A Rebel By Any Other Name


Will Moore looks at the labels applied to insurgents over time:

I plugged the words “bandits,” “communists,” “guerrillas,” “insurgents,” “rebels,” and “terrorists” into Chronicle and produced the graph [above]. We see that the US Civil War produced an enormous use of the word “rebels,” and though the count today is a much smaller percentage of the total number of words published in the Times,[1] we see that “rebels” grew dramatically in prominence in 2011. “Communists” first appears around 1918, and then explodes after 1945. The impact of 9/11 upon the word “terrorists” is equally prominent.