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For my second A to Z assignment, I at first wanted to create an Asymmetry generator, a la Mac Low, that took the line “we the people” and created acrostic poems based on the text of the American Constitution, but that proved a little beyond my programming skills.

I liked the idea of playing with the Constitution because the text itself is so venerated, its meanings so closely guarded and carefully curated and protected from alteration by almost insurmountable rules. Which got me thinking, what if I boiled it down and condensed it, would it still preserve any of its meaning?

Semantics are beyond the scope of the class (and certainly beyond the scope of my meager coding skills) but statistically, longer words tend to carry more meaning, so I designed a program to condense each line of text it receives into its two longest words, reproduced not in order of appearance but in order of length.

The code works on any text, and I fed the entire Constitution into it, which produced surprisingly legible and amusing results. I was especially pleased with its distillation of the Bill of Rights:

Amendment 1
establishment respecting
prohibiting abridging
assemble, peaceably
grievances. Government

Amendment 2
necessary regulated
infringed. people

Amendment 3
quartered Soldier
prescribed consent

Amendment 4
persons, houses,
unreasonable seizures,
supported probable
particularly affirmation,
seized. persons

Amendment 5
otherwise capital,
presentment indictment
Militia, forces,
offense subject
compelled jeopardy
deprived himself,
property, liberty,
compensation. without

Amendment 6
prosecutions, criminal
impartial district
previously committed,
ascertained informed
accusation; confronted
Assistance witnesses
defence. Counsel

Amendment 7
controversy common
preserved, dollars,
re-examined otherwise
according common

Amendment 8
excessive required,
punishments inflicted.

Amendment 9
Constitution, enumeration
disparage retained

Amendment 10
Constitution, delegated
respectively, prohibited
people. the

Amendment 11
construed Judicial
prosecuted commenced
Subjects Citizens

Amendment 12
respective Electors
Vice-President, inhabitant
themselves; ballots
President, distinct
Vice-President, distinct
Vice-President President,
transmit certify,
government President…


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