Contemporary search is underrated!
By contemporary search, I mean search that only spans the life of a person/place/thing. I don’t think I have yet managed to fully appreciate the way media and cultural coverage changes about someone after they have expired. All the facts around their death — reason/place/people involved/aftereffects — can have a huge impact on how they are perceived. Let me tell you about a crazy example I found over the weekend.
I was testing a new Gizmo called Chronos Crossfinder, which finds overlaps in the life spans of historical figures and builds URLs for those time periods. For example, you might look at the overlap in the lifespan between Rudy Giuliani and Ed Koch. Chronos Crossfinder takes those two names, gets their data from Wikidata, and generates Google Books searches for that name pair which span 1944 (the year Giuliani was born) through 2013 (the year Koch died.)
While I was testing this new Gizmo, I ran a search for Judy Garland and Janis Joplin, which gave me a search span of 1943 (Joplin’s birth) to 1969 (Garland’s death). I’m not really sure what I was expecting. It definitely wasn’t an edition of The Handbook of Texas referring to Janis Joplin as “the Judy Garland of Rock” or a 1968 book on The Beatles drawing parallels between the way the two singers connected with an audience.
Both Judy Garland and Janis Joplin died of accidental drug overdoses. If you tried to make comparisons between the two of them today, that would probably eclipse the fact that both were singers. It would definitely eclipse the fact that they both enjoyed a strong rapport with their audience.
When historical figures are alive and it is unknown how their lives will end, parallels might be drawn that could be considered distasteful or even offensive later. On the other hand, they might invite further scrutiny. Maybe it’s worth thinking about Janis belting out “Piece of My Heart” with The Tin Man.
If you want to try this or any of the other Search Gizmos, they’re all available at SearchGizmos.com . There’s an annotated list of the almost 50 Gizmos available at https://searchgizmos.com/biglist/. Everything’s free and there are no ads.