Hindsight is always 20/20

This art exhibit at the Weisman Art Museum on the campus of the University of Minnesota, was compelling and fun at the same time. R. Luke Dubois looked at the frequency of words in the State of the Union address by the previous 43 presidents, and placed them according to frequency in an eyechart; the most frequent significant word (not prepositions, etc.) at the top of the eyechart, in the largest font. “Looking back on the words chosen for these addresses, DuBois muses on presidential vision and rhetoric and proposes to test the metaphorical eyesight of the nation.”

Here’s George Washington’s:

Our current president’s:

Here’s the list of the most frequent word for each president:

Gentlemen

Washington

Reserve

Cleveland

France

Adams

Puerto

McKinley

Limits

Jefferson

Corporations

Roosevelt

Enemy

Madison

Procedure

Taft

Parties

Monroe

Processes

Wilson

Mutual

Adams

Relationship

Harding

Bank

Jackson

Veterans

Coolidge

Results

Van Buren

Unemployment

Hoover

Texas

Tyler

Democratic

Roosevelt

Oregon

Polk

Soviet

Truman

Empire

Taylor

Nuclear

Eisenhower

Deem

Fillmore

Alliance

Kennedy

Central

Pierce

Tonight

Johnson

Slavery

Buchanan

Truly

Nixon

Emancipation

Lincoln

Barrels

Ford

Republican

Johnson

US

Carter

Products

Grant

Deficits

Reagan

Coinage

Hayes

Idea

Bush

Likely

Arthur

21st

Clinton

Treatment

Cleveland

Terror

Bush

Wages

Harrison

Interesting!

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