Saturday, August 9, 2008

In a Wordle: pathetic

I first read about Wordle when a little bird told me, posted one featuring a capture from her blog. Wordle "is a toy for generating word clouds from text that you provide. The clouds give greater prominence to words that appear more frequently in the source text. You can tweak your clouds with different fonts, layouts, and color schemes..."

Breaking news about John Edwards' admitted affair fissured the political landscape on Friday. And I am angry. He's not a candidate for president but he's about to get more media attention than either Obama or McCain in the next days. I watched Bob Woodruff's (excellent) interview with Edwards Friday night on Nightline, and that's enough for me. I've had enough of John Edwards and I want to move on with the business at hand: the upcoming conventions and seeing if we can at all get a sense of who the two candidates really are between now and the election. I'm furious that Edwards lied for as long as he did, thereby bringing the focus on his smarmy secrets at this time, possibly soiling the Democratic Party in the minds of some voters and possibly turning off young and would-be first-time voters completely.

When Edwards, without assistance or questioning by Woodruff, brought up John McCain's cheating in his first marriage, then quickly added that he didn't want to talk about that, I cringed.
When he told Woodruff that this affair occurred at a time when his wife Elizabeth's cancer was in remission, and then quickly added that there's no justification whatsoever for his behavior, I about cried.

I can't make sense of this kind of destruction. Which got me to thinking about Wordle. With help from Google and the Associated Press I copied the text of John Edwards' statement admitting the affair and Elizabeth Edwards' statement after her husband's admission and ran each of them through Wordle. I then did that tweaking thing with "different fonts, layouts, and color schemes" and took photos of the finished products on my monitor. You can click on the pictures for a better view. Their words speak for themselves...


This is John's Wordle:



And this is Elizabeth's Wordle:

9 comments:

Wayfaring Wanderer said...

I really like the way in which you used that tool......

What he did is unconscionable. I agree with you completely that this will reflect badly upon the Democratic Party.

Lydia said...

The following message was in my email box this afternoon. I'm pasting Naomi's comments here, as her TypePad blog server "went nuts" on her today. (Naomi is "a little red hen" in my blogroll....)

Lydia,

Earlier this morning I left the following comment on Writerquake. Did not seem to happen:

Thanks so much for all your effort and insight.
Elizabeth Edwards deserves our caring; I find it
hard to imagine how she keeps going except to
remind myself that she is mother to her children.

Politically, I share your anger. It was
debilitating to hear about this as about to go to
sleep last night. Each time we wonder how the
landscape can get much more degraded, something
demoralizing yells, "How about this one?"

Then I shake myself, return to my own little
space, and am grateful to have what's there.

Lydia said...

WW,
It's typical that some people will directly link this back to the Democratic Party as a whole. I just hope it's minimal and short-lived, as it only detracts from the real issues of the real campaign.


Naomi,
Thank you for your eloquent expressions. I hope your TypePad woes are corrected by now and that you've recovered what was lost at your blog!

Jennifer said...

This is one of the best uses of Wordle I've seen.

And, yes, the whole situation is pathetic.

Don't Feed The Pixies said...

It's this kind of thing that reduces what little faith we have in politicians - why should this be in the public eye other than to help/hinder a political cause?

It's the same here though - David Cameron posting web-blogs about his family is using those around him to create a positive image of a family man - but what say did his kids really have in being used to sell this image?

Lydia said...

Jennifer,
Thanks for your positive comment. I wasn't sure about using Wordle for this purpose, but it spoke to me...


DFTP,
"why should this be in the public eye other than to help/hinder a political cause?" Exactly!
And you are right; so often kids seem to wind up as pawns in the political game. Not fair.

YogaforCynics said...

Gotta admit, the wordle thing (which I hadn't heard of until now) didn't sound at all interesting...but what you did with it's definitely fascinating, and kind of beautiful in a Warholesque kinda way.

Lisa Allender said...

Love your Wordle thing, Lydia.
It IS disgusting seeing Edwards'affair pull attention away from the serious issues in this country, and the stakes are too high to let this happen!
oh, one thing:
the interviewer is Bob Woodruff, NOT Woodward......
Thanks again for the artistic "take" on Wordle....

Lydia said...

Yogaforcynics,
Thanks for visiting my blog. After thoroughly enjoying reading some of yours today, I recognize your unique style in your comments here!


LisaA,
Gads, woman, thank you so much for the catch on Woodruff's name. It's not as if I had erroneously written "Woodward" three times in the body of my post and then again in the tag or anything embarrassing like that..... :(
I very much appreciate your telling me! :)

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