Monthly Archives: August 2014

An infographic of every major character and theme in The Simpsons

Are you one of the millions of Simpsons fans who have been binge watching FXX’s Every Simpsons Ever marathon? My colleagues at Beutler Ink compiled data on all 522 episodes and then grouped each episode based on its theme and/or the character on which it focused. The result was the perfectly cromulent infographic below.

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We are no more likely to express our personal opinions on social media as we are in real life interactions

pew

Many urban liberals have experienced what it’s like to visit relatives in conservative rural areas and, in group settings, abstain from expressing any political opinions that don’t correlate with the views held by the group. It’s typically called the “spiral of science,” and the Pew Research Internet Project found that this trend extends to social media:

Overall, the findings indicate that in the Snowden case, social media did not provide new forums for those who might otherwise remain silent to express their opinions and debate issues. Further, if people thought their friends and followers in social media disagreed with them, they were less likely to say they would state their views on the Snowden-NSA story online and in other contexts, such as gatherings of friends, neighbors, or co-workers. This suggests a spiral of silence might spill over from online contexts to in-person contexts, though our data cannot definitively demonstrate this causation. It also might mean that the broad awareness social media users have of their networks might make them more hesitant to speak up because they are especially tuned into the opinions of those around them.

 

White people are pretending to be black online in order to win arguments on race

In a wonderful essay by Lauren Jackson on how some of the internet’s most popular memes are saddled with intrinsic racism, Jackson describes something called “digital blackface,” in which a white person dons the persona of a black person online, even attempting to adopt stereotypical “black” vernacular:

Many have used the phrase “digital blackface” to describe the odd and all-too-prevalent practice of white and non-Black people making anonymous claims to a Black identity through contemporary technological mediums such as social media. It often involves masquerading behind the Black face of a fictional profile picture. These attempts, while hilariously transparent, take advantage of the relative anonymity of the internet to perpetuate decontextualized stereotypes and project an image of Black people that fits the desire of anti-Black individuals.

It goes undocumented and unaddressed in most cases, though occasionally the people behind the blackface are unmasked. When musician, alleged feminist, and keen event planner Ani Defranco came under censure after revealing a former slave plantation as the locale for her Righteous Retreat, a workshop for creatives, fans flocked to the event’s Facebook page in support of the gathering (and to attack its detractors), including “LaQueeta Jones.”

LaQueeta Jones’ comments include gratuitous usage of grammatically incorrect African American Vernacular English (AAVE), an evocation of MLK, and the bulletproof phrase of authenticity, “as a black woman.” An altogether weak attempt at internet minstrelsy, it prompted a skeptical Facebook user, MF Addaway, to track the IP address of “LaQueeta Jones,” and bust the actual account holder, Mandi Harrington—a white woman who had posted earlier in support of Defranco.

A couple took a divorce selfie

According to Fast Company:

Shortly after finalizing their separation, Keith Hinson and Michelle Knight snapped a picture with–and here’s the maybe-noteworthy part–a very sweet caption. “We are officially un-married,” wrote Kinson. “Here’s to the most friendly, respectful, and loving split imaginable. We smile not because it’s over, but because it happened.”

divorce selfie

An interactive infographic mapping the recurring jokes in Arrested Development

Anyone who’s a fan of Arrested Development knows that one of the joys in watching the show is trying to catch all the recurring jokes that pop up like little Easter eggs, many of them easy to miss if you’re not watching closely. Whether it’s the color blue, exclamations of “No touching!” or “I’ve made a huge mistake,” you’re bound to miss at least a few references.

My colleagues at Beutler Ink thought, “Wouldn’t it be cool if you had a website that you could go to that would allow you to trace every occurrence of a particular joke?” After spending hours combing through episode after episode, we did just that. Recurring Developments is an interactive website that allows you to hover over each joke and trace it to the corresponding episodes.

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