Robert Pinsky Joins Economics Matters -- the Podcast to discuss his 1/28/24 NY Times Op Ed When Language Fails Us and the Moment as well as read poems dating from 1504 about money. Pinsky's op ed is well timed. The Presidents of Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania have just been fired for using words, but not meaning in obscuring the difference between unacceptable, dangerous hate speech and acceptable, if often disgusting free speech. Pinsky in his column and this marvelous podcast recalls George Orwell's admonition that overused words can quickly lose meaning. Pinsky also stresses that real communication requires work and thought. Words are not here to shield, but to convey our humanity. As Orwell foresaw, words can become content free. But Pinsky goes further. Words can transmogrify over time. "People of color" was, not long ago, a pejorative. Now it's an acclamation. Politics, society, and circumstance can change the meaning of words. And, as Pinsky makes clear, money can change the nature of relationships. The word friend, as so many poets he quotes, convey is one thing when you are flying high. It's entirely different when you are on your heels.
Do listen or view this podcast. It's worth everyone's time. Here's Robert's brief bio.
Robert Pinsky (born October 20, 1940) is an American poet, essayist, literary critic, and translator. He was the first United States Poet Laureate to serve three terms. Recognized worldwide, Pinsky's work has earned numerous accolades. Pinsky is a professor of English and creative writing in the graduate writing program at Boston University. In 2015 the university named him a William Fairfield Warren Distinguished Professor, the highest honor bestowed on senior faculty members who are actively involved in teaching, research, scholarship, and university civic life.
Economic Matters - The podcast is hosted by Laurence Kotlikoff and moderated by Alex Kotlikoff.