Slow Clap

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Megan Garber gives an exceptionally detailed breakdown of applause in this essay, which analyzes the history and evolution of the everyday gesture.

So the subtleties of the Roman arena — the claps and the snaps and the shades of meaning — gave way, in later centuries, to applause that was standardized and institutionalized and, as a result, a little bit promiscuous. Laugh tracks guffawed with mechanized abandon. Applause became an expectation rather than a reward. And artists saw it for what it was becoming: ritual, rote.

Put your hands together for critical theory.


Tony DeGenaro is an MFA candidate at the University of San Francisco. His poetry has been seen in Rusted Radishes, Quiz & Quill, and his chapbook, “Drink From the Ohio River,” was published at Otterbein University. He is an Ohio native and not afraid to show it. Tony is also a prolific blogger and twitter-er. More from this author →