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Say What

Say What

By Jo Vraca
Say What - Language, True Crime, History, Pop Culture & Feminism From true crime to music, films, myths, legends, ancient history, folklore, and everyday life, join me as I rub shoulders with the glitterati of language, all wrapped up with a radical feminist bow, to discover where some of our everyday words come from, how they came to mean what they do today, and who are the folks responsible. So we’ll be rocking through dictionaries, encyclopedias, religious texts, newspapers, magazines, lyrics, books, and social media to learn why we say what we say.
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Say What?! The Podcast Trailer

Say What

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Troll - What do Ogres, George Michael & Chrissy Teigen Have in Common?
If you think a Troll is an ogre from northern European mythology, a beast under the bridge, you'd be missing half the story. It's about so much more. It's also about big boulders that litter the Scandinavian countryside, Chrissy Teigen, eBay, Reddit and those cute little plastic toys we collected in the 80s that will make someone rich one day. Mainly we'll talk about internet trolls because they're all around us. Plus Creative Cursing from Around The World takes us to Serbia. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app including Apple and Spotify - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Additional music thanks to https://uppbeat.io
20:04
March 28, 2022
Propaganda - War, Pandemics, Soap & Cigarettes, oh and the Pope
War, pandemics, politics, soap, cigarettes – it’s all propaganda. Whether it’s coming from the left or the right, your party or the opposition, coke or pepsi, propaganda rules our lives. The father of public relations, Edward Bernays, tells us as early as 1928 that we are governed and molded, our tastes formed, by nameless people. He also tells us that we need a greater power, whether a government or business, to tell us how to live our lives. And he should know as he created the infamous “Torches of Freedom” cigarette ad aimed at convincing women to take up smoking as a feminist act of defiance at a time when smoking, for women, was improper. And the feminists ate it up. Why my sisters! Propaganda, from Themistocles in 480BCE to pamphlet bombs, we have farmers and Catholic Cardenals to thank for the world’s origins, but Edward Bernays, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump for what it means today. Plus Creative Cursing from Around The World takes us to South Africa. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite   podcast app including Apple and Spotify - it makes it easier for   others to find the show. Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Additional music thanks to https://uppbeat.io
23:38
March 14, 2022
Hoax - Real Mermaids, Magicians and Balloon Boy does Metal
To investigate the word "Hoax", we need to talk about magicians and the Catholic liturgy. This episode is about a fake word, in a way. A made up word. But what is true, is that people have been hoaxing the public for centuries. Whether is the story of a woman who gave birth to rabbits, the Fiji Mermaid, or Balloon Boy, why are people so gullible or is it just our psychology that makes us want to believe? Well I've consulted the media, history books and dictionaries to find out. In this episode: Hocus Pocus Junior: The Anatomie of Legerdemain: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/34375/34375-h/34375-h.htm Museum of Hoaxes: http://hoaxes.org/ Cottingly Fairies: https://bit.ly/3thNtM7 Feejee Mermaid: https://bit.ly/3IuWAzc The Heene Boyz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JVbV_Sis99o&t=15s Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite   podcast app including Apple and Spotify - it makes it easier for   others to find the show. Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Additional music thanks to https://uppbeat.io
24:15
February 28, 2022
Niiiice - Drug Smugglers, Purity Balls and the Complicated History of Nice
How did such a nice word that we use to mean sweet and polite, also come to be an insult for some? Well, today's word, nice, started out as a pretty mean word, actually. Depending on your circle of influence, you might want someone to call you nice, because it’s a compliment. Like, you know those 16 year old girls who attend Purity Balls with their dads where they commit to remaining a virgin until marriage? But if you’re a satanist, or even an artist, you might be outraged if someone uses it to refer to you or your work. And really, Nice was a real downer in Old English. To be called nice wasn't nice. Because Nice is one of the most poly-semus words I’ve come across – and that’s just a fancy way of saying a word that has multiple meanings. So from drug smugglers, nun's hens, the first English dictionary with a ridiculously long title and Sex and the City, let's have a look at the rather complicated history of a tiny word. PS. I'm launching a new segment today - Naught Words from Around the World. Show notes: Do Nice Guys Finish Last? https://www.psychologytoday.com/au/blog/meet-catch-and-keep/201405/do-nice-guys-really-finish-last UnCommon Ground Magazine What Was Happening Before ‘Just Be Nice Feminism’? https://uncommongroundmedia.com/just-be-nice-feminism-part-i/ Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite  podcast app including Apple and Spotify - it makes it easier for  others to find the show. Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Additional music thanks to https://uppbeat.io
18:43
February 14, 2022
ASMR - Head Orgasms, Triggers & Bob Ross
Many years ago, I found a series of videos on YouTube of people making miniature food. Actual food like a burger, the size of a coin, sushi no bigger than a pebble. To make this food, faceless people use working miniature kitchens and utensils to prepare and cook the meals. It’s food for Barbie and Ken. And this food is edible. Many years ago, I found a series of videos on youtube of people making miniature food. Actual food like a burger, the size of a coin, sushi no bigger than a pebble. To make this food, faceless people use working miniature kitchens and utensils to prepare and cook the meals. It’s food for Barbie and Ken. And this food is edible. Chances are, even if you haven’t gone out of your way to watch or listen to ASMR, you have experienced it without even realising. It’s the whispering by Amelie in the classic French movie, and when she plunges her hands into sacks of dry beans at the market. It’s Diane Weiss applying makeup to Edward Scissorhands, gentle brushing and stroking. It’s the silent rustle of linen and silk fabric and of charcoal pencil against canvas in Portrait of a Lady on Fire. And it’s Bob Ross in The Joy of Painting – everything - the brush strokes, his soothing voice, his concentration. ASMR can be defined as a combination of positive feelings, relaxation and a distinct, static-like tingling sensation on the skin. Let's see if you feel it! Show notes: Miniature food videos https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qDOzBO85qKQ “Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response (ASMR): a flow-like mental state”: https://peerj.com/articles/851/ Is ASMR Real - Scientific American: https://www.scientificamerican.com/article/is-asmr-real-or-just-a-pseudoscience/ SAS ASMR: https://www.youtube.com/c/SASASMR Reddit ASMR Poll: https://www.reddit.com/r/asmr/comments/sbd6mt/question_do_you_prefer_asmr_audio_video_or_both/ Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app including Apple and Spotify - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
22:56
January 31, 2022
Hysteria - Wandering Wombs, Toxic Semen & Exorcisms
When you think of hysteria, what comes to mind? Melancholia, anxiety, frigidity. It’s a problem that can be solved, says Doctor Dalrymple from the Netflix feel good movie, Hysteria. Until 1952, female hysteria was a valid diagnosis for women exhibiting the following symptoms: insomnia, anxiety, shortness of breath, sexual desire, frigidity or lack of sexual desire, irritability, fainting, a general air of independence, raucous behaviour and even infertility. Holy cow! I must have hysteria! In today's episode I'll talk about the first hysteric, the Queen of Hysterics Blanche Wittman, wandering uteruses, excorcisms, Freud (of course), the Salem Witch Trials, and mass hysteria including the War of the Worlds alien invasion, meowing nuns and the dancing epidemic. And did I mention polenta poultices? Oh, and Trump... And I'll ask if we should just retire the word. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite  podcast app including Apple and Spotify - it makes it easier for others  to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
20:11
January 17, 2022
Resolutions - Barbarians, Two-Faced Gods, Serial Killers & Roast Swans
Resolutions Each and every year I buy a diary and I make a resolution to use it ALL YEAR. This is my year. I say that every year. And each and every year, I will stop using it, I will even stop thinking about it, before February is though. Because, let’s face it, resolutions are the worst way to start the year. They only lead to disappointment and “I knew its”. Why do we even make new year’s resolutions at all, especially when we know we’ll break them? Who the hell started this most delusional of traditions? According to Gallop, more than 80% of people who make New Year’s resolutions will abandon them by mid-February. And yet we still make them, and are still shocked and disappointed when, not only have we stopped working on them, we actually forget all about them. References: Google Maps 2012 New Year's Resolutions Map - https://archive.google.com/zeitgeist/2012/resolutions New Yorker - Why we make resolutions and why they fail - https://www.newyorker.com/tech/annals-of-technology/why-we-make-resolutions-and-why-they-fail Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app including Apple and Spotify - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
17:54
January 03, 2022
Christmas Elves & Pooping Birds - Where do Christmas Traditions Come From?
It’s almost Christmas so there’s no better time of the year to have a look at the words we use once a year with abandon. From Eggnog to Kris Kringle, Santa's Elves to Decking the Halls with Holly, where did these words, and their traditions come from? Let’s swig on a flagon of eggnog and bring in the yuletide cheer with the inaugural Say What Christmas episode. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast  app including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
18:49
December 20, 2021
What do Peeping Tom & The Rosary Have in Common?
From Taxi Driver to Psycho, Ted Bundy to the kid down the road, the Peeping Tom is both a real life predatory character and box office gold. But who was the first Peeping Tom? And who did Tom peep on? In this episode we travel through time, movies, some very real and disturbing crimes and a very beautiful and pious naked woman. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
19:26
December 06, 2021
Why is the Left Sinister and What does the Devil Have to Do with it?
Do you know where the word “left” comes from? Well, in Latin, it’s Sinister, in all of its evil definitions.  So let’s break it down. How did sinister come to mean left and why is the left sinister?  Why does my mum think that left handers are evil? What does ancient bird divination, and the toilet habits of some cultures have to do with it? And what about the French Revolution? In today's episode, I break down the word LEFT and its very sinister history. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app    including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
19:22
November 22, 2021
Stockholm Syndrome - Abba, Patty Hearst and Anna Freud
Just in case you’re wondering, I have a real weak spot for curiosities and curious people – you know, people who behave irrationally, rule breakers and general riff raff. I’m quite fond of these people. Well… When I say “fond”, I don’t mean the – take me to your leader type of fondness but, rather, I just want to understand what makes people behave the way they do. And that’s why Stockholm Syndrome is this episode’s focus. I use the term Stockholm Syndrome here and there, and while I know what it means, I didn’t actually know where it originated. For some reason I thought it had something to do with kajillionnaire heir Patty Hearst and the Symbionese Liberation Army (more about that later). And while the term originates from around the same era, it was actually an altogether different kidnapping event that led to the term being coined. So what exactly is Stockholm Syndrome? We'll travel through the 1930s and the 1970s to find out. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app   including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
18:04
November 08, 2021
Catfishing: A Long History of a Very New Word
We’ve heard the word, Catfishing, and doesn’t it feel like it’s been part of the zeitgeist forever? But Catfishing, as it’s used in popular culture, is a relatively new term, from 2010, actually. And it was coined by a documentarian. In this episode, I look at the history of the word catfishing, and actually take a look at its very long, but hidden history that has everything to do with catfish and cod.  So let’s deconstruct this! Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app  including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
16:51
October 25, 2021
Tomboy - Is it Time to Retire This Word? No way!
What is up with the word Tomboy? Is it even politically correct to say it anymore? Without turning this into a gender studies episode, we’re going to learn where the word comes from, how it came to mean what it did, if it even does mean the same thing today, and the various translations because, yes, tomboys are everywhere and every country has its own nuanced definition and you may be surprised to learn that well, it’s a little more complex than sex, gender constructs and whether you wear skirts and climb trees. So let’s deconstruct this! Today's episode features Freud's Masculinity Complex, Calamity Jane, The Marvellous Mrs Maisel's Suzie Myerson, and I completely butcher some foreign languages. Sorry. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app  including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
16:31
October 11, 2021
Gaslight: Manipulation, Asylums & Old Hollywood
Since the 2016 election that gave Donald Trump a platform, not to mention the presidency, the word has been everywhere. But what does it mean? Where does gaslight come from? We hear a lot about ghosting. You know, it’s when someone ends a relationship suddenly without warning and just disappears, with no contact. Nothing. But what about gaslighting. According to Wiktionary, "The verb sense derives from the 1938 stage play called Gas Light, in which a husband attempts to convince his wife and others that she is insane by manipulating small elements of their environment." Recently, I watched the original movie from 1940, which was based on the stage play of the same name by Patrick Hamilton. The film, besides being super dramatic in the way movies were back then – you know, close ups of crazy eyes, that sort of thing, it was actually fascinating to see where the term that we use so freely today, actually came from. Join me as I travel through the last century to find the origins of this fascinating word. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show.  Or find your favourite listening app HERE  Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes  Produced by Jo Vraca. You can find my books on Amazon
18:07
September 27, 2021
Quarantine - The Plague, Lepers, Pandemics and Goats
When you think of quarantine, what comes to mind? Leper colonies of the past? Two weeks to flatten the curve? A hundred years ago, when leprosy was considered a public health risk, people were quarantined off for life. There was no cure for leprosy back then, and while only a few hundred people were ever recorded to have leprosy in the United States, it was claimed that a few thousand were likely to exist in hiding, to avoid a life of quarantine. So how did quarantine get its name? And what was quarantine like before the current pandemic? I go back into ancient history to show you that, actually, nothing much has changed. Oh, and goats. Goats definitely get a mention today! Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app  including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca
16:16
September 13, 2021
Vanilla - Cake, Princesses and Bondage
It's the most hashtagged flavour of icecream, the second most expensive spices in the word, and it's much maligned. How did vanilla go from being a rare orchid that, to this day, is hand-pollinated, to meaning boring? And what does it have to do with bondage? We'll find out in this episode. Join me on Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/saywhatthepodcast Please share and leave us a review on your favourite podcast app including Apple - it makes it easier for others to find the show. Or find your favourite listening app HERE Sound engineering and original music by Jeff Willis. You can find his tunes on Spotify and iTunes Produced by Jo Vraca
11:22
August 26, 2021
Say What?! The Podcast Trailer
Hi word nerds and history geeks, you’re tuned into Say What. I’m Jo Vraca and each episode, I’m going to rub shoulders with the glitterati of language where we’ll learn that some of the more colourful, and even, dare I say it, humdrum words that we use every day have remarkable origins. From true crime to music and pop culture, religion to social movements… Where do words come from? Who came up with them? Who policies them? What is the secret history of words? And it’s not just the origins that I’m going to explore. I will look into how these everyday words came to mean what they do today. So we’ll be rocking through dictionaries AND encyclopedias exploring the what, when, how, who and most definitely the why of words. Like vanilla. How did a flavouring that is use in cakes and icecreams come to mean, in some circles boring, hum-drum, run-of-the-mill (and yes, we’ll be talking about bondage and S&M for this one). How did vanilla come to mean “basic” when the actual vanilla pod is one of the most expensive spices in the world, requires bees and hummingbirds to pollinate, and only grows in very select climates? And how about spinster? Today it’s come to mean a sad and miserable unmarried childless woman (and I have a bit to say about that!) but did you know that a spinster was once an independent, unmarried working woman? And let’s not forget that one of the fiercest queens England was a celebrated spinster (and possibly a virgin). And in today’s age of qanon, I’ll tell you how we came to use the term Tin Foil Hat to refer to conspiracy theories. Jack Black will make an appearance in this story. And have I mentioned quarantine? Now that’s a history I can’t wait to share with you. And we’ll launch a grenade at problematic words that just need to be buried. Of course, as an Italian (Sicilain, actually) living in Australia, we’ll head down the slippery slope of Aussie vernacular because it’s often hilarious. So who am I to talk about language? I’m a lover and a fighter. I’ll start and end sentences with prepositions because when we know the rules, we can break them. I may be a grammar autocrat, but I’m not here to teach grammar and tell you that what you’re saying is wrong. But don’t use whom incorrectly, because that is one word that drives me crazy. I’ll say cactuses and octopuses knowing I’ll be ridiculed because I know what’s right. I’m a Sicilian living in Australia, I only spoke Italian, Sicilian actually, until I started school, and I went on to study French, Spanish, Italian and French linguistics, so I’m the perfect wanker for this task. So… Join me as I travel along the road of words and sayings that we use, pretty much on the daily, but that we never really spare a thought for. Do you have a word or phrase that you always wondered about and wish someone else would do the research on? Send me an email. You can also find me on Instagram as saywhatthepodcast where I’ll share even more of my daily encounters with words and the people who butcher them.
04:05
August 24, 2021