Thursday, December 29, 2011

Search engine queries

It’s always interesting to see what search engine queries have brought people to this blog. For a long time I was getting hits for “busty ephemeral woman” which made no sense to me. This, though, seems to have fallen out of fashion of late – that’s ephemerality for you, I suppose.

A strikingly consistent theme appears to be students who are looking for a way not to have to bother reading books for themselves.

in cosmopolis does eric packer have a breakdown while cutting his hair
Google: how does the novel cosmopolis end
Google: what two times do father and son wrestle in A silver Dish
Google: was "intruder in the dust" written in first person
Google: how does gap creek end


Others just type their class questions in verbatim in the hope that the web will spew out their essay for them:

WHAT DOES "WHY SHOULD WE BUILD OUR HAPPINESS ON THE OPINIONS OF OTHERS, WHEN WE CAN FIND IT IN OUR OWN HEARTS" MEAN?
What are two themes in Ron Rash's Saints at the River?
comment on narrative technique in james fenimore cooper's the last of the mohicans
Google: does the use of collage work in the indian uprising
Google: what does thelma j. shinn mean by characters are the physical grotesques and physical afflictions


This one even leaves in the question number:

4. Describe the personalities of Deanna and Eddie In the Prodigal Summer


And this one, I suspect, is the title and course number of one reader’s new class:

Google: articulate art 7030


Sometimes, you simply can’t understand why a particular search would have returned this particular site as a possible answer.

Bing.com: geological pseudomorphosis
Bing.com: SW1P 3DW mobile phone store in London
Google: "Entry Taken from a Medical Encyclopedia" analysis
Google: barn owl eros poem


Occasionally you get some queries that are quaintly stream-of-consciousness in their use of language:

what all terrible things were done to african americans because of recism
what do you think cormac mccarthy believes is to be made of suttree when all is said and done


Some are pleasingly honest:

Google: the sense of an ending don't understand it please explain


I love the postmodernist possibilities arising from the mash-up of structuralism and transcendentalism suggested by these similar enquiries:

Google: barthe of the scrivener story
Google: barthes by the scrivener


Likewise, a humourous novel death-match appears to have been lined up in this query:

confederacy of dunces vs catch 22


And finally, the simply baffling:

Google: adrian has sex with veronica's mother?

I know that this relates to Julian Barnes’s The Sense of and Ending, but is this the best constructed query the searcher could think of?

2 comments:

ulisesdeloslibros said...

A blog is just 30% what the blogger intends it to be, and 70% what the web surfers make out of it...

Tom Conoboy said...

Yes, I think there's something in that. It does make for an interesting way of communicating with people.