Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Saturday, June 05, 2021

Much like the much-reused Wilhelm Scream sound effect, movie and television productions seemingly pass around the very same for-show-only newspaper:

Someone on Reddit recently put together a compilation of photos from various television shows, commercials and movies, showing how one newspaper prop gets around and is reused, and reused again. I don’t know the story behind this prop newspaper, but I assume it was created as a royalty free prop for television shows. Somewhere along the line, the prop became a reoccurring gag between propmasters.

See a small sampling for yourself, below. The giveaway is that headshot photo of the woman, along with the surrounding headlines and blocktext:

I suppose this could be an elaborately Photoshopped bit of fakery, but I’m prepared to believe it’s truly the incestuous laziness of Hollywood on display. I will say that, based on my own indulgence of old TV shows, this much-copied broadsheet probably didn’t come into use until the mid-1980s. That’s the era of at least a couple of the screenshots below: “Married with Children” and “Doogie Howser, M.D.”. I’ve paid attention to the onscreen newspapers in older 1970s reruns, and noticed that some of the legible headlines were often relevant to the news of that time period, which hints that those shows might have used real daily editions.

The larger joke: That such video entertainment includes characters that still read newspapers, given that dwindling behavior in real life. Rather than update their bag of tricks, Hollywood’s propmasters can just wait until print newspapers die out altogether, and the problem will solve itself.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/05/2021 06:31pm
Category: Movies, Pop Culture, Publishing, TV
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Nothing spices up the Scripps National Spelling Bee finals like protestors giving out buttons that read, “Enuf is enuf. Enough is too much.”:

The demonstrators were from the the American Literacy Council and the London-based Spelling Society, organizations that aim to do to English orthography what the metric system did for weights and measures. The American Literacy Council endorses SoundSpel, which seeks to “rationalize” the English language by spelling each of the English language’s 42 (or so) phonemes one way and one way only. In SoundSpel, “business” becomes “bizness,” “equation” becomes “ecwaezhun,” “learned” becomes “lernd,” “negotiate” becomes “negoesheaet,” and so on.

About time someone struck a blow against all this spellbound tyranny! Who do those orthographic snobs think they are anyway, with their i-before-e nomenclature. Free the language and the alphabet — through phonetics fonetix!

I’m kidding, of course. Looking at the SoundSpel renditions above makes my eyes hurt, frankly. English is certainly an under-organized polyglot, but the baggage is what it is, and there’s little concrete advantage to undertaking an overhaul now.

I did enjoy the Christian Science Monitor’s extended riff on this reformed spelling. I’m sure I’ve seen this in the past; some ancient chain-email comes to mind. But original or not, it’s still funny:

This change would position us for a more comprehensive vowel overhaul, discarding such variations as “wait,” “weight,” “straight,” “great,” “vein,” and so on, and representing eech vowel sownd by a uneeque single letter or pare of letters. This wood allow us too finalee doo away with the silent “e.”

Then wee cood moov on to fixing the consoenants. Under ar noo sistem, thare wood be noe moer need for the sawft “g,” the voyced “s,” the letterz “c,” “q,” and “x,” or anee eeraygyoolar konstrukshuns. Wee kood alsoe eeliminate thos yoosles dubil leterz.

Wiel wee ar at it, wee might az well cleen up ar eeraygyoolar verbz, mayking the preterit and past participal the saym in awl kasez and regyoolarizing awl ar plooralz. Bi then wee wil hav noe dowt bringed the literasee levelz of Inglish speekerz up to thoz uv other kuntreez.

by Costa Tsiokos, Sat 06/05/2021 02:14pm
Category: Other Sports, Society, Wordsmithing
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