Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Dwigt, Meet Tyson Homosexual

From Co-Worker Chris, a lesson in the dangers of auto-replace and a reminder that computers can only be a smart as the people using them. I can’t try to say it any better than Steve Benen, so here’s how he put it:
Auto-correct can be a very helpful feature of any word-processing program. But when conservatives use it, they run the risk of embarrassing themselves. Some far-right sites that subscribe to the Associated Press feed, for example, will use auto-correct to change “Democratic Party” to “Democrat Party.” This, of course, is because they have the temperament of children.

But the American Family Association’s
OneNewsNow website takes the phenomenon one step further with its AP articles. The far-right fundamentalist group replaces the word “gay” in the articles with the word “homosexual.” I’m not entirely sure why, but it seems to make the AFA happy. The group is, after all, pretty far out there.

The problem, of course, is that “gay” does not always mean what the AFA wants it to mean. My friend Kyle
reported this morning that sprinter Tyson Gay won the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials over the weekend. The AFA ran the story, but only after the auto-correct had “fixed” the article.

That means — you guessed it — the track star was renamed “Tyson Homosexual.” The headline on the piece read, “Homosexual eases into 100 final at Olympic trials.” Readers learned:

Tyson Homosexual easily won his semifinal for the 100 meters at the U.S. Olympic track and field trials and seemed to save something for the final later Sunday.

His wind-aided 9.85 seconds was a fairly cut-and-dry performance compared to what happened a day earlier. On Saturday, Homosexual misjudged the finish in his opening heat and had to scramble to finish fourth, then in his quarterfinal a couple of hours later, ran 9.77 to break the American record that had stood since 1999. […]

Homosexual didn’t get off to a particularly strong start in the first semifinal, but by the halfway mark he had established a comfortable lead. He slowed somewhat over the final 10 meters-nothing like the way-too-soon complete shutdown that almost cost him Saturday. Asked how he felt, Homosexual said: “A little fatigued.”

Now, the AFA has since changed the article back to the way it was originally written by the AP reporter, but don’t worry, Kyle got the screen-grab before the AFA edited the piece back.

There’s just something helpful about starting a Monday morning on a hilarious note.

Can’t help but wonder what else could be corrupted by this replace code. “Now we don our homosexual apparel”? Oprah Winfrey’s best friend Homosexualle King? Famed sherpa Tenzig Norhomosexual? And how might the AP story about this incident be filtered, if such an article were to be written? “… which erroneously and nonsensically changed the last name of would-be Olympian Tyson Homosexual to ‘Homosexual’ and referring to him solely as ‘Homosexual’ upon second reference throughout the remainder of the article. ‘I had to laugh about being called Tyson Homosexual,’ because that’s not my name,” said Homosexual, who also clarified that he is heterosexual.”

And since they’re already crazy, why not just replace “Hillary Clinton” with “Borg Queen”?

And how to the people who receive this news feel about it literally going through a filter that changes the meaning of words?


  1. my reaction (aside from idiot-filter-system frustration) was twofold:

    a.) once I wrote an entire English paper with "Capulet" autocorrected to "Catapult." Fucking THANKS, MS Word.

    b.) I had enough trouble talking about Katherine Anne Porter-stand-in Miranda Gay's family without chuckling (e.g. "The Gays predicate their existence on a delicate hagiography" et cetera), and methinks this filter would render it hi-lar-i-ous. More so.

    ...c.) I write too many papers.

  2. This made me think of Mad-Libs:

    "Jack and Jill went up the cat to run a car of juice. Jack walked down and jumped his wallet and Jill came swimming after."

    Only better planned out.

  3. You mean, of course, Insane Libs.