Contempt for “Contempt”

One of the nice things about WordPress is that it allows you to create “pages” that are separate from blog posts, thus allowing the user to turn his or her blog into something like a complete personal website. Terence Tao in particular has made excellent use of this feature: his blogsite contains a number of pages on career advice, for example, that are independent of the regular blog. Unfortunately (and as if to compensate), WordPress also places stifling constraints on the visual layout of the site: you have to choose from among a list of predesigned “themes”, which you essentially cannot modify. Now, it turns out one of the properties of the default theme (the visual style of which I happen to like) is that it lists, on the sidebar, all of the pages you create — and there’s apparently nothing you can do about it! Since (as I will explain presently) I am envisioning creating independent pages numbering perhaps into the hundreds(!), this obviously is not an acceptable state of affairs.

So, I had to change themes. But (of course) none of the available themes are really satisfactory: they either have the same profligate-linking property of the default theme, or else they are aesthetically inappropriate or displeasing. The best compromise seems to be the one I have currently selected (called “Contempt”), which is described as a “more professional” version of the default theme (“Kubrick”). There are, however, at least three problems with “Contempt” : (1) the color scheme, which would be perfect if this blog were only about, say, mathematics and linguistics, but which contains far too much “technical” gray for a blog one of whose principal topics is something as “artsy” as music (yes, of course I know that’s a spurious contrast to make, but we’re talking about colors here, folks); (2) the fact that the text size used for comments is tiny-issimo; and (3) it lacks the feature of “Kubrick” where the “archive” view of a post links to the posts chronologically before and after it — a feature I like because it encourages browsing.

So, people at WordPress: please fix this and give me what I want, which is “Kubrick” with the link format of “Contempt”. Better yet, allow me to choose exactly the links I want to display, regardless of the “theme”.

Update (8/07): Just as I was beginning to really like the look of the “Contempt” theme, I have discovered a highly inconvenient bug that is specific to this theme: it is impossible to highlight text for copying/pasting. This really pisses me off. I mean, how hard can it be to have f***ing text highlighting work properly, like on every other theme?

So, for now, if you want to copy text from my posts, I suggest doing so from the HTML source file (which your browser hopefully allows you to access). 

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