The Evolution of ‘Like’ By John McWhorter

In our mouths or in print, in villages or in cities, in buildings or in caves, a language doesn’t sit still. It can’t. Language change has preceded apace even in places known for preserving a language in amber. You may have heard that Icelanders can still read the ancient sagas written almost a thousand years ago in Old Norse. It is true that written Icelandic is quite similar to Old Norse, but the spoken language is quite different—Old Norse speakers would sound a tad extraterrestrial to modern Icelanders. There have been assorted changes in the grammar, but language has moved on, on that distant isle as everywhere else.

It’s under this view of language—as something becoming rather than being, a film rather than a photo, in motion rather than at rest—that we should consider the way young people use (drum roll, please) like. So deeply reviled, so hard on the ears of so many, so new, and with such an air of the unfinished, of insecurity and even dimness, the new like is hard to, well, love. But it takes on a different aspect when you consider it within this context of language being ever-evolving.

First, let’s take like in just its traditional, accepted forms. Even in its dictionary definition, like is the product of stark changes in meaning that no one would ever guess. To an Old English speaker, the word that later became like was the word for, of all things, “body.” The word was lic, and lic was part of a word, gelic, that meant “with the body,” as in “with the body of,” which was a way of saying “similar to”—as in like. Gelic over time shortened to just lic, which became like. Of course, there were no days when these changes happened abruptly and became official. It was just that, step by step, the syllable lic, which to an Old English speaker meant “body,” came to mean, when uttered by people centuries later, “similar to”—and life went on.


Catch Us If You Can By Bruce Watson

On a brisk autumn afternoon in 1952, 16 wounded soldiers were brought aboard the Canadian destroyer Cayuga patrolling the Yellow Sea off the coast of Inchon, South Korea. Casualties of the Korean War, the men were in bad shape. Several would not survive without surgery. Luckily, the ship’s doctor had told the crew he was a trauma surgeon. Now, the portly, middle-aged man donned scrubs and ordered nurses to prepare the patients. Then he stepped into his cabin, opened a textbook on surgery and gave himself a crash course. Twenty minutes later, high school dropout Ferdinand Demara, aka Jefferson Baird Thorne, Martin Godgart, Dr. Robert Linton French, Anthony Ingolia, Ben W. Jones, and on this afternoon, Dr. Joseph Cyr, strode into the operating room.


With a deep breath, the faux surgeon sliced into bare flesh. He kept one basic principle in mind. “The less cutting you do,” he told himself, “the less patching up you have to do afterward.” Finding a splintered rib, Demara removed it and extracted a bullet near the soldier’s heart. He was afraid the soldier would hemorrhage, so he slipped some Gelfoam, a coagulating agent, into the wound and it clotted almost immediately. Demara put the rib back in place, sewed the man up, and administered a huge dose of penicillin. Onlookers cheered.


His election that November came as a surprise…By Timothy Snyder

His election that November came as a surprise. The conservative intellectuals had made telling arguments against his racism and conspiracy thinking. Rival nationalists had mocked his affection for a foreign tyrant. Businessmen had explained that economic isolation could only harm an export economy. All to no avail.

His followers had faith, of course. They had roared at his rallies and echoed his slogans. They had come out to vote, in higher numbers than expected, especially working-class men and women. Even so, the results of the election were paradoxical. The left received 1 million more votes than his party. But due to the vagaries of the electoral system he was called upon to form a government. His followers exulted, but the various right-wing elites preserved their calm. Although they had failed to keep him from power, they were sure that they could control him. He was good at convincing his followers that he was a revolutionary and convincing others that he was harmless.

His administration was at first a coalition of the old right and his new right. The members of the major left-wing party, historically larger than his, had a sense that something was afoot. But the left was divided upon itself and unsure about its leadership; its own conflicts could, from moment to moment, seem more pressing than the affairs of the country as a whole. He did not invent the highway, as his propaganda claimed, but he did support public works. This sort of thing helped to confuse the left and the workers.



Confessions of a clickbait creator – AMAZING! LOL!

Perhaps I found myself in the viral content world because I made the careless mistake of taking an arts degree at university. For over half a decade afterwards, I was lucky enough to work as an actual journalist for a few quasi well-known publications.

But after years of trying, I gave up pursuing work with more esteemed outlets because colleagues with qualifications from prestigious institutions were more desirable hires.

After a round of layoffs at my publication and in hefty personal debt, I was forced to accept the first job I could find. So I took a role at a popular viral content site. The writers were young, mainly white men and women, who didn’t exactly pride themselves on cranking out posts about cute dogs and videos of someone almost dying.