Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

All year long, we've been entranced by the New York Times feature "Room for Debate," in which six people each share short opinion essays on a controversial topic—important and relevant questions from "If store-bought donations at the school fund-raiser are so wrong, what's the solution?" to "Is Anti-White Bias a Problem?" to "Rising Wealth Inequality: Should We Care?" In that spirit, we've decided to host a small "Room for Debate" amongst the Gawker staff, around the topic: "Which Color Is Best?"


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Hamilton Nolan: Green

Imagine you're laying on the beach, eyes closed, under a warm sun, a cool breeze ruffling your hair just so. You slowly open your eyes to gaze up at the clear sky—which is GREEN. Fucked up. You would probably freak out and run away, but to where? Wherever you go, the insect blood-green sky is there above you. After a while you'd probably get used to it. This new green world will come to seem normal, even comforting. As long as you never think about what came before—the world you lost. The world you loved.

Also, emeralds.


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Max Read: Black

A lot of people think black is "depressing," and I can see where these people are coming from. They are coming from Moronville. Black is a joyful color! What better way to reassure your anxieties than by looking at the great inky vacuum of space and reminding yourself of the pathetically small scale on which you live your life? Black is the color of your inconsequence. It is also the color of death, the moment at which your wretched life will end and your consciousness, the sickest joke biology has ever played, will no longer attempt to separate itself from the sable void of existence. "Depressing." Please! You are depressing, all of you, for trying to gladden the inescapable prison of survival by clinging to wavelengths of light as if they represented anything other than the horrifyingly random tyranny of nature.


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

John Cook: Wythe Blue

It's Benjamin Moore's Color of the Year. Who are we to argue with the experts?

Much more versatile than you may think, blue is truly a classic color. It has universal appeal, never goes out of style, and is overwhelmingly chosen as a color favorite across North America. It evokes the sea and sky, physically calms us, and symbolizes trust and commitment.

Because of the influence that blue has in our world today, we have chosen wythe blue (HC-143) as Benjamin Moore's 2012 Color of the Year. It's a beautiful, calming hue that has an element of heritage and offers grounding rootedness, providing comfort and stability.

Blue's influence in the world today cannot be overstated.


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Adrian Chen: Green and Blue Are Equally Good

There's a reason green and blue sit snugly next to each other on the color spectrum: They're both amazing colors. Deciding between them—the colors of our Earth!—would be like asking a mother to choose between two children.

In fact the entire process of ranking colors is a petty grade-school holdover, a remnant of an American education system that values cold computation and rote memorization over any deeper understanding. I'd hope we can move toward a relational understanding of colors, and away from a hierarchal one. Let's not forget, Americans were once ranked by their color.


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Jim Newell: Fuschia

Where do you find fuschia? Researchers suggest that it's in Crayola crayon boxes — the 64-set, occasionally. There is a fuschia crayon that's purple and pink and red but kind of neither. Or rather, there was! The color was created by Attila the Hun's child, Boomer, according to ancient legend, and has been the official color of most European and south Asian countries at one time or another. It was lost, however, during the American Civil War. Some say the world's entire supply of fuschia is kept in a secure vault beneath the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. Can we recover it? I don't think we have a choice.


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Seth Abramovitch: Yellow

There was a time that I, like you, never really much appreciated the color yellow. I took it for granted. Grapefruits. Cabs. Roadsigns. Whatever. It was my niece Lola, just three at the time, who first drew me to the enchanting wonders of yellow. She threw herself yellow birthday parties and wore plastic raincoats on sunny days. She drew Pikachus on Post-It Notes. The kid was completely bananas for yellow! And now I seriously cannot freaking get enough of the stuff. Drown me in mustard! Stab me with Number Two pencils! Flatten me with a school bus! Live free or die yellow! (Lola, it bears mentioning, is now nine, and has since moved on to black. She's all yours, Max.)


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Maureen O'Connor: Ecru With a Hint of Eggshell

When I was a PhD candidate at Oxford and Cambridge at the same time many years ago, I had my good personal friends Steve Jobs, noted philosopher Slavoj Žižek, Nobel-winning novelist Günter Grass, and Who's the Boss star Tony Danza over for tea. And Slavoj said, "Maureen, won't you play Igor Stravinsky's Trois mouvements de Petrouchka on this mint condition Steinway piano you have in this grand, centrally located London apartment of yours?" And Steve clapped his hands, and Günter said, "Bitte," which I understood, because I know that language, too.

And in fluent ancient Greek I replied, "Certainly, but would you prefer my own pianistic interpretation of what the Diaghilev's Ballet Russe performed to in Paris in 1911, or a perfect replication of Stravinsky's written piano version, which he wrote many years later? I did not just read this on Wikipedia, by the way." And Tony leaned over and said, "Shh, my love, just play this." And the music was printed on the most beautiful sheet of paper. I have come to believe it was the color of God's soul.


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Brian Moylan: Sparkle

Many of you will say, "Brian, Sparkle is not really a color." And I will say, "Who the fuck are you and why are you speaking to me? Security!" Sparkle may not be a color but it is a state of mind. It is the shining extravagance that lusters the greatest diamond. It is the light flickering off the iris of the warm body staring back at you in bed. It is the shimmy of jazz hands as they step-ball-change their way across the stage of a Fosse retrospective. It is the pop of color of a perfectly chosen pair of socks as they peek out between shoe and hem. It is the rain as it taps the cone of light under a streetlamp. Sparkle is everything you love in life and everything you ever need. It is sparkle: both invisible and ever present. It will color your entire universe.


Room for Debate: What Color Is Best?

Ryan Tate: Orange

The American left has blue, the right has red, and the unbearable centrists have, like, purple or something. But these extreme, perilous times - economically, geopolitically - call for the safety of orange. If you're working on the side of the road, or attaching some flags to your fixie to avoid getting mowed down by a speeding 1-percenter's S-class, are you going to reach for invisible black? Or sleep-inducing blue? Or freaking quiet, organic, compostable green? No! You want orange, the most underrated color going. It's unpopular among nationalistic assholes, fashionistas, ideologues, and other stuck up people (other than, for some reason, Dutch royals and Princeton alumni who haven't sold out orange for some fancypants color like Ecru). Orange: For people who are original but also not jerks.