Pet Voice Isn’t All About the LOLZ

The Communication Tactic Dates Back Centuries. But the Act of Anthropomorphizing Our Furry Friends Has Become More Insidious in the Digital Age

Whether you love or hate people speaking as their pets, using cutesy terms like “pupperinos” and “heckin’ good bois,” or sharing grammatically incorrect cat speak memes, the concept of a “pet voice” has become just as much a part of the social media landscape as images of furry and scaly companions themselves. Indeed, speaking with, and through, animals to convey our very human emotions and thoughts is one of the hallmark practices of internet culture.

But the pet voice phenomenon isn’t unique to the social media age. Media and pets have …

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Christmas, ’Tis the Season for Scary Stories | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

Christmas, ’Tis the Season for Scary Stories

The Spectral Tales We Tell Respond to Our Deepest Desires—Especially on a Long, Dark Winter’s Night

Popularized by Charles Dickens in his 1843 A Christmas Carol, as well as in the yuletide editions of his literary magazine, All the Year Round, ghost stories were regular Christmas …

The Blackface of White Christmas | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Blackface of White Christmas

The Irving Berlin Song 'Mandy' Cloaked Racism in Nostalgia on American Stages and Screens for Nearly 40 Years

White Christmas is a staple of the holiday season. Every winter, the 1954 movie-musical brings Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera-Ellen into our homes to sing and dance their way through …

The Victorian Vision of Disruption Is a Tech Bro Fantasy | Zocalo Public Square • Arizona State University • Smithsonian

The Victorian Vision of Disruption Is a Tech Bro Fantasy

The Real Lesson from the Late 1800s Is That Futures Are Best Made Collectively

Are tech bros the new Victorians? I’m sure they wouldn’t think so. In fact, I’m sure they’d be deeply insulted by the notion. The Victorians of our imagination are staid …

So What Exactly Happened to the MOOC?

In 2012, Massive Open Online Courses Were Supposed to Revolutionize Higher Education. Then They Disappeared—But Only from the Headlines

Ten years ago, in May 2012, Harvard and MIT announced the launch of edX, their nonprofit platform for Massive Open Online Courses (better known by the acronym MOOCs). Together with …