ChomskyBot, Thomas Friedman Instacolumn
Extending on Michael's previous post, anyone who hasn't tried the ChomskyBot, do it now. Every time you hit "next paragraph", the ChomskyBot makes up a unique Chomskyism, just for you! Chomsky never said any of these things…at least not yet. … Read More
Extending on Michael's previous post, anyone who hasn't tried the ChomskyBot, do it now.
Every time you hit "next paragraph", the ChomskyBot makes up a unique Chomskyism, just for you! Chomsky never said any of these things…at least not yet. But the ChomskyBot uses a simple algorithm to generate new statements that he very well might say.
The ChomskyBot is a critique of Chomsky's impressive-sounding but (according to some critics) often incoherent academic writing. More generally, it's a critique of the heroic struggle waged by many academics to sound absolutely as smart as possible…and if in the process their utterances are totally content-free, that's fine by them!
Of course, the Remnick quote is about the sclerotic writing models employed in journalism, rather than in academia.
So maybe a better example is "Write Your Own Thomas Friedman Column!" published in the New York Observor. It included such key instructions as: "Begin your first paragraph with a grandiose sentence and
end with a terse, startlingly unexpected contradiction."
The Observor makes up an example: "The future of civilization depends upon open communication between Yasir Arafat and Ariel Sharon…But for now, the two men can't speak. Why? You can't make a collect call from Bethlehem.
Then, "Use the next few paragraphs to further define the contradiction stated above, peppered with little questions making it look like you're having a conversation with the reader. Feel free to use the first person."
For example, "My first thought was to ask: Why no collect calls from Bethlehem? It's easy to call collect from Bosnia, Kosovo, even Uzbekistan. Am I sure? Of course I'm sure. I was in each of those places just a few weeks ago, making collect calls all over the world. No problem. So why can't Arafat call collect from Bethlehem?"