Over the last couple of years, I've been hearing the term self-care a lot, and it's clear to me that its usage falls on a spectrum. On one end, it's used earnestly in the context of self-preservation and healing from trauma, and on the other end it's used as a marketing label slapped on bath bombs, face masks, and body lotions. 

Curious about its roots, I did some research.

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Resting Bernie Face

I Always Have That Look on My Face

Fusion ran a story with an amazing headline this week: "A Visual History of Bernie Sanders' Resting Bitch Face."

This headline was sparked by an interview with Bernie Sanders on Face the Nation. The host mentions that Sanders had a "stoic" look on his face when Hillary Clinton spoke at the DNC, and then asks him what was going through his mind at the time. Sanders replies: "I always have that look on my face. You know, it's nothing new. I'm not always a smiley kind of guy."

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A Conversation About Internet Linguistics

Last week I interviewed linguist Gretchen McCulloch at the offices in Oakland, California. We discussed many pop-linguistic topics, including the role of memes in our culture, the lowercasing of the term internet, and her upcoming book. I was first introduced to Gretchen's work through her Benedict Cumberbatch piece on the Toast, and in our conversation I learned that while she might possess the skills to summon Wimbledon Tennismatch, she is more excited by the linguistic variations of his name than by his acting work.

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The Opposite of a Subtweet

In my last post, I wrote about the nature of a subtweet, and how you can actually subtweet outside of Twitter, in the *~real world~*. In researching that post, I came across an adjacent topic. That is, what is the opposite of a subtweet? For those of you familiar with Twitter, the answer is no surprise. It's an @ (pronounced mention). For the purposes of this post, let's define subtweet. The purest and "most correct" form of a subtweet is a passive aggressive tweet that doesn't mention the subtweetee's handle (by typing @ followed by a user name). This is up for debate, though many websites tell celebrities who explicitly name the target of their subtweets that they're doing it wrong.

There are memes in response to subtweets that all go something like this: "I guess yo @ button must be broke." It turns out you can drop the word "button" from this sentence. 

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IRL Subtweets

Last week at the Grammy Awards, Taylor Swift gave an Album of the Year acceptance speech that not-so-subtly called out Kanye West for lyrics in his latest album. For the record, his lyrics are: "I feel like me and Taylor might still have sex / Why? I made that bitch famous." Actually, she didn't call him out for the suggestion that they might "still have sex," but rather for the idea that he made her famous. To her, that was the true offense. There are discussions to be had about how this sort of beef in the music industry is actually good for both of their careers, but this is a blog about words, and not about PR. What I found interesting about this whole exchange was the way in which the press, or Slate in particular, described Taylor Swift's speech: "Watch Taylor Swift subtweet Kanye West while accepting her Album of the Year Grammy."

Slate's tweet, which is also the title of the article that appears on Slate, uses the word subtweet to refer to an utterance from the real world that comes from an actual human mouth, and not from fingers typing into an app. I had never encountered this before so I decided to investigate. First things first.

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Mom, Dad, Grandma, and Grandpa


I've written about the new internet slang meaning of mom a couple times now. In case you're unfamiliar with this sense, mom is generally used by young women to express admiration for another woman (who may or may not be an actual mom). It started out on social media, and you'll often find it in the replies or comments on Twitter or Instagram. It's even spread to network television; mom was featured in a very GIFable scene in Scream Queens.

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