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Favorite Pretentious Terms of the Slate Podcast Literati

I confess: I am an avid listener of various Slate magazine podcasts, mainly the Slate Political Gabfest, Slate’s Culture Gabfest, and Slate’s Spoiler Specials. I’ve noticed that the liberal artsy hosts repeatedly employ certain terms–usually with the correct foreign accent, where necessary–that are not often used (or even known) by normal people, with a certain breezy, blithe liberal arts smug pretentiousness. Here are some I heard or remembered this morning–I’ll supplement this list from time to time (and see also my list of Annoying & Pretentious Terms; feel free to email me suggestions or leave them in the comments to the main page):

  • ennui
  • frisson
  • peripatetic
  • oeuvre
  • trope

On the last Political Gabfest, all 3 were bending over backwards to pronounce Medvedev so it sounds like med-yee-uh-dev.

{ 4 comments… add one }
  • David Plotz July 13, 2009, 1:51 pm

    I love this! Please name names: Which of us says which words? Who is guiltiest?

  • Stephan Kinsella July 13, 2009, 3:13 pm

    Heh. David, I just started keeping track but if memory serves, Emily uses “trope” quite often, while for Dickerson, you can almost picture the gears turning in his head as he pauses, searching for a nice word or deft turn of phrase, and often comes up with a nice phraseology.

    Even though I’m a libertarian and your political views sometimes have me climbing up the walls, I love your podcast. You guys are great.
    p.s. I have commended you guys before for better-than-typical-liberal principle, and did criticize you once for some of your economic pronouncements (Clueless Slate Liberals Babble About Economics).

    Incidentally, for a small listing of ways in which Obama is as bad as Bush and has betrayed his liberal supporters, see War and Civil Liberties Under Obama–you guys stay on him, please!; and if you want to try to get a better understanding of the problem with our financial and banking system, try Murray Rothbard’s concise What Has Government Done to Our Money?

  • Ricky Garni July 19, 2009, 8:50 am

    Wait! There’s a feed devoted to pretentious terms spoken by the Gabfest that uses the word “literati” in the title and comes from the website with a “Austro-Anarchist Libertarian Legal Theory” subtitle?

    Confused in Carrboro,


    PS– and before you chide me for using ‘exmachina’ on my blog, please note that it is preceded, quite tastefully, by the word ‘tortilla.’

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