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Arts Vanity Issue: How To Avoid Writing Anything Ever

Adriano O. Iqbal
I didn’t want to write a vanity, so I made a program* to write my vanity for me. It took a lot longer than writing a good vanity probably would have, but I think I’ll break even after about 18 or so more vanities. I ripped a bunch of sentence fragments from Neal Stephenson’s 1992 sci-fi classic “Snow Crash” and fed them into the machine, and my program spit out a couple hundred sentences of prose: a chronicle of the Arts board’s daring exploits. It’s not particularly stirring or even that coherent, but that’s the computer’s fault, not mine.** I give to you: “Snow Crash Sad-Libs: Arts Board Edition: A Short Story in Two Parts.”

Part I

It's better to be conservative and take what you can get than take a big gamble and blow it; since then Grace has kept the gun in the glove compartment. The big stout Russian chicks—stomping, slab-faced babushkas—keep giving Kurlander a hassle. As he's turning away to protect himself, the middle third of the baseball bat turns into a column of burning sawdust accelerating in all directions like a bursting star; underneath is naught but billowing pale flesh. Abby ended up holding this bat handle with milky smoke pouring out the end, when they both wound up working at the Arts board. Lien turns away, shamed and awed. She will come away from the whole thing feeling that, somehow, she owes Victoria L. a favor.

Part II

Three times a day, they stomp the cigarettes out on the concrete with their cheap vinyl shoes. When they set down to pick up Jude D. Russo, it just seemed embarrassingly stupid. He has a little yard all to himself; he has no trouble finding the canal that leads to the next neighborhood. It will actually enhance their sense of duty if the thirty-minute deadline expires. Shaun just wants this over with; he belongs to an elite order, a hallowed subcategory. As he drags it backward towards Natalie T. Chang, she could hear nothing but singing and chanting. When they set down to pick up Mia, the babbling would spread throughout the van like a contagious disease.

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Fin

Kenneth Goldsmith, who is pretty much a total hack, once tweeted: “Curation is as good as creation.” I don’t really find that true, but it lends a certain legitimacy to this randomly-generated pile of words, so I’m going to roll with it. Everything that can be made has already been made. Nihil sub sole novum. The Arts board is dead; long live the Arts board.

*If you’re interested in playing around with it, it can be found at https://github.com/adrianoiqbal/sadlibs/

**the obvious response to this is: write a better program. But I’m choosing to ignore that for now.

—Adriano Iqbal is the Arts board’s incoming Editor-At-Large. Some say he was a robot in a past life.

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