I remember being shocked when I realized that that swirl around a vertical line at the beginning of the Disney logo was something functional. I had this realization remarkably late. Same goes for the dramatic ribbon between the “The” and the “ay” in the Hudson’s Bay Company logo.
It just never occurred to me to think about it. Even though I’d known how to read for a while before it dawned on me, I’m not sure I ever actually read as opposed to just recognized the word.
I guess my point is that familiarity strips back perceptiveness, which makes sense. The actual particular qualities of a thing recede as the thing becomes just the totality of the conceptual abstraction it comes to represent to you (all the things and feelings that Disney stands for to a kid / all the things and feelings The Bay stands for to a Canadian kid). And if you can’t remember the process by which you became familiar with a thing, without a conscious effort not to be, you’re basically oblivious to it.
Good example I hadn’t noticed at all until it was pointed out in the NYT Magazine piece about this dude’s trip to Disney World that ran a few weekends ago:
Next memory: suddenly being able to hear, for the first time, the Irishness of Disney’s name, hearing it spoken aloud in my head with the thick Kilkenny accent of his own great-grandfather, Arundel Disney, with a sharp uptake on the last syllable. And being able to understand the essentially tragic nature of his charlatanism a little better.