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.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Tue January 14, 2014

OnWords: "Studies Show" We're Afraid Of Uncertainty

Credit Scientific Studies / Flickr / Creative Commons

Journalists and bloggers, teachers and everybody on Facebook love to use the phrase “studies show.”

I love it, too.

“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.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Tue December 31, 2013

OnWords: Freedom!

Credit U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Northeast Region / Flickr / Creative Commons

The word “freedom” is both dear to the American heart and almost never well defined.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Tue December 17, 2013

OnWords: Houston, We Have A Problem

Credit coach_robbo / Flickr / Creative Commons

I have learned to avoid the word “problem.”

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

OnWords: A Job Of Work

Credit philcampbell / Flickr / Creative Commons

It might be helpful to view the word “work” in comparison to the word “job.” The archaic phrase “job of work” suggests that we did not always use these words interchangeably.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Tue November 19, 2013

OnWords: Analyze This!

Analysis?
Credit Keith Springer / Flickr / Creative Commons

What passes for political analysis these days is often really just opinion.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

OnWords: Isn't It Ironic? (No, It's Probably Not)

Credit Inflatable Nerd / Flickr / Creative Commons

The Alanis Morissette song “Ironic” has spoiled the word “irony” for a whole generation. Rather than the mere misfortunes her song depicts, irony is a very powerful device, one with a rich history in literature and entertainment.

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Commentary
12:30 pm
Tue October 22, 2013

OnWords: What's Wrong With A Little Professionalism?

Credit ChiaLynn / Flickr / Creative Commons

The word “professionalism” is used in a few distinct ways that are notable in their opposition.

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Commentary
12:00 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

OnWords: The Blame Game Known As Accountability

As someone who has long sought to avoid it, I can tell you that accountability has one distinguishing feature: it's almost always for the other guy.

As a word, though, “accountability” allows its users to pass judgment on others while appearing to be concerned about the good of the whole.

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Commentary
12:00 pm
Tue September 24, 2013

OnWords: The Tragic Loss Of Supper

Credit Wikimedia Commons

Sometime in my lifetime, we almost completely stopped using the word “supper.”

This is a tragic loss, if for no other reason than it has led to confusion.

Besides “brunch” and “lunch,” the only other post-breakfast word we have is “dinner,” and dinner can alternatively mean a noon meal or an evening meal. Importantly, dinner has a generic root that is still extant: to “dine.”

So while we can “sup,” that would be archaic, and it could create confusion with the common slang contraction for the phrase “what’s up?”

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Commentary
12:00 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

OnWords: Behavior, A Product Of Environment Or Evolution?

Credit Wikipedia

When I was a kid, the word “behavior” still had a mostly neutral meaning. You might hear the word when Marlin Perkins on Wild Kingdom described the doings of a parched hippo during the dry season, for example.

But even then another, much more accusatory, meaning of the word behavior was establishing itself. This behavior referred to things kids did that grown-ups didn't like. “You'd better change your behavior, junior!” an evil vice-principal might yell, when we thought we were just having fun.

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