To celebrate Pride Month, I’m playing two of the Allusionist episodes that have stuck with me the most during the show’s existence.
The first is Joins. You listeners talk about your particular experiences in your trans bodies, dealing with the available vocabulary for sex and the associated body parts.
Second is Pride: the story of how that word was chosen in 1970 for LGBTQ Pride events.Read more
To mark the 100th episode of the Allusionist, here’s a celebratory parade of language-related facts.Read more
When there were no safe spaces to be gay, Polari allowed gay men to identify and communicate with each other, and to keep things secret from outsiders.
Professor Paul Baker, author of the Polari dictionary and the upcoming book Fabulosa! The Story of Polari, Britain’s Secret Gay Language, explains how Polari emerged from criminal cant and London’s theatres and docks to be used a code language for gay men in the oppressive 1950s - and then, not long after, it entered the slang lexicons of the general public, via popular sketch comedy and the mouth of an annoyed princess.Read more
“Trust isn't a brand that you should use. It's a social glue that, when it breaks down, has really huge consequences to our lives.” Trust expert and author Rachel Botsman explains why we need to protect this word that has remained steadfast throughout its existence, but may now be too popular for its own good.Read more
Why did you change your name? And why did you choose the name you chose?
Listeners answer these two questions. Hear their stories of gender identity, family fallouts, marriages, divorces, doxxing, cults, and…just not liking your given name very much.Read more
Strange or obtuse; a stinging homophobic slur; a radical political rejection of normativity; a broad term encompassing every and any variation on sexual orientation and gender identity: the word 'queer' has a multifarious past and complicated present. This is just a fraction of it.
Tracing the word's movements are Kathy Tu and Tobin Low from Nancy podcast, Eric Marcus from Making Gay History, and historian and author Amy Sueyoshi, with Jonathan Van Ness from Queer Eye.Read more
Up in the sky: look! It's an adjective! It's a noun! It's...Adjectivenoun!
Your friendly neighbourhood superheroes might have thrilling and varied powers and spandex garments, but the way their names are concocted have followed only a handful of formulae in the past 80 years, since Superman sent superheroes soaring.
(Yes, alliteration is one such naming formula.)
Glen Weldon of Pop Culture Happy Hour traces the supername's development from Adjective+Gender through Colour+Noun to Normal Name and Lone Noun.Read more
As considered in episode 51, Under the Covers part II, the vocabulary for sex and associated body parts is tricky to navigate in many ways - but even more so if you are trans or gender non-binary.
Following that show, I heard from several trans and non-binary listeners, recounting their experiences of that vocabulary; so I decided to make this episode about it.Read more
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Your online dating profile is the latest spin on a 300-year-old tradition of advertising yourself in order to find a spouse, a sexual partner, or someone to take care of your pigs.
Francesca Beauman, author of Shapely Ankle Preferr’d: A History of the Lonely Hearts Ad, digs into lonely hearts ads to see how British society and desires have evolved over the past three centuries.
WARNING: Some of the content is a little saucy, but not, like, swimming in sauce.
- Reviews of hundreds of different dating sites? You got it.
- I love reading the Blind Dates in the Guardian each Saturday, and The Guyliner’s dissection thereof shortly afterwards.
- Atlas Obscura tests the Victorian seduction technique of reading aloud.
- Not so much a lonely heart ad as a curious soul ad, but it resulted in one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever read: The Life Swap by Nancy Weber. Read about it here (NB spoilers).
- Warlock: offensive term?
- The transcript of this episode is at theallusionist.org/transcripts/wltm-i.
A WORD FROM OUR SPONSORS:
2. Our generous benefactors Squarespace.com want to help you realise your online dreams in the form of beautiful, well-designed websites. To get 10% off yours for the first year plus a domain thrown in, use the code ALLUSION at checkout. Unlike my mug of a husband.
MAILCHIMP'S RANDOMLY SELECTED WORD FROM THE DICTIONARY:
- Find Francesca Beauman at francescabeauman.com and buy her books, including the excellent Shapely Ankle Preferr’d, from your usual book-buying places.
- This episode was produced by me, Helen Zaltzman.
- Martin Austwick provided all the music.
- Matthew Crosby provided his voice.
- Allusionist listeners provided their dating profiles, for which I am extremely grateful.
- WLTM you at facebook.com/allusionistshow, twitter.com/allusionistshow and twitter.com/helenzaltzman.
This is a two-parter, and the second half is an absolute belter, so return next week to hear it.