1. Geoff Nunberg on the linguistic anachronisms of Downton Abbey:

    No, Mrs. Patmore probably wouldn’t have said “when push comes to shove,” and Lord Grantham should have waited a couple of decades before telling his chauffer to step on it. But that isn’t the problem with Downton's vision of the past. Even when the characters are speaking authentic period words, they aren't using them to express authentic period thoughts. The Earl who frets over his duties as a job creator, the servants grappling with their own homophobia — those are comfortable modern reveries. Drop any of them into a drawing-room comedy by Shaw or Pinero and they'd be as out-of-place as a flat-screen TV.

    Downton Abbey Anachronism Watch via @Slate

  2. Anachronisms

    Fresh Air


    Geoff Nunberg


    Downton Abbey

  1. Happy Mardi Gras, everybody!
New Orleans Mardi Gras, 1975 by Bruce Gilden via Slate

    Happy Mardi Gras, everybody!

    New Orleans Mardi Gras, 1975 by Bruce Gilden via Slate

  2. Afternoon photo break

    Mardi Gras


    Bruce Gilden

    New Orleans

  1. What kind of Muppet are you?

    Dahlia Lithwick of Slate poses this theory:

    Every one of us is either a Chaos Muppet or an Order Muppet.

    Read through to find out which type is which. [slightly related] Which are you?

  2. muppet




  1. Tomorrow’s guest, Farhad Manjoo, on why you should never use two spaces after a period.   (I just used three.)   What do you do?

  2. farhad manjoo



  1. Among the many, many topics that listeners have deemed off-limits for NPR, you’ll find blogging (“another example of the slow decline of our once-educated society”); Tiger Woods (“what a waste of my time”); the National Enquirer (NPR’s citing it as a source “shook me to the core”); adulterous Gov. Mark Sanford (“Can’t NPR reporters find more important events going on in the world?”); comedians Adam Carolla and Mo Rocca; the rapper Waka Flocka Flame (“For this, I donate part of my precious pension?”); Twitter (“the CB radio of our era—just as much hype, just as much lasting impact”); Bristol Palin (“The only thing this story provoked me to do was change the station”); Levi Johnston (“We do not care about this subject”); Mel Gibson (“Shame on the producers of ATC for allowing such a scrape at the very bottom of the barrel”); heavy metal legend Dio (“You didn’t have to do it just because he died recently”); e-books (they can’t compare to “the smell of new paper”); the iPad (“a foolish waste of time”); the thought of children using the iPad (“Hopefully, this will be followed up by an uplifting story about the great things that are happening to children in the realm of outdoor play and unhooking from screen time”); and, perennially, sports.

    — From a Slate piece on NPR’s letters segment. 

  2. npr