30 episodes

Language moves fast and Word Bomb is here to help. Unpacking one explosive word per week, hosts Pippa Johnstone and Karina Palmitesta talk to experts and dive deep into lived experiences to share stories the dictionary doesn't tell you.

Word Bomb TVO

    • Society & Culture
    • 5.0 • 8 Ratings

Language moves fast and Word Bomb is here to help. Unpacking one explosive word per week, hosts Pippa Johnstone and Karina Palmitesta talk to experts and dive deep into lived experiences to share stories the dictionary doesn't tell you.

    Sex: The words and the bees

    Sex: The words and the bees

    Now that we've got your attention: Pippa and Karina investigate how sex drives slang creation in the English language. With Jonathon Green, one of the world's leading lexicographers and author of Green's Dictionary of Slang, they take a trip through steamy slang and anatomical idioms from the 1500s all the way to the present day. They also break down the all-important distinction between the words "sex" and "gender."

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 27 min
    Expat: A passport to privilege

    Expat: A passport to privilege

    Why are some people living abroad called "expats" and others called "immigrants" or "migrants"? Is it simply semantics, or something much deeper? In this episode, Pippa and Karina decode the politics, power dynamics, and privilege behind these loaded terms, and unpack the baggage carried by travelers to and from the global north and south. They're joined by Dr. Anu Taranath, a racial equity consultant and author of the book "Beyond Guilt Trips: Mindful Travel in an Unequal World."

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 28 min
    Organic: Farm to label

    Organic: Farm to label

    Karina and Pippa take a trip down the grocery aisle to peel back the "organic" label. The organic food industry is booming-but is it all marketing and markup at Whole Foods, or the future of sustainable farming? A tightly regulated industry, or ripe for fraud? Is an apple really just an apple? Along the way, they speak to one of Canada's foremost food trend analysts and sink their teeth into both the assumptions and the facts behind this agricultural movement.

    Thank you to Dana McCauley of New Venture Creation for the interview, and special thanks to Joel Aitken of Ecocert Canada for his invaluable background on the path to organic certification in Canada.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 23 min
    Cancel: Dispatches from the culture wars

    Cancel: Dispatches from the culture wars

    2020 is definitely #cancelled, but who can cancel who, and where does boycotting end and cancelling start? Pippa and Karina data-mine Twitter, sort through the endless op-eds, and debate the catharsis and consequences of call-out culture. Online and IRL, cashing in on the thriving "attention economy" has never been so easy-or so fraught.

    For some extra reading, we recommend checking out the article "Everyone Is Canceled" by NYT writer Jonah Engel Bromwich, as well as "Why we can't stop fighting about cancel culture" by Vox writer Aja Romano.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 25 min
    Karen: Calling cops and naming names

    Karen: Calling cops and naming names

    Pippa and Karina talk to an entire chorus of Karens and break down the memeification of this now-infamous first name, from the baby boom to Black Lives Matter. Women weaponizing their whiteness have never been so easily called out-but how did one of the most popular baby names of the mid-century come to represent the biggest villain of 2020?

    Thank you to all Karens who we spoke to this episode: Karyn Guenther, Karin Freeman, Karen Burgess, Karen Stowe-Spektor, Karen Williams, Karen Gray, and Karen K Ho.

    For further reading, we recommend checking out the NYT article "How White Women Use Themselves as Instruments of Terror" by Charles M. Blow; the book They Were Her Property by Stephanie Jones-Rogers; and the SNL "Baby Shower" skit for good measure.

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 25 min
    Republican: Grand Old Party in the U.S.A.

    Republican: Grand Old Party in the U.S.A.

    Pippa and Karina take a quick break from doomscrolling to ring in the U.S. presidential election with an episode on the word "Republican." From res publica to revolution, from the party of Lincoln to the party of Trump, identifying as Republican has gone through some major sea change over the centuries-and the word has never been more loaded than in 2020. As the United States stands on the brink of a historic vote, is the GOP what it used to be?

    Thank you to Rob Vipond of the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy for his interview!

    See omnystudio.com/listener for privacy information.

    • 20 min

Customer Reviews

5.0 out of 5
8 Ratings

8 Ratings

Ben Hustis ,

Great etymology studies

Fresh perspectives on parts of our language we take for granted.

mermaid0dreamer ,

Words for thought

I’m really enjoying this podcast! Very interesting and thought provoking. I came for the ‘fat’ episode because Sophie Carter Kahn rocks, but became fascinated and stayed for the rest. I also appreciate the shorter length of the shows. They’re perfect for my breaks at work. Can’t wait to listen to more!

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