April 20, 2007

Automated Spam: the truest art form of our time

Poetry is basically dead. It was pretty cool back when there was no way of disseminating auditory or visual arts. But nowadays all the brightest minds are drawn to the far superior media of film or music or photography or prose. Or sculpture. Or pork chops. Seriously, can anyone name the most recent Poet Laureate? Or any Poet Laureate other than Frost or Angelou?

The correct answer is "no." If you do know more than one or two other ones, go away and write a haiku about how I'm being arrogant and hateful. Anyhow, poetry seriously needs some kind of jolt. An impetus. Some competition perhaps?

It is a sad commentary on the low quality of modern poetry that I when I read spam emails I am immediately reminded of "abstract" verse. Sure, highly-trained professionals can extract some meaning from the human-generated variety that isn't present in the random, computer-generated doggerel. But could they really distinguish between the two in a blind trial? I doubt it, Alan Ginsberg.

Here is what I mean. The only changes I've made are the line breaks (which seem to be where most of the meaning is conveyed anyway, an probably the reason this works):

Secret, by anywhere

Stuff accessible backups,
Shadow happened overwrite, certain file undo.
Deliver safer, reliable, produce.
Lovingly refer: kill switch prompted.

Ago indicator was locked, addition.
Say it should.
Kill switch, fail constantly!

I can really sense the author's existential angst. Oh, it was written by a random spam generator? How embarrassing for me, enlightened arbiter of culture.

Awarded, by MCE Samarsurf

East tells the story the night became.
Smoker presets, autotuner perfection tweaker?
Scheme devised, reverting, reduced.
Ever.

Vittrke modified text, see!
Antique wood, boats lockers?
Mentions package caution, replace happens.

The sad thing is that both of these are far superior to anything that William Carlos Williams ever wrote. Yet, is it so sad that we now have computers spraying out emails with this (to use a clich├ęd expression) "uniquely American" artform? Could anything be more characteristic of this brave new era when computers do, sloppily, so many of our other tasks? A melange of verbiage delivered daily to--

OK, that's enough of that.

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