Code-X (16)
By: Joshua Glenn | Categories: Codebreaking

ted knight

Call this cultural category code: Sonorous Snark.

Definition: The deep, sonorous voices of (for example) actors Ted Knight, Seinfeld‘s John O’Hurley, and Phil Hartman have been used in a snarky way — to mock and reject the old-fashioned, macho, sometimes conservative values their characters promote.


Notes on this code: Certain beer campaigns — e.g., Bud Light’s “This is Matt,” Coors Light’s “Trucker,” “Subzero,” and others (which are in fact voiced by O’Hurley) — employ sonorous snark to express sarcasm towards idealized, over-the-top claims typical in the beer category. Typical, even, of their own brands’ previous campaigns.




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Joshua Glenn is an author, publisher, and semiotic analyst. He is co-author (with Mark Kingwell and the cartoonist Seth) of THE IDLER'S GLOSSARY and THE WAGE SLAVE'S GLOSSARY, co-editor of the object-oriented story collections TAKING THINGS SERIOUSLY and (with Rob Walker) SIGNIFICANT OBJECTS, and co-author (with Elizabeth Foy Larsen) of the family activities guide UNBORED and three forthcoming spinoffs, including UNBORED Games. He is editor of HILOBROW and publisher of the Radium Age science fiction imprint HiLoBooks. Also: Glenn manages a secretive online community known as the Hermenautic Circle; he is founding editor of the e-book club Save the Adventure; and he's a frequent co-host of Boing Boing's podcast GWEEK. In the ’00s, Glenn was an editor, columnist, and blogger for the Boston Globe's IDEAS section, he co-founded the international semiotics website SEMIONAUT, and contributed to CABINET, SLATE, and elsewhere. In the ’90s, he published the high-lowbrow zine/journal HERMENAUT, worked as a dotcom and magazine editor, and contributed to THE BAFFLER, FEED, and elsewhere. His publishing company is King Mixer, LLC; and his semiotic analysis consultancy is Semiovox LLC. He lives in Boston with his wife and children.