Opinion pieces in The New York Times prefer to tuck their main point toward the bottom. I spent many scroll-years traveling to them and reading backwards, from bottom to top.
I’m not sure when this habit developed, but I did it because I want to know what someone is trying to prove before I spend the time jamming a bunch of facts and observations into my head.
Perhaps it reflects a general impatience born of reading online. Perhaps it’s because it makes me feel more mentally active. Don’t know, but now I have a tool I’ve named “Graffy” to instantly reverse the order of the paragraphs in an NYT article, and then display them in a new window. You can also get them back into the editor’s preferred order. Or, heck, randomize them—turning the neat sculpture of an op-ed into a chaotic blizzard of facts and observations gets me dancing around the info in joyful and educational ways.
To use Graffy:
- Make a bookmark with this text as the URL:
- Go to an NYT opinion article, such as “Why Isn’t Trump a Real Populist?” Though I think Graffy works throughout the site, it makes the most sense, to me, working with the opinion content.
- Make sure your web browser allows pop-ups for nytimes.com.
- Click on the bookmark you created.
- On the new page that pops up, you can click the “Rereverse” button at the top to flip the order as you like. Or get rando with it.
- Note that this will be more fussy on Firefox than Chrome.
Next steps for Graffy:
- Make it work across more sites.
- Find a way to identify and highglight the paragraph that best represents a conclusion or main argument.
Provide a way to randomly arrange all the paragraphs in an article.All done.
- Make a game testing your arrangement of the paragraphs in the article against the order chosen by the editors.
- Find a way to pull out a paragraph from an article to a “reading position,” then dismiss it when done; in short, a way to break apart the article paragraph by paragraph. And maybe save the paragraphs, or send them back to main content?
Perhaps I should have used Graffy on this article.