Shakespeare Helped Me Write My Porn, And He Can Help You Too

For some reason, I just discovered that the Google Docs demo gives the impression that six famous authors are collaborating with you on your masterwork. Naturally, I used it for NC-17 rated purposes.

Mar 18, 2013 at 2:00pm | Leave a comment

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Not actually porn.

 
I hear a lot of creative-types bemoan the Internet.
 
"I can't stop refreshing Tumblr!" they'll say, compulsively clicking the little "home" button. Or "I get in so many Twitter fights that I don't have time to work on my novel!" Or, you know, the whole "endless porn" factor.
 
And I hear it, I do. There's nothing like the tiny zing! of dopamine that comes from scrolling through endless photos of Tom Hardy cuddling a rescue puppy to take your mind off your 75,000 word gritty exploration of the human condition. I sometimes find myself cutting myself off for days at a time on weekends, just because I know I'll otherwise be up until 4:30 sending sloth facts and "Doctor Who" reaction gifs to my best bros.
 
That said, the Internet has come up with some excellent creative collaboration tools. In the last few years, the lines between writing amateur stories and self-publishing have become increasingly blurred thanks to the support of large fan-communities, and everyone benefits from the interactive capabilities among artists, even across different media. Plus, you know, sometimes they fund movies and shit. No bad there, right?
 
Even from a mental-masturbation perspective, various geniuses throughout the web have directed their self-amusement into our own creative kicks and giggles, resulting in build-your-own-macro sites like You're The Man Now Dog  and MemeBuilder, a whole slew of horrifying "What will our babies look like?"-style operations, and my personal favorite, "Compare your writing style to a famous author's." 
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Every fucking time.

 
But nothing compares to the gem that's been floating around all my friends' feeds this week. Though it didn't get much play upon its unveiling in June 2012, the Google Doc Masters Demo that allows you to "collaborate" with six long-dead authors is just now bringing me and apparently everyone else on the Internet endless joy -- which is why, of course, I want to share it with you.
 
Ostensibly, the Demo works like this: you type in any text you'd like, and Dickens, Dickinson, Poe, Dostoyevsky, Nietzche, and Shakespeare (aka "Lots of dead white dudes") will chime in to help out. Sometimes, if it's feeling cheeky, it'll prompt you with one of those authors' famous texts, inviting you to finish the sentence and imagine that  Charles Dickens was banging away at "Tale of Two Cities," while trying to ignore the "Refresh" button on Reddit.
 
Ideally, the demo would have included a more diverse array of writers (like, oh, some people of color, maybe), and that's reflective of the painfully straight-white-male nature of "Classic Literature" in addition to being a major oversight by Google's programmers.
 
As it is, each contributing author has their own crafted personality; Edgar Allan Poe insists on adding a ":(" after each time he's mentioned, and Dickens and Dickinson like to erase the other's name and replace it with their own.
 
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Calm down, guys.


It's supposed to give you an idea of how the Google Docs multi-edit system was used when it got its revamp last year, and despite the aforementioned lack of author-breadth, it's totally fun and effective. 
 
It's also really, really tempting to fuck with.
 
For some reason, it was endlessly amusing to me to input popular song lyrics and watch what many a conventional lit teacher would laud as the world's most talented minds try to "fix" them, each in their own personal style. It reminded me of the tendency of boring people to lament the death of the English language when comparing it to Today's Youthful Jargon; it's also entertaining to watch Nietzche's capability to kill a party.
 
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Who invited this guy?

 
Because I'm me, I also copy and pasted some "erotic literature" I wrote for my friend in there, just to see what happened. (The colored marks where you can see where changes have been made don't stay for very long, but rest assured that I would never use the phrase "hay roll" as an epithet for boning. Shakespeare.)
 
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LOL.

 
 
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NIETZCHE LIKES CAPS TOO.

 
 
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Aaaand one more.
 
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Part of the reason I find this so hilarious is definitely the novelty factor. It's similar to my "Love Actually"-esque compulsion to ask every British person I know to say random American-isms: it's always compelling to witness a new, unique perspective on something that's become as familiar as breathing.
 
It also makes me feel kind of cozy in a dweeby former-English-major way, like my stupid genderswap fan fiction could one day be as important to the literary canon as "A Merchant of Venice" or "A Tale of Two Cities."
 
I know, I know, that's an unforgivably cheesy statement, but sometimes I can't turn off the part of me that once contemplated getting a line from "The Conqueror Worm" tattooed on her torso. Sorry.
 
Anyway, am I the only one who finds this whole thing so funny? If you guys try this out, pleeease share the results in the comments! I could literally do this for hours.
 
When she's not writing porn, Kate is rambling on Twitter: @katchatters