This Week In Culture: September 14–20, 2019

This week's culture news covered alcoves and echolocation, tributes and troubadours. Here are a few of our favorite vocab words from the less serious side of the news spectrum.
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Explore the Words

definitions & notes only words
  1. alcove
    a small recess opening off a larger room
    These alcoves have been left empty since the museum was built over a century ago, but that’s about to change.
    — The Guardian (Sep 16, 2019)
    The Metropolitan Museum in New York City has added new sculptures. Ever since the building was built over a hundred years ago, it’s had four empty alcoves, which are now filled with Kenyan American Wangechi Mutu’s four bronze sculptures of women. These bronze African women now sit in the alcoves, or small set-back space, near the giant columns that frame the entrance.
  2. annotate
    add explanatory notes to or supply with critical comments
    “Not only does this hand look like Milton’s, but it behaves like Milton’s writing elsewhere does, doing exactly the things Milton does when he annotates books, and using exactly the same marks,” said Dr Will Poole at New College Oxford.
    — The Guardian (Sep 16, 2019)
    Scholars are excited to confirm that the first known copy of Shakespeare’s work, published eight years after his death, was annotated by the poet John Milton. English scholars spent years trying to figure out who wrote those notes on works like Hamlet and The Tempest, and the discovery that it was John Milton offers new insight into both writers. Milton annotated, or took notes, right on the page.
  3. delusion
    a mistaken or unfounded opinion or idea
    It’s inspirational, this ineptitude, and in just two games Miami has upended the NFL’s dearly held delusions of parity.
    — Slate (Sep 15, 2019)
    The Miami Dolphins are having a terrible season. The “delusions of parity” here is about the false sense of fairness in the National Football League, because the Dolphins are way worse than any other team this year. Delusions are fake, imaginary, wrong, and in this case the delusion is that teams should be evenly matched, when in fact, the author argues, sometimes a team is worse than the rest. This year it’s the Dolphins.
  4. echolocation
    determination of the position of objects by reflected sound
    You’re echolocating so you can hear sound bounce off things. And the more you train for it, you become this ultimate warrior because your senses are so heightened and you’re not dependent on your eyes.
    — Entertainment Weekly (Sep 16, 2019)
    In a new TV series called See, starring Aquaman actor Jason Momoa, everyone on earth is blind. So while training, rehearsing, and filming the show, the actors put on blindfolds or fought in the dark. Without sight, Momoa said his other senses were heightened, to the point that even in the dark, he could sense when someone approached. He used a trick popular with bats and dolphins — echolocation.
  5. evoke
    call forth, as an emotion, feeling, or response
    Global Goal is evoking the original 1985 Live Aid concert for a reason. It was the first of its size and impact, attracting about 170,000 concertgoers to a spectacle that was seen in more than 150 countries.
    — CNN (Sep 15, 2019)
    In the spirit of Live Aid, a global concert in 1985 that raised money to help African countries affected by famine, a new concert called “Global Goal Live: The Possible Dream” is being planned by Global Citizen, a nonprofit group. Global Goal evokes, or calls to mind, the Live Aid concert because they both have simultaneous live broadcasts of music by famous artists in order to raise awareness and money to end poverty.
  6. garner
    assemble or get together
    That’s not only the most mentions the series has garnered from the Television Academy in its eight-season run but it’s also the highest number of nominations for a drama series in a single year ever.
    — Los Angeles Times )Spe 16, 2019)
    It’s Emmy time! The biggest awards show for television is coming up, and there are surprises and snubs in the list of nominations. The Netflix docudrama When They See Us has multiple nominations, while CBS’s The Good Fight, has none, for example. The popular medieval fantasy epic, Game of Thrones, surprise surprise, garnered, or earned, the most nominations.
  7. integral
    existing as an essential constituent or characteristic
    The depth of his performance is just as integral to the film's success as the whiz-bang visuals.
    — USA Today (Sep 16, 2019)
    Brad Pitt is back, starring in Ad Astra, the latest space drama. He plays an astronaut trying to save the world from dangers that might be caused by his father, who everyone thought was dead. The movie takes place on the Earth, Moon, Mars, and even in the outer solar system. Pitt’s performance adds depth, which is just as integral, or essential and important, as the splashy portrayal of space.
  8. proctor
    someone who supervises (an examination)
    She confessed to paying an admissions consultant $15,000 to have a proctor correct her older daughter's answers on the SAT.
    — Fox News Channel (Sep 16, 2019)
    Celebrity parents are in the news for cheating to get their kids into great colleges. Felicity Huffman, star of the popular TV show Desperate Housewives has admitted to paying a proctor, the person monitoring the test, to raise her daughter’s SAT scores. Another star who’s in trouble for a similar scandal, Lori Loughlin, awaits her sentencing.
  9. tribute
    something given or done as an expression of esteem
    As news of Ocasek's death spread, several musicians and other celebrities posted tributes to the fallen rocker.
    — CNN (Sep 16, 2019)
    Rik Ocasek, iconic lead singer of The Cars, died at age 75 from heart disease. The Cars had hits from the 80s and 90s like “My Best Friend’s Girl” and “Shake It Up,” and were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2018. The tributes for the fallen rocker included tweets from fellow musicians Billy Joel, Peter Frampton, and Slash from Guns & Roses, who posted a photo of Ocasek on stage.
  10. troubadour
    a singer of folk songs
    “Hollywood’s Bleeding” (Republic), the third album by Post Malone — a moody troubadour with a tattooed face — easily topped Billboard’s chart with the equivalent of 489,000 sales in the United States, according to Nielsen, giving Post Malone his second No. 1.
    — The New York Times (Sep 16, 2019)
    Post Malone’s album “Hollywood’s Bleeding” topped the charts this week, bumping heavy metal band Tool from the top slot. Taylor Swift’s “Lover” is steady at number two. Troubadour is a kind of old-fashioned word, usually used to describe folk singers and window serenaders, but the tattoo-covered pop star Post Malone also fits the bill.
Created on September 16, 2019 (updated September 23, 2019)

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