On the Simulation of Postmodernism and Mental Debility using Recursive T ransition Networks

Andrew Bulhak
1996 unpublished
Recursive transition networks are an abstraction related to context-free grammars and nite-state automata. It is possible, to generate random, meaningless and yet realistic-looking text in genres deened using recursive transition networks, often with quite amusing results. One genre in which this has been accomplished is that of academic papers on postmodernism. In his book GG odel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid 1], Douglas Hofstadter demonstrated a method of generating meaningless but
more » ... rammatically correct English-language text. Hofstadter illustrated this method with an example: a selection of 13 fragments of text, ten of which w ere generated using a computer program and three which w ere taken from a journal titled Art-Language, a n d a c hallenge to the reader to identify which s e n tences were generated artiicially. T h e c hallenge is made interesting by the fact that the language of the excerpts from the journal is so dense and jargon-laden that, to the casual observer, it does not make a n y more sense than the computer-generated fragments. It was this that inspired me initially to write a program to generate artiicial travesties of such writing.