When I started teaching in the University of Wisconsin-Madison’s Technical Communication program, my then-Director, Gisela Kutzbach, gave me her stash of airline safety brochures. She passed them on to me when I began teaching the User Manuals class (which I *love* to teach!), and I have used them ever since as a way to start discussions about visual noise, instructions without words, representations of people, and other issues. I think I have a fascination about this simply because my dear uncle passed away in an awful plane crash, and the brochures resonate with me in an odd way now.
Today, my colleague Christine Nicometo passed on a link to a story that takes on these issues, too. Recently published in the Paris Review, I read this article with rapt attention. The article is entitled “In the Unlikely Event” and is written by Avi Steinberg.
See what you think.