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Thursday, March 09, 2006

Crossed signals (or fun with stats)

Who would have thought six people searching for "sinful curves" would happen upon my webpage*? They must have been disappointed by what I call my Wall of Text. Just words words words and no prurient pics. Also disappointed were the six people that searched for "barmaid girl dirty bar", who probably came across a silly little story I wrote a few years ago which contained exactly one bar, overwrought narration, and not one sex scene.

Then there’s the fellow who searched for "choochi" – that’s there, but probably not the kind of choochi he was looking for. Or the guy looking for "free body builders photo and bigger biceps photos". Sorry dude. I can’t figure out why the search engines directed you to my webpage. I can’t think of any possible context within my webpage wherein those words would be possible. In fact, I think this is the first time I’ve ever written "bicep".

Here’s a gem: One search query using "she lights glass pipe crack sex". I’m scratching my head over this one, but I’m pretty sure I’ve used each of those words, just not in that order.

And then the one depraved individual who searched for "spurting cum shots in a woman’s hairy pussy" – and somehow found my page! Reminds me of this untranslatable joke from the late Catalan comedian, Eugenio (untranslatable because of the play of words, not because it’s dirty, which it is):

El saben aquel que diu... Maria, hay una corrida en la tele. Quieres que la cambie? No, que la limpies conyo, que la limpies...

So this gets me thinking. Maybe more and more it’s not the content that matters, but the context. Political discourse and advertising have perfected the art of snappy, memorable soundbites. How often do you read snippets instead of the whole article? Who really, in the 21st century, listens to lengthy political discourses? Who read the entire Estatut? Everything is condensed on TV, on the internet, de-contextualized and projected in whatever way the information purveyors want us to receive it.

Then there’s the question of search engines. Being robots they can search millions of databases the world over in milliseconds – but they are unintuitive. They take in everything, amass it and spit it back out to us ... and unless you use salacious, politically incendiary, or pop culture-related wording chances are your lonely little webpage will be visited by only you and your circle of friends. So dig into that html and throw in as much 50 cent, Madonna, tits, dicks, ass, Bush, and Laden as you can and you’ll get hits. The trick is to keep them there afterward - but, as anybody knows, it’s like trying to pick up in a bar, you have to get noticed first …

The context thing is fascinating. Google could probably write whole new books re-contextualizing snippets of text – like Burroughs 40 years ago with his cut up techniques. Soon we’ll be able to buy customizable novels with ready made plot structures, like the ones Julia created in The Ministry of Truth. Snip a little from here, paste a little there, throw in a little ennui here, a little cynical humor there, make it slightly nonsensical and above all nonlinear and you got a modern literary classic. Awesome. I like it already.

But then what’ll I do? The purported mathematical possibility of monkeys typing Shakespeare is getting nearer. I can hear them pounding on those keyboards already. Virtually, of course. It’s just a matter of time and disc space.


* Now it's my re-designed webpage, minus some older stories and with higher quality videos.