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Computing (FOLDOC) dictionary
Dissociated Press
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[Play on "Associated Press"; perhaps inspired by a reference
in the 1949 Bugs Bunny cartoon "What's Up, Doc?"] An
algorithm for transforming any text into potentially humorous
garbage even more efficiently than by passing it through a
marketroid. The algorithm starts by printing any N
consecutive words (or letters) in the text. Then at every
step it searches for any random occurrence in the original
text of the last N words (or letters) already printed and then
prints the next word or letter. Emacs has a handy command
for this. Here is a short example of word-based Dissociated
Press applied to an earlier version of the Jargon File:
wart: A small, crocky feature that sticks out of
an array (C has no checks for this). This is relatively
benign and easy to spot if the phrase is bent so as to be
not worth paying attention to the medium in question.
Here is a short example of letter-based Dissociated Press
applied to the same source:
window sysIWYG: A bit was named aften /bee't*/ prefer
to use the other guy's re, especially in every cast a
chuckle on neithout getting into useful informash speech
makes removing a featuring a move or usage actual
abstractionsidered interj. Indeed spectace logic or problem!
A hackish idle pastime is to apply letter-based Dissociated
Press to a random body of text and vgrep the output in hopes
of finding an interesting new word. (In the preceding
example, "window sysIWYG" and "informash" show some promise.)
Iterated applications of Dissociated Press usually yield
better results. Similar techniques called "travesty
generators" have been employed with considerable satirical
effect to the utterances of Usenet flamers; see pseudo.