Sanders, Trump, Marvin, and Me

Bernie Trump

Donald Trump, left, and Senator Bernie Sanders. Credit Eric Thayer for The New York Times, left; Cheryl Senter for The New York Times

As a performance artist and character actor, I get to channel multiple characters. One of my very favorite characters is Marvin Bloom. From Long Island New York, I can be very direct when I play Marvin, and no one seems to mind. The New York Times recently helped me understand why characters like Marvin (and Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump) are so likable. The Times suggests it may have something to do with their New York regional in-your-face accents.

Michael Newman at the New York Times writes:

Reality and image reinforce each other, and Americans have come to associate New Yorkers, and so New York accents, with saying what you mean, intense emotional talk and not worrying too much about whom you offend.

Sociolinguists — scholars of language in society — call the way that forms of speech entail social meanings “indexicality.” A sound or a system of sounds, popularly called an accent, points to or indexes a particular social meaning. A basic example is dropping Rs, saying “coffee” with a raised awvowel and producing Ts and Ds on the teeth rather than the alveolar ridge behind the teeth, which all index together a New York identity.

So as Marvin Bloom I share some  feelings about the polar bear. Turns out Marvin is not a big fan. He finds them to be scary and disgusting bullies. But in his short, funny video, he reveals something about the climate crisis that often gets overlooked. There is a specie that is threatened right now that we run into on a daily basis. It is warm and lovely and friendly, and it is under attack! I’ll let Marvin break it down for you.

And if you want to hear more of Marvin and his off-beat approach to climate change, check out the Climate Stew radio show on  iTunes,  StitcherSoundCloud or right here at Climate Stew. We take global warming seriously, but we don’t try to scare the snot out of you.


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