Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Episode 58: Worlds Apart Transcript

Click on “Read More” for the full transcript.

We used Temi to auto transcribe this, then Dan went through and checked it based on the show notes. He tried really hard on it, but this kind of stuff isn't his specialty. So if you notice anything confusing, please comment on this post so Dan can look at it and clarify anything.

Dan:                                     00:00                    Welcome to bunny trails or whimsical adventure of idioms and other turns of phrase, I'm Dan Pugh
Shauna:                               00:05                    and I'm Shauna Harrison. Each week we delve into the origin and history of an idiom or other turn of phrase and discuss how it's been used over time. Have you ever heard someone describe their life and realize that they were having a totally different experience from yours?
Dan:                                     00:20                    Yeah, it happens to me a lot.
Shauna:                               00:21                    Yeah. Same here. I don't know if that speaks to some great truth about the world today or if it's just a sign that I'm like an adult now or something.
Dan:                                     00:29                    I think it's a sign that I'm a 40.
Shauna:                               00:32                    Yeah. I, I hate being, uh, reminded of my oldness so, uh, so Dan, do you know, do you know what our phrase is?
Dan:                                     00:40                    Yeah. No, I gotta be honest. That did not give me any indication whatsoever about what our phrase is. Oldflangled?.
Shauna:                               00:48                    No, we are, we are worlds apart.
Dan:                                     00:50                    Okay.
Shauna:                               00:50                    No, not you and me.
Dan:                                     00:52                    I feel like you set that up and I was the bait.
Shauna:                               00:56                    Oh. What? <Laughter> Worlds apart means very different or very far away. Sometimes it's used as worlds away. So this phrase worlds apart as really quite simple. But the part that makes it figurative rather than, uh, a literal phrase is the word 'world'. World is an interesting term. It originally was used in English to mean the state or realm of human existence on earth or this present life. And this was basically us putting everything into the context of ourselves. We've always been kind of like anthropocentric I think from the get go. So this use of the term world was first attested in print like a really long time ago.
Dan:                                     01:41                    That is not very specific.
Shauna:                               01:43                    Unfortunately...
Dan:                                     01:44                    Star Wars happened a long time ago.
Shauna:                               01:47                    It, it, it, this was a long, long time
Dan:                                     01:49                    in a galaxy far, far away. Worlds away. You might say,
Shauna:                               01:52                    Hey, no, this was in our galaxy. It's really hard to date old English texts. But this, uh, attestation was actually from the select historical documents of the ninth and 10th centuries. So, so we know it was from that time frame. Okay. Yeah. It includes a charter to Christ church in Canterbury,
Dan:                                     02:14                    like wait Christ church, like the place in New Zealand or Christ's church.
Shauna:                               02:20                    Okay. So was titled Christ Church. Um, but, but not the place in New Zealand. This is Canterbury, specifically the Christ church. And you can't, yeah. "So it is written that God foretold the end of the world." And in that sense it was saying the world as in people, the existence of humanity.
Dan:                                     02:39                    Gotcha.
Shauna:                               02:40                    Yeah. So moving on a little, we see another figurative use of the word world. And according to Oxford English dictionary, this definition was "usually proceeded by adjectives designating a world other than that of the earth. This was chiefly seen in Judeo-Christian contexts. So specifically the world of the afterlife of the blessed. So Heaven, uh, frequently another world or a better world and similar expressions."
Dan:                                     03:07                    Gotcha. So in this case, we live in one world, but heaven would be a world away.
Shauna:                               03:12                    Yes. So we see this use in old English, in West Saxon Gospels. These were estimated to have been written around the 11th century. Uh, there a translation of the four main gospels of the Christian Bible into old English.
Dan:                                     03:28                    That's Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.
Shauna:                               03:29                    Yes.
Dan:                                     03:29                    I remember something from Sunday school.
Shauna:                               03:33                    Thats for all of you not from the Bible Belt...
Shauna:                               03:38                    So the quote from this is "neither in this world nor in the other world." And so again, referencing that concept of, of another place of existence,
Dan:                                     03:48                    there you go. More proof that Christians believe in alien life.
Shauna:                               03:54                    That's so true. We shouldn't get into that though.
Dan:                                     03:57                    I'm, I always thought that as Christianity, if you believe, if you believe in creationism, you have to believe in the existence of alien life because the concept of alien would be not of earth like life that was created outside of earth. And so if someone created earth, then you have to believe in life not of earth. Like that is a, that is a tenant of your religion. If you believe someone created earth, you have to believe that there is life that was created not on earth.
Shauna:                               04:24                    Like it's a requirement.
Dan:                                     04:25                    It is an absolutely a requirement.
Shauna:                               04:27                    For the existence of a creator.
Shauna:                               04:28                    Yes. Yeah. So finally we see world used in our phrase today and this was when it was adopted with the addition of other words. Um, this is "any state or realm of existence, especially one regarded in contrast to that of contemporary human life." So not just a physical realm or like this kind of mental or whatever other realm, but a but an actual concept like, so a conceptual realm here. Um, and the best representation of this usage is, uh, from an... this is from a pretty old text as well in Erasmus' Handbook of a Christian Knight. And this is from 1533. "Let us imagine therefor two worlds, the one intelligible and the other visible." Wordsworth also gives us a wonderful example in Ode from his 1807 poems, "Blank misgivings of a creature moving about in world's not realized."
Dan:                                     05:29                    It's not like blank misgivings so that you can be like, insert whatever you want to hear misgivings. But like he actually uses the word 'blank' misgivings.
Shauna:                               05:36                    I hope I didn't read it that way. Like blank, insert your thoughts.
Dan:                                     05:39                    That's anytime someone says the word blank in a sentence then. And, and I, I immediately wonder, wait, did they mean that was a blank and that I could fill it in with whatever I wanted or I had to guess? Or did they mean like, like, you know, if he's used the phrase blank check, then okay, I get that. But almost any, it's hard to, I'm sure there are, but they're not coming to mind right now. Other uses of the word blank that I would not, especially as an adjective that I would be like, I don't know.
Shauna:                               06:06                    Blank slate is that?
Dan:                                     06:08                    Clean slate. But yeah. Oh, interesting.
Shauna:                               06:11                    Blank misgivings. I think that's a thing though. I feel like I've heard it before or maybe I've read Wordsworth enough. I don't know.
Dan:                                     06:17                    I've heard it once before, now, a moment ago.
Shauna:                               06:20                    There we go. Uh, so to me it seems logical that these kind of resulted in our phrase worlds apart, uh, because it's natural. Once you imagine these kind of varied worlds, um, that exists separate from one another that you would do then in our anthropocentric view of things of me and placing at people or those concepts worlds apart from one another. I was surprised to learn how late into the game, however, that we actually find the phrase. Uh, so let's go back to our definition.
Dan:                                     06:52                    So like worlds... So worlds started to be used like a long, long time ago. Like in old English. Yes. But it wasn't until whenever much more recently that we saw worlds apart then?
Shauna:                               07:03                    Yes.
Dan:                                     07:04                    Okay. Just want to make sure I'm following.
Shauna:                               07:06                    Yeah. So worlds apart again means "vastly different or distant, uh, or quite incompatible". Similarly, worlds away or worlds away from are often used in 1800 Charles Hutten wrote in Diary Companion. "How did we revel in our distant Bowers in fancied interviews, whole worlds apart." So Charles here was a mathematician and his comments have been interpreted as a figurative statement on his recent experiences. So this was the first time that we saw the phrase worlds apart, used in this manner and also in print. Um, that could be truly confirmed, uh, to describe a great difference or distance between people. So I thought that was cool. That's like 18, the 18 hundreds early 18 hundreds. That's a long, long ways off from the 11th, 10th, ninth, or 10th century.
Dan:                                     08:01                    That is, that is a big gap in there from one to the next.
Shauna:                               08:04                    Yes. In the Glasgow Herald in 1891, we find this quote, "it is always the case in every game where skill can be employed, that the most skillful make their mark and are worlds apart from the comparatively unskillful." I really enjoyed this quote because I think we often still see this concept today, those who are so very talented and perform leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the pack. Uh, it makes me think back to the recent tennis match between Novak Djokovic and Roger Federer,
Dan:                                     08:36                    which yes, definitely was one for the ages. I would definitely say that even though Federer lost, that one, the two of them are among the greatest, definitely the greatest currently tennis players and possibly the greatest of all time.
Shauna:                               08:51                    You right. And I think that's something that's marked by the fact that Federer's uh, one of his other matches that he also happened to lose is also listed among some of the greatest tennis matches. So just that like standing out so far beyond worlds apart from the rest of the competition. Henry Scott Holland wrote in old and new sermons in 1900 "they look to you worlds apart" and Holland was highlighting the differences in various cultures and those of varying social statuses. In 1957 Herbert Richard Hoggart wrote in his novel the uses of literacy aspects of working class life with special reference to publications and entertainments. I think he was confused about what century he was publishing a book in.
Dan:                                     09:41                    Yeah, he definitely, well not only does he have a slightly long name, but then he also used an incredibly long title for his book, which was more an 1800 thing, but you know, 16 to 18 hundreds frankly.
Shauna:                               09:52                    Right? "It is worlds away from the fellowship and service of some of the socially purposive movements." While this excerpt didn't say anything necessarily poignant for the history of our phrase, Hoggart did use worlds away as opposed to worlds apart. And while there are not as many specific citations for worlds away in literary references, there are references to it in many dictionaries. In the 2002 book the story of Western Architecture, Bill Risebero writes "These middle-class kids, trying to form a commune, were worlds apart from the building-workers in the French bidonvilles or the thousands of homeless in the barriadas of Peru." Risebero approached the topic of the development of architecture in the West as an expression of social and economic conditions and supporters of his work claim that it will last because he chose this historical starting point rather than one focused on aesthetics. And I thought that was really neat.
Shauna:                               10:56                    Even his quote kind of represents that idea. So I always enjoy researching the use of phrases in less regulated works than those carefully curated literary references. And that's where Chronicling America comes in with our, uh, newspapers. There was a group of Sonnets by an individual merely listed as Quince. And it was posted in the morning herald out of New York. This was on September 4th, 1837. And this was, uh, a sonnet about authors, "Authors are beings, only half of earth, they own a world apart from other men, a glorious realm given by their fancy birth subjects, a sceptere and a diadem, a fairy land of thought in which sweet bliss would run to ecstasy and wild delight, but that stern nature drags them back to this with call imperious, which they may not slight, and then they traffic, with their thoughts to live and coin, they're laboring brains for daily bread, getting scant dross for the rich ore they give while often with the gift, their life has shed and thus they die leaving behind a name at once. Their countries glory and her shame." It's like intense if you're an author because it's kind of hits home.
Dan:                                     12:15                    You're only, you're only half of earth, but then you're also a world apart. Is that the world of your story?
Shauna:                               12:22                    Yes. Hey, you live there, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Is that right?
Dan:                                     12:25                    Well, yes. That would be a John Green statement for yes living in the story, I guess
Shauna:                               12:32                    my brain naturally went to the Cheyenne. Wyoming could just, yeah, yeah. Sometimes you exist in your story.
Dan:                                     12:39                    What if your story is based on earth?
Shauna:                               12:41                    Oh, well I, yes, but it's, it's a, it's a conceptually different world than the one you're living in.
Dan:                                     12:46                    No, that's fair.
Shauna:                               12:47                    Yeah.
Dan:                                     12:48                    Understandable.
Shauna:                               12:48                    Yes. I also thought it was pretty cool cause that's, uh, you know, sonnet from 200 years ago and that, that, that, uh, idea is still is holds true. Another poem that I found rather meaningful was written by Eleanora Louisa Montagu and was shared in several newspapers around 1840. It was titled The Girl at her Wheel. "Then gladly-sing gladly, my heart, Where thou hear’st not the storm waves roll! Secure let me dwell in my calm world apart, Where life’s billows disturb not my soul." That's very beautiful.
Dan:                                     13:26                    Nice.
Shauna:                               13:27                    Yeah. Okay. So from the Richmond Times dispatch, this is out of Richmond, Virginia. December 6th, 1914. The mysterious disappearance of Hope Latham. Hope Lathamwas, uh, an actress and she's telling her own story.
Shauna:                               13:42                    "Then I secured what every actress wants, a play of her own and the dignity of being a star. But the voice of love called and called" And then it continues a little further on, "Up the river, only three hours away, but it seemed worlds away. An honest loving man waited for me. I fled at the stage for Kingston and never, not for one moment have I regretted the change." So she uh, ended up becoming a widow, which is sad and but returned to the stage. So this was her story of where she'd been all that time. Moving ahead to the 1930s. The world was looking for a little bit of romance and a not love interests at this time, but more romanticism. And there is a lovely article in the Sunday Star out of Washington, D C and this is January of 1934. "Romance is coming back with little women as screen success, Alison Wonderland touring the legitimate stage, Anthony Adverse...."
Shauna:                               14:42                    And it goes on to list some other popular stories of the time. They were describing some different stories that, that were hitting the stage and becoming popular again and why they were popular and referencing romance as the reason. "Then there are the three little pigs. God bless them if their story isn't romantic, who can say what is the three little pigs? They are as old as romance itself as old as the desire of most men to sing and dance and to the wisdom of the chosen few who build their houses of brick." And it also discusses the happy ending. I'm on this screen version of the story. We know that a lot of original fairy tales were changed to be a little bit happier over time. So the two pigs who did not use brick to build their, their houses get to, to be saved from their folly and, and live with their, their third pig brother in safety.
Shauna:                               15:35                    "But what helped most to make this little screen cartoon a far greater success than most feature films was it's ability to tap deep wells of forgotten sentiment in audiences, to set men and women to remembering battered picture books and kindly nurses and jolly old grandfathers and to light them with a humor and freshness worlds away from sophistication and grim realities and vulgarity." So a drastic difference from the typical screen performances of the time. Throughout this time, both worlds away and worlds apart had been used simultaneously and fairly equally. Here's one more excerpt with worlds apart, and this is from the evening star of Washington DC in 1950 there's a lovely ad for women's business attire and this is landsburgs fashion success specials "save more than a pretty penny." I liked that, so I wanted to include that. "These are specially priced two double duty styles. What real buys. These are one jacket and two skirts. Give you two suits that look worlds apart" . For $8.88 which that is a steal. If I'm, let me tell you.
Dan:                                     16:45                    Well, I mean in 1950s it was probably a decent price.
Shauna:                               16:50                    Yeah.
Dan:                                     16:52                    Today’s show is sponsored by our Patrons. According to the Oxford English Dictionary, since the 1300s the word “patron” has meant: A person standing in a role of oversight, protection, or sponsorship to another. Patron comes from the Latin word for Father, Pater, then becoming Patronus meaning champion or protector, then to Patron, meaning one who sponsors something… like a Patron of the arts. Leonardo Da Vinci had Patrons like Medici and Cesare Borgia. Bunny Trails has similarly awesome Patrons, including Charlie Moore, Pat Rowe, and Mary Lopez. If YOU want to become a Patron of Bunny Trails, and get cool perks like early access to episodes, behind the scenes content, monthly mini-episodes, and more, you can visit us, or you can find links to it at
Shauna:                               17:44                    As we start looking at more modern usages of worlds apart, we see it swing back into a fairly serious tone addressing deeper issues and emotions on the 2015 Adele album 25 our phrase is found in the song. I miss you. Um, I'm a pretty big Adele Fan. So while this didn't show up in my initial Google search, uh, I remembered the lyrics and wanted to include it. "We play so dirty in the dark cause we are living worlds apart. It only makes it harder baby". And then, you know, she goes on.
Dan:                                     18:17                    Is it true that Adele's albums are all like 19, 25 or whatever because...
Shauna:                               18:22                    21...
Dan:                                     18:22                    ...Yeah, cause that's how old she was when they came out?
Shauna:                               18:25                    I am pretty sure. Yeah. Huh? I mean I know they're all those numbers.
Dan:                                     18:29                    Right. That's clever. I mean, sure. Good, good, well done. I guess her voice definitely seems older than she is. I think I'm more mature voice.
Shauna:                               18:39                    Why? I was like, is this just a, is the age thing kind of just, just publicity, but I K I don't know.
Dan:                                     18:46                    I don't know. Well here's the deal, Adele. I know you're a huge fan of the show. It's not a bad thing. It's a compliment. The voice is just very mature. That's all, it's very good.
Shauna:                               18:55                    You're gorgeous. Alright. A worlds apart seems to be a go to when choosing titles for film. It is a 1921 American silent mystery film starring Eugene O'Brien, Olive Tell, and William H Tooker. 2008 it was also used as the title for a Danish film. So worlds apart. The daughter of a Jehovah witness is forced to choose between religion and love when she falls for someone outside her faith. In 2015 the Greek drama worlds apart, a directed by Christoforos Papakaliatis, sorry, Christoforos and this consists of three separate narratives, each following of love story between a foreigner and a Greek. Each story represents a different generation falling in love during a time of socioeconomic turmoil that dominate southern Europe as a whole only to connect as a single story in the end. Then there's also the short Scifi film worlds apart from 2016 and this is a new take on our theme "two scavengers in a world where technology is a thing of the past, discover an old abandoned police cruiser and quickly realize that the car is hiding something that will force them to reexamine their relationship. "
Dan:                                     20:08                    I feel like I need to know what that thing is but also not going to watch that movie to find out.
Shauna:                               20:14                    Okay, this is a short film. How do you not have enough information in the trailer for short film? l, I mean the whole thing must've been given you background. I don't know. So in addition to full length features and independent films, this name worlds apart is also used for many TV show episodes. It was the title of a 2003 national geographic series and also the name of the, of the 30th season of the reality TV competition show survivor
Dan:                                     20:42                    30th season?!? No... they have to have done more than one season per year. Is not like one season per year then
Shauna:                               20:52                    I'm thinking maybe two. But even with that 15 years is a long time. Could it be 30th season? It could be 30 years.
Dan:                                     20:59                    No. No it can't.
Shauna:                               20:59                    That'd be in the 90s no, it would come out. When did it come out?
Dan:                                     21:04                    Survivor first aired on May 31st, 2000 yeah. So it is not even, it is, it is not even 30 years old. It's not even 20 years old. But there was a earlier version that uh, that survivor, the American version came from that aired in 1997 and that was a Swedish television series "Expedition Robinson" created by Charlie Parsons. Ah, okay. Still survivor. The American edition has put out more than one season in a year because it's only 19 years old.
Shauna:                               21:40                    Yes. Okay. See, I'm seeing this, uh, on April 18th of 2018, cbs renewed the series for 37th and 38th season. So they must be doing two seasons a year. That's kind of what it sounds like.
Dan:                                     21:53                    I wouldn't know. I didn't look that far into it, but I did look far enough so that we could give all of you wonderful listeners the facts according to Google.
Shauna:                               22:04                    Google facts, all right. A worlds apart is also the name of a rather large toy company with brands like Scruff-a-Luvs, Monkey Mania, HelloHome, Spin to Sing, Woofy Whoops, and SelfieMic. They had, there were a lot more brands under this umbrella. Yeah.
Dan:                                     22:21                    I feel like you covered, I feel like you covered everything we needed to know to get a feel for the kind of toys are being sold here.
Shauna:                               22:29                    At Worlds Apart, we help families make the most of growing up. By constantly discovering new ways to bring the best ideas together, we create children’s lifestyle products that give kids and parents more, so every day is full of wow. “The Worlds Apart way helps us see the world through parents’ eyes, find a fresh perspective at every turn and put kids first…”.
Shauna:                               22:48                    Back to the music industry, Worlds apart is a multinational boy band of the 1990s, uh, this, they had a sort of ever changing lineup. They've had a variety of vocalists over their active years, which include 1992 to 2002 and 2007 to the present. I kind of love this group story. Worlds apart released their first album in the UK and after a number of concert tours and regular television appearances, the band became hugely popular in Europe where they signed a record deal with emi. Steve Hart became their lead singer and songwriter for the band. And uh, after becoming, after winning best newcomers at the prestigious Bravo super show, worlds apart quickly became the biggest boy band in France.
Dan:                                     23:36                    Well, there's something important to say, Hey,
Shauna:                               23:39                    hi. They were regularly supported by the backstreet boys and nsync. Hey, that's pretty big stuff there. Just,
Dan:                                     23:45                    well, yeah, I mean if you're going to be in France, you tag up with the best in France
Shauna:                               23:50                    worlds apart. Success continued all through Europe, the Middle East, South America and Asia.
Dan:                                     23:56                    That is the vast majority of the world.
Shauna:                               23:59                    It is! Due to their massive success worlds apart represented France in the world, music awards and also broke merchandise records in every concert hall in the country, in the biggest ever French tour. Uh, with number one singles and...
Dan:                                     24:11                    wait wait... the biggest ever French tour.? What was it like six days? You can cover all of France in six days.
Shauna:                               24:19                    I'm also guessing that they weren't including like wine tours. Right? But they've sold well over 10 million records, so
Dan:                                     24:30                    no. Yeah, good job. That sounds like you are incredibly popular and if you're still going then we are way better than every boy band Americans ever put out. So good jobs.
Shauna:                               24:39                    Seriously impressed. I'm like, do I need to find a new boy band now that I'm no longer of that age?
Dan:                                     24:46                    Listen, I'm not going to go listen to their music, but I am going to say very good job and well done and keep up the good work, Worlds Apart.
Shauna:                               24:55                    Good job. Yeah. All right. So finally I have to go to urban dictionary.
Dan:                                     25:02                    I wish you wouldn't.
Shauna:                               25:02                    I know, but I did learn that worlds apart is often used for websites that are dedicated to video games like arc and final fantasy. Uh, and these are typically fan-based sites or sites that are designed to connect fans from around the world. And there are usually kind of forum heavy style websites that is
Dan:                                     25:23                    um, not at all what I expected you to say after learning something from urban dictionary.
Shauna:                               25:28                    Right. That's really cool. Uh, so basically this phrase is all over the place right now. Ah, it's in such wide use today. I, I think it's kind of interesting though that it found its way to this lighthearted sales pitch, you know, style with the 1950s and then found its way back around to this more purposeful usage that we're seeing. And I think that's really awesome. The phrase and the words themselves mean that people are different or distant. However, the goal of using this phrase is to highlight those differences and bring people together. And when I started researching worlds apart, I expected to find love stories, comedies, and some of those pun style titles that we all enjoy. I was surprised to discover worlds apart being used to address these truly heavy topics and in a genuine and noninflammatory way. Even the love stories are about more than just two people who are simply different personalities. Many of the modern examples of worlds apart are used by those making an effort to bring understanding or connection to varied and sometimes divided groups of people and I think that's pretty beautiful.
Shauna:                               26:39                    That about wraps us up for today. Thank you so much for joining us. Don't forget to find us on your favorite podcasting app and leave a review.
Dan:                                     26:46                    If you have a suggestion for an idiom or other turn of phrase, or just wanna chat, you can catch us on social media, mostly on Twitter, @bunnytrailspod or on Patreon at Of course, you can get links to everything we do at Thanks for joining us. We'll talk to you again next week. Until then, remember,.
Together:                           27:09                    Words belong to their users.

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