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Coming up on Connections: Thursday, December 3

First hour: Discussing Oxford Languages' "Words of the Year," and how societal change shapes language

Second hour: Discussing the film, "Happiest Season," and the challenges of coming out as gay

If you had to choose one "word of the year," what would it be? In 2018, Oxford Languages chose
"toxic." In 2019, it chose "climate emergency." This year, lexicographers couldn't select just one. As NPR reports, Oxford decided to highlight dozens of terms that have defined our lexicon this year: "Black Lives Matter," "coronavirus," "social distancing," "systemic racism," and many more. This hour, our guests discuss how societal events can change and shape language. They talk about which words and phrases will have staying power and why, and which might just fade away. Our guests:

  • Linda Sue Park, author
  • Amanda Chestnut, artist and educator
  • Mark Brummitt, professor of Hebrew bible interpretation at the Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School
  • Chris Fanning, director of communications at Writers & Books

Then in our second hour, the new Hulu film, “Happiest Season” is being praised by critics and LGBTQ advocates as a “queer holiday miracle” and the “rom-com that queer fans deserve.” It’s the story of a woman deciding to bring her girlfriend home for Christmas…but her conservative family doesn’t know she’s a lesbian. The film offers commentary on coming out, on acceptance, and on identity. The praise for the film has been countered with criticism, with some people saying "Happiest Season" has themes that could cause some LGBTQ viewers to relive the trauma of being in the closet. We discuss the themes with our guests, who also share their experiences with coming out as adults:

  • Kate Sweeney, theatre manager for Monroe Community College, and organizer of Ambush Rochester
  • Scotty Ginett, a director of marketing and communications, and a Rochestarian living in Chicago
Evan Dawson is the host of "Connections with Evan Dawson." He joined WXXI in January 2014 after working at 13WHAM-TV, where he served as morning news anchor. He was hired as a reporter for 13WHAM-TV in 2003 before being promoted to anchor in 2007.
Megan Mack is the executive producer of "Connections with Evan Dawson" and live/televised engagement programming.