Why spend precious time composing original copy when you can just steal and disguise it?
By Fred Mills, Blurt Editor
It’s called ArticleSpinBot and it blurbs thusly: “Write your own article with out copyright. Don’t waste your time just copy the article below, SPIN and get your OWN ORIGINAL article. Now you are free to buy your own COPYRIGHTS…
“ArticleSpinBot is a free, immediate text re writer that will change intelligible content into extra, comprehensible content. Since having an enduring stream of comprehensible, text based substance is essential for adequate website streamlining, ArticleSpinbot is a basic device for any individual who needs to advertise their site or item online as fast and effectively as could be allowed. With all the extraordinary, quality text based substance you could ever need, you will rapidly increase authentic web perceivability, both as far as human readership and web search tool introduction.”
Whew. That’s a fuckin’ mouthful. It might even have been written by a human being. I’ve lately grown fascinated by the concept of Artificial Intelligence—raise your hand if you heard the NPR broadcast of Radiolab this weekend, in which a writer talked about interviewing a robot (“Talking to Machines”)—and how it pertains to our everyday lives. Then this morning someone sends me a link to ArticleSpinBot and boy, do the lightbulbs start popping over my head.
Basically, you paste text into the webform on the ArticleSpinBot homepage, click “spin text,” and voila! You get “translated” text not unlike when plugging text in to an English-to-Spanish (or whatever language) translator bot. In this case, certain phrases and terms are altered via synonyms or equivalent phrases while some of the basic info, say, names, places, items, etc., remains the same; you wind up with the same essential story but rendered freshly. Hmmm…. That sounds kinda like what I do from time to time when in a hurry to post a news item to the BLURT site and I more or less rewrite a press release to suit our needs… but I digress. Plus you don’t wanna know how we make the sausage around here, har har har!
Still, I’m assuming this would come in useful if, say, I spotted an online news item or review I liked so much I wanted to repurpose it for BLURT, due to deadline pressure or just plain laziness, take your pick. Check out the following Pitchfork piece posted this morning: “Sky Ferreira and DIIV’s Zachary Cole Smith Arrested”:
Original Pitchfork News article: Sky Ferreira and Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV were arrested in Saugerties, New York Friday night, as the Daily Freeman reports. Ferreira was arrested “on misdemeanor charges of criminal possession of a controlled substance and resisting arrest,” while Smith was “charged with two counts of criminal possession of a controlled substance, one count of possession of stolen property and one count of aggravated unlicensed driving, all misdemeanors. He was also charged with the violations of unregistered motor vehicle, driving without insurance, unlicensed driver, and having an inadequate exhaust system,” according to the Daily Freeman. The paper reports that Smith was found with a “plastic bag containing 42 decks of heroin,” while Ferreira “was found in possession of ecstasy and resisted arrest.” Police pulled their truck over “after the driver made several vehicle and traffic infractions.” According to the Daily Freeman, “Police said a registration check showed the license plates on the truck were stolen and the driver, Smith, was wanted by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office on an outstanding vehicle and traffic warrant.” The two were taken to Ulster County jail, and then released on bail.”
Altered/”spun” article as generated by ArticleSpinBot: Sky Ferreira and Zachary Cole Smith of DIIV were captured in Saugerties, New York Friday night, as the Daily Freeman reports. Ferreira was captured “on crime allegations of criminal ownership of a regulated substance and opposing capture,” while Smith was “accused of two tallies of criminal ownership of a regulated substance, one number of ownership of stolen property and one tally of irritated unlicensed driving, all wrongdoings. He was additionally accused of the violations of unregistered engine vehicle, driving without protection, unlicensed driver, and having a deficient deplete framework,” as per the Daily Freeman. The paper reports that Smith was discovered with a “plastic sack holding 42 decks of heroin,” while Ferreira “was discovered in ownership of euphoria and opposed capture.” Police pulled their truck over “after the driver made a few vehicle and movement infractions.” According to the Daily Freeman, “Police said an enrollment check indicated the permit plates on the truck were stolen and the driver, Smith, was needed by the Dutchess County Sheriff’s Office on an exceptional vehicle and activity warrant.” The two were taken to Ulster County prison, and afterward discharged on safeguard.
Awesome! We should all aspire to be discharged on safeguard at least once in our lifetime, eh? So then I started thinking: maybe I could just do an all-around improvement on the quality of writing here at BLURT by employing this bot regularly. You should see some of the copy that gets submitted… oy vey, what’s a poor, overworked editor to do? Why put in all that time to proof-read and fact-check when you can have a robot do it for you!
To try out this notion, I plugged in a review I wrote for another publication, for the upcoming CBGB original motion picture soundtrack. The results are subtle, but telling – they effectively turned me into a writer who employs English as a second language. Hey, I already have a couple of those types on staff! And while it is true that having an extra set of eyes in the editing process is inherently a good thing, the sad, humbling truth is that some will actually PREFER the altered/spun version to my original. See what you think, but please, no comments from the peanut gallery. My poor battered ego can’t take it, and I’d prefer to keep laboring under the illusion that my writing is high art.
You need journalistic exactness? My writing is subject to great varieties!!!!
Life during wartime, indeed: to be hanging out on the Bowery, specifically 315 Bowery, address of iconic punk venue CBGB, was akin to finding a green zone amid the shocked-and-awed urban desolation that was NYC in the ‘70s. And although new biopic CBGB no doubt mythologizes that notion even further—this is a film, after all, that magically transplants Harry Potter’s Severus Snape and Ron Weasley to the roles of club owner Hilly Kristal and Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome—the accompanying soundtrack just may be the best punk compilation… ever!
What’re you rebelling against? Whaddaya got? How about the above-referenced Talking Heads track, wherein “…Wartime” skitters manically like a hallucinating coke fiend? Or the splintered punk/funk of Richard Hell & the Void Oids’ anthemic “Black Generation”? Or the Flamin’ Groovies’ eternal, Stones-afied anti-heroin epic “Slow Death”? Or not one but two serrated, searing tunes from the mighty Dead Boys, “Sonic Reducer” and “Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth”? Yum! It’s like spinning a fat stack of 45 wax on a vintage drop-down Magnavox.
With 20 tracks drawn from wildly divergent sources, including live cuts and material tapping both major- and indie-label budgets, the sound quality is subject to extreme variations. But to the producers’ credit, they achieve an admirable sonic consistency, with all tracks generally crisp and in-your-face and vocals in particular pushed forward. Purists may quibble over the actual CBGB-ness of some inclusions: the Stooges (“I Wanna Be Your Dog”), New York Dolls (“Chatterbox”) and Velvet Underground (“I Can’t Stand It”) are generally associated with glam/punk venue Max’s Kansas City, while a Joey Ramone solo demo (“I Got Knocked Down”), though solid, is no substitute for a Ramones track proper (presumably, licensing problems arose). But the sheer leather-jacketed, snot-nosed, buzz-chorded fun this comp provides ultimately outweighs such concerns. You want historical accuracy? A legend on the back cover of the CD reads “also available on 8-track & cassette tape”—it’s crossed out via a hasty pencil scrawl, but a nice touch just the same.
Life throughout wartime, undoubtedly: to be hanging out on the Bowery, explicitly 315 Bowery, address of famous punk venue CBGB, was likened to uncovering a green zone in the company of the stunned and-awed urban devastation that was NYC in the ’70s. What’s more in spite of the fact that new biopic CBGB probably mythologizes that idea even further—this is a film, when its all said and done, that mysteriously transplants Harry Potter’s Severus Snape and Ron Weasley to the parts of club holder Hilly Kristal and Dead Boys guitarist Cheetah Chrome—the going hand in hand with soundtrack just may be the best punk arrangement… ever!
What’re you defying? Whaddaya got? What about the above-referenced Talking Heads track, wherein “… Wartime” skitters manically like a daydreaming coke rascal? On the other hand the fragmented punk/funk of Richard Hell & the Void Oids’ anthemic “Black Generation”? Then again the Flamin’ Groovies’ everlasting, Stones-afied hostile to heroin epic “Slow Death”? On the other hand not one yet two serrated, burning tunes from the forceful Dead Boys, “Sonic Reducer” and “Caught With the Meat In Your Mouth”? Yum! It’s like turning a fat stack of 45 wax on a vintage drop-down Magnavox.
With 20 tracks drawn from fiercely disparate sources, incorporating live cuts and material tapping both major- and non mainstream name plans, the sound quality is liable to great varieties. At the same time to the makers’ credit, they realize an excellent sonic consistency, with all tracks for the most part fresh and in-your-face and vocals specifically pushed forward. Perfectionists might bandy over the genuine CBGB-ness of a few considerations: the Stooges (“I Wanna Be Your Dog”), New York Dolls (“Chatterbox”) and Velvet Underground (“I Can’t Stand It”) are ordinarily connected with glam/punk venue Max’s Kansas City, while a Joey Ramone solo demo (“I Got Knocked Down”), however strong, is no substitute for a Ramones track legitimate (apparently, permitting issues rolled out). In any case the sheer cowhide jacketed, snot-nosed, buzz-chorded fun this comp furnishes eventually exceeds such concerns. You need recorded exactness? A legend on the back spread of the CD peruses “additionally accessible on 8-track & tap
(the spun review cut off at this point… so much for the efficiency of robots)