With less than two months to go until the November midterm elections, a clear winner is beginning to emerge in the race to declare the year’s biggest political buzzword.
Hey, buzzwords matter. Who could forget — no matter how much we might like to – such hits from years past as “chad,” “Swift Boat” and “lipstick” as it might be smeared on a pig or a pitbull?
On Tuesday, the website Global Language Monitor, based in Austin, which has been monitoring words on thousands of news, blogs and social network sites since 2003, announced the No. 1 political buzzword so far this year – beating out “climate change,” “Obama Muslim,” “lower taxes” and even “tea partiers” – is (drum roll please) “the narrative.”
The Narrative? “It’s been running strong since last spring,” GLM President Paul J.J. Payack told me in a telephone interview.
That confirmed my suspicion. I don’t even have a computerized algorithm like Payack does, but I, too, had begun to notice in my fanatical surfing of political media that the word “narrative” was popping up with increasing frequency.
For example, Steve and Cokie Roberts observed in a recent column, “For a growing number of Americans, President Barack Obama’s narrative no longer defines who he is.”
Columnist Maureen Dowd similarly wondered back in June how such a gifted storyteller as Obama could “lose control of his own narrative.”
E.J. Dionne, writing in The New Republic, notes Obama has decided to “confront a deeply embedded media narrative that sees a Republican triumph as all but inevitable.”
In fact, “narrative” was popping up so much in reference to Obama as he grappled with crises like the Gulf oil spill that a Washington Post reporter was inspired to lead one feature with, “Sing to me of the Obama narrative, Muse.” [Read More.]
Seventh Annual Analysis by the Global Language Monitor
Austin, Texas, USA. September 10, 2010. The Global Language Monitor today announced that the BP Spillcam has topped dysfunctional, Guido, realityand nice as the Top Words from Television for the 2009-2010 season. Rounding out the Top Ten were rude, “drama at 10:00,” ‘Chicago-style politics,’ cross-over, and ambush marketing. The awards are annually announced at the beginning of the Fall television season in the US. This is the seventh annual analysis by Austin-based GLM.
“The Top TeleWords of 2010 encompassed an unintended ‘up-close-and-personal’ view to an unparalleled natural disaster, resonating sitcoms detailing the contradictions, foibles (and joys) of post-Modern life, a Super Bowl victory for the still recovering city of New Orleans, and more Guidos and Guidettes and one might encounter in a lifetime.” said Paul JJ Payack, President and Chief Word Analyst of GLM.
The Top Telewords of the 2010 season with commentary follow:
1. BP Spillcam — Provocative, engaging, riveting television delivered to all three screens (and possibly the worst PR nightmare of all time).
2. Dysfunctional – Modern Family: Would you expect otherwise from a series that sprang from the mind of Rev. Jim Ignatowski (Christopher Lloyd)?
3. Guido — Jersey Shore elevates Guidos and Guidettes into the mainstream; but one of several reality shows feeding viewers interest in all-things Jersey.
4. Reality – When Webster defined reality as ‘truth or fact, not merely a matter of amusement,’ he was obviously unaware of reality TV.
5. Nice – The word ‘nice’ is associated with Betty White over 1.1 million times on Goggle. Nice and vicious, dear.
6. Rude — Simon Cowell departs American Idol after a seven-year run; even the Queen has referred to Cowell as ‘caustic’.
7. “Drama at 10:00” – As Jay Leno said of the Late Night kerfuffle with Conan O’Brien, NBC ‘wanted it and they got it’.
8. Chicago-style politics – No we are not talking about Rahm Emanuel and the White House but rather The Good Wife.
9. Cross-over (as in crossover hit) – Nineteen-time Emmy nominee Glee’s cast album rocketed to No. 1 on the Billboard Chart.
10. Ambush Marketing – As advertisers begin to balk at the price of Olympic sponsorships, some are to ‘ambush marketing’ as was widely demonstrated during the Vancouver Winter Games.
11. Bressus: Fan-bestowed nickname for New Orleans Saints Super Bowl winning-quarterback’s nickname — the most watched Super bowl in years.
12. Asperger’s Disease – Temple Grandin’s lesser-known challenge in the eponymously titled biopic from HBO.
13. Lady Gaga –Stephani Germanotta is visible everywhere on global television over the course of the season.
14. The Pacific (War) — Most older folks are surprised to learn that the Pacific War was a different conflict than WWII.
The Top Telewords of previous years:
2009 – ObamaVision — All Obama, all the time, everywhere, followed by Financial Meltdown and the death of Michael Jackson.
2008: Beijing (from the Olympics), ObamaSpeak, followed by ‘facts are stubborn things’, ‘it is what it is,’ and Phelpsian.
2007: “Surge” from the Iraq War political and military strategy, “That’s Hot®” Paris Hilton’s popular expression that is now a registered trademark, and “D’oh!” from The Simpsons and The Simpsons Movie.
2006: ‘Truthiness’ and ‘Wikiality’ from the Colbert Show followed by ‘Katrina’, ‘Katie,’ and ‘Dr. McDreamy’.
2005: ‘Refugee’ from the coverage of the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, followed by ‘Desperation’ from Desperate Housewives and ‘Camp Cupcake’ from the on-going Martha Stewart follies.
2004: “You’re Fired!” edged “Mess O’ Potamia” followed by “Girlie Men,” “God,” and “Wardrobe Malfunction”.
Analysis of Obama’s ‘Turn the Page’ Oval Office address
AUSTIN, TX, September 7, 2010 – President Barack Obama, in his second Oval Office address announced the “American combat mission in Iraq has ended [and] Operation Iraqi Freedom is over”. The seventeen-minute long speech, Obama acknowledged President George W. Bush, but neither thanked him for his role as former Commander-in-Chief nor credited him with the ‘Surge,’ other than as a reference to the current operations in Afghanistan. The Surge, the change in military tactics during the height of the conflict, is widely credited with changing the course of the war. The analysis was performed by the Global Language Monitor. GLM has been analyzing presidential speeches since the turn of the century.
Not surprisingly, the President’s tone was sober, direct, and matter of fact, even workmanlike. There were small rhetorical flourishes, such as referring to “our troops are the steel in our ship of state”. He clearly proclaimed his devotion and admiration for the troops at the same time distancing himself from the war, its causes and execution. His emphasis was on ‘Turning the page’.
His address contained about half the number of passive constructions (7% vs. 13%) as his previous Oval Office address in June. His sentences were some 5% shorter while the length of his paragraphs increased some 20%, which allowed him to more fully express his thinking.
When compared to other presidents’ addresses over the last several decades, this speech compared most closely from a ‘hearability’ or ‘readability’ point of view to President Reagan’s “Tear Down this Wall” speech; however, rhetorically this was not the case.
As for grade-level (using the standard Flesch-Kincaid metrics), this speech was on with Obama’s more recent efforts (between ninth and tenth grades). As noted previously, Obama has moved away from the rhetorical style of his most widely praised oratorical efforts, the ‘Yes We Can’ victory speech in Grant Park and his 2004 Democratic Convention effort in Boston). (The actual numbers are 9.5 and 7.4 and 8.3 respectively.) In doing so, he seems to have abandoned his earlier formula that resulted in the direct emotional impact of his campaign oratory.
[Note: this article clocked in at a 12.3 grade reading level.]
In May 2003, President Bush gave his now infamous ‘Mission Accomplished’ speech declaring an ‘End To Major Combat In Iraq’. However, during the speech, he never actually uttered ‘Mission Accomplished’. Those words were on the ship returning to the San Diego Naval Base, as is the tradition, from overseas duty. Fortunately for President Obama, his backdrop was the Oval Office and pictures of his wife and family.
Summary: What we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level. (This article, which appeared in a slightly differing form earlier this year, is written by Paul JJ Payack and Edward ML Peters.)
Austin, Texas, September 7, 2010 — Originally alluded to as a ‘Financial Tsunami’ or ‘Financial Meltdown,’ the major global media continue to call our current economic condition ‘The Great Recession’. In the beginning, most comparisons were being made to the Great Economic Depression of the 1930s, more familiarly known, simply, as ‘The Depression’ in the same way that many still refer to World War II as ‘The War’. But even these comparisons frequently ended up referring to the recession of 1982, yet another so-called ‘Great Recession’.
The difficulty here stems from the fact that this economic crisis is difficult to express in words because it does not resemble any economic crisis of the past — but rather a crisis of another sort.
In On War, one of the most influential books on military strategy of all time, the Prussian career soldier Carl von Clausewitz (1780 – 1831) stated one of his most respected tenets, “War is not merely a political act, but also a real political instrument, a continuation of political commerce, a carrying out of the same by other means,” which is frequently abbreviated to “War is diplomacy carried out by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.
We believe that the reason the “Great Recession” label doesn’t fit now is because what we are experiencing is not a recession, neither great nor small, but rather a global transference of wealth, power and prestige on an unprecedented level, carried out ‘by other means’ and by other rules than those of the political and financial norm of the recent past.
This fact is entrapping two US presidents, from radically diverging political viewpoints, in the same dilemma: describing an economic phenomenon, that doesn’t play by the old rules. Therefore the difficulty experienced by President Bush as he struggled to describe how the US economy was not in a recession since the GDP had not declined for two consecutive quarters, the traditional definition of a recession, even though jobs were being shed by the millions and the global banking system teetered on the brink of collapse. Now we have President Obama, attempting to describe how the US economy is emerging out of a recession, though the collateral damage in terms of the evaporation of wealth, mortgages, and jobs remains apparently undaunted and unabated.
The regional or global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries and the so-called collateral (or human) damage are all hallmarks of what is now being experienced in the West.
If you carefully disassemble the events of the last decade or two, one can see them as the almost inevitable conclusion of a nameless war that began with the collapse of the Soviet Union, the embrace of a form of the free-market system by China, India and the other rising states, an almost unprecedented transfer of wealth from the Western Economies to the Middle East (Energy) and South and East Asia (manufactured good and services), and the substantial transfer of political power and influence that inevitably follows.
It currently appears that the Western Powers most affected by these transfers cannot adequately understand, or even explain, their present circumstances in a way that makes sense to the citizenry, let alone actually reverse (or even impede) the course of history. In fact the larger realities are playing out while the affected societies seemingly default to the hope that they ultimately can exert some sort of control over a reality that is out of their grasp and control.
The good news here is that the transfers of wealth, power and influence has proven relatively bloodless but nonetheless destructive for the hundreds of millions of those on the front lines of the economic dislocations.
And it is in this context that the perceived resentment of the Islamic and Arab states should be more clearly viewed. This is especially so as they watch helplessly as the new global reality and re-alignments unfold.
In conclusion, it can be argued that the difficulty in naming the current economic crisis is the fact that is not an economic crisis at all but rather a transformational event involving the global transfer of wealth, power and influence, the destruction of entire industries along with the associated collateral (or human) damage.
Katrina Continues to Impact Language, Media and Politics
AUSTIN, Texas. (August 30, 2010) – Katrina had a deep and lasting impact on how America looks at catastrophes and crises in the early 21st century. And Katrina’s influence is becoming all the more pervasive as the effects of the crisis linger and the reality of the magnitude of the destruction continues to come to light. An exclusive analysis by the Global Language Monitor (GLM) using it analytical resources, underscores how some five years after the event, Katrina continues to have an out-sized impact on our cultural landscape. Last year, GLM ranked the Top Stories in the Global Media during the first decade of the 21st century. Katrina ranked No. 8.
Background: It is often said that the war in Viet Nam was the first war to be broadcast directly into American living rooms (back when people still gathered for dinner together and watched network news broadcasts). We watched in horror at the mass destruction of the Towers falling a quarter of a century later, many of us on our computer screens. But it was the unfolding of the inundation of New Orleans after the levees gave way that provided us with any number of up-close-and personal tragedies that would unfold (and float) before our disbelieving eyes.
Among the most prominent example of Katrina’s continuing cultural impact include:
Refugee vs. Evacuee – At the time GLM’s analysis found that the term for the displaced, refugees, appeared 5 times more frequently in the global media than the more neutral, evacuees. At the term, refugee was cited as racially insensitive. Never endorsed by the AP Stylebook, currently the word refugee is used in the media some fifty times more than evacuee.
“Heckova job, Brownie!” – GLM named this paraphrase of President Bush’s actual remark, “Brownie, you’re doing a heckuva job” as the most memorable phrase of 2005. The phrase, according to a Reuter’s report at the time, “became a national punch line for countless jokes and pointed comments about the administration’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina disaster”. Even now variations of the phrase are used to criticize less-than-stellar efforts, such as when New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd wrote, “Heck of a job, Barry” (her nickname for President Obama) in her Dec. 29th, 2009 column.
Apocalyptic Imagery — The Southeast Asia Tsunami that killed over 200,000 people occurred nine months before Katrina, so audiences were somewhat familiar with horrific images of exotic locales as scenes of mass destruction. However, the thought of the devastation unfolding in a major, revered US city, with the world watching the only remaining superpower, apparently unable to mobilize the necessary resources to stop the ongoing destruction and loss of life proved more than the press could handle. Immediately, the global press echoed with apocalyptic imagery. The Times in London led with: “Devastation that could send an area the size of England back to the Stone Age” and continued describing “a paranoid post-apocalyptic landscape … where corpses lie amid a scene of Biblical devastation, any semblance of modern society has gone.”
The Hiroshima Analogy – Katrina hit landfall shortly after the 60th anniversary of the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. AP cited Mississippi governor Haley Barbour “Struggling with what he calls Hurricane Katrina’s nuclear destruction … [showing] the emotional strain of leading a state through a disaster of biblical proportions”. However, the analogy continues to be used in light of the lingering effects of a drawn-out and, some would argue, less-than-successful recovery effort. There are still 55,000 uninhabitable buildings half of which the new mayor has pledged to remove by 2014; many still lack essential services; the levees remain in questionable condition, and most importantly, some 20-to-25% of the population has failed to return.
5. Storm and Scientific Terminology — The public has a much better understanding of the specific terminology surrounding hurricanes and tropical storms. This would include:
Saffir-Simpson Scale, which predicts the destructive power of a hurricane,
Category or Hurricane Scale that measures the strength of a hurricane’s strength, from low to high (1 to 5). Katrina peaked at Category 5 but at landfall fell to Category 3.
Storm Surge, the wall of water pushed in from of a hurricane. Katrina’s was about 30 feet, the highest on record.
Levee, the massive, supposedly impermeable earthen walls, meant to hold back storm surges. New Orleans has some 350 miles of levees. An unfortunate fact about levees, once they let water in, they can actually prevent it from going out.
Naming System for Hurricanes, which has been in place for some fifty years. They names are alphabetically sorted, alternating men’s and women’s names. The list was exclusively female until 1979. Names are recycled every 6 years. Influential hurricanes have their names retired. Katrina was obviously retired.
6. The name Katrina, according to the Social Security Administration, has fallen sharply in popularity. In 2004 Katrina was the 274th most popular names for girls born in the US; in 2009 it ranked at 815.
For historical coverage of Hurricane Katrina from the Global Language Monitor, go here.
Calif, Mass, Pa, Ill, Ohio, Va, Texas, NC and Minn follow
AUSTIN, Texas. (August 26, 2010) — New York state has been named the Top State for Top Colleges followed by California, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania and Illinois. Ohio, Virginia, Texas, North Carolina and Minnesota rounded out the Top Ten. The list was assembled by the Global Language Monitor in its twice yearly TrendTopper Media Buzz analysis of the nation’s Top 300 Colleges and Universities.
“The TrendTopper MediaBuzz Rankings is a democratic, self-generating ratings system, since it captures the brand equity associated with each of these fine institutions. We survey social media such as Twitter, as well as the Internet, blogosphere, and the global print and electronic media.” said Paul JJ Payack, the president of Global Language Monitor. “As such, we remove the biases inherently built into each of the other published rankings. For example, US News recently announced that it has changed a key component to their rankings thereby lowering the value of year-by-year comparisons.”
The Top Ten States with the Most Top Colleges are listed below. Listings include Ranking, the number of top schools in parentheses, the Top University and College, National Best of Class Institutions and Top Surprises for each state.
Asterisks (*) indicate National Best-in-Class
New York (44)
United States Military Academy *
Top Music School
Juilliard School *
Top Design School
Pratt Institute *
NY as the No. 1 State
University of California—Los Angeles
Stanford & UC San Diego top Berkeley
Top Business College
Babson College *
Top Engineering School
Massachusetts Institute of Technology *
Top Catholic School
College of the Holy Cross *
Amherst falls out of Top 10
Pennsylvania State University
Penn State over U of Pennsylvania
University of Chicago
Top Christian College
Wheaton College *
Northwestern University at No. 39
Ohio State University—Columbus
Oberlin College Slips
University of Richmond
VT over UVA
University of Texas—Austin
UT breaks into the Top Ten
North Carolina (8)
UNC falls out of Top Ten
Carleton College *
University of Minnesota
Capella now No. 2 Internet School
The complete listings of all the states can be found here.
The Global Language Monitor publishes the TrendTopper Media Buzz College and University Rankings. twice a year, with spring and fall editions. Many institutions of higher education, including Harvard, Boston College, and Vanderbilt have used the rankings as a validation of their recent reputation management decisions.
Social Media and Internet Citations More than Double in 90 Days
DALLAS & AUSTIN, Texas (August 17, 2010) — The Healthcare NarrativeTracker™ has found a sharply rising national concern about keeping one’s insurance and rising healthcare costs in light of the regulations associated with the implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. The new results of the Healthcare NarrativeTracker Index™ (NTI™) were reported earlier today by OpenConnect, the leader process intelligence and analytics solutions, and The Global Language Monitor, the media analytics company.
The NTI has found that the number of social media and Internet citations are significantly diverging among those who cite healthcare price and premium increases vs. those citing lower costs and premiums decreasing. For example the price and premium percentage increase is now nearly double the percentage (188%) for price and premiums decreasing.
In addition, the analysis indicates that the number of social media and Internet citations regarding ‘keeping one’s insurance’ vs. ‘losing one’s insurance’ have also diverged significantly, especially over the last ninety days, with the citations for ‘losing one’s insurance’ increasing some 1160% over the period.
“The numbers in the Healthcare NarrativeTracker are widely supported by the polls, the surveys, and the media,” said Edward M.L. Peters, CEO of OpenConnect and author of The Paid-for Option, which describes how only through the application of innovation and technology can productivity be achieved in the healthcare industry. “The predictive element of the Healthcare NTI has correctly foreshadowed this shift in public sentiment; it will be interesting to see how this all plays out in the run-up to the mid-term elections.”
On August 3, voters in Missouri overwhelmingly (71%) supported a state measure barring the federal government from penalizing those who do not acquire health insurance – a key measure for funding the Obama Healthcare Reform plan. Other evidence indicates that support for Healthcare reform is flagging. According to the Washington Post, the Kaiser Family Foundation health tracking poll “shows erosion in the intensity of support. Last month, 23 percent of Americans held ‘very favorable’ views of the law. This month, that figure is 14 percent, with most of the falloff coming among Democrats (Republicans and independents already being skeptical).” Other polling reinforces these views.
The Healthcare NTI™ is based on the national discourse, providing a real-time, accurate picture of what the public is saying about any topic related to healthcare, at any point in time. NarrativeTracker analyzes the Internet, blogosphere, the print and electronic media, as well as new social media sources (such as Twitter). In addition to the NTI, the NarrativeTracker Arc™ follows the rise and fall of sub-stories within the main narrative to provide a comprehensive overview of the narratives being tracked.
The Healthcare NTI is released monthly. The first analysis completed in May 2010 detailed the various narratives surrounding Massachusetts Healthcare reform, a healthcare model which has been adopted in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as the national healthcare reform bill.
About OpenConnect: OpenConnect is the leader in process intelligence and analytics solutions that automatically discover workforce, process and customer variations that hinder operational efficiency. Armed with this information, executives can make the quick and incremental improvements that will increase process efficiency, improve employee productivity, reduce cost, and raise profitability. With a rich history of developing innovative technology, OpenConnect products are distributed in more than 60 countries and used by more than 60 percent of Fortune 100 companies. For more information on OpenConnect, visit www.oc.com.
About the Global Language Monitor: Austin, Texas-based Global Language Monitor analyzes and catalogues the latest trends in word usage and word choices, and their impact on the various aspects of culture, with a particular emphasis upon Global English. Since 2003, GLM has launched a number of innovative products and services monitoring the Internet, the Blogosphere, Social Media as well as the Top 25,000 print and electronic media sites
Miami leads Rio, Barcelona, Sydney & Bali in Swimwear
Austin, Texas. August 16, 2010 New York, Hong Kong, London, Sydney, Sao Paulo, Moscow, Dubai, Mumbai were announced as the Top Fashion Capitals by their respective regions in the Global Language Monitor’s annual analysis. Earlier GLM announced that New York had regained the title of World Fashion Capital of 2010, after being bested by Milan in 2009. In addition, GLM announced that Miami beat Rio, Barcelona, Melbourne & Bali in the Swimwear category.
“The importance of the emerging regional fashion capitals demonstrate a major global re-alignment in the multi-trillion dollar global fashion industry,” said Bekka Payack, the Manhattan-based fashion correspondent for the Global Language Monitor. “The success of Fashion Night Out is but another example of the proliferation of the fashion culture worldwide.”
.Tour the Top 22 Fashion Capitals of Four Seasons
The Top Fashion Capitals by Region along with their place in the entire ranking are listed below.
Region, Fashion Capital, Overall Ranking
Hong Kong (2),
Australia and Oceania:
New York (1),
Los Angeles (5),
Las Vegas (16),
(San Francisco) nominated
New Delhi (30)
Sao Paulo (13),
Rio de Janeiro (19),
Buenos Aires (24),
Mexico City (29)
Middle and Eastern Europe:
Middle East and Africa:
Cape Town (23),
The Fashion Capitals for Swimwear along with their place in the entire ranking are listed below.
Swimwear Fashion Capital Rank, Overall Ranking
Rio de Janeiro (19)
These exclusive rankings are based upon GLM’s Predictive Quantities Index, a proprietary algorithm that tracks words and phrases in print and electronic media, on the Internet and throughout the blogosphere. The words and phrases are tracked in relation to their frequency, contextual usage and appearance in global media outlets.
In 2010, the Top Fashion Capitals List was expanded to forty from thirty to reflect the various emerging and diverse players affecting the industry.