due to The Nation’s clumsy advertising code. But the one thing I never got, was a picture of Richardson that I could use in articles. So I created an image of a yellow smiley face with the caption, “Reed F. Richardson: Artist’s Rendering.” In fact, the number one result on Google is this exact image.

Last week, Richardson finally set up a Twitter account. Of course, there was no image. It was the usual twitter egg image. So I tweeted:

I figured that subtlety wasn’t working, so I’d just request the image. And he obliged. But I have to say, it is a grainy, low resolution image. But I guess it is better than the smiley face. Barely. (Admit it though: he does have a big smile. That artist’s rendering wasn’t bad. Although he isn’t quite so yellow.)

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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