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Male Supporting Characters in Recent Disney Princess Films Dominate the Dialogue

The silly click-baity headline in the Washington Post says “Researchers have found a major problem” with Disney princesses films. I almost didn’t click on it — learned behavior after being burned by too many silly, low-value listicles (split up into 15 different pages). But the article is actually an interesting read. Starting with The Little Mermaid, Disney took greater care to make their princesses more active, but they still do…

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Why Do So Many People on YouTube Sound the Same?

So it turns out the “YouTube voice” is just a variety of ways of emphasizing words, none of which are actually exclusive to YouTube—people employ these devices in speech all the time. But they generally do it to grab the listener’s attention, and when you’re just talking to a camera without much action, it takes a little more to get, and keep, that attention…. YouTubers’ monologues often speed up and…

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The Post drops the ‘mike’ — and the hyphen in ‘e-mail’

When I announced these style changes, another Twitter user wrote, “wait, it’s 2015 and there are still people who write e-mail?” Not everyone is on Twitter, of course. For every online Post reader snickering at mike, there might be a longtime print subscriber baffled by mic. Because it would be impractical to edit each article separately for online and print audiences, we err on the conservative side. And, at the risk…

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Why Is Othello Black?

To us today, the word “black” carries with it a specific cluster of associations informed by history, culture, stereotypes, and literature. Othello may have started in conversation with Shakespeare’s definition of blackness, but today, he speaks with ours. A much more interesting question, really, is: Why is Othello black? Why did Shakespeare write a domestic tragedy about jealousy, and make the husband a Moor? Is Othello’s race a canard, or…