How to Meme What You Say

The linguistic theories behind what we're trying to say when we adapt and share internet memes.
The Visit, 1746, Pietro Longhi

Socially Sanctioned Love Triangles of Romantic-Era Italy

Eighteenth-century Italian noblewomen had one indispensable accessory: an extramarital lover.
The Witch from Benjamin Christensen's Häxan, 1922

The Satanic Foreign Film That Was Banned in the U.S.

Benjamin Christensen's Häxan was part documentary and part fantasy—and considered too disturbing for public viewing.
Two police officers in full riot gear arrest a Black man during a breakout of rioting and looting on the West side of Detroit, Michigan, July 23, 1967.

The Detroit Rebellion

From 1964 to 1972, at least 300 U.S. cities faced violent upheavals, the biggest led by the League of Revolutionary Black Workers, in Detroit.
Buster Keaton putting his ear to cannon in a scene from the film 'The General', 1926

What Drove Buster Keaton to Try a Civil War Comedy?

“Someone should have told Buster that it is difficult to derive laughter from the sight of men being killed in battle.”
George Floyd's image is projected on the Robert E. Lee Monument as people gather around on June 18, 2020 in Richmond, Virginia.

The Sorry State of Apologies

"Sorry" can be more than a mere word when it has real-world consequences.
Superbarrio

Superbarrio: The People’s Superhero

Defender of the poor tenants and evictor of the voracious landlords, a masked lucha libre wrestler rose from the ruins of Mexico City’s 1985 earthquake.
A still from Princess Nicotine

The Exploding Women of Early 20th Century “Trick Films”

In “trick films,” women were shown literally exploding over kitchen accidents—the early 1900s way of mining humor out of human tragedies.
Electric Fan

The Linguistic Case for Sh*t Hitting the Fan

Idioms have a special power to draw people together in a way that plain speech doesn't.

Martin Luther’s Monsters

Prodigies, or monsters, were opaque and flexible symbols that signaled that God was sending some message.