Aug 24, 2007

Postmodern Essay Generator

One of the strangest (and subversively brilliant) websites that I have stumbled across in recent years is what is known as the Postmodern Essay Generator, which produces scholarly-looking essays that are entirely without meaning.

Anyone who has struggled through a text that is weighed down by the author's postmodern discourse will chuckle at this idea. The Essay Generator uses an application known as the Dada Engine, which generates random text from legitimate academic materials.

The Generator was inspired by a hoax perpetrated by physicist Alan Sokal, who submitted a completely meaningless paper in 1996 to the journal Social Text. Entitled "Transgressing the Boundaries: Towards a Transformative Hermeneutics of Quantum Gravity," the psudoscientific essay was accepted and published by the editors, sparking a fierce debate over the ethics of the hoax and adding fuel to the fire of those who dismiss postmodernism as a methodological approach.


jshriver said...

Fun program, just downloaded and compiled then tried the brag.pb script :)

microdot said...

I heard that it is already being used with great success by the whitehouse presidential speechwriters.