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Now and Then: Snoop Dogg Vs. Odd Future

A writer grows up and stops dancing to misogyny in the fourth round of our "Now and Then" series.


In our week-long series, Now and Then, GOOD writers each choose a beloved piece of pop culture from back in the day and pit it against its modern-day equivalent, with a fresh pair of adult eyes. May the best zeitgeist win.

I was 11 when Snoop Dogg’s first album, Doggystyle, came out. That was gangsta rap’s heyday, when MTV still played music videos by people like Snoop, Dr. Dre, Warren G, and the Dogg Pound Gangstaz, much to the dismay of my mother. At that time my mom was a principal at a middle school serving mostly low-income minorities in Tucson, Arizona. For her, gangs and the violence they wrought were an everyday reality, not entertainment. When I asked her if she’d buy me Doggystyle in a Wherehouse music store one afternoon, it was as if I’d asked her to buy me crack or a switchblade. “Absolutely not!” she gasped. That day, I had to make do with Digable Planets.

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Your Brain on Shakespeare: How the Bard Makes You Smarter

You love Shakespeare's creative use of language. Now new research shows it actually makes your brain grow.


Need a reason to reread Romeo and Juliet? Researcher Philip Davis, a professor at the University of Liverpool's School of English, has been studying the brain and reading. He says exposure to Shakespeare's deliberate language mistakes—like using a noun as a verb—makes you smarter.

Shakespeare actually invented around 10 percent of the words he used in his plays, poems, and sonnets, and he plays with the grammatical roles of words—a line in Twelfth Night, "the cruellest she alive" morphs a pronoun into a noun. Davis says those creative mistakes make our brains "shift mental pathways and open possibilities." The more exposure we get to such creativity, the more alive our brain becomes. He points out that one of the dangers of the way we write and speak today—and, inevitably, the way we teach writing and speakingis its predictability. The discouragement of Shakespearean kinds of creative mistakes and the sameness of our modern language gradually deadens the brain.

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