Historical Telescope Advertisements Evaluation

The telescope is by no means a new invention. In fact, the telescope has been around since the mid-1600s. However, only since World War II have telescopes been more widely advertised for the amateur or common individual. Many such advertisements appeared in popular science and astronomy magazines, such as Sky and Telescope. Major telescope companies of the time included Sky Scope and, in later years, Criterion and Palomar Jr. The differences and similarities amongst advertisements for these companies reflect the how consumer and intellectual values stayed the same and changed over time.

One of the first telescope advertisements for the amateur appearing following World War II was published by Sky Scope. In the advertisement, Sky Scope markets its three and one-half inch Astronomical Telescope. The advertisement is without a picture of its product and the advertisement is in black and white. Nonetheless, the size and type of font used in the advertisement varies throughout the page in order to draw attention to certain details. Major details, such as the name of the company, the price, and the product features, are in bold and are in a larger font than the rest of the advertisement. In contrast, contact information is not in bold print and information regarding how to learn more about Sky Scope’s products is in bold.

Sky Scope’s advertisement also establishes ethos, logos, and pathos. Ethos is established by the contact information and company name in addition to the phrase. Information regarding product details and the price are the foundation for logos of the advertisement. Furthermore, phrases like “amateurs everywhere are talking about” and “we invite you” lend pathos to the advertisement in that the one statement appeals to consumers desire to keep up with what is popular and the other statement establishes an amicable relationship between consumers and the company. Thus, the advertisement would have been influential probably for young adults and older due to its lack of visual appeal but straightforwardness and effective usage of rhetoric.

A few social implications can also be drawn from this advertisement. For instance, the price of the telescope is only $25. A small price compared to the price of telescopes for amateurs today and products in general. Therefore, it may be reasonably concluded inflation has increased in the United States since World War II. It may also be assumed that the period after World War II was a time of propriety and efficiency in that the advertisement does not dally but gets straight to the details of the product and even mentions that one may request “a brochure describing in a straightforward manner the instrument’s amazing performance.”

Advertisements for Criterion and Co.’s Dynascope first appeared in 1954. Dynascope was marketed as the first professional four inch telescope. The advertisement does is supported by a picture of the product. Similarly to the Sky Scope advertisement, the advertisement is in black and white, and the text is represented in varying sizes and type of print in relation to its level of significance. Ethos is imparted by the company’s name, description, and contact information. The advertisement largely draws upon the picture of the product to establish logos by using numbers and a legend of the numbers to list product features. The price of the product is another example of logos. For the most part, the advertisement utilizes pathos to appeal to consumers. For example, the product is introduced as “At last! A Complete Professional Telescope for Amateur Astronomers,” appealing to consumers’ interest in novelty as well as to show enthusiasm for the product. Other features of the product and the price of the product are also described with phrases such as “unheard of” and “you won’t believe” in the further interest of pathos in the advertisement. The overall message of the pathos is that you will have the best telescope around for the best price if you buy this telescope; that is, you will be on top of the amateur astronomer community.

There are three major social implications I infer from this advertisement. In the same way as Sky Scope emphasized the low price of its product, Criterion and Co. emphasizes the low price of its product. Thus, it may be inferred individuals are still keen about a tight budget as even more years pass since World War II. Additionally, the advertisement stresses its product as being pristine and of a high quality in addition to being a professional instrument. This seems to appeal to the beginning of the consumer age in the 1950s where consumers’ value of propriety seemed to shift to having the latest and greatest. The advertisement also suggest the individual could not fabricate so elaborate and inexpensive a product, which appears to point to the belief of the consumer age that companies can make products better and are convenient.

This advertisement is effective in promoting its product for the most part. However, one major flaw with this advertisement is the section, which consists of a few paragraphs, that lends the most pathos to the advertisement is in such small print it is difficult to read, especially for individuals with vision impairment. Additionally, the advertisement seems to target an audience more familiar with the structure and mechanisms of the telescope as the advertisement highlights key features and minute details of the product. That is, a more general audience may not understand these terms and the consequent benefits of these features on the product.

In competition with Criterion and Co.’s Dynascope, Edmund came out with the Palomar, Jr., in the same year. Similarly to the other two advertisements, this advertisement is in black and white and the name of the product and the price are in bold print and larger font than the rest of the advertisement. The remainder of the advertisement is a paragraph not in bold print primarily detailing the features of the product. Thus, the majority of the advertisement—the paragraph and name and price of the product—are the basis of the logos of the advertisement. In regards to ethos, the advertisement lists the stock number and location of the company. This advertisement also incorporates pathos in a few different one ways. One way the advertisement is by stating that the product is “designed by us to meet the need of every astronomer!” Such an appeal is used to suggest the company cares about the consumer, their needs, and what is best for them. Another appeal to pathos is the bold print, large type font caption “A Real Reflector Telescope.” What this caption appears to suggest is that the company’s competitors are imposters or that other companies telescopes are not as authentic as Edmunds. That is why you need the Palomar, Jr.

Overall, the same social implications can be inferred from this advertisement as the Sky Scope advertisement, and the same difficulties with its use as an effective medium of advertising as the Dynascope. The only exception is that this telescope is the most expensive at $74.50, but this greater cost can be assumed to be a consequence of the more complex and improved features of the Palomar, Jr.

Conclusively, these advertisements speak to consumers of a different time. These were consumers that were reluctant to purchase luxuries and kept their budgets tight in the aftermath of World War II. However, these consumers were also players in the rise of consumerism. Moreover, these advertisements catered to the individual’s interest in the world beyond and desire for knowledge, especially at this time of increasing scientific advances.

Works Cited

Hill, Richard. A Myopic View of the History of Criterion MFG. CO. Department of Planetary Sciences, The University of Arizona, n.d. Web 23 Nov. 2014.


Film of the Year

Have you ever read The New Yorker’s Lizzie Widdicombe’s article “The End of Food?” If you haven’t, I suggest you do because I think the premise of the article could be the next big hit in the film industry. The basic plot of the film would follow the story of how four young men developed Soylent as liquid nutrition substitute that can serve as the single source of nutrition that an individual requires. Soylent is simply composed of powdered forms of the major macromolecules and vitamins and minerals of the diet in addition to oil and water. With Soylent, there is no need to actually consume solid sources of food, such as beef or bread. In fact, Soylent is ideal for individuals with active or busy lifestyles because one need not stop to eat or prepare food but can instead continue working. Not only that, but Soylent also fills individuals up quicker and for longer periods of time. At the time the article was written, Soylent had been highly supported by individual consumers, and the military and NASA were looking to incorporate Soylent into their programs for the future. Thus, Soylent was on its way to becoming main stream.

Now, why do I think this story would be a hit? The answer is simple. If Soylent became mainstream, would it really mean the end to all food? I believe that this film would really get individuals thinking about themselves and their role in the world. On the one hand, after watching the film, individuals may be quick to take up the cause for standalone liquid nutrition substitutes like Soylent. On the other hand, some individuals may view Soylent as an unnecessary evil.

Those who accept Soylent as an acceptable form of nutrition most likely are thinking of the health benefits it will confer to themselves and the potential implications for protecting the environment. In regards, all four men who developed Soylent are still robust even after subsisting primarily on Soylent for one year. Being able to maintain or improve health through a balanced diet is one of the main goals for most indviduals. Therefore, Soylent could serve to mediate accomplishing this goal. In consideration of the environment, Soylent reduces the need for farms since most nutrients are plant based and in powdered form. Consequently, pollution from farm chemicals and animal wastes is reduced.

In contrast, those opposed to Soylent may be so for social, health, and economical reasons. Since there is no need to stop what you are doing to eat a meal, one can just keep on working and eat right at their desk or wherever they are. The sociability aspect of eating may be lost if individuals don’t feel the need to take a pause in their life or to congregate with others by eating at a common place. Furthermore, some individuals may view supplemental nutrition as “unnatural” because nutrients are not consumed directly in the form of plants and animals. Lastly, by reducing the need for farms, Soylent has the potential to put many individuals out of work.

Conclusively, “The End to Food” could be a move that turns America on its head and encourages individuals to deeply consider the future and the implications of such innovations which are only to increase as time wears on and technology and knowledge increase.

Crowdpilot: A Social Media App

One of the many social media network apps out there is Crowdpilot. Crowdpilot is an app developed by Lauren McCarthy that allows individuals publish their conversations online for anonymous users and or a select group of people, such as Facebook friends, to comment on and provide advice. Those who offer suggestions as to what could be said are the “crowdpilots.” This app could prove very useful in awkward situations or when one is at a loss as to what to say. Out of all the three main social media apps I use, I think Crowdpilot most relates to Facebook Messenger and Yik-Yak, although Crowdpilot’s purpose and implications for social interaction are different.

The primary feature Facebook Messenger, Yik-Yak, and Crowdpilot share is the generation of a two-way conversation. For example, Facebook Messenger acts much like texting in that it allows Facebook friends to have a conversation together by messaging back and forth. Yik-Yak initiates a more indirect two-way conversation by enabling individuals to post their thoughts or circumstances and have other individuals up or down vote the comments to show their either their agreement or disagreement. How does Crowdpilot relate to these two social media apps? Crowdpilot permits individuals to directly seek one another out like Facebook Messenger and also allows crowdpilots to comment on the situation like Yik—Yak.

Overall, I would say Crowdpilot is most similar to Yik-Yak, although I think the purpose of each app is different. Whereas Yik-Yak is geared to college students and can be used more for amusement and informative purposes, Crowdpilot can ultimately be used by anyone is and employed when seeking help. To characterize these differences, an example of comments found on Emory University’s YiK-Yak include jokes about the squirrels or events on campus. In contrast, comments on Crowdpilot first state a context, such as a family dinner, and are then followed by suggestions for what to say, such as “ask how so and so’s team is doing.”

While apps like Crowdpilot can be very useful, I think so apps also discourage face-to-face interaction. That is, individuals no longer need to seek out friends or other mentors to ask for advice or to receive affirmation, they can just get these things on the web. Additionally, rather than making an effort to meet new people and interact with friends, individuals can rely upon strangers or anonymous users to be there. Thus, I think certain social media apps, including Crowdpilot, give individuals a sense that virtual relationships are the same or just as good as physical relationships when individuals on the other end could really be someone entirely different than who they say they are. Likewise, I think this encouragement of lack of face-to-face social interaction causes laziness and can also lead to feelings of depression or loneliness once an individual realizes a virtual relationship or virtual communication is not as substantial as physical relationships and actual conversation. Conclusively, I am not against social media apps, but I think individuals should use them with caution and be aware of their limitations.

What is “Slippery?”

One of the most common tactile metaphors we encounter daily on a subconscious and cultural level is the idea of something “slippery.” For us, I think “slippery” denotes an almost evil omen; it is that which is difficult to grasp and can slip through our mind or our fingers. This lack of control engenders a sense of fear or dread in many of us. Moreover, the sense of fear something “slippery” may produce may be caused by the lack of uncertainty about the thing or the individual in question. Whichever the case may be, I thing “slippery” has its roots in ancient times.

For those who believe in the Bible, the “concept” of slippery is introduced as early as the book of Genesis. In Genesis, God produces Adam and Eve and allows them to dwell in the Garden of Eden so long as they do not eat from the Tree of Life. Satan takes on the form of a serpent and tempts Eve to eat from the Tree of Life. Subsequently, Eve convinces Adam to eat from the Tree of Life. Thus, sin is introduced into the world, and God banishes Adam and Eve from the Garden of Eden. How does this brief history relate to “slippery?” Serpents or snakes are usually associated with being slippery to the touch or able to slip through and glide along one’s fingers. Furthermore, in this case, there is a degree of uncertainty or doubt as to Satan’s character and credibility as this story depicts his first meeting of human beings. Satan is a “slippery” being to the naïve Eve.

Another instance of “slippery” that comes to mind is Edgar Allen Poe’s short story “A Cask of Amontillado.” In the story, Montresor is seeking revenge on his friend Fortunato. During a carnival, Montresor dismisses all his servants and invites Fortunato over to give his expertise on some amontillado, wine, that Montresor has stored in his cellars down in the of his estate catacombs. In the end, Montresor seals Fortunato in a crevice and leaves Fortunato to die. Throughout the journey to thee cellars, Poe goes into great detail describing the catacombs as cool with walls moist and slippery to the touch. By doing this, Poe does an excellent job foreshadowing future events and creating a sense of fear or dread in the audience.

Although there are many other examples of “slippery” and metaphorical meaning of the term, the things I have discussed I have found to be the true for myself. Tactile sensation and interpretation is really dependent upon the individual when it comes down to it.

When Research Changed My Outlook

My junior year of high school, I took English 101 at a local college. As with most college writing courses, I was required to write an argumentative paper. For this particular assignment, my professor allowed me and my fellow classmates to choose the topic. Choosing a topic to write about has never been easy for me. I enjoy writing about what is on my mind more. Since I was having such difficulty choosing a topic for my paper and because the paper accounted for a large percentage of my grade, my professor sat down with me and tried to help direct my thoughts; she encouraged me to write about something that was really important to me, but not something I necessarily knew much about. At that time, something that had been on my mind lately was the significance of a fathers’ roles upon their children both now and in the future. I have always lived in the absence of a father figure, and I had begun to wonder how much harm not having a father figure had had and would have upon my health and well-being. In fact, I was very concerned.

Although my research indicated the absence of a father figure in the life of a child produces many negative consequences for the child, there was something reassuring in educating myself about these consequences and having learned what I am up against, so to speak. I began my research by selecting scientific journal articles and browsing through university studies/graduate papers that described psychological issues that might arise in children due to the absence of a father figure in their lives. Much of this research suggested such issues could continue into adulthood if left unchecked by social support or counseling. In order to further substantiate the relationship between the absence of a father figure in the life of a child and the development of psychological issues in the child, I decided to research some of these psychological issues alone to see if research on the issues tied back to the absence of a father figure as a cause, and it did. Lastly, since every good argument has a counterargument, I read through psychological and sociology articles to identify ways in which children and their guardians can help “fatherless” children avoid psychological issues that may negatively impact the health and well-being of a child.

How did I know which research to include in my paper and when my paper was complete? I knew my paper was complete when I had laid out and described the main issues “fatherless” children or children who live without a father figure confront. For me, it was a small victory saying to the world, I have a reason for the way I feel about myself sometimes. Likewise, it was also comforting to realize that the fate realized by some children grown into adulthood does not have to be my own. I can make the changes and utilize the resources I researched to combat many issues I may encounter as a result of being “fatherless.” The key to knowing what research to include was narrowing my topic down to psychological issues arising from “fatherlessness” and impacting the health and well-being of a child as well as utilizing the “clues” or essential features of credible research. That is, I only included research from that came from a widely recognized database, had the necessary format and citation style, and that had been cited by other sources. Research lacking these features is much less credible and more objective.

In the end, what I learned from this assignment extended beyond my topic. I learned you cannot let your problems or external issues define you. You must define yourself, and you hold your future in your hands.

Holmes and the 21st Century Detective

What is the first thing you do when you arrive on the scene of a crime? Do you take witness testimony? Do you map out the crime scene or take pictures? Do you collect evidence? All of these actions are important steps in solving a crime. However, it is not always the most obvious details that are key to solving the crime. Sometimes, it is the least obvious or seemingly insignificant details that are of utmost importance.

In “Clues: Morelli, Freud, and Sherlock Holmes,” Carlo Ginzburg discusses the comparison drawn by Enrico Castelnuovo regarding Morelli’s method of paintings to particular artists and Holmes way of solving crimes. Italian art historian Giovanni Morelli was first to suggest copied paintings could be distinguished from original paintings based upon the most trivial details of the painter’s school rather than the easily imitated obvious characteristics of a particular painter’s style. Similarly, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle’s protagonist Sherlock Holmes is renowned and characterized by his ability to detect clues unnoticed by others to solve the crime. For example, in the case on “The Cardboard Box in which two non-identical severed ears were delivered to an unmarried woman,” Holmes observes the features of the woman’s ears and notes the similarities between her ears and one of the severed ears. Thus, Holmes concludes the woman is related to one of the individuals whose ear was severed.

Ginzburg goes on to assert the common connection between Morelli and Holmes is the use of symptomatology. Symptomatology involves the use of superficial symptoms or signs to diagnose disease, since the disease itself cannot be directly observed. However, these signs are symptoms are often difficult to find for the untrained eye. Thus, in Morelli’s case, the signs were features of paintings which were then utilized to distinguish or “diagnose” paintings as original works of art by the artist. Holmes case, the signs were clues which were then applied to solving the crime or “diagnosing” how and why the crime occurred.

Do you, Detective, think seemingly irrelevant or minor details play a significant role in solving a crime? If you don’t suggest you at least review Holmes success in solving crimes as a result of paying attention to even the tiniest details. Although Holmes is a fictional character, much of the methodology employed by forensic scientists and detectives as depicted in the stories was true to the time. That being said, it is plausible Holmes method of using distinctive clues was truly essential to solving crimes. If you still don’t think such clues are key to solving a crime, I suggest you put yourself in Holmes shoes for your next case. Use clues that appear insignificant to draw conclusions about the crime.

Holmes was 19th century detective, so what do his methods mean for you as a 21st century detective? As Holmes did in the case of “The Cardboard Box,” you should pay attention to physical features of victims and witnesses. Additionally, you should take note of the behavior and tone/language of witnesses. As far as physical evidence goes, you should be very attentive to collect any and all sources of hair, blood, fibers, etc. from victims and crime scenes. Such evidence can then of course be processed with modern forensic technology, such as DNA fingerprinting with polymerase chain reaction (PCR), to identify potential suspects or other victims. Special attention should also be paid to the victims and/or suspects past and present activities, health conditions, violations of law, etc. Any evidence that seems out of place, such as an unsubscribed prescription should also be collected or archived with pictures. Once the evidence has been collected and the witness testimony taken, you can link together these “signs” or clues to “diagnose” or solve your case symptomatically. There is much more you can do to use even the most irrelevant details or clues to solve a crime, but this is a start to get you to become more like Holmes and utilize a symptomatic approach to solving crimes.

The Secret Writer

Set in futuristic Los Angeles, the 2013 movie Her tells the story of Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phenonix) as he develops a relationship with his operating system (OS), Samantha, following separation from his wife. In the movie, Theodore is employed as a writer for Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company, which writes sentimental letters for individuals who have trouble expressing themselves on the page or who do not have the time to do so. Based upon the presentation of the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company, Her seems to suggest such companies are commonplace or a facet of life in the future and that audience should be receptive of the idea of Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company. In spite of this, my reaction to the company was repulsion because of the uncanny impression the company left upon me.

Theodore’s attitude toward his job and what others say about the letters he writes suggest Theodore has his job because he is a good writer, especially in the sense of catching romanticism. For example, Theodore’s boss and his boss’s girlfriend compliment Theodore on his letters. Similarly, Samantha shows Theodore’s letters to another OS with a reputation for writing. However, Theodore points out at least twice in the movie that “they are just letters,” seeming to indicate Theodore does not see value behind his work. At the same time though, Theodore does act as if he takes an interest in the lives of those for whom he writes.

Her implies like the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company are natural and should be embraced in our lives. I concur that companies like the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company are and will be a part of our lives, but I am not of the same mindset that such companies should be accepted or endorsed. Examples of companies similar to the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company that are in existence today are online essay writing companies, which allow students to have their essay, theses, applications, etc. written for them. Such a company was exposed by Ed Dante in his essay “The Shadow Scholar” (Dante). Her goes on to depict the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company in a positive light by focusing on Theodore’s knowledge of clients as a result of long-term service with them and by his expression of interest in his clients’ lives, which indicate the company is trustworthy and concerned with consumer or client satisfaction. Both of which are factors of a successful business. Moreover, as Theodore claims, “They are just letters.” That is, the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company is just out to sell a product. In the end, the audience is expected to accept the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company because it is just another business and a benevolent one at that. Nonetheless, my reaction to the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company was not as intended.

My reaction to the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company was repulsion due to the uneasiness I felt caused by the uncanny effect of the company. Sigmund Freud used various definitions or representations of what is “uncanny” in his essay “The Uncanny.” One such definition is that which is “unreal” becomes “real” (Freud 150-51). In my opinion, someone writing words I have never said or thought is allowing the “unreal” to become “real” with my unsaid words being the “unreal” and the words on the page being “real.” It is both unnatural and uncanny for someone like Theodore to “know” my thoughts and feelings based upon the snip-its of my life and personality that I give him or her. Moreover, the letter’s recipient’s belief in the sentiment and words of the letter is “real” while the letter is “unreal” because the letter is not truly from the signee. Overall, I do not approve of companies like the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company because such companies allow individuals to hide behind deception. Thus, while Her anticipates the audience embracing companies like the Beautiful Handwritten Letters Company, I was not convinced.

Dante, Ed. “The Shadow Scholar.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. The Chronicle Review. 12 Nov. 2010. Web. 3 Sept. 2014.

Freud, Sigmund. New York: Penguin Group, 2003. Print.

Warner Brothers, prod. Her. Amazon Instant Video. Amazon, 2013. Web. 26 Sept. 2014.

Language and Identity

Have you ever thought about the way we communicate with one another, Mom? I think if you did, you would find the way you communicate with me is very different from the way you communicate with your boss or with your peers. What could I possibly mean by this? I mean individuals express themselves by changing their voice and word choice or phrases to suit the group with which they are communicating or as a situation demands. NPR has termed this phenomenon “code-switching.” There are many reasons why individuals code-switch, but are individuals still genuinely themselves when they do? Some individuals may argue code-switching is insincere or is not really self-expression but rather conformity to a group. However, I argue code-switching is self-expression by way of allowing individuals to display their various identities.

I was first introduced to the idea of code-switching when reading NPR’s articles “How Code-Switching Explains the World” and “Five Reasons Why People Code-Switch” in my freshman writing course. Prior to reading these articles, I hadn’t given much thought about how I talk to you versus how I talk to my friends or even how I talk to my professors. Code-switching was an entirely new concept to me and an eye-opening one at that. In the later article, NPR identifies five main reasons why individuals code-switch based upon instances of code-switching submitted by NPR readers. The top five reasons why individuals code switch were identified as the following: our subconscious mind takes over, we are trying to fit in, we desire something we don’t have, we want to say something secretly, and we are attempting to convey an idea more clearly. Regardless of the reason, the voice and expression is still you, but others may not agree.

Some individuals may point out code-switching to suit the group you are in is like buying and wearing clothes other individuals in the group wear; it’s about conforming to the group and doing what is popular. While it is true code-switching can be used as a means of fitting in, this by no means undermines someone’s individuality. Everyone individual had different desires and goals for themselves. Thus, every individual has different groups into which they wish to be accepted and different ways of getting there.

Another argument some will raise against code-switching is its insincerity. Are you really expressing your own thoughts and feelings, or are you only saying what you think others want to hear? I agree that to some extent code-switching is insincere. If you are trying to fit in or to get something you want, surely you are going to say what you think others want to hear. Nonetheless, I still assert code-switching is sincere because it is an outward expression of desire. What is in your inmost thoughts comes out. In fact, code-switching is the expression of the various parts or identities of ourselves.

Let’s take a look at the five most common reasons why individuals code-switch to examine how code-switching is an expression of our identities. Where we have been reared and the dialect spoken there as well as the language used by our peers and family becomes part of our subconscious, and these factors are a part of our cultural and social identity. For example, an individual may transition between English, Spanish, or a blend of the two depending upon to whom he or she is speaking. Likewise, the employment of code-switching as a means of fitting in reflects our social and human identity, since all humans have the basic need of love or being wanted/accepted. Furthermore, our use of code-switching as an end to getting something we desire or wanting to say something in secret depicts our moral identity and identity as creative and cunning beings. If an individual cares little for exploiting others to get what he or she wants, then he or she will “sweet talk” or assume a different character until the other individual is convinced to give the first what is desired at the least cost or effort. Lastly, we code-switch to better convey certain ideas, thereby displaying our identity as intellectual beings.

In conclusion, code-switching is an expression of self through the use of voice and language; it is neither insincere nor conformist but rather a display of the various colors of our identities.

The Game of Words, Dialect, and Tone

In the 1959 movie Pillow Talk, eligible bachelor Brad (Rock Hudson) and single business woman Jan (Doris Day) share a party line and complications arise from their assumptions of one another based upon the voices on the other end of the line. The primary plot revolves around Brad’s prank of courting Jan by assuming a different persona and being very cordial following her complaint about Brad to the telephone company. By the end of the movie, Brad’s true self is revealed and the two become a couple. I agree with the movie’s implication that individuals can misperceive one another by voice alone or when speaking on the telephone, especially if the individuals have not gotten to know one another in person or beyond the contexts of the conversations the other individual has on the telephone, because of the idea of “code-switching.”

“Code-switching” is a concept I learned about after reading NPR’s article “How Code-Switching Explains the World” in my freshman writing course. The basic premise behind code-switching is that individuals will change their voice and/or language to suit the situation and the individual or the group to which they are speaking. Both main characters in Pillow Talk misinterpret one another because of their code-switching. However, the manner in which Brad code-switches and Jan code-switches is different. That is, Brad code switches purposely, and Jan code-switches seemingly unintentionally.

In the case of Brad, he plays upon a 1923 Southern Bell Telephone Company advertisement that suggests, “Your voice is you” (Fisher 41). Brad assumes the persona and dialect of a Texan named Rex who is touring New York; he is still fully Brad but acting as someone else. For example, Rex consistently calls Jan “ma’am” and extends his vowels. In contrast, Brad smooth talks women and uses serenades with phrases such as, “You are my inspiration,” when speaking to women on the party line. Thus, from the telephone, Jan gets the impression Brad is a pompous women-user. Nevertheless, she finds Rex delightful and admits to loving him. In essence, Brad intentionally becomes Rex using the code-switching of the southern hospitality dialect to woo Jan.

On the other hand, Jan seems to stay true to herself, only her different identities come out at different times. Jan is subconsciously code-switching by assuming a tone and language appropriate for her company and mirroring her feelings. The business woman Jan on the phone is short and rude, whereas the everyday Jan with her colleagues and clients is kind and obliging. These differences in her identities are depicted in her words to Brad like, “Mr. Allen, you are on my half hour,” when he is holding up the party line and her words like, “Oh no, I wouldn’t want to impose,” to her wealthy client. Moreover, Jan is flirtatious and fun with Rex. In the beginning, Brad perceives Jan as a woman who is jealous of his love affairs and who needs to get a life. After being Rex, Brad’s feelings change and he realizes Jan is the woman for him.

In conclusion, code-switching is what causes Jan and Brad to misread one another and also to eventually fall in love; it’s all about putting the tone and words with the person, in the proper context.