Critical font update

Tuesday 24 February 2004

Running Windows Update today, I learned of a critical update: Update 833407 removes “unacceptable” symbols from the Bookshelf Symbol 7 font. As soon as I read that description, I figured swastikas were involved. As it turns out, there is more to it.

Three symbols are removed from the font: two swastikas, and one star of David. Here’s the affected section of the Bookshelf Symbol 7 font before the update:

Bookshelf Symbol 7 font before the update

and after:

Bookshelf Symbol 7 font before the update

Now I understand that many people are sensitive about swastikas, and that despite their thousand-year history they have come to be universally associated with great evil. You can agree or disagree with needing to remove them, but no one is surprised to see them go.

But who needed the star of David removed? And who agreed to remove it?


Nils Jonsson 10:47 AM on 25 Feb 2004

Yeah, whats up with that? The crosses stay but the star goes?

Bob 11:54 AM on 25 Feb 2004

The Wingdings font still has a Star of David. The location in the font (capital Y) was partially responsible for the NYC font conspiracy rumors

Greg Hines 11:58 AM on 25 Feb 2004

More importantly, why was this a critical update? Critical updates are generally reserved for security-related patches and updates, not making fonts more politically-correct.

And is it really going to harm anyone that the characters are in the font? Most people don't even know about the Character Map application so there's little chance they'd ever see the character in their own daily use of the font (unless they're visiting an Aryan Nation site or something, in which case they probably aren't offended by swastikas).

andrew 8:28 PM on 25 Feb 2004

C'mon Ned, surely you know that the Israelis are as bad as the Nazis and their hated symbols should BOTH be purged from our historical consciousness.

And the Israeli fence is a racist, apartheid "Berlin Wall" of oppression.

duke 3:24 AM on 26 Feb 2004

andrew, I really hope you are joking

Ben Poole 5:06 AM on 26 Feb 2004

So if a symbol is "hated" we should purge it from our consciousness? Yeah right.

Bob 9:29 AM on 26 Feb 2004

Duke: Andrew isn't joking but he's being sarcastic.

Ben: I could be wrong but I believe that the Swastika image is banned in Germany so "purged" may be an accurate statement in some contexts. Perhaps that's where the "critical" nature of this update comes from? I don't support censorship of this sort. What's next? Will Microsoft have to change GDI to detect when you make a set of line draw calls to render a Swastika? Yeah, right.

[m] 4:33 PM on 26 Feb 2004

"Will Microsoft have to change GDI to detect when you make a set of line draw calls to render a Swastika? Yeah, right."

There goed my future as the window-drawing guy. Oh well, I can always draw stars...

David Boudreau 5:33 AM on 27 Feb 2004

I think this is perfectly analogous to the forbidding of the n-word in modern society. (I could type it, but I don't.) One of the problems that the forbidding poses is that youth or the uninformed may not ever have the chance to hear it or recognize it for the intended meaning- associated with evil, or not. The evil still has a way of seeping through, one way or another. While it's a good idea to _seperate_ content from its form, thinking that _removing_ the form altogether will somehow rid us of its content as well is kidding ourselves, isn't it? Andrew was probably just trying to say that some content can be bad or good, regardless of what label/form it has, e.g. whether it's concentration camps or the bulldozing of homes.

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