English language http://kmuw.org en The 'Binge' Paradox http://kmuw.org/post/binge-paradox <p></p><p>The word <em>binge</em> is a paradox connoting both shame and pride.</p><p>The very same binge-drinking that is such a concern for parents and college administrators is, for certain students, something to brag about. Note the pyramids of empty beer cans that grace fraternity houses and the murky recollections of weekend benders bracketed with phrases like, “Oh my God, I was sooo drunk that night!”</p><p>That some don’t survive these adventures in besottedness doesn’t stop bingeing from happening, and may even increase the binge’s mystique.</p> Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:30:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 37492 at http://kmuw.org The 'Binge' Paradox What Is 'Privilege?' http://kmuw.org/post/what-privilege <p></p><p></p><p>When Princeton student Tal Fortgang recently complained on <em>Time</em> magazine's blog that, as a white male, he had been repeatedly “reprimanded” to “check his privilege,” the Internet exploded in somewhat predictable ways.</p><p>I'll let you and Facebook explore what all is being said about <a href="http://time.com/author/tal-fortgang/">Fortgang's piece</a>, but the word <em>privilege</em> deserves some scrutiny.</p> Tue, 01 Jul 2014 17:30:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 36722 at http://kmuw.org What Is 'Privilege?' OnWords: Meeting Around The Bush http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-meeting-around-bush <p></p><p></p><p>One language trait I've noticed recently is a peculiar use of the word “around.”</p><p>Someone might be describing a new organizational initiative and say, “Let's get together and have a discussion <em>around</em> the new viral marketing campaign.” What the person would have said prior to the <em>around</em> ascendancy is, of course, “Let's get together and have a discussion <em>about</em> the new marketing campaign.”</p><p>So what's all this about <em>around</em>—or rather around it? Or whatever?</p> Tue, 17 Jun 2014 17:30:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 36083 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: Meeting Around The Bush OnWords: The Mass Production Of 'Product' http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-mass-production-product <p></p><p></p><p>The word “product” is shifting.</p><p>One of my brothers overheard the following at a big-box retailer the other day: “We have various safety devices to keep <em>product</em> from falling on people.”</p><p>This use of <em>product</em> as mass noun stands in distinction to the term “a product,” a term identifying something as, well, <em>produced</em>.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> Tue, 25 Mar 2014 17:30:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 31991 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: The Mass Production Of 'Product' OnWords: Because Science! http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-because-science <p></p><p></p><p>Those of us tuned in to social media have probably run across someone using a term like “because science” to explain something factual or amazing or both.</p><p>But “science” is often used when we really mean “technology.”</p><p>To see the difference, look at your cell phone. It’s a neat little bit of technology, but how often do we think about the science behind it? More to the point, how many of us really care?</p> Tue, 28 Jan 2014 18:30:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 29310 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: Because Science! OnWords: "Studies Show" We're Afraid Of Uncertainty http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-studies-show-were-afraid-uncertainty <p></p><p>Journalists and bloggers, teachers and everybody on Facebook love to use the phrase “studies show.”</p><p>I love it, too.</p><p>“Studies show” tickles the part of us that asserts a superior sort of rationality and an up-to-date command of the facts. It makes us feel smart, particularly when the study we cite is surprising or new, but especially when it reinforces what we already believe.</p> Tue, 14 Jan 2014 18:30:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 28746 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: "Studies Show" We're Afraid Of Uncertainty OnWords: Houston, We Have A Problem http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-houston-we-have-problem <p></p><p>I have learned to avoid the word “problem.” Tue, 17 Dec 2013 18:30:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 27703 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: Houston, We Have A Problem OnWords: The Contradiction Of Myths http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-contradiction-myths <p>We use the word “myth” in at least two almost contradictory ways. Most commonly, we use myth to mean falsehood, a hoax without the intention to deceive.<br><br>This is the myth sites like <a href="http://snopes.com/">snopes.com</a> and shows like Mythbusters serve to dispel. It is also a product of the Age of Enlightenment, when a seemingly rational universe called not for myth but for measurement.<br> Tue, 26 Mar 2013 17:00:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 14652 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: The Contradiction Of Myths OnWords: Functions Of Lying http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-functions-lying <p><span style="line-height: 1.5;">The most powerful lies aren’t the day-to-day, so-called white lies--that we’re ”fine” or that we genuinely care if complete strangers “have a good one.” These are, in fact, sometimes important parts of being polite.</span></p> Tue, 12 Mar 2013 17:17:32 +0000 Lael Ewy 14037 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: Functions Of Lying OnWords: Ideology, Love It Or Hate It? http://kmuw.org/post/onwords-ideology-love-it-or-hate-it <p>The conflicted and often contradictory ways Americans use the word “ideology” reveals the conflicted and often contradictory ways we view ourselves. Tue, 26 Feb 2013 18:00:00 +0000 Lael Ewy 13302 at http://kmuw.org OnWords: Ideology, Love It Or Hate It?