Clinton. Trump. What He says about Her. What She says about Him, edited and archived into one continuous dialogue.
About this project
If you’re like me, this historic election has you hanging on every word the candidates say.
Maybe it’s that Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton are two extremely polarizing candidates.
Maybe it’s the unprecedented level of vicious rhetoric.
Maybe it’s that, for the first time ever in America, it’s Him vs. Her.
And much of the electoral drama comes straight from the candidates’ mouths:
I wonder how much time the candidates spend talking about each other instead of policy, goals, and voter issues. How often does Clinton say “Trump”? How often does Trump say “Clinton”? How do they litigate their case through speeches, press conferences, interviews, and—yes—tweets?
He Said, She Said will be an annotated archive of every time Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump talk about each other—in their own words. Compiled from all public utterances, the archive begins at the Nominating Conventions (late July, 2016), and ends on Election Day (November 8, 2016).
There’s something powerful and transformative about the printed word. It transforms the sensational or surprising or inspiring into text. Just text. “Lies” are printed with even weight as “truth.” He Said, She Said won’t decipher or decode. It will be a public record of the loudest argument between a man and a woman in American history. It’s for you to decide what’s true or false.
Are you a Trump fan who thinks Clinton spews lies?
Are you a Clinton fan who thinks Trump says vile things?
Are you undecided/don’t care, but you think presidential politics is nasty, nasty business?
He Said She Said will provide wider context for the quick barbs, jabs, accusations, and insults clipped for news-ready soundbites. What did Trump say before and after “Hillary Clinton is a bigot”? What was the speech about when Hillary said “basket of deplorables”? He Said, She Said preserves the context for the back-and-forth.
The transcript includes excerpts from:
- Rally Speeches
- Press Conferences/Press Avails
Memories are short. This time next year we’ll forget most of the vitriol, partly because there’s a real chance politicians will just gaslight us: “He never said that” or “She never said that” will be a common phrase after Election Day. Let’s preserve the record.
DIALOGUE. Because candidates often talk to each other through the public, He Said, She Said is organized like a recorded dialogue between Trump and Clinton. Trump’s words occupy one side of the spread, Clinton’s on the opposite page, aligned chronologically to preserve the back-and-forth.
When one candidate is speaking and the other silent, the page remains blank. This preserves the back-and-forth conversation, whether they are in the same room like in debates, or fighting over Twitter.
CHRONOLOGY. The book is organized in chronological order with a running timeline down the sides, spanning from the Nominating Conventions to Election Day. The entire book lays out the relentless arguing, mud-slinging, and indictments between them. In order.
This is a non-partisan project. I’m interested in recording and preserving this historically unique election. The back-and-forth between this man and this woman may reveal something about how men and women speak to each other. Or maybe it reveals how powerful people fight for power. Or how campaigns are relentless in their message delivery. Or all of the above. We won’t precisely know the final dialogue until after we elect a president.
My annotations are not fact-checks. He Said, She Said is a broader context for the soundbites, the mediated and tweetable comments, and endless punditry. What did he say? What did she say? This will be the record.
This book will only be available through this Kickstarter campaign. When the Election is over, the book is done and sent out and that’s it. Why? I’m self-publishing through the generosity of interested backers. I can’t afford to keep stock of it for future sales. Think of this as a timely performance piece and not a pick-it-up-at-Amazon kind of book.
This seems like a lot of words! How exactly are you gonna do that? A central premise of this project is that the words that cross a candidate’s lips are the most important words we hear during an election. Not the written speeches, but the spoken words they choose to utter.
For He Said, She Said, I will transcribe from videos of the candidates’ speeches, remarks, and press conferences. I will also include interviews when video exists, and Tweets, as they are particularly relevant this election. I estimate this book will be around 600 pages!
Transcription is the key task to make He Said, She Said. How it’s done:
- Start with readily-available videos. I will make my own transcriptions of public events; and both candidates are recorded at every public event.
- Transcribe using speech-to-type software to get a “pretty good” first pass.
- Use Amazon Mechanical Turk, an on-demand Human Intelligence Task workforce to watch videos and transcriptions to clean errors. I, and a team of editors, will do final passes to fix the small syntax and style errors.
Once all the text is in place, I will lay out whole texts for analysis. Several different analytical tools like Voyant and Sketch Engine offer complex analytical tools for large volumes of user-defined text. This automates much of the process of editing out words not related to the back-and-forth.
I have already tested these methods with short speeches and have developed a good efficient workflow for this task. Scaling it to the level of hundreds of thousands of words costs money—more words, bigger team of transcribers, editors and layout designers—which is where you all come in.
US$1 Light a candle against gaslighting! Get my undying gratitude and your name will be included in the book as a supporter of He Said, She Said.
US$15: He Said, She Said PDF & ePub Download. Digital version of the book for your mobile device or eReader. Delivered to you on Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017.
US$20: He Said She Said ‘America’: Concordance Poster. During their respective convention acceptance speeches, Clinton said “America” 26 times; Trump said “America” 28 times. This 11″x17″ glossy poster isolates and interleaves each sentence where “America” was uttered by each candidate.
US$50: He Said, She Said Book. This is it. Estimated between 600 and 700 pages, everything Clinton says about Trump and Trump says about Clinton on the Campaign Trail. All the words.The best words.
Risks and challenges
Well, depending on how this election goes, America may not exist next year. 🙁