Strange Fruit

The end of 2014 is upon us, and that means every outlet is publishing best-of lists. We weren’t too impressed with the Wall Street Journal’s Best Pop Culture Moments last week, but one list we can get behind is the American Dialect Society‘s nominees for 2014 Words of the Year.

Like most cultural phenomena, lots of language has its roots in subcultures—including some from gay black culture. One of the words on the list is yass, an affirmation audiences have been screaming at house ball contestants for years, that made its way into mainstream usage with a little help from Nicki Minaj.

Social justice movements and hashtags also help coin new words and phrases; this year they gave us Gamergatecolumbusing, and #notallmen (and its response, #yesallwomen).

Grant Barrett is an officer with the American Dialect Society, and compiles their list of linguistic contenders every year. He joins us this week to talk about 2014’s nominees and where they came from. He also sheds a little light on the more inexplicable (to us) choices, like “on fleek,” an expression that caused Jaison to feel old for the first time in his life.

And we spend our Juicy Fruit segment in the historical Brennan House in downtown Louisville, where we learn about preserving sites with historical significance to the LGBT community. Kentucky recently got a grant to help add LGBT-important sites to the National Register of Historic Places, and Preservation Louisville Director Marianne Zickuhr joins us to talk about the work they will do on the project. Hint: It involves Baby Vicco!

Laura is LPM's Director of Podcasts & Special Projects.