If George Carlin had a Fancy Curse-Word API…

Posted by andreaitis on April 10, 2009

As if Tom Hume wasn’t interesting enough for living with four cats and a badger, the Future Platforms Managing Director also enjoys looking up rude words in the dictionary.   Give a guy like that an API and a bout of insomnia, then stand back.   Of course, once it gets a studious title like Changing Trends in Obscenity in The Guardian over the Last 1o Years…it’s all legit.

Towards the end of last week, a sleepness night led me to indulge a childish sense of humour with 15 minutes of tomfoolery, the output of which was a graph comparing the decline and fall of various swear-words in the pages of the Guardian over the last decade. In a bid to retain some sense of self-respect, I’ll for now ignore the fact that this graph has achieved a readership that dwarfs anything else I’ve written in my career to date, and focus instead on how I did it.

How to trend swear words in the Guardian | The Guardian Open Platform |

What Tom really did – and he recognizes this – is find an easy way to track and analyze trends, in general.  He provides the step-by-step instructions so others can try it out.   Think of applying something like this to Twitter content, or  speeches during an election, or court testimony, or song lyrics,  or Britney Spears quotes…

Imagine what we might learn.


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