January 02, 2006

Talking to Robots

Neil Clark, the author of what may be my all-time favorite and most quotable piece of loopy alterna-wing journalism ("Milosevic, Prisoner of Conscience") has reviewed Oliver Kamm's Anti-Totalitarianism for the Telegraph. It can be read on Clark's relatively new blog. (He hasn't figured out how to make his blog text display line breaks and spaces, so the review appears in the form a single, long, relentless and rather indigestible paragraph; which seems rather apt, somehow.)

Kamm assembles some circumstantial evidence that Clark read no further than the book's dust jacket prior to writing the review. I won't comment on that, as I haven't read the book yet either (though it's on my list.)

The funny bit is in the comments, where we can observe Neil Clark's earnest attempt to engage a spam-bot in stimulating dialogue.

"Nadim" writes:

Thanks for letting us post comments - very cool of you. I work online with my own USED COLLEGE BOOKS website. Check it out if you get the chance. Thanks again. [hot link deleted -- ed.]
Then, the Nadim-bot adds another nearly identical message, informing Neil that he also runs a website called Muslim Matrimonial Guide, and expressing the hope that he "check it out" as well, at the first opportunity.

"Nice to hear from you, Nadim," writes Clark. "Isn't it revealing that so many neo-conservative, pro-war blogs do NOT allow the posting of comments?"

Sadly, Nadim has not been programmed to reveal whether or not it would tend to agree that the failure to allow comments on certain blogs is revealing. However (and this may or may not be revealing - Nadim? Care to weigh in?) Clark has now himself deleted several of the comments from his queue. Now we see the violence inherent in the system...

Posted by Dr. Frank at January 2, 2006 07:42 PM | TrackBack

That's hilarious. Would he have responded to a Spambot named Stewart?

Posted by: josh at January 3, 2006 03:19 PM

Dear Dr Frank,
I can assure you that I have deleted no comments at all from my blog!
My blog is free for all - including barmy neo-cons and spam robots...(unlike the likes of Stephen Pollard and Oliver Kamm who allow no comments at all).
Happy New Year,

Posted by: Neil Clark at January 5, 2006 01:18 PM

As a life-long liberal, I feel a strong urge to pass a law forbidding anyone who didn't buy a clue about mounting the internet and humping it by 1996 from ever accessing it thereafter.

It's just my natural liberal nature.

And the fact that it would cut way way way down on my reading. I'm just a commie on the other side.

Speaking of which, I object to the totalitarianism inherent in the system present by my not, via Firefox, being allowed to expand this comment box.

Come see the violence inherent in the system, everyone!

Posted by: Gary Farber at January 6, 2006 05:56 PM