I was talking with a listener in the past week and she said she wished we would talk a little bit more about how words and word choice mattered. And I thought that was such an important thing that we could spend some time on it today. So I thought I’d talk about two related things – definitions and word choice. [Read More]
I want to take a few disparate thoughts and put them together.
In 2003, a man named George Edwards III wrote a book called On Deaf Ears which argued that what the president says doesn’t really matter. Edwards posited that presidential rhetoric was basically meaningless and didn’t cause people to change their opinion or their behavior in any substantial way.
Years later, after Trump was elected, I changed the syllabus to my political rhetoric class. I wanted it to reflect the times we are living in. I have taught that class a few times in the last four years and in that time the intro to the class has been some variation of this: [Read More]
In 2015 the musical Hamilton debuted in New York and for a few years after that it seems like that was all anybody was talking about. The show received unmatched critical acclaim and countless awards, but what was amazing was the way it became a cultural phenomenon. Lin-Manuel Miranda was suddenly America’s “it-man,” and his start hasn’t faded that much since then, especially since in the last year a filmed version of the production was released on Disney +, briefly reviving the Hamilton fervor. We watched it and it was interesting because we all found something in it that struck a chord deep within us. My husband was taken with the choreography, I was floored by the acting and the music, and my ten-year-old, oddly enough, was completely enamored with the lighting. They were all separate things that went into making a singular aesthetic experience that spoke to multitudes of people. I know there are many criticisms of Hamilton, and it’s not as cool as it once was to like it – but politics aside, one can’t deny the artistry of the production. [Read More]
If you want to speak in broad strokes, Joseph McCarthy was brought down by two men: Edward R. Murrow and Joseph Welch. Murrow put in the work. He launched a sustained attack on McCarthy and his antics by highlighting the awfulness of them on his popular show. It was a bold and brave move, one that not too many people were willing to make at the time, and it is why it seems like every journalism school in the world is named the Edward R. Murrow School of Journalism. [Read More]
Due to extenuating circumstances we can’t be with you this week. But we look forward to spending time with you next week! [Read More]