Michelle McSweeneyApr 11, 2023
"OK" as a word accepts proposals, describes the world as satisfactory (but not good), provides conversational momentum, or even agrees (or disagrees). OK as an object, however, tells a story of how technology writes itself into language, permanently altering communication. OK (Bloomsbury, 2023), by Dr. Michelle McSweeney and published by Bloomsbury in 2023, explores this story
OK is a young word, less than 200 years old. It began as an acronym for “all correct” when the steam-powered printing press pushed newspapers into the mainstream. Today it is spoken and written by nearly everyone in the world. Drawing on linguistics, history, and new media studies, Michelle McSweeney traces OK from its birth in the Penny Presses through telephone lines, grammar books, and television signals into the digital age.
This interview was conducted by Dr. Miranda Melcher whose doctoral work focused on post-conflict military integration, understanding treaty negotiation and implementation in civil war contexts, with qualitative analysis of the Angolan and Mozambican civil wars.