Dubbing vs Subtitles, part three

Kevin Drum

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I have one more quick point I’d like to make about the great subtitle war. (My fuller response is here.) A great deal of the pushback I got went something like this: Anyone who knows anything about cinema prefers subtitles to dubbing. Only idiots who can’t read would choose a dubbed movie instead.

It’s true that movie buffs around the world prefer subtitles. But the reason that you and I and nearly all cinema sophisticates prefer subtitles is because we can read quickly and easily. For us, subtitles don’t interfere much with the rest of the movie.

But for some people this isn’t true. You don’t have to be simpleminded for subtitles to be a big distraction. You just have to be a fairly normal person who reads a little more slowly than the highly verbal, highly educated folks who read this blog. In other words, you have to be like the large majority of moviegoers.

Are these people idiots? To hear the Twitter response I got from an awful lot of lefties, you’d think so. And then we wonder why the white working class has soured on us. Such a mystery.

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