dissecting a cultural phenomenon in the midst of chaos

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this year has been brutal. without the pandemic, we’d still have worldwide wildfires, more celebrity deaths than seemingly ever, and we as a people have continued to endure the pain olympics that has been trump’s presidency. we as a civilization, as a society, are not short on things to be anxious and scared to death about. there’s also been the stories that have flown under the radar in comparison, like over 70 british professional wrestlers getting exposed for being sexually abusive towards women in and out of their industry, tory lanez shooting megan thee stallion and then making an hour-long album about the incident that exposed him as sexist, and alex jones coming back because nothing is real nor does it matter anymore. with time coming to a standstill, the looming threat of civil war, and the even crazier but still realistic threat of world war 3, it’s important to come together and focus on the issues that are difficult and uncomfortable to talk about, but necessary all the same if we want to progress forward as a society. for example…

a lot of people have been using all-lowercase lettering lately, in media promotion, social media, and texting. why is that? let’s discuss!

for starters, the important thing to note is the way young adults and teens nowadays communicate. proper sentence structure is highly discouraged when texting and reads as something you only employ when you’re mad at someone. if your text reads as too proper, don’t be surprised if you get a text back asking if you’re okay or if they did something that made you upset.

so, what does all-lowercase lettering even convey? i’m glad you asked!

all-lowercase lettering is not a new thing. hell, e.e. cummings has been using it since the early 1900s. the idea of stylizing all of your words and sentences to feature no capital letters is to convey understatement to the reader. my reasoning as to why most people would want to understate everything is because the world around us, especially these last four years, is way too damn loud all the damn time. for the marketing surrounding the last three ariana grande albums, the titles of the albums and songs have been all-lowercase, and they all are also her quietest and highest-streaming and highest-charting works to date. the zeitgeist of the current generation is vibes, where being chill is the most admirable trait in a person, and marketing strategies have been leaning into this format to appeal to that audience.

was this entire article essentially just one over-long punchline? yes, but damn did i need this. this article, and really all the ones i’ve written this semester, has been a distraction of sorts, a getaway from all the horrible things that are going on in the world right now. however, as this horrible, slow-motion throat-punch of a year draws to a close, things are finally looking up, so here’s some good news to end the semester with: trump lost the election, there’s a goddamn covid-19 vaccine that’s 90% effective, and holy shit trump lost the election. we should all hold hands, all wearing gloves because it’s a pandemic and we’re responsible, and sing kumbaya.

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