words

The magic of accepting "unlovable people" with author Andrew Solomon

The magic of accepting "unlovable people" with author Andrew Solomon

It’s amazing when you stop and think about how much we’re told about what shouldn’t be lovable. So much is vilified. It could be our own feelings, other groups of people, different faiths, or distant countries. There’s so much that falls into this unlovable category— so many stories where, “those people are the bad ones.” 

Now imagine you’re someone who decides to unravel those narrative containers. To build bridges to them and shine lights on the kinds of families, emotions, places in the world that keep us apart and keep us from understanding them. That’s exactly what this week’s guest, author Andrew Solomon, has done with his life. He’s a writer and lecturer on politics, culture, and psychology as well as a very important activist and philanthropist and behalf of LGBT rights, mental health, education and the arts. He’s won The National Book Award, he’s a Pulitzer Prize Finalist, and he was included in The New York Times list of 100 best books of the decade. 

How the rapid evolution of words affects us with language historian Anne Curzan

How the rapid evolution of words affects us with language historian Anne Curzan

Language used to evolve slowly back when we were far-flung. Wide-spread human contact was made through one civilization taking over another. That’s drastically different, today. New words can take over the planet literally in minutes. While that speed is incredible, it’s even more so when you stop and think about the fact that new words and analogies are little shift our points of view— gay vs same-sex, criminals vs justice-involved, murder vs honor-killing. While new words flow like rapids, filling new spaces or displacing old ideas, and as English becomes a global platform— our human experience is shaped and reshaped within even within our own lifetime.  Anne Curzan studies the history of English, the evolution of slang and it’s migration over time. She’s the author of several books on language including her latest, “Fixing English: Prescriptivism and Language History” as well as co-hosting “That’s What They Say” on Michigan’s NPR.