Transcript: Exploring Culture One Word At A Time | Oct 19, 2018

Jeyan sits in the studio. He's is in his thirties, with short black hair and a trimmed beard. He's wearing a gray suit, white shirt, and floral print tie.

A caption appears on screen. It reads "Exploring culture one word at a time."

Jeyan says THERE'S REAL POWER IN
WORDS, AND THAT'S PART OF WHY
TVO HAS GOT A NEW PODCAST ABOUT
THE MEANING AND CULTURAL
SIGNIFICANCE OF OUR EVOLVING
VOCABULARIES.
HERE TO TELL US MORE, THE HOSTS
OF THE TVO PODCAST "WORD BOMB":
PIPPA JOHNSTONE...
AND KARINA PALMITESTA.

Pippa is in her thirties, with chin-length wavy auburn hair. She's wearing a mustard shirt.
Karina is in her thirties, with short brown hair. She's wearing glasses and a black vest.

Jeyan continues WELCOME TO THE SHOW.
BEFORE WE GET INTO A DEEP DIVE,
I WANT TO SHOW A LITTLE CLIP
FROM YOUR PODCAST "WORD BOMB"...

An audio clip plays.

Subtitles read
Karina, tell us, how do you feel about the word moist?

I mean, I'm in that part of the population that thinks it's a gross word. I think it sounds gross when you say it. It sounds gross applied to nouns. Like, any noun.

I think I can kind of relate, but I really just don't care.

You don't have a reaction to it.

Not at all. It's just and adjective, but I do think it's fascinating that so many people think it's the most disgusting word in the entire world. The word "moist" has a seriously terrible track record. People hate the word "moist."

The clip ends.

Jeyan says SO THAT'S YOU TWO ON
YOUR BRAND NEW TVO PODCAST,
"WORD BOMB."
LOTS OF GIGGLING GOING ON.
KARINA, WHY DON'T YOU LIKE THE
WORD MOIST?

The caption changes to "Karina Palmitesta. Co-Host, 'Word bomb.'"
Then, it changes again to "Why hate the word 'Moist'?"

Karina says YOU KNOW, I GO THROUGH A BIT
OF A NARRATIVE ARC IN THAT
EPISODE.
I HAVE TO SAY.
SO, LIKE, I'M A BIT OF A CHANGED
WOMAN NOW.
BUT WHEN WE WERE TALKING ABOUT
IT, WE JUST REALIZED HOW COMMON
IT WAS FOR PEOPLE TO DESPISE
THIS WORD AND HOW MUCH IT'S BEEN
WRITTEN ABOUT AND ON ALL OF
THESE LISTS SAYING WORST WORD
EVER, WORST WORD IN THE ENGLISH
LANGUAGE.
I THINK PEOPLE ARE JUST GROSSED
OUT BY IT.
YEAH, PEOPLE FIND IT GROSS.

Jeyan says NOW IT SEEMS LIKE A FAIRLY
FRIVOLOUS CONVERSATION ABOUT A
PET PEEVE WORD.
BUT AS YOU GO THROUGH THAT ARC,
IT'S QUITE ENLIGHTENING IN TERMS
OF WHAT YOU GUYS WERE ABLE TO
FIND.
WHAT DID YOU LEARN EXPLORING THE
MOST HATED WORD?

The caption changes to "Pippa Johnstone. Co-Host, 'Word bomb.'"

Pippa says WELL, MY INSTINCT ON IT
BEFORE WE STARTED RESEARCH WAS
MAYBE IT HAD SOMETHING TO DO
WITH GENDER, MAYBE SOMETHING TO
DO WITH ANATOMY, AND IT TURNED
OUT IN THE RESEARCH THAT WAS A
LITTLE BIT OF A FACTOR.
THERE WAS ALSO A TON OF OTHER
REASONS WHY SOMEBODY WOULD HATE
THE WORD MOIST.
I DON'T WANT TO GIVE TOO MANY
SPOILERS AWAY, BUT THERE'S SO
MUCH ABOUT OUR PSYCHOLOGY THAT
IS REVEALED IN OUR WORDS.

Jeyan says NOW IT'S ALSO FUNNY TO KIND
OF HATE THAT WORD MOIST, BUT
WHAT ABOUT THE TRULY COMPLEX
CONVERSATIONS ABOUT THE
CONTROVERSIAL WORDS.
GIVE US A QUICK LIST IF YOU CAN
OF SOME OF THE MORE
CONTROVERSIAL WORDS YOU COVER.

The caption changes to "Conversation instead of controversy."

Pippa says CONTROVERSIAL IS AN
INTERESTING WORD CHOICE IN
ITSELF, BECAUSE SOME OF THE
WORDS ARE WORDS THAT HAVE, LIKE,
A LITTLE BIT OF A GENERATIONAL
GAP BETWEEN THEM.
SO FOR EXAMPLE WE DO A WORD, THE
SINGULAR THEY, WHICH IS A
GENDER-NEUTRAL PRO-NOUN RELATING
TO PEOPLE WHO ARE NON-BINARY,
WHO DON'T IDENTIFY AS MALE OR
FEMALE.
SO THAT WORD, FOR MY GENERATION,
MAYBE NOT SO CONTROVERSIAL.
MAYBE FOR THE GENERATION MY MOM
BELONGS TO T A LITTLE BIT OF A
STICKING POINT.

Jeyan says NOW WAS THERE SOME CONCERN,
I'M SURE THERE WAS GOING THROUGH
THE WORDS, WHAT WORDS YOU GUYS
WERE GOING TO COVER, WERE THERE
SOME WORDS THAT, YOU KNOW, WAS
THERE SOME FEAR IN SOME OF THE
WORDS?
WAS THERE SOME POWER IN THESE
WORDS THAT YOU GUYS MAYBE DIDN'T
WANT TO COVER OR THAT YOU REALLY
WANTED TO COVER?

Karina says YEAH.
THERE WERE SOME WORDS THAT WE
DEFINITELY HAD CONVERSATIONS
ABOUT WHETHER WE WANTED TO DO.
SOME WORDS THAT REPRESENTED A
BIT MORE OF A RISK ON OUR PART.
I THINK DOCKS WAS ONE OF THEM.
WE DO AN EPISODE ON DOXING WHICH
IS A KIND OF ON-LINE HARASSMENT
WHERE YOUR ADDRESS AND PERSONAL
INFORMATION, D-O-X-X, OR
SOMETIMES D-O-X.
IT VARIES.
SO WE HAD THE CONVERSATION OF,
LIKE, OH, YEAH, THIS COULD GO A
BAD WAY, I GUESS, AND IT COULD
BE A LITTLE RISKY TO TALK ABOUT
BECAUSE SOMETIMES PEOPLE WHO
TALK ABOUT DOXING GET DOXXED.
I THINK IN THE END WE WERE JUST
INTERESTED IN THE WORDS.
WE FOLLOWED OUR GUT.
AND PICKED ONES THAT WE WANTED
TO DIVE DEEPER INTO FOR A BUNCH
OF REASONS.

Pippa says YEAH.
AND I'LL ADD TO THAT.
THERE'S ANOTHER SIDE OF THE FEAR
WHICH IS THAT WE MIGHT BE
TALKING OUT OF TURN BECAUSE SOME
OF THE WORDS RELATE TO
COMMUNITIES THAT WE DON'T BELONG
TO, AND SO FOR THOSE WE REALLY
RELY ON THE GUESTS.
WE HAVE AT LEAST TWO GUESTS FOR
EVERY EPISODE, AND WE REALLY
RELY ON PERSONAL EXPERIENCE,
LIVED EXPERIENCE, TO TELL THAT
STORY.

Jeyan says I WANT TO GET AN IDEA WHEN
YOU GUYS END ON A WORD OR FIGURE
OUT A WORD THAT YOU GUYS ARE
GOING TO WORK ON, IT SEEMS LIKE
YOU GUYS REALLY GET INTO THE
HISTORY AND THE RESEARCH OF IT.
HOW MUCH, LIKE, RESEARCH ARE YOU
GUYS DOING FOR A WORD LIKE
DOXING?
YOU GUYS WENT BACK AND PULLED
OUT SOME CASE STUDIES AS WELL.
TELL ME ABOUT THE PROCESS AND
THE RESEARCH.

Pippa says WANT TO FIELD THAT?

The caption changes to "Karina Palmitesta, @kpaalm."

Karina says YEAH, I THINK IT'S LIKE PIPPA
WAS SAYING IT'S A COMBINATION OF
RESEARCH AND TALKING TO PEOPLE
WHO HAVE PERSONAL EXPERIENCE
WITH WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT.
SO FOR THAT EPISODE, TALKING TO
MOLLY SOUGHTER WAS REALLY GREAT.
MOLLY'S AN INTERNET EXPERT AND
HAD SO MUCH TO SAY ABOUT ALL
THIS KIND OF STUFF, AND IT WAS
REALLY INTERESTING TO SIT DOWN
WITH THEM AND JUST GO THROUGH
IT, YEAH.

Jeyan says ONE OF THE THINGS YOU TOUCHED
ON WAS THE KIND OF WHAT DO THESE
WORDS SAY ABOUT GENERATIONAL
DIVIDES.
I HAD A FUNNY CONVERSATION WITH
A COLLEAGUE UPSTAIRS ABOUT THE
NEW SEGMENT ABOUT MOIST, AND IT
WAS TALKING ABOUT HOW, YOU KNOW,
FOR ME I KIND OF HAD THAT SAME
KIND OF REACTION, BUT FOR HER AT
THE TIME IT WAS WOMEN DON'T
SWEAT, THEY ARE MOIST.
THE TERM THAT WAS SAID, THAT SHE
SAID THAT'S WHY IT WASN'T
UNCOMFORTABLE FOR HER.
CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THE
GENERATIONAL KIND OF DIVIDES
THAT COME WITH THESE WORDS?

The caption changes to "Pippa Johnstone, @pippajohnstone."
Then, it changes again to "Subscribe to the word bomb podcast: tvo.org/wordbomb"

Pippa says YEAH, WELL, THERE'S A LOT OF
THE WORDS WE CHOSE ARE
BECAUSE... IT SPAWNED OUT OF
CONVERSATIONS THAT WE HAD WITH
OLDER GENERATIONS.
SO WE'RE NOT DOING AN EPISODE ON
THE WORD QUEER, BUT FOR EXAMPLE,
A FRIEND OF MINE WAS DESCRIBED
AS QUEER A FEW YEARS AGO, AND MY
MOM ASKED: WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE
BETWEEN THAT AND BEING A
LESBIAN?
AND I WAS LIKE, OH, MANY MY
GENERATION THAT WORD IS A COMMON
PARLANCE, WE HAVE AN
UNDERSTANDING OF IT, BUT THE
OLDER GENERATION MIGHT NOT.
WE TRY TO FIND THE WORDS OF
BRINGING MY GENERATION OF A
BETTER SENSE OF THE HISTORY AND
CONTEXT AND THE OLDER GENERATION
OF WHERE THE WORD IS EVOLVING
TOWARDS.

Karina says MM-HM, KIND OF MEETING IN THE MIDDLE.
ONE OF OUR OTHER EPISODES IS ON
THE WORD "PARTNER." AND IT
ACTUALLY CAME ABOUT BECAUSE I
HAD A BIT OF A SQUABBLE WITH MY
MOM ABOUT WHO USES THE WORD
PARTNER TO REFER TO THEIR
SIGNIFICANT OTHER AND WHETHER
IT'S OKAY AND WHAT'S THE BETTER
WORD TO USE.
AND WE WERE TALKING ABOUT IT,
ABOUT HOW WE WOULD LOVE TO MEET
IN THE MIDDLE OF THAT
CONVERSATION AND HAVE SOMETHING
THAT'S APPROACHABLE FOR SOMEONE
A BIT OLDER AND FOR SOMEONE THAT
MIGHT BE OUR AGE.

Jeyan says NOW IN YOUR VERY FIRST
EPISODE IT'S ALL ABOUT THE WORD "FAT."
YOU EXPLAIN AN INTERESTING
CONCEPT CALLED THE EUPHEMISM
TREADMILL.
CAN YOU TELL US WHAT THAT IS?

The caption changes to "The euphemism treadmill."

Karina says RIGHT.
SO THE EUPHEMISM TREADMILL IS...
IT'S A PHRASE THAT WAS COINED BY
STEVEN PINKER.
HE'S A U.S. LINGUIST AND
PSYCHOLOGIST, AND IT'S
DESCRIBING THE PROCESS BY WHICH
AN OFFENSIVE WORD IS REPLACED BY
A NEW WORD WHICH THEN BECOMES
OFFENSIVE IN ABOUT A GENERATION,
WHICH IS THEN REPLACED BY
ANOTHER WORD, AND IT'S JUST SORT
OF A NEVER-ENDING CYCLE OF EVERY
WORD IN THE CHAIN BECOMING
OFFENSIVE AND BECOME REPLACED, YEAH.

Jeyan says NOW FAT SEEMS LIKE A PRETTY
SIMPLE WORD COMPARED TO SOME OF
THE WORDS LIKE DOXING THAT YOU
GUYS LOOK AT.
WHY WAS IT IMPORTANT THAT YOU
STARTED WITH A WORD LIKE FAT AND
WHY DID YOU EXPLORE THAT?

Pippa says I THINK FAT IS A REALLY GOOD
PLACE TO START, BECAUSE A, LIKE
YOU SAID, IT'S A WORD THAT
EVERYBODY KNOWS, AND
UNFORTUNATELY FOR BETTER OR
WORSE WE ALL HAVE A PRETTY
PERSONAL CONNECTION TO THAT WORD.
SO I THINK IT WAS A PERFECT WORD
BECAUSE THE ACTUAL MEANING OF
THE WORD ISN'T CHANGING, BUT THE
CONNOTATION IS CHANGING.
THERE'S A HUGE GENERATION OF FAT
ACTIVISTS WHO ARE WORKING TO
TAKE THAT STIGMA AWAY FROM THE
WORD, MAKE IT AN ADJECTIVE AS
NEUTRAL AS TALL OR SHORT.
BUT THERE'S ALSO ANOTHER
GENERATION OR ANOTHER
POPULATION, PROBABLY THE
MAJORITY OF OUR POPULATION, THAT
WOULD THINK OF THE WORD FAT AS
AN OFFENSIVE SLUR MAYBE.

Jeyan says WHAT DO YOU GUYS HOPE... I
KNOW YOU GUYS WILL BE EXPLORING
A WORD EVERY WEEK... THAT PEOPLE
TAKE AWAY FROM YOUR BROADCAST?

Pippa says I THINK WE HOPE THAT WE CAN
DIFFUSE A BIT OF THE GUT
REACTIONS THAT THESE WORDS BRING
OUT IN PEOPLE AND BRING SOME
CONTEXT AND SOME UNDERSTANDING
SO WE CAN USE WORDS MORE
EFFECTIVELY AND WITH A BIT MORE
SENSITIVITY.

Karina says DIFFUSE.
NICE BOMB METAPHOR.
VERY GOOD.

A screenshot from the TVO website pops up showing an article. It reads "tvo.org/wordbomb, Welcome to Word Bomb, a TVO Podcast unpacking one explosive word per week. Hosts: Pippa Johnstone and Karina Palmitesta.

Jeyan says I IMAGINE YOU GUYS ARE
PROBABLY WALKING AROUND AND IF
YOU HEAR A WORD, YOU'RE PROBABLY
LIKE, HMM, WHAT ABOUT THAT WORD?

Pippa says I HAVE A LIST ON MY PHONE.

Karina says A BIG LIST.

Pippa says VERY SCROLLED DOWN.

Karina says YOU DEFINITELY START
LISTENING A LITTLE HARDER TO
CONVERSATIONS AND THINK, OH, HOW
COULD I BRIDGE THAT, THAT GAP OR
THAT LITTLE HICCUP.

Jeyan says AND YOU'RE AN EDITOR AS WELL,
SO YOU COME ACROSS WORDS ALL THE
TIME.
IT'S SOMETHING THAT YOU KIND OF
PICK UP IN THE PODCAST AS YOU
LISTEN.
YOU KNOW, PHRASES AND IDIOMS
THAT YOU HEAR, LIKE, THOSE ARE
INTERESTING.
SO I IMAGINE A LOT OF YOUR
FRIENDS ARE PROBABLY LIKE, HOW
ABOUT THAT ONE?
CAN YOU TELL ME WHERE AND WHEN
CAN WE LISTEN AND SUBSCRIBE TO
THIS PODCAST?

Pippa says WELL, WE'RE ON A LOT OF
PODCAST PLATFORMS, SO WE'RE ON
APPLE PODCAST, GOOGLE PLAY,
SPOTIFY NOW, AND YOU CAN ALSO
LISTEN AT TVO.ORG/WORDBOMB.

The caption changes to "Producer: Colin Ellis, @ColinEllis81."

Jeyan says AWESOME. THANK YOU SO MUCH.
IT WAS A PLEASURE HAVING YOU ON.
DEFINITELY SUBSCRIBE TO TVO'S
NEWEST PODCAST WORDBOMB.

Watch: Exploring Culture One Word At A Time