A Conversation on the Power and Misuse of Language

Katha Pollitt and Richard Friedman sit down to discuss the power of words to shape our world.

Katha Pollitt (image courtesy Rubin Museum)
Katha Pollitt (image courtesy Rubin Museum)

On Wednesday night at the Rubin Museum, poet and essayist Katha Pollitt will be joined by psychiatrist Richard A. Friedman in a talk titled “Controlling the Conversation: How Words Shape Our World.” In a time when phrases like “alternative facts,” “fake news,” and “truth isn’t truth” are thrown around haphazardly by those in power, it’s more important than ever to understand the ways in which language can shape our understanding of the world we live in. Through their conversation, Pollitt and Friedman hope “to address the misuse of language to achieve power.”

Pollit contributes to the “Subject to Debate” column in The Nation, which began in 1995, and many of her essays have been published in a number of anthologies. In 2007, her collection of personal essays, Learning to Drive and Other Life Stories, was published by Random House and his since been made into a movie starring Patricia Clarkson and Ben Kingsley. Her most recent book came out in 2014, titled Pro: Reclaiming Abortion Rights. In addition, she has published a book of poetry titled The Mind-Body Problem in 2009.

Friedman is a Professor of Clinical Psychiatry at Weill Cornell Medical College and the Director of the Psychopharmacology Clinic in the Department of Psychiatry. He teaches and trains psychiatric residents at Cornell and writes for a number of medical journals.

With such varying backgrounds, Pollit and Friedman are sure to engage in lively conversation not to be missed. Tickets to the event are $20 for members, $25 for non-members, and $14 for students. They can be purchased here.

When: Wednesday, February 20, 7–8:30 pm
Where: Rubin Museum of Art, 150 West 17th Street, Chelsea, Manhattan

comments (0)