Yes, fonts have birthdays. Helvetica, the font of choice for the modern(ist) age is now 50 years old. Yes, the font for neo-fascists enjoys its golden days in an appropriate age. It's so sleek, so efficient, so easy to read, so... everywhere. It even has its own film.
We composition(ists) don't often talk much about typeface, but we should. I know, I know, computer and writing folks have been talking about fonts for a while now and *everybody* has the disclaimer on their syllabus to use one of the "appropriate" fonts like Times New Roman but NOT like Wiesbaden Swing Dingbats. But we really haven't theorized fonts, have we? Graphics are so much more cool.
But sometimes we need that Buffy the Vampire Font to make our point, to persuade our audience that this is really a cool thing we're doing. Of course, it can backfire, too. Fonts are to content like dress is to a speaker's ethos, n'est-ce pas?
Given Fleckenstein's argument that literacy involves image and word, what better place to start than looking at how font use signals a particular relation to the subject, composing or composed? What about Wysocki's "I Can See Clearly Now: The Visible Form of Academic Texts and the Invisible Form of the Subject." It's been eleven years since she made that point, so maybe we should revive it. It seems to connect typeface to larger social flows of power and desire, so maybe we can get a critical angle on what we do when we provide appropriate versus inappropriate fonts or when we say explore fonts in this part of the course, but not in this other part.
Anyway, happy birthday fonts everywhere. No exceptions.