This week the Aunt Jemima pancake brand name was “retired,” bringing an end to a 131-year advertising minstrel show. The brand’s current owner, Quaker, finally bowed to the reality that no cosmetic makeover could rehabilitate a character, and business, built on a romanticized fantasy of owning human beings as property. […]
How a quintessential baby boomer name became a slur aimed at Generation X In 2019, the generation gap came charging back. We’d already seen warning signs of its approach in the form of older people bad-mouthing millennials, but the 2019 version was no longer as simple as old vs. young. […]
It has become a familiar part of America’s modern political narrative. The white, small-town experience is portrayed as the most traditional American experience. Some elevate it as an ideal, the model for returning the nation’s culture to an earlier, prouder time. Others see it as just one element of a […]
Rachel from Cardholder Services is a legend. Her robocalled promises to lower credit card interest rates have kept enforcement agencies busy for years. The Federal Trade Commission even has an official Rachel FAQ. But one question it doesn’t answer. Why is she named Rachel? The name wasn’t just a random […]
What if you could tap into society’s psyche and see how names frame our collective mental narratives? Now, perhaps you can. An artificial intelligence engine paves the way. Talktotransformer.com lets any user harness the power of a neural network system trained to write text. Just enter the beginning of a […]
What happens when your email and social media handles are a little TOO short and memorable?
How do you name an archetype? An idealized concept should feel realer than reality, summing up your whole image of a slice of the world. Whatever name you choose, it will reveal a lot about your worldview. That’s certainly the case with the online subculture of “incels” and the two […]
Amazon put us on a collision course. Not that we couldn’t see it coming—Apple’s Siri had sent early-warning signals years before. With Amazon’s “virtual assistant” Alexa, though, there was no escape. Human names and virtual names met head on, and the human names blinked. Alexa was America’s fastest-falling baby name […]