Vintage Printable Smackdown! Curating or Tossing? We report, you decide.

Reader mail: “Whichever way I look at it, you’re a tosser, not a curator.”
Our favorite World Wrestling Federation move is where two wrestlers in the ring, and a third jumps the ropes, grabs the other two by the forelock and smacks their foreheads together. Any third parties out there?

CONTROVERSY: Is collecting electronic images curating or tossing?

Paul, from sent us an e mail: “Whichever way I look at it, you’re a tosser, not a curator.

We aren’t entirely sure what the term “tosser” denotes. Nevertheless, having had closed-door, hush-hush,  editorial conference with senior staff discussing the merit to this critique, here is Vintage Printable’s position statement on being called a “tosser, not a curator”:

We’ve been called worse by better people than you, Paul!

In our other blog we were dissed by the New York Times.

Not that Paul isn’t as worthy to dis’ us as the Gray Lady.  Maybe we should be honored to be dis’d by Paul. But, being excluded by the establishment is sort of our specialty and, given our unbounded enthusiasm and apparently adjudged bounded ability, ruling class dissin’ merely encourages us to improve.

Our goal at Vintage Printable is to bring public domain to the public .  We take images in academic libraries,  stick ordinary, searchable key words on the images (like: “pink” or “cat” or “bad ideas “) and get them out where search engines can pick them up so everyone can enjoy them.

Plus, frankly, we think too much in our day job and looking at pretty pictures is something we can do while waiting for the conference call to start.

I mean, from time to time we post actual words.

Like,  how to get a marriage anulled for (ahem) weakness  in France in 1756, including what looked like first ad for a matrimonial lawyer. That was kind of interesting in a pre-revolutionary Jerry Springer-ish sort of way.

We could  put up editorial exposition, such as:

Buffon, widely regarded as the authority on natural history in the pre-Darwin world,  propounded principles of white European superiority through his writing and illustration.   His vastly popular naturalist illustration combined with well-known and widely held belief in the quasi-moral derogation of North America added to the importance of US independence and unity of the colonies, and  evoked the Jeffersonian response in the Federalist Papers volume 11, to wit (via, emphasis added):

. . . The world may politically, as well as geographically, be divided into four parts, each having a distinct set of interests. Unhappily for the other three, Europe, by her arms and by her negotiations, by force and by fraud, has, in different degrees, extended her dominion over them all. Africa, Asia, and America, have successively felt her domination. The superiority she has long maintained has tempted her to plume herself as the Mistress of the World, and to consider the rest of mankind as created for her benefit. Men admired as profound philosophers have, in direct terms, attributed to her inhabitants a physical superiority, and have gravely asserted that all animals, and with them the human species, degenerate in America — that even dogs cease to bark after having breathed awhile in our atmosphere. Facts have too long supported these arrogant pretensions of the Europeans. It belongs to us to vindicate the honor of the human race, and to teach that assuming brother, moderation. Union will enable us to do it. Disunion will will add another victim to his triumphs. Let Americans disdain to be the instruments of European greatness! Let the thirteen States, bound together in a strict and indissoluble Union, concur in erecting one great American system, superior to the control of all transatlantic force or influence, and able to dictate the terms of the connection between the old and the new world!. . .

Buffon’s theory of  white European male supremacy over  North America was  alluded to by Jefferson in his reference to Buffon’s view that dogs, once imported to America’s inferior atmosphere, can no longer bark.  One could make a credible case that  Buffon’s  illustrated natural history provided fuel for the emotional, sociological and philosophical fire of European supremacy later leading to the world wars dominating the 2oth century.

. . . But, who cares?

Vintage Printable users, we hope you use the images to create one of a kind items — and maybe bring yourself some income producing activity.  In this economy, good for you.

We hope you use the images to print something nice for your Ikea frame if you are out of work but still want art on the wall.

We hope you use the images in your graphic design to come in on time and under budget and wow the client with your creative ability.

“Tosser” or “curator” we enjoy the images and hope you do, too.

We would encourage everyone also to check out for real curatorial expertise.

And, Paul, (this is the website in your e mail,)  response?  Explanation?

We are also a publisher of  short e books via Scribed in PDF form, free for the download as always.  You may want to subscribe as there will be several upcoming volumes.   Perhaps we are not really a publisher, but more of a “PDF tosser.”

Be that as it may, we are quite excited about an upcoming volume:

Force Majeure, Material Adverse Conditions, Acts of God, Natural Disasters: A Pictorial Work.”

(Likely a several volume reference work. We would consider this volume to be “Peerless” unless we’re mistaken, for those who have been through L1 contract law).01.14.10: Canceled with due respect to those in Haiti.

Other volumes upcoming:

“British Optical Equipment, Selected Images”

“Starfish and other Echinoderms”

“Algae Japonicae”

17 thoughts on “Vintage Printable Smackdown! Curating or Tossing? We report, you decide.”

  1. Wow, WTH??!! Some people will pick a fight with anyone. I don’t know what a tosser is either unless it’s like tossing your cookies…hehehe. Anyway, I think what you do is fantastic and extremely generous. Keep up the great work! And THANK YOU!

    1. Thanks for the validation!

      We can’t speak to anyone elses’ concepts, but this site is different from a museum or academic site because it is superficial and utilitarian. We would like to be the place you go to print out an image that goes well with your decor or fits your current mood.
      In fact, here’s how I imagine Bibliodyssey:
      Red Stretch Limo

      Vel – go figure on the conflict– it seemed to be one of social dominance. *sigh* There are neural wiring reasons why people have a social dominance orientation, but, that’s more the subject of our other neuroscience blog. We thought tosser maybe had to do with vomiting, a medieval image of which is here. (Gallery link: Medicine, Dentistry, Hospital).

      (Vel chronicles her creativity at Halcyon Dreams)

    1. Hi Kim — wow you know how to smack-down! Schwew Room Temperature Milk! Ouch!

      No Caspar Milquetoasts here at Vintage Printable! We are Soy! (did that come out correctly, Spanish speakers?)

      Paul you are seriously getting diss’d!!

  2. Speaking as a librarian who only just discovered this site exists and expects to spend many pleasant hours poring over the goodies to be found here, I say keep doing what you’re doing!

    Public Domain items SHOULD be publicly available, gosh darn it! That’s the whole point of having limits on copyright terms in the first place!

    1. Katy, hats off to librarians who put these images up on the web and allow sites like Vintage Printable to put these into the mainstream population.

      Public Domain items SHOULD be publicly available, gosh darn it! That’s the whole point of having limits on copyright terms in the first place!

      YES YES YES. Thank you.

  3. I rarely comment on blogs, but I thought this was a good time to thank you for your posts.

    Seriously, who doesn’t love pink, cats and bad ideas?

    1. V- You are welcome.

      Seriously, who doesn’t love pink, cats and bad ideas?

      No one. If there were more pink, cats and bad ideas (ok, maybe not a drunk Russian army), the world would be a better place.

  4. I don’t know what a tosser is either…perhaps someone who is able to toss out the stuff they’ve been collecting for years? Don’t know, don’t care.

    Paul’s blog is nice but your site ROCKS!! I’m a breast cancer survivor with little or no money at times who is trying to make a living with her digital collage. I say trying because it’s taken me forever to find a source of material that is vintage enough to please me and that I can actually use!! I stumbled onto Vintage Printables today and I’m in download heaven! Thank you, thank you for your generosity and your time and your willingness to provide digital scans that are not only superior but useable by folks like me.

    A lot of sites/blogs offer FREE VINTAGE for download…guess what…their weenie little jpgs are unuseable which is fine and perfectly ok if they weren’t promoting themselves as a source of useable material. Useable means that you can actually USE it, not download it just to fill up your files and hopefully someday find a way to use such low-res stuff.

    Your site is far superior to ANY site out there…I should know…I’ve been to hundreds and hundreds of them and can’t believe I missed yours only because I never thought to google “engravings”.

    I’ll take an occasional glance at Paul’s lovely and obviously (in his view) ‘superior’ site but yours will be number one on my list now and forever more! A hundred times over… THANK YOU!!
    Carolyn, a (very happy) Jersey Girl

    1. Carolyn aka a Jersey Girl, this is it: the Vintage Printable stimulus plan. Good for you and let’s hope 2010 is good to you and your business.

      Take note museums and academic libraries living on taxpayer funds: give it up.

      Taking taxpayer money to buy the items (or get donors to donate), and then forcing people to pay yet again for a decent digitized version of public domain images is yet another example of gov’t getting itself tied up in knots. Figure it out: do you want the Carolyn’s of the world to be self sufficient or not?

      The same is true of scientific research paid for by taxpayers, then published behind a pay wall.

      Sorry Carolyn, but you are a text book example of what this site is trying to do in its puny “tosser” type way. We hope your insurance covered you or you are in SF where there is universal health insurance for your breast cancer. (We used to work in the pharma oncology area, and know this market pretty well).

      So we need to go, metaphorically, into our scrap wood shack and take this opportunity to put out another manifesto connecting all the dots here: taxpayers always are subsidizing corporations.

      Tax payers subsidize insurance companies in the individual/small business insurance market, and by paying for the COBRA subsidies.

      The individual and small business market is full of post claims underwriting, which is essentially theft. If you are an independent artisan, and have to go to the individual or small business health insurance market, once you get cancer, the insurance companies flag your initial disclosures, and say “gotcha” and cancel your insurance. The health care providers then refuse to treat individuals with no insurance.

      There was a Congressional hearing about this predatory practice, called “rescission”, which is basically “gotcha” health insurance: take the premiums, and wait in the weeds until a claim is made, then go back and check for some undisclosed even unrelated condition (like, a skin condition), and spring out and say “gotcha, we took your premiums but we’re not paying a cent on the claims” (see some of it here). This is made all the worse because patients have limited to no access to their own health records, so of course there will be mistakes on the insurance application. Plus, if you are uninsurable, you may even lie just to get insurance — after all, what other choice do you have? Bankruptcy? Going into poverty to collect Medicaid? Death?

      We are particularly galled that the tax payers yet again subsidize the insurance companies by paying to extend COBRA for laid off employees. Corporations pay their management jillions because they are brilliant, yet, the horrible management practices resulted in massive unemployment. Laid off employees can buy their company health insurance for up to 36 months under COBRA at exhorbitant rates keeping the insurance companies profitable. No job, and you can’t afford that. The option is to take a chance and go bare (so to speak, no insurance) and get sick, go into poverty, and rely on Medicaid (taxpayers, yet again). So, taxpayers now subsidize insurance company shake-down COBRA premiums. Wouldn’t it be easier if laid off employees just had affordable health insurance in the individual market? Or some kind of “bargain basement” version as a safety net?

      The message that individuals are looking for a hand out is wrong. Individuals are looking for jobs. Corporations are looking for hand outs. Insurance companies are looking for shake down money. (The whole thing with health care pricing, etc. is backwards, getting paid more if the patient has to go through more procedures, etc. but another blog, another time. It’s called “reverse competition” where the middle man makes a % and so is incented to choose the most expensive choice and the end user is stuck paying for the most expensive version).

      We fail to understand why the California legislature doesn’t just change the Business and Professions code 17200 back to the way it was and let private attorneys general actions sue these insurance companies for failure to comport with insurance bad faith, if any lawmakers are reading this. If we keep state insurance commissioners (who are in the pockets of the insurance industry), then let the shark lawyers go after the corruption. That’s what they’re there for.

      There is a mixed message coming from our elected officials, from both major parties: Corporations win, individuals lose, and we want small businesses to start with creative individuals. Can’t have it both ways, guys. Get your act together.

      Regardless of if you’re a Fox News or Mother Jones’ fan, just connect the dots: get individual and small business health insurance squared away, and then let people go out and start new enterprises, away from the current corporate-ocracy. (And I even like some corporations). If this country wants to make sure everyone gets health care so we can all move on with our lives, fix this. If this country takes the view, “nothing is cheaper than death” then keep things the way they are.

      Apologies for the lecture, but how on earth does this country expect the Carolyns of the world to be creative if they have to be tied to a corporation to get decent insurance?

      (Carolyn’s creative works are available via Etsy, Pink Ribbons and Roses)

  5. Well someone has to collect the images first before they can be “curated”! Who’s to say someone can’t use the images here in that manner? Did he not think of that?

    Also I don’t use the images for art/crafts (though if I had a printer I might print some out for display) but I enjoy looking at them as if at a library, one with ridiculously cool old books! Maybe not everyone gets a kick out of that like me, but I really think it’s important for such things to be shared with the public. So I feel that you are doing a great service, beyond just providing resources for people’s creations.

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