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Dean Jones Dead: Disney Actor Was 84

“The Love Bug” was one of the movies that the kids asked for over and over. I didn’t mind watching it with them, becuase Dean Jones, Buddy Hackett, Michelle Lee, and David Tomlinson did such a good job carrying the story. Dean Jones, the affable actor who starred in such classic Disney family comedies as That Darn Cat!, The Love Bug and The Shaggy D.A., has died. He was 84.…

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Why Fan Theories Are Destroying Film Discourse

Fan theories are no substitute for critical analysis, yet they have quickly become inseparable for so many readers online. On one hand, it’s (sadly) a small encouragement that there’s any discussion about a movie that already exists, instead of a movie that will open in two years and only has a slew of set photos to its name. On the other, fan theories pose as critical analysis in spite of…

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The secret history of “Y’all”: The murky origins of a legendary Southern slang word

The Oxford English Dictionary (OED) is usually academics’ first go-to for all things linguistic, and it cites the first occurrence of “you all” in print in 1824, from Arthur Singleton’s Letters from the South and West:“Children learn from the slaves some odd phrases;..as..will you all do this?”This example is important for understanding not only the term’s origins but also the difficulties surrounding it.First, does this count as “y’all”? It doesn’t…

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How The Ballpoint Pen Killed Cursive

In Death of a Salesman, Biff impulsively steals Bill Oliver’s fountain pen. That would be roughly culturally equivalent to a modern Biff swiping a businessman’s custom iPhone case, rather than a modern pen. This history of the ballpoint argues that the new pens cut down on leaks, but in the process made handwriting more physically demanding. The ballpoint’s universal success has changed how most people experience ink. Its thicker ink…