the voice you choose is an argument, is what i'm saying here


I hate to continue being all meta about the internet, but I was just yesterday suggesting it’s less silly than it sounds. So can I continue, for a moment?

Yesterday I was talking about the different voices and personas writers (or institutions) can use. “Persona” is a tricky word, though, because I think a lot of people read it as referring to something inauthentic — a character that’s being played, something that’s not really you. This isn’t what I have in mind, obviously. What I’m thinking of is the fact that we all have countless tones available to us for reacting to things — and while writers may be slightly more conscious of the process of selecting one, we all choose. Constantly. Even if it’s as small as the difference between making a joke in a witheringly dry way or making the same joke in jolly tone. This isn’t play-acting, it’s just filtering a million authentic ways of behaving down to the one you feel like going with.

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I have a post in my queue that’s also about this, give or take. To jump on this particular post a smidge, however - the thing that I find abhorrent about Stuff White People Like is the voice. The dry “anthropological” tone isn’t particularly funny or cutting to me. It’s just boring, rote, and bland. I guess the humor comes from the recognition/horror that “I’m just like that entry!” It’s a “comedian” doing “d'ja ever notice?” comedy in the 1990s. There’s more about that site that doesn’t work for me, but that’s a big part of it.