1. souse, n.5: 3. A drunkard. slang (chiefly U.S.). (OED)
  2. white souse, n.1: A blog for literature, politics, science, and the occasional cocktail.

Friday, June 1, 2007

Jargon 2.0

And on a more humorous tip, here are a couple of funny jargon generators. First, dack.com's "bullshit" generator, which is oriented toward web design and business types. I submitted "Let's sell some donuts." The response: "Integrate virtual communities." I'm not sure, but this may be tied to those "empty calories" served up in a gooey Krispy Kreme.

Or here's an oldie but goodie -- a postmodern (pomo) paper generator. Hit refresh and it'll keep spitting out new papers. One of my favorites is that it prefixes "de" and "post" to any available -ism. Interestingly, the first line of many sections begins with a mash-up of a Marx quote and a later theorist -- Foucault, Sartre, Wittgenstein, etc. I particularly liked this iteration, a collaborative piece by a professor from MIT's English department (which does exist) and "Miskatonic University" in Arkham, Mass. Fans of H. P. Lovecraft will recognize the school.

This kind of composition reached its peak in the Sokal hoax a decade ago -- when NYU physicist Alan Sokal succesfully submitted a gobbledy-gook paper of postmodern quotes to the journal Social Text. In fairness to the editors of Social Text (which is published at my school, Rutgers) I doubt Sokal's paper would have gotten in if he hadn't been an accomplished physicist, at a neighboring institution, writing on physics (whatever the jargon).

1 comment:

Scott said...

To be fair to the liberal arts crowd, a SCIgen paper (similiar to the pomo generator, but for computer science) was published in the World Multi-Conference on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics.

Jargon does a very good job at stifling interdisciplinary conversation. I'm not sure if they're considered jargon, but assumed Greek letters for constants are also horrible (and are littered through technical papers).