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5 Boring Subjects Translated Into Clickbait Headlines

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We’ve all become savvy to the tropes and tricks of clickbait headlines, but that doesn’t stop us from clicking on them. Can’t we harness the power of clickbait to funnel interest toward loftier subjects? As it turns out, the conventions of clickbait can be applied to even the most highbrow topics. Here are five edifying areas that have been given the clickbait treatment.

1. Dissertations

Think nobody cares about your dissertation? Submit it to the Clickbait Dissertations Tumblr and just watch what happens!

You NEED to See This Hot Model (NSFW) of Ethnic Politics and Foreign Policy.

(Actual title: Supporting secession or maintaining boundaries: The international consequences of ethnic politics.)

Meet the Bad-ass Bards who Changed the Way You Experience the Written Word.

(Actual title: Anthologizing Modernism: New Verse Anthologies, 1913-53.)

All of Your Brain Cells Have the Same DNA, Right? Here are 10 Reasons Why You’re So Wrong.

(Actual title: Chromosomal aneuploidy in the developing mammalian cortex.)

2. Supreme Court Business

You will literally not be able to stop yourself from clicking when you see what Twitter account @ClickbaitSCOTUS is up to.

3. Music History

Classical Minnesota Public Radio applied the clickbait formula to a bunch of its stories, and you won’t believe what happened next! (You clicked on them, and still felt good about yourself.) Here’s a selection:

When His Musicians Needed Some Time Off for Lovin’, This Composer Wrote a Piece That Made Sure They Got It.

Was This Famous Mass of Death Really Meant for a Fun Family Singalong?

What Did This Guy Do When He Heard Schubert’s “Unfinished” Symphony? He Finished It.

4. History

The history of the 20th century in clickbait headlines? This xkcd comic made me laugh, until it made me cringe, because I realized it would totally happen this way today.

(1920) 17 things that will be outlawed now that women can vote

(1957) 12 nip slips potentially visible to Sputnik

(1968) This year's assassinations ranked from most to least tragic

5. Literature

Whoa! Check out what The Millions did to these classic book titles!

Watch This Kid Burst Into Tears When He’s Refused Some More Porridge
(Oliver Twist)

You Thought Millenials Were Bad? Watch These British Kids Totally Nail Chaos Theory
(Lord of the Flies)

We Thought We Could Beat On Against The Current Without Being Borne Back Ceaselessly Into The Past. Boy, Were We Wrong.
(The Great Gatsby)

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Big Questions
Where Should You Place the Apostrophe in President's Day?
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Happy Presidents’ Day! Or is it President’s Day? Or Presidents Day? What you call the national holiday depends on where you are, who you’re honoring, and how you think we’re celebrating.

Saying "President’s Day" infers that the day belongs to a singular president, such as George Washington or Abraham Lincoln, whose birthdays are the basis for the holiday. On the other hand, referring to it as "Presidents’ Day" means that the day belongs to all of the presidents—that it’s their day collectively. Finally, calling the day "Presidents Day"—plural with no apostrophe—would indicate that we’re honoring all POTUSes past and present (yes, even Andrew Johnson), but that no one president actually owns the day.

You would think that in the nearly 140 years since "Washington’s Birthday" was declared a holiday in 1879, someone would have officially declared a way to spell the day. But in fact, even the White House itself hasn’t chosen a single variation for its style guide. They spelled it “President’s Day” here and “Presidents’ Day” here.


Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Maybe that indecision comes from the fact that Presidents Day isn’t even a federal holiday. The federal holiday is technically still called “Washington’s Birthday,” and states can choose to call it whatever they want. Some states, like Iowa, don’t officially acknowledge the day at all. And the location of the punctuation mark is a moot point when individual states choose to call it something else entirely, like “George Washington’s Birthday and Daisy Gatson Bates Day” in Arkansas, or “Birthdays of George Washington/Thomas Jefferson” in Alabama. (Alabama loves to split birthday celebrations, by the way; the third Monday in January celebrates both Martin Luther King, Jr., and Robert E. Lee.)

You can look to official grammar sources to declare the right way, but even they don’t agree. The AP Stylebook prefers “Presidents Day,” while Chicago Style uses “Presidents’ Day.”

The bottom line: There’s no rhyme or reason to any of it. Go with what feels right. And even then, if you’re in one of those states that has chosen to spell it “President’s Day”—Washington, for example—and you use one of the grammar book stylings instead, you’re still technically wrong.

Have you got a Big Question you'd like us to answer? If so, let us know by emailing us at bigquestions@mentalfloss.com.

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language
Here's the Right Way to Pronounce Kitchenware Brand Le Creuset

If you were never quite sure how to pronounce the name of beloved French kitchenware brand Le Creuset, don't fret: For the longest time, southern chef, author, and PBS personality Vivian Howard wasn't sure either.

In this video from Le Creuset, shared by Food & Wine, Howard prepares to sear some meat in her bright orange Le Creuset pot and explains, "For the longest time I had such a crush on them but I could never verbalize it because I didn’t know how to say it and I was so afraid of sounding like a big old redneck." Listen closely as she demonstrates the official, Le Creuset-endorsed pronunciation at 0:51.

Le Creuset is known for its colorful, cast-iron cookware, which is revered by pro chefs and home cooks everywhere. The company first introduced their durable pots to the world in 1925. Especially popular are their Dutch ovens, which are thick cast-iron pots that have been around since the 18th century and are used for slow-cooking dishes like roasts, stews, and casseroles.

[h/t Food & Wine]

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