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Horse_ebooks Is Human After All

timothy posted 1 year,27 days | from the emperor's-new-clothes-are-very-postmodern dept.

The Internet 72

An anonymous reader writes with word that two of the more intriguing memes of recent times have been outed as elaborate performance art. Bizarre Twitter-centric entities @Horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book aren't really inexplicable, it turns out: "[These feeds] have been running for the past several years, both have the hallmarks of automation, chugging along anonymously and churning out disjointed bits of text in a very spam-like fashion, but neither is as it appears." The Escapist has a bit more, now that the horse is out of the bag.

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So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937181)

Same type of stuff. Anyone ever run yowlines on their startup-sequence?

Re:So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (1)

Captain Spam (66120) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937483)

Same type of stuff. Anyone ever run yowlines on their startup-sequence?

No, but I frequently wonder if I'm having fun yet.

Re:So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (4, Insightful)

buswolley (591500) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938645)

I'd like to note that the article summary fails to define the subject, and assumes the reader is already informed. I have noticed this lapse in many articles on slashdot recently and it is frustrating. Sure I can look it up on Google, but why would I when the article does not have any clear explanation of why it would interest me at all?

I mean...I am reasonably informed on many geek matters, but I do not have time or interest to follow up every new internet trend.

Re:So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (1)

mythosaz (572040) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939047)

Meh.

Compared to a few recently, this one's not bad. I'd never heard about either of these things before, but I can easily gather from the summary that:

@Horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book are some sort of twitter accounts that spew nonsense that the kids think are meme-worthy. It turns out that they're actually manned by people doing performance art. RTFA for more.

Re:So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (2)

buswolley (591500) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939529)

Except I thought maybe ppl thought there was a horse typing messages.

However, I agree. Others have been worse, and I just wanted to use this post a platform to make a point more broadly about the editorial process at Slashdot and tenets of Writing 101.

Re:So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (1)

buswolley (591500) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939537)

as

Re:So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (2)

IronChef (164482) | 1 year,26 days | (#44940033)

I looked up "horse ebooks" on Twitter and I assure you, it still isn't interesting.

Re:So it's Zippy the Pinhead for the new millenium (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44939131)

I already run unix as my OS. When they told me that I had to run another just to edit text, I ran away back to vim.

So it was just a lame ass art project. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937187)

And we can look forward to more great "pieces" from them as soon as they've finished wiping.

Re:So it was just a lame ass art project. (1)

thoriumbr (1152281) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937351)

How this ended up on /. frontpage is still a mystery to me...

Re:So it was just a lame ass art project. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937703)

It's a very simple process.
1) People go to this page [slashdot.org] and look at submissions.
2) People with numbers vote up or down on the stories.
3) Worthless stories get on the front page and actual news for nerds gets skipped.

Re:So it was just a lame ass art project. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937887)

so what you're saying is that they're trolling the submission queue now?

Re:So it was just a lame ass art project. (2)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938097)

Now?

Re:So it was just a lame ass art project. (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938323)

How this ended up on /. frontpage is still a mystery to me...

Apparently its a way to seek fame (if not fortune) for the less ambitious.

I saw this come across my BreakingNews [breakingnews.com] app and was stunned that people would actually give a rats ass about anonymous twitter accounts spewing rubbish. Hell I have 4 or 5 anonymous twitter accounts left laying around from old cell phones and I assure you nothing but rubbish ever was tweeted from these.

But to make this headlines on the NewY orker is par for the New Yorker, they have been navel gazing for decades.

(Also gave me a new perspective of Breaking New. As a company, they seem to have become nothing but navel gazers and and an Obama quote mill.)

Re:So it was just a lame ass art project. (1)

NatasRevol (731260) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938113)

That would be more 'intriguing' than what horse_ebooks was.

What is this I dont... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937193)

It sounds like Happy in Paraguay [youtube.com] .

Re:What is this I dont... (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44939649)

Shut your mouth! These two hacks got nuthin' on DJO!

Re:What is this I dont... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | 1 year,26 days | (#44942275)

Shut your mouth! These two hacks got nuthin' on DJO!

Fine, it is like DJO but not funny.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937243)

I have no idea what this is even trying to say. I can't even parse the first sentence.

Re:What? (2)

strength_of_10_men (967050) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937393)

God damnit! I wasted precious lunchtime trying to figure out WTF this was all about and in the end, I'm still not sure. I should have just gone to Zombocom [slashdot.org] where at least I can get positive re-enforcement in a nice soothing voice while I browsed the rest of /.

A Horse is a Horse (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937245)

of course, of course

Wow. (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937293)

This is probably the stupidest story in the history of slashdot dot org. Even that HOSTS file wack-job was way smarter than this basket of poop.

Re:Wow. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44940035)

This reminds me of that story once posted here about Grandpa and SlashCock. This site is getting way stupid and liberal, guess the two go hand in hand.

Bad art.. (3, Insightful)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937357)

Bad art often occurs when 'artists' replace quality with novelty.

See horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book for perfect examples.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937451)

Thank you, I was wondering what this was about and now I know. I had never heard of either and now I understand both why I never heard of them and why they are on the front page of slashdot. The first part is because they are bad art, and very few of my friends like bad art. I know another way to spot bad art. It is when something is made for the purpose of being "art". Good art needs to be made for some purpose. It may be made to be decorative, or informative, or entertaining, or for numerous other reasons, but being "art" is not really a purpose.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

njnnja (2833511) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937609)

It may be made to be decorative, or informative, or entertaining, or for numerous other reasons, but being "art" is not really a purpose.

In all fairness, just being "art" was pretty groundbreaking, oh, 50 or 60 years ago - a little meta that no one had ever seen before. But like patents, you can take an old idea, add "on a computer" (or even better "on a networked computer"), and it becomes innovative!

Re:Bad art.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44941647)

It may be made to be decorative, or informative, or entertaining, or for numerous other reasons, but being "art" is not really a purpose.

In all fairness, just being "art" was pretty groundbreaking, oh, 50 or 60 years ago - a little meta that no one had ever seen before. But like patents, you can take an old idea, add "on a computer" (or even better "on a networked computer"), and it becomes innovative!

As I undertand it most "modern art" is either someone who missed the point of Picasso's work or someone trolling the "art community" producing things that are intentionally absurd but achieve "cult status" by virtue of being fashionable to like in certain circles.

Re:Bad art.. (2)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937579)

IMO, anytime the word "art" is prefaced with the word "performance," it's pretty much a given that said "art" is, in reality, total crap.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

TechyImmigrant (175943) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937717)

'Installation' art is the worst.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | 1 year,26 days | (#44942291)

'Installation' art is the worst.

That explains InstallShield.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939403)

The problem is that 99% of art, (be it literature, poetry, music or sculpture, etc.) is crap.

The vast majority of that crap almost nobody ever sees, in the world of books and music you have to get published to get attention that filters out something like 90% of the complete drek.

Not everybody is a creative genius, this is also true in technical fields, something like 90% of innovation is driven by 10% of the population. This is why our society has people we pay to critique art and tell us what is worth paying attention to. (And sometimes they are horribly, horribly wrong...)

The point is that SOME performance art is amazing.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939595)

The point is that SOME performance art is amazing.

That seems to be a matter of opinion.

Personally, I'd much rather stare at inanimate etchings in a gallery than see some douchebag with a stupid haircut, covered in pig's blood and reciting his latest awful, Poe-esque poetry in the city park.

To each his artistic own, I guess.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939871)

The point is that SOME performance art is amazing.

That seems to be a matter of opinion.

Personally, I'd much rather stare at inanimate etchings in a gallery than see some douchebag with a stupid haircut, covered in pig's blood and reciting his latest awful, Poe-esque poetry in the city park.

To each his artistic own, I guess.

I would probably agree on the example given.

Again... SOME is good, but good luck finding any.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

rasmusbr (2186518) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939563)

Anytime a contemporary work is called art with the emphasis on art you pretty much know that the creation is not something that anyone outside of the art community is currently interested in.

Calling it crap is kind of pointless when you're not in the target audience for it. I shrug and call it art.

Re:Bad art.. (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939621)

Anytime a contemporary work is called art with the emphasis on art you pretty much know that the creation is not something that anyone outside of the art community is currently interested in.

Calling it crap is kind of pointless when you're not in the target audience for it. I shrug and call it art.

It's my experience that giving your opinion to others is generally pointless, whether you're their target audience or not.

Everyone's a critic, and a god in their own minds.

There is nothing left to believe in. (1)

wiredog (43288) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937407)

Between this, and the news that Mick Jagger is becoming a great-grandfather [thedailybeast.com] , there's just no hope anymore.

Re:There is nothing left to believe in. (1)

Boronx (228853) | 1 year,26 days | (#44942619)

Exactly the opposite. Judging by your user ID, you're old enough to remember the cold war.

Re:There is nothing left to believe in. (1)

chrish (4714) | 1 year,26 days | (#44946977)

Get off my lawn.

Let's try to define art. Again. (3, Funny)

SoupGuru (723634) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937457)

Nothing like getting a bunch of borderline Autism Spectrum Disorder technology nerds to argue about exactly what makes art the most useless endeavor in the world.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (-1)

SailorSpork (1080153) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937617)

Nothing like an ad hominem arguments in formus to bring out the best thinking and engagement on the topic at hand. Here, you may need this: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem [wikipedia.org]

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (1)

CRCulver (715279) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937727)

Ad hominem attacks are only fallacious when all parties to the conversation have the same prerequesite background. The OP is suggesting that many on this site do not have a background that renders them capable of participating in the debate.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (0)

Mr. Slippery (47854) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938039)

The OP is suggesting that many on this site do not have a background that renders them capable of participating in the debate.

If people need a "background" (beyond a decent general education) to discuss your art, your art sucks: it is ipso facto a game for a self-satisfied group of mutual admirers, a pseudo-intellectual circle-jerk

"How clever of you, oh Artist, to create a piece that only makes sense to those of us intimately familiar with Frazer's The Golden Bough and with the films of Jean-Luc Godard!" "Oh, how clever of you, oh Audience, to pick up the references I concealed in my work!"

We are already over-supplied with terrible art, that which has nothing to say and attempts to compensate by saying it obscurely.

Is this such as case? Dunno.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (2)

CRCulver (715279) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938151)

Wow, I didn't expect someone to validate the OP's point so fast.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (1)

almitydave (2452422) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938495)

He's not really trolling - it's brilliant meta performance art!

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (2)

H0p313ss (811249) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939487)

He's not really trolling - it's brilliant meta performance art!

*dances across Slashdot wearing a tutu and a Firefly t-shirt smeared in peanut butter while humming a 20's era swing tune*

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (2)

SoupGuru (723634) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938465)

Discussing art on Slashdot is like discussing cross-stitching on a drag racing forum. Like discussing particle physics on a doll collecting forum. Like discussing baseball stats on a recipe trading forum.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44938839)

Thank you, we needed all of your similes.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44939703)

Discussing art on Slashdot is like discussing cross-stitching on a drag racing forum. Like discussing particle physics on a doll collecting forum. Like discussing baseball stats on a recipe trading forum.

Unless it's pre-approved "nerdy" art, of course (i.e. anything relating to Star Wars, Star Trek, famous fantasy authors, "ironic" performances designed to "prove" a point we agree with, or anything at all from the nation of Japan). Then we'll still drone on and on about how much the output (perhaps not the endeavor) is the most useless product in the world, but at least we'll act like we CARE and really know what we're talking about, because reasons.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44939853)

Thank you, we needed all of your long-winded rebuttal.

Re:Let's try to define art. Again. (1)

xevioso (598654) | 1 year,26 days | (#44941955)

tl:dr

Pattern Recognition (1)

gmuslera (3436) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937549)

They took the idea from "The footage" from that Gibson's book?

Re:Pattern Recognition (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937565)

They took the idea from "The footage" from that Gibson's book?

That's right! It's roughly the same method you use to form sentences.

What about... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44937585)

the goat? [goo.gl]

Say what? (1, Insightful)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937603)

[These feeds] have been running for the past several years

And it's the first time I hear about them.

No soup for you! NEXT!

Re:Say what? (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | 1 year,26 days | (#44940303)

Art is for hipsters only. If someone has to tell you who to follow then you're not cool enough to follow them anyway.

(and besides, we're far too nerdy to use twitter anyway)

Move along, nothing to see here (2)

Shaiku (1045292) | 1 year,27 days | (#44937921)

This is the first I've ever heard of either of these accounts and after glancing at them I still fail to see why anyone would give a crap? It's like staring at a random word generator. Neither intriguing nor captivating. Giving them a day of fame here is a waste of my time and undeserved food for their troll of a project.

Slashdot: News for twitter-obsessed tweens?

Re:Move along, nothing to see here (1)

Ralph Spoilsport (673134) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938215)

Sadly, I agree. What a waste of human effort.

Day job (2)

mccrew (62494) | 1 year,26 days | (#44937989)

Can I get a double tall, half caf, caramel whip with nonfat milk? OKthxBye.

Things this article doesn't make me give: (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44938251)

1) a single fuck

That is all.

Pronunciation Book too (1)

MetricT (128876) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938301)

The final video this morning had one more picture encoded in the audio.

http://i.imgur.com/DloO0OO.png [imgur.com]

Wtf (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44938341)

Wtf is this boing boing? Get this shit off slashdot

Le Grand (1)

The Grim Reefer (1162755) | 1 year,26 days | (#44938759)

Bakkila and Bender said they will no longer maintain Horse eBooks and Pronunciation Book. "No one wants to work on a painting forever"

After which, Bender lit both on fire and used them to light the Le Grand Cigar and mumbled something about "stupid meat bags".

In other news, the FBI is looking for a piece of the US constitution that historians have discovered is missing. And apparently George Burns grave has been robbed.

What? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44938987)

Neither link explains wtf this is actually about.

Here's the missing information. (5, Informative)

quietwalker (969769) | 1 year,26 days | (#44939457)

First, Horse_ebooks is a twitter feed.

This twitter feed started out as part of a network of spam twitter accounts to promote the (probably illegal) sale of ebooks from a russian seller. It often includes random lines of text from the ebooks that it's trying to spam/sell in an attempt to avoid being classified as spam. Basically, bayesian poisoning.

Some folks thought it was amusing because it would create odd non-sequiturs, and in the same way that people started posting zombo.com links, it perputated, though apparently only among folks with their heads way far up the twitter lower GI.

So, it was experiencing some popularity for hard to define or reproduce reasons.

At this point, 2 guys who work for internet media companies purchased the twitter account from the russian spammer who operated it, in 2011, after it had shown up in a few non-internet specific publications. Apparently they couldn't figure out how to milk commercial value from it, and continued to sporadically post from it, claiming it was some sort of art project, though it's more likely that they just never capitalized it and tried to mimic the previous behavior.

The only reason you're hearing about it now, is because these accounts are now being used as part of an alternate reality 'game', like Halo's "I Love Bees" ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/I_Love_Bees [wikipedia.org] ), and so are being promoted widely for that reason. I would argue that it's a 'game' per se, but whatever.

Interestingly enough, it's claimed that this was all held in great secrecy until now, yet I note nearly simultaneous news releases from a large number of primarily internet-only media sites, not just now, but previously since 2011. As if they were all in on it. Most of the recent articles have some permutation of the claim that it's a well established meme, and that it's a "persistent mystery on the internet," almost as if they were given a press release and are just regurgitating text.

Personally speaking, I'm fairly well aware of memes, and I hadn't heard of this one. Perhaps it's just because I avoided twitter? In any case, it looks and feels like someone's trying to artificially force something to become viral when it's not really that appealing to begin with.

Hopefully though, my sleuthing has saved you from having to look this stuff up and perpetuate it, and you can continue to ignore it.

Re:Here's the missing information. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44939571)

I was following the pronunciation_book youtube thing for a while, and some of the writing was pretty good. But I knew the whole time that the "big reveal" would end up being a bunch of horseshit.

Didn't see this coming, though.

Re:Here's the missing information. (2)

Obfuscant (592200) | 1 year,26 days | (#44941643)

Thank you. I read both links in the summary and still couldn't figure out what was going on. It didn't help that the articles are poorly written. At one point they both say that these two people who were doing this had been keeping their identities secret from the places they work. How they did that and functioned as the higher level management they claim to be is a mystery. "Who is your director of development?" "I don't know, it is a secret."

Re:Here's the missing information. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44943141)

Far more meme-worthy is the youtube channel "Pronunciation Maual".

Re:Here's the missing information. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44943169)

actually, that would be "Pronunciation Manual", if I hadn't mispronounced it...

n/a (1)

RobocopsDad (2809731) | 1 year,26 days | (#44940021)

posting to remove mod mistake, oops

And this news item just in... (1)

idontgno (624372) | 1 year,26 days | (#44941401)

"Performance Artists" fail Turing Test.

Pictures at 11. (Assuming we can find pictures of them adequately clothed.)

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