WORD LISTS

This Week In Culture: October 5–11, 2019

October 9, 2019
Vampires at Downton Abbey? Cybernetic implants that unlock your house? David Hasselhoff is still relevant somewhere? We've gathered the shiniest vocabulary words from this week's sports, tech, and entertainment news and arranged them for your appreciation and edification.
affective
Controllers for the just-announced Playstation 5 will have adaptive triggers, with variable resistance that's programmable by developers. The author looks forward to a raft of innovations regarding controllers, platforms, and virtual reality. Affective, as in "Seasonal Affective Disorder" refers to how you feel; in this context the physical sensation of holding a more responsive controller should make you feel better about playing a game.
That affective response matters — game consoles exist to be enjoyed.
The Verge (Oct 9, 2019)
allegory
"The King", a film adaptation of Shakespeare's Henry IV and V starring Timothée Chalamet, premiers in theaters this week. The story follows Prince Hal from his misspent youth (mentored by Falstaff, played by Joel Edgerton) to his coronation and victory over the French at the Battle of Agincourt, where English longbows proved decisive in that historic upset. An allegory is a story, but everything in that story stands for something else.
He also latched on to the “ allegory” about Elio, his “Call Me By Your Name” character.
Washington Times (Oct 8, 2019)
capitulate
When Daryl Morey, GM of the Houston Rockets, tweeted support for protestors in Hong Kong, the response from China was quick and ferocious. The government and a couple of major sponsors immediately announced they were ending their relationships with the NBA. The league's response, widely seen as trying to placate China without alienating fans elsewhere — who have admired the league for its social conscience — was widely viewed as terrible and a sellout to the abusive Chinese government.
Pathetically, the league immediately capitulated, essentially importing to the United States China’s denial of free speech.
Washington Post (Oct 7, 2019)
denizen
The Downton Abbey movie, which takes place fifteen years after the story began, nonetheless features an extremely young-looking Daisy, played by Sophie McShera. The issue highlights a major problem for shows that cover long periods of time: actors age in real time, not story time. The author theorizes that since she doesn't age, she must be a vampire, which makes perfect sense, since vampires are denizens of castles.
Though Daisy is the most extreme example, these timeline issues are not exclusive to the downstairs denizens of Downton Abbey.
Slate (Oct 8, 2019)
emphasis
Brie Larson, star of Captain America, says that she's been talking with Marvel Studios about an all-woman Marvel film. It's not a done deal, but after the successes of Wonder Woman and Captain America it's a safe bet that something will come together soon. To emphasize something means that you put stress on it so that it stands out. The "em" tag in HTML, which italicizes text, making it seem important, stands for emphasize.
Marvel, however, is putting emphasis on more female-forward standalone films lately from Larson’s “Captain Marvel,” which grossed over $1 billion at the worldwide box office earlier this year, and Scarlett Johansson’s upcoming “Black Widow” film, which is due in theaters next year.
Variety (Oct 9, 2019)
ignominious
On Wednesday, The Atlanta Braves lost to the Saint Louis Cardinals in game 5 of the National League Division Series, making this the ninth consecutive postseason series they have lost since 2001. This defeat earns them a spot alongside the Chicago Cubs in the record books, who also lost 10 series in a row, though it took them considerably longer: from 1908 to 2003.
Still, it’s impossible to ignore that the Braves are just one series loss away from equaling an ignominious record set by the Chicago Cubs between 1908 and 2003.
Seattle Times (Oct 8, 2019)
magpie
People called "transhumanists" enjoy having electronics like microchips or LEDs implanted in their bodies, believing that such modifications represent the next step in human evolution. One woman, disabled in an accident, had a chip implanted in her hand that unlocks her front door, leaving her hands free to hold her cane. Magpies are birds that gather flashy scraps of trash to decorate their nests, so using the word to describe people who implant LEDs in their bodies seems apt.
"Because they are sparkly and I'm a magpie," she says.
BBC (Oct 6, 2019)
mainstay
Marcello Giordani, an operatic tenor from Sicily, died this week of a heart attack at 56. His father supported his decision at 19 to study singing in Milan, and his gamble paid off with a successful career at the top of the very competitive field, touring the world and performing with living legends like Renée Fleming. He was renowned for his powerful voice and also for his stamina; he rarely cancelled performances due to illness and often subbed in for singers who did.
After rising through European and American opera houses, Mr. Giordani became a mainstay of the Metropolitan Opera in New York.
Washington Post (Oct 8, 2019)
poignant
Venerable icon of cheesy pop culture David Hasselhoff remains inexplicably huge in Germany, where he's touring to support his 14th(!) album. He's also commemorating the 30th anniversary of the toppling of the Berlin Wall; he performed there shortly after it came down and still hasn't gotten over himself. A highlight of the tour is a replica of KITT, the talking car he drove in "Knight Rider", a TV show that your parents made fun of when it first aired about a hundred years ago.
It’s a message he communicates successfully, and it’s especially poignant in Berlin.
Guardian (Oct 8, 2019)
tenable
For a long time, sciences were viewed by many people as the principal means for comprehending not just the world around us, but also for understanding ourselves. From charting evolution to decoding DNA to creating vaccines, science has continuously deepened our knowledge of what it means to be human. Now, cloning, genetic engineering, and cybernetics might change that definition forever. As reality rapidly moves closer to science fiction, these questions will grow more pressing.
In the face of colonialism, slavery, opioid epidemics, environmental degradation and climate change, the idea that Western science and technology are the only reliable sources of self-knowledge is no longer tenable.
Nature (Oct 8, 2019)

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