The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

1 March 2007

The InstaPunk Challenge

It went like this:

I propose an exercise to be perfomed by those who have the software and expertise to carry it out. The exercise is this: Search six months' worth of content, posts and comments, of the 20 most popular blogs on the right and the left. The search criteria are George Carlin's infamous "7 Dirty Words."

I am absolutely certain that the left will far exceed the right in the number of usages of all these words, which will go a long way toward proving that it's the right which is still concerned with ideas while it's the left that's obsessed with the lowest kind of hateful invective.

His challenge was answered in less than a heartbeat, using far more than six months' worth of data:

So how much more does the Left use Carlin's "seven words" versus the Right? According to my calculations, try somewhere in the range of 18-to-1.

The methodology, while elegant, isn't perfect — it won't, for instance, separate some foulmouth from Camp A who trolls Camp B, and sheer verbosity isn't taken into account — but there's no reason to be surprised at the outcome.

(For the record, if you run a similar search on my site, you get 63 hits. Then again, this is not a popular blog.)

Posted at 8:45 AM to Blogorrhea

I wonder how comic-book-style symbol combinations used to stand in for profanity would balance out against the uncensored stuff? If they were sought out and weighted equally with the open-source cussing (since the underlying feeling is the same, merely inhibited of full expression), what would the ratio be?

Of course, I'm not aware of any uber-blogs that use those symbols. I may very well be the highest-traffic blogger that does.

Posted by: McGehee at 9:55 AM on 1 March 2007

There are some other issues with the scheme, one of which is the fact that some of the major members of the dextrosphere don't usually take comments, which reduces the windows of opportunity, as it were.

I'm waiting for someone to tell me that the left cusses as a matter of authenticity, avoiding the sort of euphemisms that presumably prevail among conservatives. Inevitably, this argument would come from someone who will tell you with the same breath that you should never use the term "illegal aliens" for, um, aliens whose presence is illegal. Needless to say, you need not demand the presence of a meadow or of ruminants nearby to call BS on them.

Posted by: CGHill at 11:13 AM on 1 March 2007

I'm waiting for someone to tell me that the left cusses as a matter of authenticity, avoiding the sort of euphemisms that presumably prevail among conservatives.

What they call euphemisms, I call "inventive invective" and regard as a sign of wit. If someone can't invest the brainpower to come up with an argument that doesn't involve insults, they should at least invest the brainpower to make the insults entertaining to read.

Posted by: McGehee at 11:40 AM on 1 March 2007

Putz: What we really should be doing is killing Iranian civilians. Heh.
Malkin: Exactly. And the NY Times publishers should be locked up for treason.
Denny K:v Yeah! Let's hunt them down and find out where their kids go to school.
Coulter: My only regret is that Tim McVeigh didn't blow up the NY Times.
Misha:v Forget the Times, I want the Supremes. Five robes, five ropes, five trees.
Lefty Blogger:v You're all fucking crazy.

InstaPunk:v See? The lefty bloggers are more hateful.

Heh. Stolen from Blue Texan.

Posted by: Veronica at 4:15 PM on 1 March 2007

Indeed. Of course, this is what happens when you research only one component of the conversation — the part that tends to annoy the FCC.

For the record, I don't know any lefties that foam at the mouth. Then again, the usual cautions about limited sampling apply.

Posted by: CGHill at 5:12 PM on 1 March 2007