Lael Ewy

Language commentator

Lael Ewy is a co-founder and editor of EastWesterly Review, a journal of literary satire at www.postmodernvillage.com and a writer whose work has appeared in such venues as Denver Quarterly, New Orleans Review, and has been anthologized in Troubles Swapped for Something Fresh.

He provided commentary for the Wichita City Paper and journalism for Naked City.

He holds an MFA in Creative Writing and a Bachelor of General Studies from Wichita State. Lael supports his writing and reading habits as a lecturer in English at WSU and as a peer educator at WSU's Center for Community Support and Research.

He runs an unaccredited Volvo hospice and is the current caretaker of a family heirloom, a 1965 Ford Mustang.

For fun he wrestles philosophy and literary theory.

Ways to Connect

OnWords: Newspeak

Jun 13, 2017

George Orwell’s dystopian novel 1984 has been flying off the shelves recently, perhaps in response to the growing number of authoritarian leaders across the globe.

OnWords: Populist

May 30, 2017

The word “populist” has been used to describe politicians as different as self-described socialist Bernie Sanders and France’s right-wing Marine LePen.

My trusty 1971 edition of the Oxford English Dictionary contends that populists were either members of the 19th century political American party of the same name or members of a similar Russian movement.

Given that this form of populism promoted state ownership of the railroads, limited private ownership of land, and a progressive income tax, we can rule out LePen as a populist, and even Sanders barely qualifies.

OnWords: Philosophy

May 16, 2017

I recently heard a well-respected radio host describe Donald Trump’s “America First” approach as a (quote) “philosophy.”

Hearing this caused me a bit of cognitive dissonance.

OnWords: Earned

May 2, 2017

As we move out of tax season, you may be thinking a lot about what you’ve earned.

Few public intellectuals have influenced the way we talk about communication more than Marshall McLuhan.

Best known for the phrase “the medium is the message,” McLuhan is also responsible for popularizing the way that we refer to content as the substance of a message in contrast to its medium of delivery. That idea predated McLuhan, but he made it acceptable for English teachers to use it when critiquing a freshman composition and for “content creators” to exist in the Internet Age.

OnWords: Quality

Apr 4, 2017

You can usually tell that an organization has stopped caring about quality when it becomes the only thing they talk about.

“Quality” is one of those words that is necessarily vague, and, therefore, becomes a smoke screen behind which much mischief can hide.

Consider the continual quality improvement efforts so in vogue for the past few decades. They have all been accompanied by increasingly onerous and minute numeric evaluations and assessments. This data-gathering is then obsessed over for just long enough to justify the predetermined decisions of those in charge.

OnWords: Divisiveness

Mar 21, 2017

At first blush, the word “divisiveness” appears to be yet another term used to describe something another person does that you don’t like.

NPR has recently taken several opportunities to discuss and defend its decision to use terms like 'untruth' rather than the term 'lie.'

OnWords: Elite

Feb 21, 2017

The word “elite” has seen a lot of abuse over the last few decades. 

For liberals, the “elite” are wealthy businessmen who purchase politicians, wreck the schools, and rape (really? Rape?) the planet.

For conservatives, the elite are ivory-tower academics who ruin the minds of children with their radical, sinful, and dangerous ideas.

All of us sense that the status of the elite is undeserved. The ideas is that the rich got there by exploiting others and that intellectuals lack practical knowledge.

OnWords: Fake News

Feb 7, 2017

The term “fake news” has exploded all over the real news, possibly in order to draw fire away from how the news media has covered falsehoods in the past.

Fake news has been around a long time, though.

Consider the presidential race between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

Among the slurs the two exchanged, Jefferson’s campaign at one point said Adams had “neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

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