This Week in Culture: September 21–27, 2019

From gilded gowns at the Emmy Awards to globe-trotting royals grappling with social justice issues in style, here are some of our favorite words from the lighter side of the news spectrum.
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definitions & notes only words
  1. acrimony
    a rough and bitter manner
    Amid the acrimony, the four major agencies canceled the Emmys parties they usually host this weekend.
    — The New York Times (Sep 23, 2019)
    The fun at the Emmys, television’s biggest awards show, was dampened this year. Although there were reasons to celebrate winners like “Fleabag” and “Game of Thrones,” and the fact that the first openly gay black actor to win Best Actor in a Drama won, the fun was cut short when four major agencies canceled their parties. The reason is that many writers have recently left their agencies and are in disputes with them. Parties were canceled because of all that acrimony, or ill will.
  2. careen
    pitching dangerously to one side
    Unlike Wilmot, said boss isn’t seen careening around the warehouse, which is presented as a giant black arena with some boxy areas to drop off items.
    — Los Angeles Times (Sep 22, 2019)
    There’s a new computer game called “Wilmot’s Warehouse” that capitalizes on the Marie Kondo moment – it’s all about organizing. In the game, Wilmot (the player) works at a warehouse, which gets shipments of various items like Christmas trees or forks, and Wilmot must sort and organize them for delivery. Everything, including Wilmot, is a little block. As Wilmot, the player careens, or moves wildly around the warehouse.
  3. gilded
    made from or covered with gold
    While costume-y, she said, “celebrating the end of a major epic fantasy drama sometimes calls for gilded robes.”
    — The Washington Times (Sep 23, 2019)
    Television stars wore fun fashions to the Emmy awards this year. Many wore red and pink, which stood out on the purple carpet. Big shoulders from the 80s, capes, metallic, sequins, and tulle were all on display. An actor from “Game of Thrones” wore a gilded robe. Gold seems like a good choice for someone from one of the most popular television shows of all time.
  4. glib
    artfully persuasive in speech
    And while Goldman’s screenplay dances on the edge of glib, it’s lively and sophisticated, with a strong theme about the capitalist forces that really tamed the Wild West.
    — The Guardian (Sep 23, 2019)
    The movie Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid turns 50 this year. It stars Robert Redford and Paul Newman as the leaders of the Hole-In-The-Wall Gang, who rob banks and trains and seem to have a lot of fun doing it. The charisma of the stars as well as the screenplay made this a huge hit. The screenplay, which is almost glib, meaning slick like a used-car salesman’s pitch, manages to stay fun.
  5. grapple
    work hard to come to terms with or deal with something
    “Her visit in the context of a country that’s really grappling with the challenges with the way we treat women is an opportune time because of who she is.”
    — People (Sep 24, 2019)
    Meghan Markle, Duchess of Sussex, focused on women’s empowerment during her recent visit to South Africa. She met with female entrepreneurs and encouraged other local women to fight for respect. There has been a lot of violence against women in South Africa, and Markle’s visit happened at a time when the country is grappling, or struggling, with the way women are treated.
  6. mercurial
    liable to sudden unpredictable change
    But that role befits such a mercurial artist — one who’s had equal success in ska-punk (the bratty, hooky early singles of No Doubt) and mainstream pop (quirky solo hits like the hip-hop jam “Hollaback Girl” and the yodel-laced dance tune “Wind It Up”).
    — Rolling Stone (Sep 23, 2019)
    Gwen Stefani is returning to the red chair as a coach on the popular television show The Voice. She joins John Legend, Blake Shelton, and Kelly Clarkson. Stefani has written or performed pop hits, country songs, starred in a movie and sold out shows in Las Vegas. This is what the mercurial star is all about – shapeshifting and reinvention.
  7. montage
    sticking together pieces of paper or photographs to form art
    A montage later shows highlights from the journey, including Elsa using her magical abilities and the group crossing paths with a tornado.
    — The Hollywood Reporter (Sep 23, 2019)
    The sequel to Frozen, Frozen 2 starts three years after the original, and includes all the familiar characters. Elsa, Anna, Kristoff, Olaf, and Sven strike out on a mission out of Arendelle to discover the origin of Elsa’s powers and save their kingdom. The movie trailer features a montage of their adventures, a film sequence of short highlights edited together.
  8. quotidian
    found in the ordinary course of events
    From controlling the quotidian lives of a simulated family to killing “Hitler,” power and agency are crucial to the experience of games.
    — Salon (Sep 23, 2019)
    A new video game called “Control” takes place in a dark bureaucratic office complex. In the game, players try to confront a secret government agency that is hiding supernatural occurrences. This dark satire could be making fun of the gaming industry itself. In the game, the fun is in the power. Players get to control the quotidian, or daily, lives of a simulated family, for example.
  9. tableau
    any dramatic scene
    After that opening tableau – which was searingly lit – the audience was plunged into darkness.
    — The Guardian (Sep 23, 2019)
    A model staged a subtle protest in the middle of a Gucci runway show on Sunday. The show started with models in fashionable straitjackets coming out on a conveyor belt. One model held her hands up to show where she’d written “mental health is not fashion.” A spokesperson for the high-end fashion designer said that the straitjackets were props and would not be sold in stores. After the opening tableau­, Guddi's regular fashions were shown on the runway.
  10. ubiquitous
    being present everywhere at once
    His music is astronomically popular and ubiquitous, and sounds like it could belong everywhere: a hip-hop club, a honky-tonk, a rock concert, a poolside bar.
    — The New York Times (Sep 22, 2019)
    Post Malone is the sudden pop star whose latest album Hollywood’s Bleeding debuted at No. 1, and all the songs from the album have reached the Billboard Hot 100. His genre-hopping album has the biggest streaming total of the year, although the songs somehow sound like nothing and everything at the same time. It’s no surprise that his music would seem ubiquitous, which is another way of saying it’s everywhere at once.
Created on September 23, 2019 (updated September 26, 2019)

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