Flow Chart depicting keywords that appeared in only one cartoon together.
Herblock's cartoons from 1946-1949
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Flow Chart depicting keywords that appeared in multiple cartoons together.
Herblock's cartoons from 1946-1949
Click to Enlarge

Methodology

Keyword Frequency
Herblock's cartoons from 1946-1949
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Two sets of data were used to create the charts above. This data was generated by the keywords in Herblock’s cartoons from 1946-1949. The first is a simple keyword frequency count. You can see the raw data in the image to the left. The second set of data charts the frequency of keyword relationships. Every time a keyword pair appeared in a cartoon that pair received a count of 1. This data was correlated by hand after using a PHP script to return all the relevant keywords for each cartoon into a text file. The keywords were listed alphabetically and then entered into an Excel spreadsheet. So, for instance, if a cartoon had four keywords, keyword A → B, A → C, A → D, B → C, B → D, and C → D received one count. You can see the raw data for this relationship in the image to the right below.

After this data was compiled it was translated into the visual flow charts above. The data was separated into two charts. The first one represents single keyword frequencies. Essentially, the keyword pairs that only occurred in one cartoon together. The keywords are color-coded based on how many connections it had with other keywords starting with black as the highest and orange one. The connection lines were color-coded based on the keyword that had the most connections. So, if two keywords are linked and was coded black and the other purple, the connection line is black.

Keyword Realtionships
Herblock's cartoons from 1946-1949
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The second chart represents multiple keyword frequencies. All the keywords on this chart appeared in two or more cartoons together. The connection line between keywords is color-coded based on how many cartoons those keywords appeared in together with two being the lowest and coded blue and eleven being the highest and coded at black. The numbers inside the keyword shapes represent the total number of cartoons, out of 109 total, that the keyword appeared in during the time frame. The shapes for the keyword were also determined by this data.

Interpretation

On their own these flowcharts do not tell us anything that we wouldn’t expect to see. The largest keyword frequency occurrence is between “atomic bomb” and “United Nations.” This is not surprising given that during the second half of the 1940s one of the biggest debates was whether atomic science and technology would be held as a monopoly or if the United States would share this knowledge with the world under the oversight of the United Nations. Similiarly, the connection between “scientific freedom” and “military control” being high is not unexpected as in conjunction with the debate over world atomic control a power struggle was occurring within the United States as to whether the military would retain its control over atomic technology or if it would pass into the hands of the scientists and be explored for more peaceful purposes besides weaponization.

What will be interesting to see are these charts over time, decade by decade, and artist by artist. Do the same keywords appear with the frequency and relationship in Paul Conrad and Frank Miller’s work during this time period as Herblock’s? Alternately, what keyword frequencies appear in later decades and are they to be expected given what we know of the political and cultural events related to nuclear issues during those decade. If the results differ from what we might expect, how and why?