The NYTimes is Woke

Many trends develop over decades but I’ve never seen change so rapid as the breathtaking success of what one might call social justice concerns. Beginning around 2010-2014 there appears to have been a inflection point. Here from Zach Goldberg on twitter are various words drawn from Lexis-Nexis.









And here from David Rozado is a longer list all drawn from the NYTimes. Rozado has a page where you can graph the trends for words of your own choosing.



Insufferable leftist hysteria illustrated.

Same can be said about HR, LinkedIn, Twitter, and all that witch hunting that we have to endure.

Goes on to show that Trump 2020 is extremely necessary.

Don't get cocky.

President Trump's Reelection Prospects Surging. Trump polls highest in two years.

One of the goals of the “Russian collusion” coup d'état and the Mueller Inquisition was to drive Trump’s poll numbers low enough for impeachment.

That failed.

Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey, "survey found that 48 percent approve of the job Trump is doing, compared to 52 percent who said they disapprove. That’s up from 45 percent approval in March. The last time the president’s job approval rating reached 48 percent in the Harvard CAPS/Harris Poll survey was in June of 2017."

See the Democrap Reps. read Mueller's Inquisition Report. GOP Reps. should read aloud Ken Starr's on Clinton. "independent counsel Kenneth Starr, in his 1998 report, established that President Clinton perjured himself during a civil deposition, conspired to obstruct justice, violated criminal prohibitions against witness tampering, and perjured himself before a grand jury." Mueller wrote he couldn't find evidence to charge a crime and wouldn't exonerate, or sumptin'.

NY Times makes a great wall paper.

The chart tracking the 100% lies published by the NYTV was not included.

As I wrote in 2018 when graphing New York Times usage of tendentious terms: A subtle but likely more important issue [than fake news], however, is the question of which true news gets emphasized. There is always vastly more news than a person can remember. Thus your picture of reality is inevitably distorted to some extent by the power of the media, what I call the Megaphone, to pound over and over into your head certain true news, but not other true news.

Moreover, the press furnishes us with convenient concepts, such as “white privilege,” that make it easier to remember the facts they prefer you to know and harder to remember the facts that undermine the concepts.

For example, consider two black teens who once were true news.

In 1955, Emmett Till was murdered by two white men who were quickly acquitted, making his story memorable for being one of the last examples from a long era of state-excused white-on-black civilian violence over black males hitting on white females.

In 1987, Tawana Brawley launched our present era of making up hate hoaxes against whites by claiming that the reason she got home late was because she was being gang-raped by six white policemen.

Which incident is more rationally relevant to 2018? But which does the prestige media consider more au courant?

In 1980, the name “Emmett Till” did not appear in the pages of the NYT. In 1990 it showed up twice, and in 2000 four times.

From 2004 through 2012, the Times mentioned this old incident an average of nine times per year, and from 2013 to 2016 almost two dozen times per year.

Last year, “Emmett Till” appeared in 72 different Times articles. And this year is on track for 92 stories about the 63-year-old tragedy.

In contrast, the name “Tawana Brawley” might seem of slightly less antiquarian interest.

For a couple of decades, this instructive New York-area story was mentioned in the NYT (often in profiles explaining how Reverend Al had matured since his Tawana Brawley days, or occasionally in references to Wolfe’s magnum opus) about half as often as Emmett Till.

But in the 2010s, Tawana Brawley has come up in only 15 articles versus 249 mentioning Emmett Till.

Whether you find Emmett Till or Tawana Brawley germane today can depend upon what concepts you have in your head for organizing the blooming, buzzing confusion of the world.

Why has the frequency of “Emmett Till” in the Times risen from a name referenced annually in the late 20th century to one mentioned monthly in the early 21st century to the name’s remarkable 2018 status as being as omnipresent in the news (55 mentions so far) as Chief Justice John Roberts (57 mentions)?

The growth of “Emmett Till” has correlated closely (r = 0.88) with the similarly increasing ubiquity of the phrase “white privilege.”

The term “white privilege” has been around for a long time, but the NYT didn’t obsess over it until recently, using it only once in 2000 and three times in 2010. Then it exploded in popularity with Times writers and editors in 2013 and is headed for about 60 usages this year.

If your head is stuffed full of the notion of “white privilege,” it’s only natural to remember “Emmett Till,” and vice versa.

“Emmett Till” and “white privilege” are mutually reinforcing pieces of the mental architecture of the average NYT reader. If you ever feel twinges of skepticism about the current stress on “white privilege,” just remember how Emmett Till’s murderers got off due to their white privilege and your doubts will recede.

Or if you start to wonder whether the reason we keep hearing over and over about this Eisenhower-era case is that it’s increasingly a man-bites-dog story, just remember how much everybody talks about “white privilege” all the time. So there must be many examples more recent than 1955, but the white male power structure is keeping them a secret. Or something.

Subtle points.

It is interesting that the left's cynical embrace of post-modernism has generated a necessary re-examination this philosophy from the right. Trump is a fairly post-modern president - truth is relative. Take him seriously but not literally... 'fake news'...etc

The left drove this post-modern train since the 1960s, and Trump is a distorted mirror pointed back at them, revealing their own fears and fantasies (such as their secret and surprising racism, sexism, and underclass disdain). This irony is partly what drives their Trump Derangement Syndrome. The perpetual accusations of bigotry, fascism, and intolerance is merely the projection onto others by those insecure of their own moral status.

The media abandoned it's liberal mission in order to promote leftism. I recently noticed the Toronto Star's motto is now "Investigate. Report. Effect Change". It reminded me of Jonathan Haidt discussing the changing telos of the universities, from 'Veritas' (truth) to Marx's formulation:
“The philosophers have only interpreted the world, in various ways; the point is to change it.” Truth is subordinated to 'effecting change', aka, left-activism.

Post-modernism, not leftist per se, was the cudgel used by the left to attack the establishment from the 1960s onward. As the right takes up that same cudgel to attack the now establishment boomer left, we all seem to be dragged down into this post-modernist mire. This is why people feel we are in a 'post-truth' era. The weaponization of relativism by all sides has lead to bewilderment, nihilism, and an uncertainty that any objective facts or morals exist (except power).

Right. Interestingly, Trump's childhood Protestant minister, Norman Vincent Peale, was kind of a proto-postmodernist. Peale preached "the power of positive thinking," while deconstructionists believe in the power of negative thinking: they hope to overturn power structures not by building constructing stuff, but by deconstructing things.

He should have paid more attention to Peale, not less.

When I read comments like this, I get the striking impression that you don't actually talk to any serious liberals or progressives. Rather, you seem to have a healthy diet of how the media treats the left, i.e. the screaming college socialist.

John Cleese is a serious leftist who's currently under trial for the heresy that people make countries. So was Bernie Sanders, when he pointed out that immigration obviously benefits capital over labor. I have hopes that Andrew Yang is a serious leftist, with his awareness of the genetic basis for behavior and political preferences. But he still won't acknowledge the policy implications of UBI for immigration, so maybe he's not.

To respond to your comment, I don't think serious leftists can get any traction at this point. We are approaching post-scarcity, which means a lot of conservative, libertarian, and liberal ideology is useless. But like the Native Americans doubling down on the old gods with the Ghost Dance, the ideologues increase the volume of their incantations and frantic dancing, trying to get the 20th century back.

Trump has not been particularly conservative at all, but that doesn't stop the liberals/neo-conservatives from having manic breaks over him.


I am sick to death of political correctness. I think it will never stop - the left needs an outrage du your.

You sound sexually frustrated.

You sound stupid.


"avoiding the act of gendering manifests as another form of violence.”

sounds like more postmodern b.s.

He mentioned later in his tweet thread that he also had some of the words as a percentage of total articles to adjust for the fact there may just be more articles today. However, more articles might be part of the issue. Also, people today probably encounter more articles on the internet than people just reading paper.

lol, nice to see the Trump trolls out and about.

You aren’t concerned about proliferating wokeness? Do you believe it is going to be confined to campuses?

For what it's worth I think "wokeness" is about recognition of prejudice, and something beyond, "performative wokeness" perhaps, is about taking it to an extreme.

The NYT is one of the putrid corpses of journalism: lying liars lying to advance the narrative.

Ah yes, Hillary derangement syndrome mutates into NYT derangement in its later stages. At some point the mind is completely hollowed out leaving a yuge cavity in the skull. Prone to fits of delusion and madness as we see on display here.

And pandering to their audience.

Interesting but perhaps useless in the end. I suspect one could go back decades and look at various societal trends and get similar results. Take the example of doing a search for 'school integration' in 1950-75 time period; I suspect a similar graph would be observed.

Or maybe something like same sex or gay marriage between 1990 -2010.

And considering how many other easy search terms come to mind - 'equal rights' 1970-1990, or something involving disabilities and equal access between 1980-2000 - one truly wonders whether this observation is confusing hype with actual results - 'I’ve never seen change so rapid as the breathtaking success of what one might call social justice concerns.'

Your claim about integration is very unlikely to be correct.

Great theory.

Do the leg work. Show them.

Re; integration specifically, that is a policy question, while these are ideological, so not exactly apples to apples. Policy questions should probably be expected to have more of a spiking pattern in general, like topical questions in general ("War on terrorism" probably has a spike, for'ex).

Ideological questions that might be comparable might be "Women's liberation" or "Black pride" or "Silent majority" something like this might be more the kind of index that's comparable. Though I suspect Lexis-Nexis would have to be drawn back to the '60s to do much with that.

I do think the big watershed was 2009/2010. During the former the liberal side of the aisle held more power within government than at any point since the at least the 60s and more likely the 30s or teens. Hitting the jackpot with unpopular president in a stuttering war with a massive economic downturn opened up lots of possibilities.

Liberal policies were pushed through, but from the perspectives of liberals they settled for a lot of "second best" options in order to secure their right flank and sell the whole shebang to the center.

This "nice" and "middle America friendly" approach resulted in the epic losses of 2010 when the Republicans can a committed conservative campaign that alarmed their base.

So liberals thereafter began to mirror this sort of concern and more importantly began to both drop pretexts (e.g. "safe, legal, and rare" or "yes civil unions, no gay marriage") and more importantly demand that others drop them as well. Very quickly an atmosphere, driven by twitter and the hot-take, began to insist that if you weren't part of the solution, you were part of the problem. It worked electorally in 2012 and arguably has done not terribly in 2016 or 2018.

Once you begin to judge if your own side is committed enough; people feel the need to establish bonafides. And every person who uses ideological language reinforces the need for others to speak similarly.

'Hitting the jackpot with unpopular president in a stuttering war with a massive economic downturn opened up lots of possibilities.'

Amusingly, that could apply to both Bushes.

'driven by twitter and the hot-take'

Twitter and 'hot takes' are completely ignored by most Americans.

'And every person who uses ideological language reinforces the need for others to speak similarly.'

Or the reverse - it has become increasingly difficult to merely talk about empirical reality without people attempting to put it in ideological language. Almost as if those with an ideological agenda are uninterested in anything but that ensuring that agenda, wrong or right, is the only point of reference for discussion-.

Most of the terms in the graphs are also completely ignored by most Americans. New York Times staff writers are not most Americans. They are highly active participants in the twitter campaigns and as such they now get called out in real time if they fail to genuflect properly.

It is not that this is the new terms of the water cooler (yet), it is that if you want a seat with the cool kids who dominate academia, publishing, the arts, tech, or the Democratic party these are the markers that most produce in quantity. Journalists are very much aspirants to this clique.

What do you think liberals should have done instead of pursuing middle American friendly policies as you put it? Are you suggesting they should have committed to more left-wing policies (pull out of Iraq, go after the banks, medicare for all, etc.)?

What I think they should have done is work on the entitlements already in place and make their fiscal foundation more secure, create a robust culture of live and let live, and let the states work out a few different ways of trying to improve goals. Likewise, I would have broken up the banks and tried for direct writedowns on housing debt (e.g. offer a genuine deed without sale offer for everyone underwater). Healthcare was easily a giant snake pit where they had massive downside with few ups.

Even in healthcare they could also have gotten a lot of mileage out of some actual conservative concessions. E.g. no birth control "mandate". It will upset NARAL and Emily's List, but honestly the most expensive options are only around a couple of hundred per year (per Planned Parenthood). Leave the regs to the state and I suspect that well over 95% of women would end up with some form of birth control coverage, maybe 80% with their preferred method, and perhaps 50% with access to all of them. I would also have done some more smoothing to make "if you like your health plan you can keep it" not a bald faced lie (again think the Democrats underrated the political traction gained from kicking the contentious stuff down to the states). And possibly even include some pure sops to conservatives - e.g. explicitly removing firearms counseling from billable visits, funding for abstinence education, or renewing the federal ban on newly derived embryonic stem cells (which had been and continue to be a research bust). And of course being honest about the costs rather than being cute with the timing window would have gone a long ways.

This may have failed in 2009, but I suspect they would not have lost so comprehensively in 2010. And likely the Democratic Party would have eventually managed to get something through (if only via Republican triangulation like with Bush II and Medicare Part D).

But then I am not a liberal. I have long maintained that the facade of single payer efficiency is due entirely to the US being such an extreme data outlier. When you pull the US from the data and compare like to like socialization shows very little trendline with cost or outcomes (e.g. the UK has worse outcomes than Germany in spite of having a much more socialized system).

I understand "universal healthcare" is one those things that makes people Democrats and at some point you either believe in your vision or you don't. Democrats batted for the fences, remade the law, and then got kicked in the teeth.

The real question is what to do afterwards. They opted for a demonization and no quarter run at Republicans. It worked in 2012. I think, like the Tea Party before them, the revolt against the center has slipped into territory that alienates much of the country and those at the center of the maelstrom are but steps away from being cast down. I suspect in not too terribly long if the 5 minutes of hate continues to be normal, a left-wing iconoclast will rise and wreak havoc much as Trump did on the right.

I mean seriously, outside of racism/sexism/being to dumb to see around money and hack politicians what sort of reason does the left as to why the largest set of gains they have achieved in a generation resulted in their largest losses in a generation?

Congratulations! You've discovered the adoption of new words and phrases to describe things that would have been described with different words and phrases in the past!

Aka, none of the people using any of these words ever realized that earlier terminology could describe their concepts, nor did their new terminology describe new ideas, nor was the change in thought and discourse from these new terms really anything new, culturally.

I suppose a person who is *overwhelmingly* cynical to any culturally change here might argue that - this is all sound and fury, signifying nothing - but I don't expect to see anyone actually participating in that discourse and using those terms make that argument (effectively that their careful choice of this terminology, and all the articles they've used making reference to those ideas, was Sokal-hoax-esque meaningless nonsense).

I'm not totally sure this is true: you get similar results for words like "misogyny", "bigotry", etc., which strike me as being pretty classic. Even the use of the words "women" and "KKK" have skyrocketed, and I'm pretty sure those aren't new either.

Sometimes you need a college degree to decode the diversity stuff. I always get the colors and genders mixed up, hard on my personal life.

Sorry that doesn't explain it away. You cannot tell me that "safe space" was a thing people cared about ten years ago, but just used other words for it.

Well, maybe you cannot be told, but how about reading a bit? 'In her book "Mapping Gay L.A.," scholar and activist Moira Kenney traces the beginning of the “safe space” idea to gay and lesbian bars in the mid-60s. With anti-sodomy laws still in effect, a safe space meant somewhere you could be out and in good company—at least until the cops showed up. Gay bars were not “safe” in the sense of being free from risk, nor were they “safe” as in reserved. A safe place was where people could find practical resistance to political and social repression.

According to Kenney, the term “safe space” first gets used consistently in the 60s and 70s women’s movement, where safety began to mean distance from men and patriarchal thought and was used to describe “consciousness raising” groups. “Safe space,” she writes, “in the women’s movement, was a means rather than an end and not only a physical space but a space created by the coming together of women searching for community.” Kenney quotes Kathy Sarachild, a founder of the early-70s organization New York Radical Women, on those consciousness-raising groups: “The idea was not to change women, not to make ‘internal’ changes except in the sense of knowing more. It was and is the conditions women face, it’s male supremacy, we want to change.” A safe space was not free of internal disagreement, but it did mean a devotion to a common political project. Those who attempted to undermine the movement—consciously or unconsciously—would be kept outside'

You are welcome to object to the concept, of course. But yes, there were people caring about 'safe spaces' decades ago.

Not the same concept at all.

Modern safe spaces are about protection from different ideas.


You make a key point.

The new leftist meme is words and ideas are violence - Orwellian doublespeak.

Apparently there's at least a 50 year history behind "safe space". Originally used by LGBT when anti-sodomy laws were still a thing:


Dear old people. If you're going to be conservative about language, at least get a British passport first.

Dear young people*, if you're truly just putting old wine in new bottles and don't actually have any new ideas, then perhaps don't claim a revolution in waking up to the nature of society and then be surprised when people take you at your word.

*although I imagine you're most likely older or the same age than I am

37 YO.

Pitting old wine in new bottles is what hucksters do. Sometimes, I'm a bit of a huckster in my job. Thus, I actually admire the entrepreneurship and lack of shame to rehash the old stuff =)

"you've discovered the adoption of new words and phrases to describe things that would have been described with different words and phrases in the past!"

good point!
its what George Orwell called newspeak!

Isn't this part of what Steve Sailer calls the late Obama age collapse that started some time after his re-election and he started saying more of what he believed in public?

It's pretty clear that 2011 wasn't very Woke by 2019 standards. I noticed a new uptick in early 2012: the George Zimmerman fiasco and the revival of feminism as part of the Obama re-election campaign.

Feminism had gone through two waves in my lifetime: beginning in 1969 and petering out by the 1980s, then again in 1991 with the Anita Hill "Year of the Woman" whoop-tee-doo that helped get Bill Clinton, of all people, elected President in 1992. That revival more or less died out with Clinton's sexual harassment scandals in 1998. I can recall several times in the 2000s suggesting that there is reason for hope for intellectual progress: after all, nobody takes feminism seriously anymore. But then the Obama campaign revived it to turn out the single woman vote in 2012 (which is pretty ironic, because I doubt if Obama takes feminism anymore seriously than I do).

But the real take-off for Wokeness seemed at the time to be early 2013. My guess is that Obama was keeping the brakes on his more rabid staffers and supporters through the 2012 election and then loosened up in the aftermath.

The 2014 Ferguson fiasco was of course a whole 'nother level.

>I doubt if Obama takes feminism anymore seriously than I do

Unapologetically kicking Hillary's ass in the primary should have been your first clue.

I read Obama's 1995 memoir "Dreams From My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance" closely, and I only noticed part of one sentence that was feminist boilerplate: a strikingly small amount for a politician writing in the wake of the Anita Hill brouhaha.

In general, Obama didn't much like his mom, nor his white grandmother who paid for most of his privileges.

Et tu, Steve? Obama didn't have privileges, he had a decent upbringing.

Obama enjoyed what is now routinely denounced as White Privilege: Prep school, private college, international travel, and a couple of Ivy League Universities. David J. Garrow's recent exhaustive biography of Obama, "Rising Star," says that his white grandmother, the bank executive, paid for much of his schooling and his downpayment on the condo he bought for $287k in 1992. (I bought a condo for $120k in Chicago in 1988.)

I helped out on a campaign in 2008, a wealthy lady not hostile to the environment (the sole criterion of my intermittent, strictly local political participation). She was hoping the excitement around Obama would help her to unseat a longtime Republican officeholder - it did, but he was later returned, needing one more term to
earn a sweet government pension. Anyway, re "privilege" - she was surprised I hadn't heard of Punaho, of which she was so enamored she seemed ready to elect Obama on the strength of that fine, progressive, expensive institution alone, never mind the rightly moving importance of his being poised to become our first black president. I grasped that it was some kind of special bona fide in her set - not like Exeter or something. Still, though, there are nuances even within privilege, and there were surely social doors that Obama's dowdy, chainsmoking bank employee grandmother, though indispensable, couldn't open for him. He must have figured out how to do that himself.

Here's a 2018 column I wrote on graphing the New York Times' usage of tendentious terms:

Certainly as experienced 2010 was an inflection point before a very high density of Newspeak, *but*....

Looking at the figures... is 2010 a decisive change, or is 2008-2009 just a downturn to an earlier exponential trend? And 1999-2000?

That is, 9/11 and then the 2008 financial crisis offset all this craziness down relative to trend, which trend is probably driven by Boomers taking over the universities once and for all? But the trend resumes once those concerns pass.

Bush-Obama phase 1 marks a slight suppression of PC crazy, because there are "bigger fish to fry" (terrorism, economic meltdown), but "woke" concerns rise to the fore again with a vengeance once those are past.

Logplots of this stuff would be interesting.

This - the schools - is correct answer.

You compromise until you don't have to anymore.

"...the breathtaking success of what one might call social justice concerns."

that's a highly subjective conclusion

this SJW stuff bloomed rapidly in the 1960's with the poverty, civil-rights, and anti-war issues.

how much in society is unnoticed by elite newspapers and academics?

The NYT used to be a newspaper, now it’s mostly a Party propaganda tool.

These are from LexisNexis? I doubt this is real. Over time, LN has come to archive more and more versions of the same story (one for eavh print edition, each online update, etc.) You need to control for that. A graph for "cat" would probably look similar.

Not to say there wouldn't be a trend left, but it's clearly exaggerated.

The twitter thread from yesterday’s post in this topic did include these phrases as a percentage of total articles.

No labeled axes on these graphs though.

But also look at the controls on the bottom row. War, sex, radio.

Try entering "choice" and you will see that the graph is flat. "Markets" has a slight up trend with some fluctuations. "Liberty" is also flat with one spike, probably an artifact, around 1986. Nothing like a hockey stick for any of these.

Comparing two terms gets around methodological problems. For example, here's my 2018 graph of the New York Times' mentions over the years of Emmett Till and Tawana Brawley, two black teens whose stories come with differing political morals:

"around 2010-2014 there appears to have been a inflection point". Oh balls: not one of your three principal graphs shows an inflection point then.

I wasn't going to say anything...

I just assumed that Prof Tarrabok misused the term inflection point and really meant the point where the graphs became clearly exponential.


what ?? social scientists have a lot of trouble bean-counting and understanding statistical-analysis -- so they draw broad knee jerk conclusions from tiny bits of sparkly but shaky data?

2018: "Social Justice is so hot right now! Everyone who disagrees with me is tots racist AF!"

2028: "I don't know what they were thinking. I wasn't really into it. It wasn't my thing."

2038: "What happened to the idealism of 2018? Everyone was so positive and optimistic about changing the world when I was young...."

(Or maybe that would be 2048. Same difference.)



" idealism of 2018" If douchebagism is your idealism....

For some people in similar episodes in the past, it was, and for some in the future, through rose tinted glasses, it will be!

If you are unsure when to use the term, consult the style guide.

"The terms racism and racist can be used in broad references or in quotations to describe the hatred of a race, or assertion of the superiority of one race over others."

AP does not sound woke enough. This definition technically implies that it's possible for a Trump voter to be non-racist or that it's possible for a black person to be racist.

'or that it's possible for a black person to be racist.'

You have heard of Louis Farrakhan, a blatant racist, one assumes. He has no problem asserting the superiority of one race over others, meaning he seems to fit the AP definition of racist right now.

2028: "It has come to our attention that in 2019, this man published heterodox opinions about the emergence of compassionate language. Pursuant to Party regulations, he is hereby cancelled."

Awww, the New York Times: pedaling furiously to stay behind.

How do each or all of the graphs above correspond to graphs for the period 1970 through 2018 showing NYT market share (1) among our remaining daily print newspapers and (2) among all media venues active throughout the period?

No longer leading American public opinion, the TImes may no longer be accurately reflecting American public opinion, either, only representing views current among the cosmopolitan provincials thriving along the DC-to-Boston Corridor, its chief constituency.

That is my thought. I would like to see a chart of showing the collapse of the various revenue streams that newspapers depended upon. 2010 time frame was a do or die moment. The models available were The Guardian model, the WSJ model which would be anathema to the NYT. The classic model where you built a subscription base close enough to deliver a stack of paper every day economically was gone by then. That model forced you to be a reflection of your market because you needed lots of people to want the printed product.

Now the market is an ideological slice within a very wide geographical area. Talking about the latest racism scandal generates interest and viewers, until it doesn't.

Twitter took off in 2007 and the news media has changed in extraordinary ways since then. Retweets were implemented in 2010. The dynamics of how stories spread and grew in the news media paralleled what their reporters were doing and reading on twitter.

I'd like to see a chart with one axis being from 'how would this legislation look on the front page of the NYT' to 'fake news', over time. Do these word usage patterns represent anything except the fashion within the media environment? Or do they reflect events and characteristics of the broad citizenry? I don't think they do, and this chart ultimately will be a reflection of the slide towards irrelevance. I suspect that an undercurrent in the media environment and market will be people who made bad or even profoundly wrong decisions based on what they read in the NYT or other media. The media has two markets; readers who want to be informed, and policy makers/decision makers who want to be informed. The second market comes from the servicing of the first.

It would be interesting to know how explicit was this commercial strategy, given how throuoghly the day's stories often, and cumulatively, resemble parody - even their own readership sometimes comments thusly. Was there a conscious addition of a "Daily Show"* element?

*Apologies if this is not quite the right reference, I've never seen the Daily Show so I am only guessing.

At some point news became not just online but engagement driven. Maybe "clickbait" should be plotted as a backdrop to all of these.

Tracks pretty well.

That sounds right. The word "newspaper" may be what throws us off, and maybe we could drop it, and with it conservatives' baffled rage at the New York Times.

In this period the left became "anti" on some bad stuff. Sometimes going overboard. The right, in response became "anti-anti," at best denying there was any bad stuff, and at worse saying it was fine.

At the worst there really are right politicians out there defending white European values as the best. Or conservative heroes saying women aren't really suited for engineering.

It is a tragic feedback loop, but anti-anti becomes pro time and again.

For a pivotal moment in anti and anti-anti:

It was just muddy enough a situation for there to be two sides, and for a wedge to be created.

My totemic example remains a tempest in a teapot in the children's lit/library world - pre-emptive mea culpa if that microalleges that library/lit types are effete teadrinkers - over inadequate representation of "female" characters in books featuring talking heavy equipment - backhoes and excavators and cranes and such. I think they wanted more of the machines to have curly eyelashes and lipstick so you'd know they were girls, or to be called Sally instead of Bob.

Since driving past any construction site, you see so many women busting their asses in the sun and the dust.

Oh, wait ...

Well, it must be they want little girls to be able to picture themselves operating wrecking balls, and not have that dream squelched by inadequate representation. That must be why there are so many calls for women to occupy those tough blue collar jobs in equal numbers.

But there are no such calls. I'm all muddled, is this an example of getting silly, or are there real-world implications I wasn't able to trace out?

Random character assignment seems harmless enough, but I will name one that would get me shouted down in any truly SJW forum: Gender counting on conference panels.

As in, "I was invited to this panel on education and I *counted* five men and no women, so I won't go."

Sorry guys, the only acceptable reason not to go would be that you think the work of the panel, and your own contribution to it, would not be a positive change in the world.

There are likely 6 or 8 subcurrents that these charts represent. From time to time in history there are multiple points of failure that coincide. I'll list a few.

Generational change. The demographics of the baby boomers having fewer children, as well as the dismantling of the informal training mechanisms throughout the economy means that when the generation that has been running things retires there will be upheaval as the new people make all the same mistakes as they learn. College and Universities are great but don't train people in how the world actually works.

The successful crime control techniques that changed policing have a life span. They either get derailed, like Ferguson and environs where the broken windows policing was turned into a revenue generating scheme, or the hoped for community changes don't materialize, or the intensity and management resources required to make it work aren't maintained. I think they hit the wall around 2012. More effective policing has turned into something quite obtrusive and controlling in some places.

The catastrophic failures in Iraq and the 2008 crash give people a very good reason to disregard anything a large number of 'intelligent' people say.

The long term policy goal of removing almost everything of import from political debate came to fruition. A very large proportion of government expenditures are funded automatically; most bureaucracies are operating on decades old legislation and have supplanted legislatures as law makers. Obamacare broke open these silos and cemented new ones, but for better or for worse didn't change much considering the noise. The room for debate is so narrow and inconsequential.

The political parties both were due for massive restructuring. It was time.

The first wave of over educated indebted graduates emerged into an economy that couldn't use them.

The economic winds were favoring others; China was growing and getting rich, while the US was spluttering. Bad economies create nasty situations.

And the media environment that for better or for worse acted as both a source of information and a mirror for the citizenry collapsed. Books will be written about how badly they reacted.

All these things will be reflected somehow. Maybe the first reaction was a retrenchment, a closing the gates, a green zone with the enlightened inside and the racist deplorables and irredeemables outside.

It seems we are at a second level now. There is a scape goat. An old old story about the tendancy of communities to find someone to hate as an outlet for their internal turmoil. Trump as scape goat.

I think the 1998 WTO riots were the first indication of the turmoil. They were stopped by 9/11 where the idea of attacking police officers suddenly became unpalatable, and put a lid on the manifestations of the turmoil for almost a decade.

I don't agree in all detail, but I agree that there were intersecting wave of charge: generational, demographic, geopolitical, and macroeconomic cycles. (Maybe even geo-religious-political.)

But I continue to see anti-intellectual populism as the least productive answer to these changes, even if it has proven one of the most viral.

Add to the list the realization by women that they can't have it all; a career and raising children is possible only if everything goes perfectly, which means it won't be possible most of the time. How that gets sorted out is going to be interesting. As the old saying goes, when mama ain't happy, nobody is happy.

All these things are the normal ebbs and flows, but sometimes we live through a time when they all come to a head. We live in one of those times.

"How that gets sorted out is going to be interesting."

I don't know whether it will be interesting or not, but unless demographic suicide wins, it will be handled the way it has always been handled: some women will be enlisted to care for the children of other women.

The (true) Handmaid's Tale.

Very perceptive. I’m a guy so I didn’t think of that at all. Now that I’m thinking, to the best of my ability that is, a lot of cultures use siblings to care for their younger offspring. Of course that implies at least 2-3 children and in many societies many more than that, 6-8-10 etc.

I'm predicting something very close to slavery. With a different name of course. If we can call men women, we can call slavery anything we want.

Having your children raised by Guatemalans or Ukrainians for a fee isn't slavery (let's not get carried away here), nor is it an ideal situation. If you think you can only afford to have children if you can arrange to have them raised by someone else, maybe you shouldn't have children.

Some of the most stereotypical "woke" terms such as "safe space", "cultural appropriation", "institutional racism", "transgender", "ableism" and especially "microaggression" among others, appear to be declining in frequency.

I will be happy to see "cultural appropriation" pass, a nonsensical concept in the first place. All cultures change. All extant cultures are young. Or they become young when they get their first iPhone.

By the way, note that by scaling all the small graphs 0 to 1, it looks like they went up the same amount, i.e. a lot.

No, the small graphs just show the location of the peaks and valleys. There was not as much increase in "cultural appropriation" in absolute terms as "amazon."

Actually, I think cultural appropriation along with some of the other above terms do describe real things, they just apply much more narrowly than they are generally applied. A few years ago a Victoria Secret model wore a Native American eagle feather headdress. For the Cherokee (and other nations I believe) wearing the headdress is an honor that has to be earned, and it seems disrespectful of them to use it as a fashion accessory. If a model wore the Medal of Honor, I think people would say that wearing the country's highest award for military bravery as a fashion accessory was disrespectful of the troops. On the other hand questions like "Does Eric Clapton have a right to play the blues"? don't seem to be about disrespect or theft and seem to have more to do with the process through which cultures have always interacted, and are based on assumptions about how cultures are created that don't stand up to scrutiny.

It's not clear to me that the above data indicates anything other than that people use buzzwords, and currently the "woke" vocabulary is used as such, and may in fact be waning. Several years ago "paradigm shift", a term Thomas Kuhn used to describe the shift from for example, geocentric astronomy to heliocentric astronomy was applied to everything new. It's overuse didn't indicate that Kuhn's term was meaningless, nor did it indicate some deeper truth about the people that overused it.

I think cultural insensitivity might be a real thing, sometimes in tension with cultural change.

Great comment. Agree on the buzzword part as well as the comment somewhere in this thread about the NYT needing to make money - of course they’ll at some level follow the trends for clicks while also aspiring to some journalistic Form. Aside: in the same way that, gasp, people can/will make money off of climate change while it still being objectively true. Anyway, feels like all the gesticulators could get the buzzwords they’d like by doing the same exercise for either the publications you mentioned or their particular flavor of libertarian publication. Lady aside: find it hilarious the gesticulations about these words waking up - side eye... - in the paragon of the “MSM” whereas, again, their right wing buzzword likely show the same hockey stick trend on Fox News outlets which, though the most watched/read??, somehow isn’t mainstream. Lawl. In any case, the hysteria on both sides is exhausting, as is the it’s all relative unless it’s my POV, but appreciate MR as I don’t agree a lot of the time with their positions, but that’s why I come here!

--and stay tuned for "the NYT Word Usage Frequency tables for 2019 and 2020". Among the hundred terms that could gain notoriety over the next eighteen months:

"casting couch" (illustrations of this term's frequency over the period 1920 to 2020 might prove useful)
"misandrism" (which might alternate with increasing usage of the underutilized term "toxic feminism")

Bah. This is useless without a chart showing the same stats for the National Review, Washington Times, Fox News, or the like.

Or even staying with the NYTimes, check out the graph for "snowflake" or "lamestream".

These days I hear snowflake almost entirely from the partisan left, aka people who claim to be left and woke but only want to talk about it if it hurts the GOP politically. Lamestream is similar but far less used.

"Snowflake" has become mostly a left wing term used to imply "You think political discourse should be polite and respectful?!??!?!" towards Centre-Rightists, while the initial term from people becoming greatly upset about random normal life challenges or slight challenges to their status has eroded.

This initial use was at the same time as the Left started to talk about "microagressions" and "trigger warnings".

The Left has doubled down on "hah, snowflake!", where snowflakes are now dubbed as people who object to highly aggressive activism everywhere all the time and the politicization of every venue, while still endorsing "microgressions" and "trigger warnings" and disproportionate freakouts in general.

There is a bad, and maybe even dangerous, feedback loop between anti-intellectual populism and Fox News specifically.

Trump is putting tariffs on Mexico because too many people are escaping Honduras. That's just dumb, but what is the Fox response?

"Our" problem (and by "our" I mean people who read) is that too many people just watch, and too many just watch that.

"... dangerous, feedback loop between anti-intellectual..." Yeah there is, and it has nothing to do with Fox. 95% of the anti-intellectual activity is straight from the left. Those on the left who know better are hunkering down waiting for all this to blow over.

One of the biggest policy blunders, maybe the biggest, of his term. Up to now it was basic Republican + a twist policy, it was the man, the personality, who was hated.

This one is so stupid and it has jack shit to do with Hillary or Obama or Pelosi or AOC. Just so dumb.

Rejoice, ye puny humans, for the singularity is here!

For comparison, try entering: liberty, freedom, choice, markets, and objective. No hockey stick pattern for any of these, so this is no artifact for the PC-denialist commentators above. The graph for "objective" is a particularly interesting contrast.

Given the hockey stick patterns, I guess we can say that we have a lot more hot air from wokeness than from CO2.

So basically, predates Trump and Trump is reaction to it rather than cause.

I think this ball really got rolling after Obama got re-elected. Romney's failure also marked the collapse of "Washington Generals" style GOP response to wokeism. Binders full of women didn't save Romney.

Funny how 'duties' takes a nosedive. All rights and no responsibilities anymore. Free lunches everywhere.

It's also striking how the "non-binary" chart looks very binary.

"Duty" and "honor" have gone out of style.

I generally don't comment because for better or wose MR is its own echo chamber (name a part of the Internet that isn't, of course). I just would like to provide some moderating feedback from someone who may have a different approach.

Like any business, media or otherwise, the New York Times needs to make money. There is a demand for certain types of news coverage. These keywords, the Times has determined, meet this demand.

Criticizing the effectiveness of the New York Times from a journalism perspective, as some of these comments do, is off base.

Anyway, please carry on. I enjoy reading the site and the comments because it gives me other viewpoints to consider. For those open to the same, thanks for reading.

"Criticizing the effectiveness of the New York Times from a journalism perspective, as some of these comments do, is off base."

so mebbe reading/interpreting the nyt as journalism is also
off base

Overall: I think it makes sense that you see a rise in interest in social issues which we could also label as "Domestic Problems." The Cold War had a massive influence on the post WW2 US and who cares about racism and subtle aspects of human perception/decision making when the world may get turned to ash from thousands of Soviet and American Nukes.

Relating to this comment: Something that would be interesting to see is the difference between NYT mentions and Google Trends (only goes back to 2004) data. To be (intentionally) brief, you could potentially work out the difference between demand for information from Google and information supplied by NYT. You could additionally see how much the NYT is creating demand vs responding to demand for information.

Relating to "Times meeting demand for information": I agree with this view, while I don't think it absolves them of criticism, I do believe that this justifies the implementation of public-sector media.

Good section:

Were the white nationalists responding to the SJW or were the SJW responding to the white nationalists. Down here in the South, Obama was never accepted as the legitimate president because, well, he was a black man who didn't know his place. Down here, if there were SJW (there aren't very many), the SJW would be responding to the white nationalists. It could have been different elsewhere, SJW having been inspired by the black man and demanding more than they deserved, and white nationalists responding to the demands of the SJW.

Thank you for proving you don't actually live (or have any dealings with) the South.

wait theres more postmodern b.s. from todays nyt
"The Gender Stereotypes That Warp Medical Research
Women and female animals were once deemed too hormonal and messy for science."

could we get a "total # of articles" graph? Or make these shares?

The New York Times is a paper, right? Well, if it's anything like the papers here they either have one person doing everything, or alternatively, since there is a class of worker in the US called intern that doesn't need to be paid, young interns are probably doing all the work. What you may be looking at here is the hollowing out of the newspaper industry with experienced writers either sacked or leaving for better paying jobs while actual writing is farmed out to young people who are payed peanuts. Or nothing. Which would be like super low-calorie peanuts.

you sed "the new york times is a paper right"
"young interns are probably doing all the work"
this is post modern bullshit
interns are not writing all the articles In the new york times
its not fair/accurate to blame unpaid interns for the shitty state of
the postmodern new york times!

I've actually bothered to look up the readership of the New York Times by age. I assumed all its readers would be ready for the grave since the elderly are the main consumers of print and television here, but apparently about half their readership is age 33 or less. It's amazing that so many young people are reading a newspaper, even if it is probably in electronic form. So there's no real mystery here that I can see. The newspaper is just using a lot of the hep, cool kat, funky, can you dig it, lingo the youth of today are into.

Keywords cherry-picked to conform to author's hypothesis plus the presentation is difficult to interpret without a baseline. Not sure this supports the claim that there's been a "breathtaking success of what one might call social justice concerns".

As others have said, you can always find "trends" if you look for them. That is what Google n-gram is all about. Pick other search terms and you will find socially conservative buzzwords.

"Pick other search terms and you will find socially conservative buzzwords."

Show us.

The website does not work for me right now (pictures not loading), maybe you can try:

I thought of "venture capital", "disrupt", "pro-life", "self-made", "family value", "liberal bias". But I'm not a native speaker, nor do I live the US... perhaps someone else can come up with better terms?

Perhaps we can now call NYT - NWT (New Woke Times)

2013. Trayvon Martin. Black Lives Matter.

Well, markets in everything.

So, have you graphed Alt Right phrases and their proliferation since 2013?

And, by the way, you really should be given Mr. Sailer his due...

It is sad that people need "revolutions" in order to feel there is anything going on at all. The changes in language and law that are possible today are built upon past progress that words like "woke" poop on in the effort to flatter the current generation of Sunday warriors.

Social justice fashions continue to change, and mostly for the better. But there has been no change of consciousness. Humility, self-awareness, and respect for the abysmal variety of human frailty and difference are as absent today as ever.

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