One of my favorite bloggers, Kate Wagner, the grad student who's single-handedly created the wonderful and always interesting McMansion Hell website ... mcmansionhell.com ... today posted a great essay on the principle that every building is interesting:
In the same way, we must understand that every map is interesting.
Yes, we are all drawn to certain eye-catching maps or maps of particular places, but we cannot ignore all the other maps out there that look run-of-the-mill, common-or-garden, quotidian, and downright banal. Those maps are the maps that allow us talk not about the great triumphs of map history but the genre rules of mapping in each spatial discourse. They give us a "base line" for mapping.
So, celebrate the ordinary and the plain!
Although, there are limits: I'm writing this at a brew pub in Freeport Maine (go Gritty's!) and I refuse to drink ordinary beer when I'm here and can consume cask bitter and the other wonderful brews. But I appreciate such standouts only because I spent so much of my (barely) misspent youth and school years drinking cheap, ordinary beer. I already have a good base line for beer appreciation ...
Same with maps.
[Cover image is from the host of images generated by a Google search for "boring map"]