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.
Walter Rodney and W.P.A members exit the Ministry of Labour & Social Security, Guyana - 1970s

Walter Rodney, Guerrilla Intellectual

Walter Rodney’s radical thought and activism led to his eventual killing by a bomb in Guyana, in 1980.
Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Edward_G._Robinson_and_Joan_Bennett_in_%27Scarlet_Street%27,_1946.jpg

How Fritz Lang’s Flight from Nazi Germany Shaped Hollywood

German expressionism--imported to Hollywood by Jewish exiles--brought a lasting tradition of shadows, duality, and mirroring to mainstream American cinema.
Girls' Beating the Bounds' at a fence near St Albans in Hertfordshire, 1913

“Beating the Bounds”

How did people find out where their local boundaries were before there were reliable maps?
Thomas Edison's 1896 silent film "The Kiss" featuring May Irwin and John C. Rice.

The First Movie Kiss

The public fascination was so intense that fans soon started demanding live reenactments.
Children playing ring around the rosie

The Linguistics of Cooties (and Other Weird Things Kids Say)

The game of cooties lets children learn about the idea of contagion, but kid culture and wordplay aren't meant for adults.