Have you visited America’s heartland? And if you have...why are you so sure? “The heartland” is not a defined thing, with borders or flags or land made of literal hearts. The term actually comes from a British geographer named Halford Mackinder (a fantastic name), who coined “heartland” in 1904 to describe one central part of pre-WWI Europe. So why do we use “heartland” in the present day, to describe an aspect of the U.S.? Is it to imply ideas about it, without letting you consider those ideas on their merits? And are there other words in our language that get used the same way?
On this week’s episode of The Cracked Podcast, Alex Schmidt sits down with Jason Pargin (better known as David Wong) to explore the most celebrated words in the English language that also trick us constantly. They’ll examine how throwing around the term “real” messes with everything from our gender roles to our dinner plate to our politics. They’ll uncover the creepy way certain words throw entire generations under the bus. And they’ll explore why philosophies like socialism and fascism are making a comeback in places like America’s Heartland (whatever that is).