On 15 November 1992, the New York Times printed a ‘ Lexicon of Grunge’, a list of slang terms from the Seattle music scene. ‘Harsh realm’ = bummer. ‘Wack slacks’ = old ripped jeans. ‘Swingin’ on the flippity-flop’ = hanging out.
Not familiar with any of these? It’s OK, it’s not because you’re a cob nobbler (= loser). They were all made up. By Megan Jasper. Now the CEO of Sub Pop records, she explains why she pranked an unsuspecting journalist.Read More
"Recognizing someone's humanity is crucial. Calling someone a migrant, calling someone an asylum seeker, calling them a refugee: these are official categories. But in many ways, depending on how they use them, they can change and become more negative."
So says propaganda and migration specialist Emma Briant, explaining the dangers of conflating and misusing the terms that apply to humans on the move. And British-Asian-but-kinda-not author Nikesh Shukla wonders where he's from - where he is really from.Read More
There's a word that has become shorthand for 'the war on Christmas' with a side of 'political correctness gone mad': Winterval.
It began in November 1998. Newspapers furiously accused Birmingham City Council of renaming Christmas when it ran festive events under the name 'Winterval'. The council's then-head of events Mike Chubb explains the true meaning of Winterval.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.