In my Taki`s Magazine column, I explain how to use Google`s auto-completion prompts to quantify the Undernews — the stuff a lot of people are interested in but isn`t respectable.
As an example, I`ve started with the perennial question of whether various male movie and TV stars are gay. My method won`t tell you the answer, but will tell you on a 0 to 100 scale whom the question is being asked about. Being able to quickly generate a lot of quantitative data about public perception, intuition, and curiosity, whether right or wrong, has a variety of uses.
To illustrate how you can use Google auto-complete to measure which actors trigger the public’s gaydar, let’s use veteran comic actor Bill Murray. If you type in “Bill Murray” and hit the space bar, Google offers you the ten most popular ways to complete the search phrase (e.g., “Bill Murray movies” and “Bill Murray net worth”). Not surprisingly, none of the ten suggestions for Murray includes the word “gay.”
If you want to try even harder, type “Bill Murray g.” You’ll get ten g-word suggestions such as “Ghostbusters 3,” “Garfield,” and “golf,” but once again, not “gay.”
This is hardly astounding. Bill Murray rarely plays gay characters (except in the farcical Ed Wood). He’s too old and odd-looking to be the object of gay fantasies. Most of all, in all his decades of fame, he’s never seemed gay. Thus, on a 0 to 100 scale of Google Gaydar, Murray is a 0.