Age Old Questions #2: Why Does The Walking Dead Really Have a Problem Saying ‘Zombie’?

It’s strange to think that there was once a time when The Walking Dead’s aversion to the ‘z’ word was a Hot Topic. For people who don’t know what this means:

The Walking Dead was conceived as ‘apocalyptic zombie horror drama’. It was – and continues to be – marketed as such. For many people the programme’s initial and major – for some people its only – appeal was the promise of hordes of shuffling, iconic, undead monsters.

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Age Old Questions #1: Pulp Fiction — What is Really in the Briefcase?

If you’re talking about the significance of the briefcase in Pulp Fiction, or about the glowing light in the briefcase, or even just about what’s physically in the briefcase, you’re really talking about what function the Pulp Fiction briefcase serves. Before you think about what’s in the briefcase, you need to know why Pulp Fiction even has a briefcase.

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Some Serious Thoughts About David Cameron and Pigs’ Heads

Yesterday we found out that David Cameron did — or did not — once put his personal member in a dead pig’s head. On hearing the news the Internet predictably broke. Memes like the one at the top of this blog appeared everywhere. People made pulled pork jokes. Twitter was just happy it got to coin another trending hashtag*. Google searches got to ‘Dav–‘ before they auto-finished with ‘–id Cameron Pig’. Ed Miliband’s infamous bacon sandwich resurfaced (not literally). Most of the UK’s national newspapers got the chance to pretend they’re still relevant. And everyone felt pretty pleased and self-satisfied and good about themselves. Except, presumably, David Cameron. And the pig.

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Becoming the Snapshots, Part One

In part one of this two-part blog, I’m looking at the growing number of tour operators who offer professional photographers as part of tour packages, and I’m looking at the reasons why professional photographers won’t solve the problem that their inclusion in tour packages is designed to solve. Continue reading “Becoming the Snapshots, Part One”

Catch No Ball*: Understanding Languages, Varieties and Dialects

It might seem redundant to define the features of a language, but languages are rarely so easy. We can define English, French and German, but what about Swedish and Norwegian? Swedish and Norwegian are mutually intelligible; people from Sweden and Norway can talk to each other and understand each other with little difficulty.

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Definitely Maybe: Epistemic modality and saying nothing about something

As you might expect, Oasis’s 1994 debut album Definitely Maybe has got me thinking about epistemic modality. That’s because epistemic modality expresses degrees of certainty. “As you might expect…” is epistemic. It expresses how confident I am that other people think listening to Oasis makes me think about grammar (i.e. not very confident). “As you will expect…” would be more confident. But it would be misplaced. And weird: it would sound weird. But that’s not the point. The point is the degree of confidence. Continue reading “Definitely Maybe: Epistemic modality and saying nothing about something”

Some thoughts on ‘serious’ and ‘popular’ literature and Margaret Atwood and stuff

The idea of genre in literature can get spiky and personal and has more to do with credibility and tradition than with easily being able to find books on a shelf. Why else do we make a distinction between ‘literary’ works and ‘popular’ works? Between ‘classic’ fiction and ‘genre’ fiction?

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