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According to Nancy Kruh of The Dallas Morning News, veteran New York Times columnist Bob Herbert has been stuck in a rut. “For several months now,” Kruh writes, “as I’ve read one Iraq war column after another, one thought always comes to mind: Um, haven’t I read this before? So, yesterday, I finally immersed myself in Lexis-Nexis to try to quantify and qualify this phenomenon.”
What Kruh discovered is that many of Herbert’s columns during the Bush presidency contain similar, interchangeable passages. She cites a number of examples that make it seem like your average Herbert column is just a random recombination of wording from earlier columns.
Given the paper’s recent stock performance and rumblings from restless investors, I thought I’d help the Times find ways to put out the same product for less money. So I spent about fifteen minutes writing software that can generate Bob Herbert columns while using a minimal amount of our Earth’s precious resources.
Behold “Automatic Bob,” the Bob Herbert column generator:
Automatic Bob creates coherent-sounding columns using only the finest genuine Bob Herbert verbiage. Don’t be fooled by imitators!
Note: If The New York Times would like to purchase the technology behind Automatic Bob, please contact me. Until then, it will remain here as a public service to those folks stranded on the non-intelligentsia side of the TimesSelect wall.