I posted this poll on Twitter.
I know I’m dealing with a small sample size, but I am surprised at the amount of “no” responses. It seems for some time I’ve been enjoying the world of closed captioning, using English subtitles for everything I watch regardless of setting. Everyone else is missing out.
Why aren’t others partaking? I got a few expected oppositions to the subtitle movement.
“I can hear.”
“If I wanted to read, I’d read a book.”
Both of these responses hinging on subtitles as a distraction or as an undue, excessive burden on the viewing experience.
I think that’s silly and I’m here to defend subtitles.
Consume Regardless of Setting
You have to quietly play Netflix off to the side while you’re on a conference call? Ok, subtitles.
You forgot your AirPods and don’t want to pay $2 for Delta’s shitty airplane headphones? No problem!
You want to watch a reality show set in the Deep South and you can’t quite make out what Billy Bob is saying? Welcome to closed captioning.
Subtitles have no boundaries. They care not for your domain. They defeat thin walls, headphone jack-less phones, and are wonders for accessibility.
They Promote Focus
Take Parasite for example. Because of my reliance on subtitles for understanding dialogue, I’m actually compelled to keep my eyes on the screen!
It’s strange to me that so many people find subtitles as distractions. As Rebecca Farley hints, there are so many other distractions trying to steal our attention anytime we consume movies or TV. Have to spend a little more energy keeping your eyes on the screen? Well then it’s likely you didn’t crater into a Twitter hole and miss the entire plot.
As Farley puts it, “A few little words – sometimes yellow – sometimes white – serve as little television road signs, forcing you to pay attention to your surroundings.”
Open A World of New Content
I explored the world of foreign film and television a bit before Parasite, but at Bong Joon Ho’s urging, I’m compelled to continue my exploration.
It’s silly to think that only English speaking films could be interesting, funny, scary, and beyond. And it’s not that hard to curate a list of great films – The Oscars does it for us every single year.
Here’s the 2020 list.
I urge you to watch at least one of these films and I must say I’m quite partial to Parasite. Seriously, watch Parasite.
But if you can’t take my word for it, well, then how about from the man himself.