The words we use matter intensely. Sometimes they tell others a lot about who we are. Sometimes when we use the wrong words we hurt people we hadn’t intended to. And sometimes we don’t have any idea what the actual words are. Here are a trio of recent stories about when words really matter:
- How do members of Congress and other Americans refer to immigrants?
There are a lot of people in the United States who entered the country without permission to do so. What words we use to refer to these people depends on a lot of things, including our political affiliation. Fascinating post from Washington Post’s The Fix political blog.
- Daniel Handler, aka Lemony Snicket, makes racist joke at National Book Awards; now trying to make amends
Daniel Handler, who wrote the Series of Unfortunate Events novels under his pen name Lemony Snicket, knows better than most how to use words to create an effect with readers. So he really should have known better as host of the National Book Awards earlier this week than to have made a joke about an African American American writer and watermelon. To his credit, Handler has apologized via Twitter and is making a substantial financial contribution to the #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign.
- Christopher Nolan says he meant for Interstellar to have muddy dialog
Christopher Nolan’s new sci fi epic Interstellar has been getting a lot of attention lately for a variety of reasons – for its epic scope, stunning visuals, excessive length, and its sometime muddy dialog track. All but the last are to be expected. But Nolan claims he did the muddy sound in places on purpose, to recreate the feeling of confusion that comes from desperate times in real life. Me? If there is real dialog going on, I kinda like to hear it. That’s why with noisy movies at home I turn the subtitles on.