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the world is a complicated place

From one of my favorite comic strips, Calvin and Hobbes:

Calvin is talking to his dad.
Calvin: Dad, how come old photographs are always black and white? Didn't they have color film back then?
Dad: Sure they did. In fact, those old photographs are in color. It's just the world was black and white then.
Calvin: Really?
Dad: Yep. The world didn't turn color until sometime in the 1930s, and it was pretty grainy color for a while, too.
Calvin: That's really weird.
Dad: Well, truth is stranger than fiction.
Calvin: But then why are old paintings in color?! If the world was black and white, wouldn't artists have painted it that way?
Dad: Not necessarily, a lot of great artists were insane.
Calvin: But... but how could they have painted in color anyway? Wouldn't their paints have been shades of gray back then?
Dad: Of course. But they turned colors, like everything else did in the '30s.
Calvin: So why didn't old black and white photos turn color too?
Dad: Because they were color pictures of black and white, remember?

(Later, Calvin is alone with Hobbes in a tree)

Calvin: The world is a complicated place, Hobbes.
Hobbes: Whenever it seems that way, I take a nap in a tree and wait for dinner.

Posted by diego on June 11, 2003 at 4:16 PM

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