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COMMENTARY
Laurel and Yanny
(Mike Allen)
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I was introduced to “The Dress” at a bar in 2015. After several drinks, a friend held a phone near my face and asked “What color is this dress?

I answered “Blue and black,” of course, because that’s what color it was. A different (and better) question, however, would be “What color does it look like to you?” I still would have answered the same, but after reading all of the debate a few years ago and the science behind the phenomenon, I think that question better describes why it’s interesting. I eventually understood seeing gold on the dress. For the life of me, I still don’t understand seeing white.

With the latest debate between Laurel and Yanny, I hear “Laurel” quite clearly. If I had never read that someone heard “Yanny” in there, I would simply dismiss the lo-fi digital artifact that produces that sound in the clip. But much like the yellow lighting and lo-res quality of “The Dress” picture, it’s there, and it allows for confusion.

I guess what I’m trying to say is, I’ve gone from a perspective of right vs. wrong to a perspective of “I understand, man.” I find it all to be pretty fascinating even if it is a bit silly.

— Mike Allen


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Mike Allen is a graphic designer, painter, printer and tailor. He has a fine art degree from the University of Oklahoma.