A Facebook Meme That’s Harder Than It Looks
There’s a meme going around on Facebook that mocks the usual “leave one word that describes how we met” glurge, and asks respondents to comment, instead, with incoherent nonsense.
This might work better if I drank. In fact, if I drank like Hemingway, I would not write like Hemingway. I might manage something dark and depressing, like Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness.” If I took opiates, I would not write like Edgar Allan Poe; I’d be lucky to stay awake.
Coffee might work.
But the funny thing is, as my friends and I attempt this, our “completely incoherent ramblings” sound like something out of an old, very bad, spy movie. Or an amateur rip-off of “Jabberwocky.” I think we’ve proved it’s harder to write utter crap than you might think.
We know the sounds and rhythms of language, and it’s really hard to break those patterns. Even stringing together words like plastic pop-beads — words that aren’t really meant to go together, but can be connected through conjuction junctions and punctuation functions — we gravitate towards something that conveys meaning.
Strangers might see nonsense; however, we understand through shared experience and mental symbols the hidden references buried therein, even when we are intentionally avoiding them.
Still, it’s fun to mess with algorithms, and the exercise feels a little subversive — we are now challenging the text mining algorithms on a deeper level, and I would bet money the entire thread would be discarded as useless bits and bytes of non-informative text. For the most part, that is exactly what it is — but try this:
Space below, you sand the grit, making salad of my rimpled thought-monkeys and lurd me how do.
Good luck prying meaning and sentiment from that, Watson — but I have faith in my human readers!