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Thirty Three Year Tag Cloud

PUBLISHED: January 16, 2008

Just for the heck of it, I wrote some code that would index every word of every article we’ve published from 1975 onward, rank those words by the frequency with which they’ve appeared, skim off the most frequent words, and graph them in a tag cloud. (Whee!) Here’s how this process summarizes 33 years of VQR:

america american asked black book books children city country death didnt door english eyes face fact family father felt good government great hand hands head history home house human knew left life literary long looked love mother national night people place poem poems poet poetry political power public read room school sense small social south state states story things thought time turned united wanted water white woman women work world writing wrote years young

For comparison, here’s our current issue rendered as a tag cloud:

afghan afghanistan americans 0 aziz began called characters chile city country feel government human insurgents justice kabul kapuscinski land local marine marines military mind months novels outrage pakistan ramadi read reading road street streets taliban thousand tree turned united writer

I don’t know if this is really interesting or hopelessly mundane. But it is clever, and that’s got to count for something.

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