I wonder who came up with serif fonts. I suppose they were inspired by the Baroque period. Baroque is a style in which an object — art, sculpture, music, rap, whatever — is adorned with many little doo-dads and hoo-haws to make it look… well… silly I guess. But it’s a thing.
So, somebody, somewhere, took a look at the perfectly good Latin character set, and decided it needed some doo-dads and hoo-haws added to it. I suppose they wanted credit for being creative, or artistic, or whatever.
The point is, it was entirely unnecessary. Serif’d fonts are hard to read. Harder than nice sans-serif fonts. Why do we use them, then? Because somebody, somewhere, decided on our behalf, that Times Roman was the font everyone should use. And thus, we all fell into line like little sheep bleating about how amazing the sun is, how green the grass is, and how glittery-special Times Roman is.
And they added it to computers. Computers don’t need doo-dads and hoo-haws. Computers need this:
They can do almost anything in terms of managing data, presenting media, or controlling external devices, using nothing but an amazing array of ones and zeroes (or if you want to be picky about it, circuits which are either on or off). Baroque is simply non-essential for function.
Form, however, is a different story. Computers were boring and dull and hard to use, until they suddenly aquired Times Roman. From that point forward, they were awesome productive engines fueling the creative class, and making the world spin.
All because the characters, translated from ones and zeroes, acquired doo-dads and hoo-haws, and became harder to read.
Why do so many people prefer Times Roman over functionality? I don’t know, but I suspect it lies behind the tendency of Liberty-minded people to vote, over and over again, for Authoritarian, Baroque politicians, who simply cannot leave a working system alone without adorning it with useless doo-dads and hoo-haws which look nice, but accomplish nothing.