RE: Word-use spikes

From: Grant Callaghan (
Date: Sun 02 Mar 2003 - 15:09:10 GMT

  • Next message: Wade T. Smith: "Re: memetics-digest V1 #1297"

    > >From 1930 to 1937 a spike in the use of the word "depression"is seen.
    > >
    >Gee. I wonder why... Could it be that the Great Depression was a reality
    >within that time period?
    > >

    One effect the use of "depression" in the 30s had in conjunction with the fall of banks and the stock market is the fact that today government spokespeople scrupulously avoid using the term. The new word is
    "recession," and even that is used sparingly. When "depression" is used, even in small amounts, in the press, government spokespeople come forth and start talking about the event it refers to by other names in order to mitigate the "burst." So the burst does seem to have an effect on people and government. What people call a thing influences how they see and remember it. It also influences what they do about it and what emotions they feel about it.

    When Enron's machinations were being called "business practices," no one paid much attention -- even the employees of the company. Now that these same practices are being called "market manipulation" and "theft" it has changed the way business is being done nation wide and reported in the press. The change in what they were calling it also brought down Arthur Anderson and turned one of G. W. Bush's "best friends" into a persona non grata. If someone had had access to the emails passed between employees of Enron and Arthur Anderson and each other, the whole mess might have come to light sooner and the losses reduced. That's the kind of influence data mining of "bursts" may be able to bring about.


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