022 Digital Humanities with Ben Blatt
Ben Blatt is a former staff writer for Slate and the Harvard Lampoon. Ben is a numbers guy who has taken his fun approach to data journalism to topics such as Seinfeld, map-making, the Beatles, and Jeopardy. This conversation centers around Ben's book "Nabokov's Favorite Word is Mauve" (2017). It's a book about what we can learn about writing and authors based not on what they say, or what impressions we get from reading their books, but on something that results from applying rigorous data analysis to their actual texts. Specifically, KMO and Ben discuss: 00:25 – Moneyball and its influence on Ben 02:12 – The attraction of baseball for analytical people 04:25 – Ben's interest in numbers and writing 06:40 – Patterns, correlations, and writing advice 10:00 – -LY adverbs 12:00 – British vs American English 14:40 – Bloke, blimey and the Harry Potter Effect 16:00 – Loud vs quiet verbs 19:08 – Pronoun and characters stats 20:00 – Comparing authors' noise levels 23:00 – Gender differences in literature 27:50 – Professionals and amateurs: the statistical differences 30:25 – Reading fan fiction 32:50 – Restraining style choices to foster creativity 34:50 – Revising one's novels 36:00 – Fame and success affecting one's writing style 38:00 – Data tools 40:15 – Vonnegut 42:10 – The validity of "write what you know" 43:10 – Digital Humanities and Franco Moretti's "Atlas of the European Novel" 47:15 – Ben's advice for aspiring writers 50:15 – Creating writing and progress in AI 52:05 – Ben's next project Ben (The Guest): Twitter: @BenBlatt KMO (The Host): Twitter: @Kayemmo en.padverb.com/kmo Padverb: The Padverb Telegram Channel: t.me/padverbpodcast
From "The Padverb Podcast with KMO"