Jesus Markoving Christ
November 4, 2011 7:35 AM   Subscribe

Jesus Markoving Christ
An incoherent savior for an incoherent age.
Role: Creator
posted by cortex (13 comments total)
This project was posted to MetaFilter by Foci for Analysis on December 17, 2011: Selected Teachings Of Jesus Markoving Christ

Role: Creator

ha ha ha
posted by unSane at 11:48 AM on November 4, 2011 [6 favorites]

posted by cortex at 11:54 AM on November 4, 2011

The chapter and verse citations are pretty profoundly disorienting for me in a way I'm not sure is analogous to other generators. Sort of a WHAT THATS NOT IN THE SERMON ON THE MOUNT! kind of thing, I'm not sure how I feel about it.

The KJV might make a wackier, and thus better right?, choice of source text, silver coins rather than silver pieces was a dead give away to modern translation. Let me know if you want data dumps.
posted by Blasdelb at 12:27 PM on November 4, 2011

Yeah, part of what I was thinking about when I was putting this together is the big spectrum of experience with biblical content that different people have—from basically zero specific familiarity with Christianity beyond "oh, that's a picture of Jesus", all the way up to folks who really, really know their new testament down to chapter and verse—and the weird way that something like this has different degrees of meaningfulness and dissonance for different readers.

So e.g. I grew up going to Catholic church up until my early teens but was never really into it, so I have a sort of lay familiarity where I recognize an awful lot of the stuff in the Gospels but I couldn't tell you where one or the another line was to save my life; for someone in my shoes, or with less familiarity still, the chapter and verse thing is recognizable dressing ("oh, that's a bible verse then") but not something I could verify. Whereas if you know perfectly well that the bit about seeking and thus finding isn't Luke 7:23 or whatever, it's immediate dissonance.

Further to which the sometimes archaic structure of the source text and the way that a random bit of a parable doesn't necessarily make sense out of context means stuff that reads to a lay reader like it has been maybe reshuffled by the Markov process would be readily identifiable as verbatim by a studied reader.

So, different vectors of dissonance for different readers.

The KJV might make a wackier, and thus better right?

Oh, totally. I grabbed the translation I did because it was the first one I found that was basically nothing but a few lines of header material and then a whole bunch of unpartititoned Jesus quotes. If you've got a convenient KJV dump of just Jesus' actual words, I'd be super happy to slot that in for the added pomp and flavor.
posted by cortex at 12:39 PM on November 4, 2011

Interesting, It sort of looks like a critique of these random info/visual/data generators (like processing for example) which never really get beyond a superficial level of meaning. I'm not sure if that's your intention though.
posted by sgt.serenity at 3:56 PM on November 4, 2011

If only we could harness the energies associated with cortex and his disparate gaggle of scatterthoughts, we could power a small insect for an infinite moment.
posted by peacay at 5:34 PM on November 4, 2011 [1 favorite]

Cool! I feel better knowing how you feel about it.

I couldn't find document with only partitioned red letter text from KJV, so I just made one myself. It is a bit rough but should work. I'll just email it to you.

There is quite strident debate as to how red letter bibles should be made that have, to my knowledge, devolved into at least one fist fight. You think knitting threads get bad? You can imagine the kinds of places where impolite requests are made to shove this or that hermeneutic principle. I made this dump with a more conservative, as in sparing, approach but left in obvious paraphrases. for example: Luke 5:14
"And he charged him to tell no man: but go, and shew thyself to the priest, and offer for thy cleansing, according as Moses commanded, for a testimony unto them."
posted by Blasdelb at 11:35 PM on November 4, 2011

An incoherent savior for an incoherent age.

Such a great tagline.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:38 AM on November 5, 2011

Now do one for the Prophet Muhammad!
posted by cjorgensen at 7:31 AM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

I believe that's the plot of a Ludlum thriller isn't it?

The Markov Fatwa.
posted by unSane at 8:15 AM on November 5, 2011

Thanks, Blasdelb. I'll try and get this whole shebang KJVified this weekend.

It sort of looks like a critique of these random info/visual/data generators (like processing for example) which never really get beyond a superficial level of meaning.

Not a direct critique or anything, but one of the things I like about Markov-based stuff is the sort of implicit Dadaist rejection of traditional sources of meaningfulness: you take a source text and then willfully reject it as a fixed canon and say instead, okay, let's find meaning in whatever comes out accidentally after we cut it into pieces and put them back together blindly.

Which can certainly function as a critique of or at least a counter-thrust to the sort of authority-through-design mode of infographic presentations that are more style than substance, but I can't say that specifically where I was going with it so much as making a goofy recombinant text thing for its own sake.

Now do one for the Prophet Muhammad!

I experimented with mixing in The Dude's lines from Lebowski at one point. It was both funnier (because you got easy laughs from Jesus saying e.g. "Blessed are you who, uh, you know, in the parlance of our times...") and a little less interesting because it wasn't clear why that was what it was doing.

I may at some point make an alternate attempt at some sort of Markov-driven Mix-N-Match Messiah some time, work in major religious figures as well as fictional prophets (Paul and Leto II Atreides?) or loosely revered figures (The Dude? Luke Skywalker?) and get a great big stew of stuff that way.
posted by cortex at 8:28 AM on November 5, 2011 [6 favorites]

I vote for a Chinese menu approach. Maybe a list of checkboxes. "Yes Jesus, Yes Luke Skywalker, No Dude, Yes Merlin Mann, No Chicken Soup for the Soul...."
posted by nebulawindphone at 6:37 PM on November 5, 2011 [1 favorite]

King James Programming
Posts generated by a Markov chain trained on the King James Bible and Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs.
posted by Blasdelb at 3:32 PM on December 12, 2013

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