Blog Archives

Bashing Hillary Clinton’s voice: “Screeching”, “shrieking”, and “shrill”

The past week has seen quite a bit of discussion of Hillary Clinton’s voice. As I wrote about last week, numerous people have called her “shrill“, a clearly gendered word. Nonetheless, the sexism behind such criticisms continues to be denied. Ben

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Posted in Language and gender, Language and politics

‘Shrill’ women in politics

The United States once again has the opportunity to elect the first woman as President, Hillary Clinton. Her chances of getting the Democratic nomination are quite strong. Not surprisingly then, there’s a lot of talk about women in politics. 

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Posted in Language and gender, Language and politics

Are we “citizens” or “taxpayers”?

In a recent discussion with Hilton Als at the New Yorker festival, Toni Morrison offered a lot of insightful commentary on topics about race, gender, writing, and other issues. I read about it in this Guardian article, and I found one of

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Posted in Language and politics

Trump fans aren’t spelling bee champions, but why do we care?

Grammarly is the worst. Seriously, it is. I don’t mean their silly little grammar and spelling checker thing. I’m sure that’s a perfectly adequate proofreading tool, doing its best to reinforce people’s deep-seated insecurities about writing every time they touch a keyboard.

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Posted in Language and education, Language and politics, Language and social class, Prescriptivism and language prejudice

Anti-gay politics and the word homosexual

Throughout my life, I’ve heard words referring to gay people tossed around as casual insults, often used as weapons against people who are not themselves gays or lesbians (see, for example, the use of “no homo“). It’s behavior like this that

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Posted in Ideology and social change, Language and politics

Two tales of Gaza: Comparing FOX and CNN’s coverage of the violence

In the past month we’ve seen the unfolding of another chapter in the bloody conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in Gaza. Since this conflict is, for me and probably many of my readers, taking place halfway around the world, the

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Posted in Language and politics, Media discourse and media bias

Demystifying dog whistle racism

Recently, I’ve noticed people using the term “dog whistle” before things like racism and classism. Although not the originator of the term, Ian Haney López (Professor of Law, University of California-Berkeley) has recently written a great deal about the concept as it

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Posted in Language and politics, Language and race

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