Real Men Know What a Codec Is

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.


Tyler Cowen points today to a list of words that show the biggest disparities in recognition between men and women. Men, for example, are pretty familiar with humvee, claymore, and scimitar. Women are pretty familiar with taffeta, wisteria, and bodice. No big surprises there. But here’s the #1 word on the male list:

codec (88, 48)

Seriously? We’re supposed to believe that 88 percent of men are familiar with the word codec? True, this is only a test for recognizing a word, not necessarily for knowing what it means, but still. Something is wrong with this picture. Even taking into account the number of gamers and audiophiles who end up having to muck around with codecs, I’d still guess that no more than 10-20 percent of the men in America have ever come across the word.

But then again, maybe I’m wrong. Is it possible that among American males, knowledge of codecs is as widespread as knowledge of carburetors used to be?

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily bluster—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate