I'm going to do this week's recap of the reading a little differently. I was surprised (and yet, not surprised) that the icons the chapter chose to use and questions it asked, were icons I had seen in the past week and questions that had been asked in other design forums. I found this very coincidental, and expected, they are icons after all and chances are their "easily determinable meaning" is often parodied and reconstructed for that very reason.
So, to go along with the bathroom icons on pages 499-505:
I like this design very much, particularly for the angles of their heads. However, if could easily be misinterpreted as one bathroom being for well, number one, and the other bathroom for number two. Nevertheless a good try. And much better than the image of the dog's face on p. 504 from Hong Kong, which I don't understand at all... anyone?
Then to go along with p. 508, Grant Wood's "American Gothic." Which I've seen parodied a hundred times, but really knew nothing about, and was very glad to read Guy Davenport's "The Geography of the Imagination" for insight, I present:
This chapter's Profile is of Tibor Kalman, who altered the racial identities of high profile people, pages 546-556. In true Kalman style, someone/some people altered the racial identities of Barack Obama and John McCain--who to give credit to, I'm not exactly sure:
To sum up, I'd like to look at the Mercedes ad on p. 520-21. It says "Glimpse at them for a split second, and you know exactly what they mean." I feel like the reason we redesign and parody iconic images, is because as message makers we understand that NOTHING has a definitive meaning, icons change according to audience, culture, time, place etc. I'll admit I might be putting words into people's mouths, but this is the way I'd like to see the world: We, as image and message makers, toy with these icons because as much as we create design and images to market, persuade and sell ideas, we'd much prefer to market and sell to an astute and interested audience who would rather read messages and interact with images, rather than "glimpse at them for a split second."