Culture

Words and Terms in the News

Achilles heel (a weak point, from the Greek legend that Achilles was invulnerable—except in his heel)
“The lure of Twitter—as well as its Achilles heel—is its simplicity.” (page 26)

du jour (French for “of the day”)
“Twitter has become the viral craze du jour and traffic is booming.” (page 26)

sword of Damocles (an impending disaster, from the Greek legend of Damocles sitting beneath a sword hung by a single hair)
“Many will never achieve remission at all, while the lucky ones like me get to live with a sword of Damocles hanging over our heads.” (page 32)

stoicism (real or pretended indifference to pain)
“American culture rewards cheerful stoicism, a quality that cancer patients usually display in public but find difficult to sustain in private...” (page 32)

Catch-22 (a no-win situation, from a rule in the Joseph Heller novel by the same name)
“The more I knew, the more frustrated I grew at the Catch-22 of oncology, which is that the most cutting-edge therapies are used only for the sickest patients, when it’s often too late.” (page 33)

regime (a government in power)
“The sanctions are targeted not at the general population but specifically at the regime.” (page 45)

existential (relating to human existence)
angst (a German word meaning anxiety or anguish)
“…Robert Bloom was driven to existential angst when asked to explain his car choices over the years.” (page 64)

mores (customs that include the fundamental values of a group)
“…They often used their first paychecks as a way to reject the motoring mores of their parents. ” (page 71)

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Meghan McCain on Legacy Admissions

Meghan McCain Ridicules Trump for Attack on Her Father

“If I had told my dad, ‘Seven months after you’re dead, you’re going to be dominating the news and all over Twitter,’ he would think that it’s hilarious that our president was so jealous of him,” John McCain's daughter said.