Musing yesterday about the intertwining of art, life and spectacle, I realised that I’d fallen under its spell myself.
On a recent train trip I’d whiled away some time programming a way to trick Google into increasing recirca.com’s traffic. I figured that what we needed was a ‘magnet’, and celebrities seemed to fit the bill. I accordingly wrote a bit of code that generated random, semi-sensible sentences about well known people. One example: “Now Johnny Depp tempts the fool, but Ben Affleck blames the sunshine." I put this bit of code at the bottom of each page of the site, and had the results come up on screen in white, in tiny lettering.
I let it run for a few weeks. Effect: none. Conclusion #1: as far as Google is concerned, Circa and Angelina Jolie are not a fit. Conclusion #2: our brains love trying to make sense of odd information.
Some random results; click here to see more.
At least five times a day, George Clooney shakes a finger, implying that Wonderwoman wrecks make-up. Every month The Hulk jumps teapots, and Keanu Reaves melts the ice. Unexpectedly Johnny Depp dives into the jam, while an angel swears off swearing. Most Thursdays Vladimir Putin fights the flow, as George Bush swoops to conquer. Suddenly Elvis fishes for luck, until John Turturro nods. Still bleeding, Bart Simpson runs, and yet Ben Affleck cuddles quickly. Then Pink influences the outcome, insisting that Harrison Ford reads upside-down. As usual, Madonna urges action, suspecting that Jennifer López buys igloos. Ignoring all advice to the contrary, the prince avoids strain, whenever Barack Obama boos. Acting the maggot, Ashton Kutcher forms long sentences, and only then Marlene Dietrich laughs. Soon Jamie Oliver bites ankles, despite the fact that Mel Gibson flanks his buddy. With confidence, Cheryl Cole increases the chance of landfall, then Jimmy Choo finds a moonbeam. Upping the ante, Jack Nicholson endangers the cloud, but the princess forgoes pudding. Now Matt Damon inputs too much, although Marilyn Monroe ships rice. Unsteadily, Jarvis Cocker blames the sunshine, before Louise Bourgeois fingers a foot. With obvious reluctance, Joan Collins banks on the treetops, guessing that Mylie Cyrus agrees not to. In the end Jackie Kennedy angles for a better deal, only if Tom Cruise orchestrates a field goal. Breaking with tradition, Frank Sinatra breaks up the game, though Sinéad O’Connor mangles her marbles. Early in the new year Shania Twain dodges the bullock, presuming that Emmylou Harris empties the village. Mystifyingly, Justin Timerlake ingests a glove, after Jude Law fronts the party. Inching forward, Daffy Duck swings the mitten, because the king drinks ink. Presently Damien Hirst hates willows, unless the devil manages the fireplace. Rivetingly different, Tracey Emin invents an orange flying machine, as if the pony limps. Not for the first time, the kitten books a session, thinking that Al Pacino bills for the boast. Unfortunately, Sarah Jessica Parker organises a spin, but only when Jim Carrey feels full. Once a month Hillary Clinton walks, fearing that Sarah Lucas enjoys. Itching to do something, Hannah Montana finishes in the middle, so Hugh Grant exercises her mind. Against all expectation, Sigourney Weaver airs their views, implying that Lindsay Lohan fiddles free time. Playing the others along, Johnny Cash kills the light, hoping that Antonio Banderas walks on by. In spite of earlier promises, Nicolas Sarkozy irons a dollar, and yet Jodie Foster bins the letter. Every morning Bono swipes the card, thinking that Audrey Hepburn avoids a scandal. Meanwhile Bette Davis decelerates, presuming that Francis Bacon applies glue. Each week Simon Cowell pursues a wagon train, as Penélope Cruz foots both bills. Brooking no opposition, the Earth tempts the fool, so Brad Pitt jumps two sheep. Yet again, Pierce Brosnan orders the lizard, and only then the puppy climbs hillocks. Burping, Gertrude Stein indicates left, but only when John Travolta forgets to fill the form. Avoiding conflict Marianne Faithfull denies flying, though Donna Summer swims slowly. Looking the other way, Whitney Houston chops the hedge, only if the hamster eats green apples. Despite pretending not to, Oprah Winfrey divorces from her fears, although Stephen Fry howls. Unsteadily, Meryl Streep adorns a tree, while Patti Smith upends the milk. Unexpectedly Coco Chanel implants green eye-shadow, and Sting works Sundays. In spite of earlier promises, Jane Fonda reads water words, but Angelina Jolie engages with the opposite corner. Mystifyingly, James Dean ignores his crazy hairdo, after the horse affects the market. Brooking no opposition, Michelle Pfeiffer fools every animal, before Hugh Jackman accuses someone else. Meanwhile Toni Morrison anchors the craft, as if Mariah Carey adopts a stance. Burping, Mr Bean lands a whale, then Gordon Brown cries. Soon Jennifer Anniston increases the difference, guessing that James Brown mixes plant metaphors. Most Thursdays Will Smith expresses outrage, implying that Ben 10 puts out the fire.