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AT LARGE: In praise of the Web

AT LARGE: In praise of the Web

Last week I used this column as a platform to launch a grassroots resistance movement, aimed at eradicating the Internet. It would be fair to say, a week later, that my protest finished up somewhere south of entirely successful.

So, pragmatically, I'm going to alter my stance slightly. Now, I wish the whole world were like the Web.

Why the shift? Two words: bridesmaids' dresses. At my upcoming nuptials, I want to have the bridesmaids' dresses colour-coordinate with what the groomsmen are wearing.

My intended and her chief bridesmaid went out and found dresses. What colour, I asked? Purple. No problem - the place I'm getting my tux from can supply a spiffy-looking purple waistcoat. What shade of purple, I asked?

That's when all hell broke loose.

The catalogue provided by the shop contained no actual photos of dresses in that colour. A mad dash about the house looking for purple things yielded nothing sufficiently similar. In desperation, we looked on the shop's Web site. There it was: a dress the colour I'm expected to wear on my wedding day. It looked pink.

There is no force known to humankind, natural nor technological, not even love itself, that will persuade me to wear pink.

The colour, as described on the Web site, is called "Slate". The same shop has a darker fabric available, called "Ink". The waistcoat is called "Purple Symphony". Now I ask you, does "Purple Symphony" sound more like "Slate" or "Ink"?

In the publishing biz, we would never use such silly terms to describe a colour. We whip out a Pantone book and get the appropriate CMYK values. In the world of Web design, we would be talking about whether it's "663366" or "993366" (it actually looks dangerously close to "CC6699").

Now you want to open up a Web-design app and get a look at the colours I'm talking about. Why? Because I have described them in terms we can both understand and know, objectively, that we're talking about the same colour.

That's the beauty of the Web. Out here, in the so-called "real" world, where colour is defined by romance and art rather than mathematics, we can't even have a sensible discussion about what purple looks like.

Another couple is getting married in the same church later the same day, so we're going to split the cost of flowers. Of course, the flowers have to coordinate with the bridesmaids' dresses, don't they? What colour are her bridesmaids wearing?

"A sort of goldy-mauve". My head hurts.

Matthew JC. Powell's tuxedo will be #000000, aka "black". Complement his dress sense on mjcp@optushome.com.au.


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