This Week In Culture: April 19–25, 2020

Tom Brady busts into some guy's house, lots of music is still being released, and Zoom calls are making us crazy — these stories and more contributed words to this week's list of vocabulary from the entertainment, sports, and tech worlds.

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definitions & notes only words
  1. ameliorate
    make better
    He’d been thinking about David Bowie, whose shifting alter egos demarcated new phases of his creative life. About ways of ameliorating some of the self-consciousness he still feels onstage.
    Before the pandemic, Car Seat Headrest songwriter Will Toledo started wearing a gas mask as part of a new costume. Now that masks are essential accessories for anyone leaving the house, its function and meaning have changed—from a way of hiding his insecurities from his audience to a commentary on the new normal. The band has a new album out. Melior means "better" in Latin, and after some time in French that became améliorer, "to make better."
  2. cadence
    the accent in a metrical foot of verse
    On “13th Century Metal,” her delivery evokes the hypnotic cadences of Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets, but the lyrics (“I promise to love my enemy / And never become that which is not God”) are reminiscent of the fiery sermons recorded to 78-r.p.m. disks by itinerant black preachers in the nineteen-twenties.
    Brittany Howard's new record Jaime is named for her sister who passed away when Howard was eight. The record, her first since leaving Alabama Shakes, has received rave reviews from fans and critics alike. Cadere means "to fall" in Latin, and cadence refers to where the beats fall in a poem or how chords resolve in music.
  3. composure
    steadiness of mind under stress
    "I couldn’t even speak,” Kramer said. “By the time I could get my composure, he was like, ‘Oh, I am so sorry. I am so sorry.’ He grabs his bags and he’s gone."
    Tom Brady accidentally walked into the wrong house, terrifying the homeowner, David Kramer. Kramer lives next door to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers offensive coordinator, who Brady was supposed to visit. As soon as he realized his mistake, Brady apologized and left immediately. Kramer said he was stunned and speechless.
  4. dissonance
    disagreeable sounds
    That dissonance, which causes people to have conflicting feelings, is exhausting. You cannot relax into the conversation naturally,” he says.
    Zoom classes and chats definitely make quarantine easier to bear, but why do they wear us out so much? The limitations of the technology — pauses, poor sound and image quality, glitches — require much more attention to process than an in-person conversation. Experts recommend sticking to essential calls and taking breaks between them, and also considering whether voice calls or simple document sharing might be better in some cases.
  5. malfeasance
    wrongful conduct by a public official
    Major League Baseball, terming the Boston Red Sox's 2018 sign-stealing violations "far more limited in scope and impact" than the Houston Astros' malfeasance, suspended a video replay monitor for the 2020 season and barred him from serving in that role in 2021 and docked the club a 2020 second-round draft pick.
    Like the Houston Astros, the Boston Red Sox also stole signs in 2018. But Major League Baseball determined that their offense was far less serious than the Astros, so they received a much less severe punishment: one employee was suspended and the team lost a second-round draft pick.
  6. phenomenon
    a remarkable development
    News of the new series development comes after Variety exclusively reported that a third season of “The Mandalorian” is already in the works at Disney Plus ahead of the second season premiere later this year. “The Mandalorian,” one of the launch titles for the Disney-branded streamer, proved to be a major hit and pop culture phenomenon upon its release.
    Disney Plus is hard at work making yet another Star Wars series. In addition to renewing The Mandalorian for a third season, the network has hired Leslye Headland to create a show set in a different period of the timeline. Headland is the co-creator, executive producer, and showrunner of Russian Doll on Netflix.
  7. slate
    designate or schedule
    “Our 2020 slate of series and films are largely shot,” Ted Sarandos, the company’s chief content officer, told analysts during the company’s quarterly earnings call yesterday, “and are in post-production stages in locations all over the world.
    While most movie and television studios are scrambling to figure out what to do with their fall schedules and beyond, Netflix has tons of content on deck well into 2021. Because they release shows all at once, they make things farther ahead of time and thus have more finished projects and many more in post-production that can be done safely during the current crisis.
  8. solicit
    request urgently or persistently
    During the online performance, which starts at 3 p.m. PT Friday, April 24 on Malone’s YouTube page, the singer will solicit donations for the United Nations Foundation’s COVID-19 Solidarity Response Fund for the World Health Organization.
    Post Malone is live-streaming a Nirvana tribute on April 24 to raise money for the World Health Organization. It's free to watch, though he will encourage contributions and Google will match up to $5 million in donations.
  9. tactile
    of or relating to or proceeding from the sense of touch
    As with the iPhone 7 and 8, the home button isn’t a physical button, but simply a spot on the bottom that gives you a tactile tapback when you press it.
    Just in time for the economic catastrophe, Apple has introduced a new iPhone SE. Based on the design of the 6, 7, and 8 models, it nonetheless has the new A13 bionic chip, which means it will get software updates for years to come: a useful selling point as you pester your parents for a new phone during a pandemic. Tactilis means "tangible" or "touchable" in Latin.
  10. wistful
    showing pensive sadness
    “Green Room” boasts a wistful folk-rock sway and finds Jamison recounting a moment of existential woe in the titular backstage area before a concert.
    For his upcoming EP Tourism, singer-songwriter Henry Jamison co-wrote a song with one of his heroes, Grizzly Bear's Ed Droste. Droste sings backing vocals on Green Room. The EP drops on May 15. Wistful is a word of uncertain origin, and is the perfect descriptor for staring out your window, wishing you could hang out with your friends.
Created on April 22, 2020 (updated April 23, 2020)

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