My mother is a fish.
April 24, 2007 5:34 PM   Subscribe

Faulkner or machine translation? Who wrote it? William Faulkner or some German-translating computer robot program? You decide!
posted by John of Michigan (35 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wow, I did for shit on that.
posted by cortex at 5:44 PM on April 24, 2007

Which is particularly sad insofar as I loved The Sound and the Fury when I read it. I had gone in assuming that they'd be using more than one source for Faulkner, though.
posted by cortex at 5:46 PM on April 24, 2007

I think I just failed my American 1920s class.
posted by thecaddy at 6:01 PM on April 24, 2007

I think Faulkner definitely benefits from context...
posted by tentacle at 6:04 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

42%. Thought I'd do better.
posted by Clay201 at 6:07 PM on April 24, 2007

I rocked on that.

But only because I assumed that anything that even remotely made sense was probably the machine. This is, after all, Faulkner we're talking about.
posted by katillathehun at 6:11 PM on April 24, 2007 [2 favorites]

They were all Benjy quotes, right?
posted by MotorNeuron at 6:13 PM on April 24, 2007

I think most of them were from the Quentin section, actually.
posted by thecaddy at 6:14 PM on April 24, 2007

Is there a turing test for idiot man-child?
posted by Smedleyman at 6:20 PM on April 24, 2007

42% without studying is damn good if you ask me.
posted by inconsequentialist at 6:22 PM on April 24, 2007

Got 50% and am appalled. I, too, thought they'd be using more than one source, and preferably something from Light in August, and even then preferably something about Joe Christmas eating from "an invisible dish," the texture and flavor of a food he can't identify taking him back through 25 years and he stands frozen like that for however many paragraphs before his brain tells him he's eating field peas with molasses. My memory of The Sound and the Fury stinks. Where's Henri Bergson when you need him? Oh wait. Dead. Nevermind.
posted by Bixby23 at 6:24 PM on April 24, 2007

What do I get for 100% on the "true art or fake" test. As if there was a difference.
posted by nola at 6:26 PM on April 24, 2007

75%! I don't even know what that says about me (other than I'm a lucky guesser) - but I think I feel more of a kinship with an algorithm than I do with Faulkner.
posted by crinklebat at 6:27 PM on April 24, 2007

92 percent (but then I like reading Thomas Mann and Goethe as well as Faulkner)
posted by Smedleyman at 6:28 PM on April 24, 2007

From the same website, another quiz: Some of the quotes below are from one of the greatest writers ever. The other are from one commercial writer, who achived popularity among uneducated people, but failed to make a contribution to Literature.

I guess I'm uneducated, since I like Stephen King.

And I mean, I guess Joyce is one of the greatest writers ever. I mean, people keep saying it over and over again. But I just wanted to punch him after reading Portrait (maybe that was his point, though? I dunno.)
posted by Deathalicious at 6:28 PM on April 24, 2007

Faulkwerk: My mother is a robot.
posted by ageispolis at 6:29 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

Just choose Faulkner for all of them and you get 50%.

That test is really unfair, to Faulkner and to folks who've never read his work. Modernist stream-of-consciousness ramblings from inside the head of mentally challenged characters? Uh, could you stack the deck in favor of the machine any better than that?
posted by mediareport at 6:34 PM on April 24, 2007

I've just gotta share this:

It is now an accepted axiom that one cannot read high modernist texts by authors like James Joyce, T.S. Eliot, Virginia Woolf and Faulkner: We can only re-read them. But why should that be a problem? All great literature deserves multiple readings, and with each new reading we discover things in the text that we had not seen or properly appreciated before...Most experienced readers agree with this sentiment in principle, yet many of us still persist in our desire (naïve though it may be) that a literary text reveal itself clearly and completely upon a first reading.

Interestingly, and ironically, literature seems to be the only art form that we feel this way about, the only one we are reluctant to revisit, even believing that the need to do so represents some kind of failure of the author. We don't, of course, adopt this attitude toward painting or architecture or music or dance. We don't, for example, choose to look at a painting or a work of sculpture just once: rather, we purchase it and exhibit in a convenient place and return to it time and time again, appreciating it all the more with the re-viewings. Similarly, we like to hear good music or view an outstanding dance performance over and over again, never tiring of their familiarity. So it should also be with our reading of books, especially the great ones. Still, even accepting this point, one must concede that Faulkner remains a special case. Whereas all great writers deserve a second reading, Faulkner requires it. Nevertheless, as legions of his admirers from all around the world testify, he's worth it. Reading Faulkner is indeed a challenge, but the rewards found in re-reading him far exceed the effort.

- Robert W. Hamblin, Director of the Center for Faulkner Studies at Southeast Missouri State University

Ok, it's at Oprah's site from her 'Summer of Faulkner,' but I still really like the above quote; it was just the inspiration I needed when I felt stumped early on in As I Lay Dying a couple of months back. It really wasn't that hard to keep going through the few really confusing passages, and the book ultimately turned out to be one of my favorite reads ever.

I know I shouldn't take it seriously, but this machine test is really rubbing me the wrong way.
posted by mediareport at 6:47 PM on April 24, 2007

Your score is 17%. Uh -- okay. Thanks for playing!
posted by ericb at 6:47 PM on April 24, 2007

posted by lostburner at 6:59 PM on April 24, 2007

Read 'em out loud. The translating machine doesn't know from rhythm.

Seriously -- I wouldn't have scored too well if I'd submitted my answers right away. Before I clicked 'submit,' I read the sentences/fragments out loud. That led me to change three of my answers, and I scored 92. (I did read a lot of Faulkner back when I was smart.)
posted by wryly at 7:00 PM on April 24, 2007

posted by geos at 7:07 PM on April 24, 2007

75%, never read Faulkner, never went to an American school. And I think the test has to be more interesting if you have never read him, because, otherwise, it's just a "can you remember what Faulkner's like?" test, and well, who cares how much Faulkner you can remember.

Though wryly is right, it's in the rhythm, and perhaps I'll check out one of Faulkner's books now.
posted by blacklite at 7:16 PM on April 24, 2007 [1 favorite]

92%. The rhythm's important (plus, it's just fun to read 'em all out loud) but also pay attention to the commas and the capitalization. Faulkner was sparing of the former and fairly traditional in his use of the latter.
posted by vetiver at 7:24 PM on April 24, 2007

One of the comments on the site says that if you know that Faulkner hated commas and just mark everything with commas as the machine and no commas as Faulkner then you'll score 92%
posted by winston at 7:50 PM on April 24, 2007

Yay almost 75 ;) and i'm german native.. The originals have really nice word melodies btw
posted by dnial at 8:58 PM on April 24, 2007

42%. From me who's read quite a bit of Faulkner. But I didn't try reading out loud. I also didn't try downing a bottle of whiskey first. No fair!
posted by telstar at 9:38 PM on April 24, 2007

Oh, sorry to hear that telstar. The whiskey , well that kind of makes or breaks your reading.
posted by nola at 9:47 PM on April 24, 2007

33%. What's a Faulkner?
posted by Soulfather at 9:59 PM on April 24, 2007

The theory being that if you're in the same state of mind as when the author wrote the piece, you have an author-mind-meld.

Faulkner was a drinker who also wrote pretty well. Southern, very uh, emo.
posted by telstar at 10:04 PM on April 24, 2007

Heh. I got them all right. But then, I still consider reading S & F in first year uni as one of the most important experiences of my life.
posted by lastobelus at 1:18 AM on April 25, 2007

92% and I haven't read Faulkner. Vocabulary/register is another giveaway. Also, translation engines don't borrow obscure words from T.S. Eliot.
posted by Mocata at 3:40 AM on April 25, 2007

83%, woo-hoo. And I totally agree with the Hamblin quote about rereading.
posted by languagehat at 9:01 AM on April 25, 2007

33%. d'oh!
posted by spacewaitress at 9:48 AM on April 25, 2007

Just choose Faulkner for all of them and you get 50%.

heh. we must be synchronized. i chose machine for all of them and got 50%.
posted by 3.2.3 at 11:47 AM on April 25, 2007

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