“Guess Who?”: A Game of Differentiation

When I was a kid, “Guess Who?” was a very popular game with me and my friends at my after school program. It was always a pretty quick game, which had friends gathered around while waiting for their chance to play the winner. Perhaps you recall the game — two players, each choose a yellow card, which had the picture of one of the faces on the board, and take turns guessing which card the other person has. While each of the pictures has a name on it, players can only ask yes or no questions about physical appearance: hair color, hair style, age, etc. Continue reading ““Guess Who?”: A Game of Differentiation”

Denaturalizing the Natural

dinoAs a little kid in the early 1960s, I guess I decided that the hooded sweaters I sometimes wore made me look like Dino the dinosaur — you know, from “The Flintstones”? I don’t think we had a specific name for them yet — at least we didn’t call them “hoodies,” as people do now. Instead, opting for brutal descriptivism (which sounds like a 1960s architectural movement), I’m guessing that we just uncreatively called them “hooded sweaters.” Continue reading “Denaturalizing the Natural”

Sally is a Girl

Picture 4Back in 1961, in the first season of the once popular “Dick Van Dyke Show,” an episode aired (#14, to be exact) entitled “Sally is a Girl,” in which Rob’s wife, Laura, scolds her husband because he and Buddy don’t treat Sally — with whom they work as comedy writers for a TV variety show — properly. And by “proper” she means they fail to treat her like a lady.

“Just remember,” Laura tells Rob — after they’d hosted a small dinner party where, for the umpteenth time, they unsuccessfully tried to set Sally up with a date (the recurring theme of Sally’s single life), during which Buddy and Rob kept bragging that she could tell jokes as good as a man — “that Sally is a girl!” Continue reading “Sally is a Girl”