(Apologies that this is a little late since we talked about this; I’ve been sick.)

I was really interested in the class discussion last Tuesday about juxtaposition and Soviet Montage Theory. As I’ve mentioned earlier, I’m not a huge film buff, so all of this is really new to me. I was trying to wrack my brain to think of examples of juxtaposition in interaction design, and I wondered if this might be one example.

Have you guys heard of the US politician Rick Santorum? He’s somewhat well-known for his anti-homosexual beliefs. Dan Savage, a gay rights activist and columnist, started a campaign to associate the word “santorum” with a byproduct of a sexual act. (You can see here if you really want more details.) Basically what happened was he encouraged people to link any instance of the word “Santorum” to his website with the new definition of the word, with the intent on messing up the results in a Google search. It was a huge success, and for a long time, a Google search for “santorum” would land first on the page with the gross re-definition of the word. This even came back to haunt Santorum when he made his bid to run for president.

But to me, this seemed like an example of juxtaposition (associating the politician with something gross) that was taken to the next level as perhaps only technology can do. And it was also kind of an unintended effect of Google’s algorithms (which I think have since been changed).