"Rewrite Software": The End Of The English Language

In my all-too long life, I have seen many ravages befall my treasured and beloved English language. Slang has attacked it from all sides. Acronymism and initialism has chipped away at its soul. Hispanicization, Asianization and the other incongrous language hybridizations have diluted its expressive power and broken its spirit.

Yet, the ultimate barbarian at the gate is in the form of web hucksters who for the low low low price of a couple of hundred dollars will sell you software that rewrites anything.

There is a booming market in rewriting these days. Since Google can find an identical phrase anywhere on the web, web site owners and publishers who lack the creativity and originality to actually come up with their own content have opened up website cloning factories where severely underpaid writers toil away in their little corner of cyberspace, mostly in the Third World, and crank out endless copies.

When A PC Can Rewrite My Copy, I'll Shoot It!

Just one of the various "copy and paste" computer rewriting software programs. Just dial in your text, tweak it here and there, and you have Google-free copy.
Just one of the various "copy and paste" computer rewriting software programs. Just dial in your text, tweak it here and there, and you have Google-free copy.

In my all-too long life, I have seen many ravages befall my treasured and beloved English language. Slang has attacked it from all sides. Acronymism and initialism has chipped away at its soul. Hispanicization, Asianization and the other incongrous language hybridizations have diluted its expressive power and broken its spirit.

Yet, the ultimate barbarian at the gate is in the form of web hucksters who for the low low low price of a couple of hundred dollars will sell you software that rewrites anything.

There is a booming market in rewriting these days. Since Google can find an identical phrase anywhere on the web, web site owners and publishers who lack the creativity and originality to actually come up with their own content have opened up website cloning factories where severely underpaid writers toil away in their little corner of cyberspace, mostly in the Third World, and crank out endless copies.

Let's use the famous panagram as an example:

The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog.

The sleepy dog was jumped over by the fast brown fox.

The dog was resting and the brown fox quickly jumped over him.

The brown fox took advantage of the dog's laziness and jumped over him in a flash.

Chestnut-furred vulpini have been observed to leap over languorous canines.

I think you get the message by now. Each one of those sentences is Google-unique, but the problem is that they state the same fact, over and over and over again. No originality, no creativity, no muse. Just a world full of writers doing nothing with their lives but trying to beat a freakin' search engine algorithm.

I've already discussed in my Hub on the writing slave market how pitiful the wages are for much of this work. It is literally a 21st century slave market. However, not all of the damage is done to the quick brown writers jumping through hoops of the lazy webmasters. The damage to the essence of creative writing is incalculable.

There was a recent case of a bookstore burning its entire inventory since the owner couldn't give his 20,000 books away. The written word is being replaced by the electronic medium. As long as this new medium presents its endless parade of facts and figures couched in proper English, I have no personal problem with that. Progress is progress, and I'd much rather read War & Peace on my flatscreen monitor than hoist the weighty volume up with my hands in bed so that it falls on my face when I fall asleep.

Progress took an extreme left turn when "rewriting software" was introduced. There are many variations and the example shown in the screenshots here is only just one of the group.

These infernal programs allow the user to copy and paste any text from any source and after a few mouse clicks, voila! A completely new paragraph that states the same facts as the original, but different enough that the feared Google search engine algorithms will not discover the criminal plagiarism that beats inside the black heart of this satanically-cloned text.

So what do we have? The ultimate rape of the original text. Shakespeare reinterpreted by C++. Hemingway rewritten by a 65nm silicone circuit.

The real problem is that we must realize that an entire generation is learning and practicing the English language online, in a world where an article on the gnarliest snowboard superpipe in Colorado will outdraw the combined works of a thousand contemporary writers of fine literature. The web has become the carrier of language. Fortunately the language of choice world-wide has been the English language. Unfortunately, it is being butchered as it goes.

All English-speaking lovers of our illustrious literary heritage must struggle against the disemboweling of our language. Computers must not be allowed to besmirch the English language with their cold and soulless algorithms. Google be damned.

 

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Comments 12 comments

C.V.Rajan profile image

C.V.Rajan 7 years ago from Kerala, India

The pain of a genuine writer is neatly and powerfully expressed in this article. I particularly liked this: "So what do we have? The ultimate rape of the original text. Shakespeare reinterpreted by C++. Hemingway rewritten by a 65nm silicone circuit."

CVR


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thank you for the kind words, CVR. Much appreciated! :)


Eric Graudins profile image

Eric Graudins 7 years ago from Australia

You are just so, so, so, so right.

There are some people who brag about having thousands of websites, all automatically updated from other websites on the web. And generating a few dollars a week each for the owner when someone clicks on an advertisement.

In fact, this is touted all over the internet as a desirable "business model".

I'd guess that around 95% of the websites in the world are crap.

The wonder of the internet is that you can automate almost everything.

The curse of the internet is that you can automate almost everything. 

Cheers, Eric G.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks for the kind words, Eric Graudins. It is quite fortunate that I don't give a good rodent's rectum about Adsense earnings and refuse to write to "optimize" my Hubs... but when I see the total, unadulterated sewage that passes for most websites, I want to retch.


Rik Ravado profile image

Rik Ravado 7 years ago from England

Couldn't agree more Hal!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks, Rik Ravado! I appreciate your support!


LatteLibrarian profile image

LatteLibrarian 7 years ago from Portland, Oregon

"Applause, Applause, and more Applause" for saying so clearly what I would like to say.

I have been a technical writer for 15 years, but from the age of 9 wanted to write creatively. Why choose technical writing? To pay my mortgage of course. Now I do love technology, so it's not that bad, but when outsourcing and downsizing hit me hard in the financial pocket I turned to technology to see how I could turn my love of writing into money (while still working on that novel mind you). What did I find? Massive article writing projects that want: 70 articles a month, 2 rewrites of the same thing, crazy SEO keyword rules, etc all for the slap bang price of around $1 per article or 500-600 words. And they want perfect copy. Now I'm not saying this isn't lucrative nor immoral but in the past 6 months it has made me sad. I don't bid, because I can't compete with some of the prices. I also can't write bogus, mind numbing copy that says absolutely nothing but rates in the top 10 Google spot. I am happy writers can earn a living, I am happy anyone can make a living. I just needed to throw in my two-cents on the dilution of writing craft.

Here's to the web! Here's to all the writers sharing their craft with the universe! But please, make quality not quantity. Engage me! Teach me! Inspire me! Make me cry, make me laugh. You can even convince me to buy something, but have a little integrity. Writing is hard! Clear, concise and engaging prose even harder.

The fact that I can't bring myself to do it means we eat Mac'n Cheese again, let us hope my moral high ground will lead me somewhere.

I appreciate the article!


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 7 years ago from Toronto Author

Write on! Write on! Thank you for the wonderful comment! :)


Glenn Stok profile image

Glenn Stok 6 years ago from Long Island, NY

Thanks for writing this informative hub. It scares me to think of this, because it means that the efforts we creative writers put into writing original content, will be in vain.

If this gets out of hand, maybe Google will someday develop a means to detect identical facts and ideas on the web, not just identical phrases.


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

The algorithm can't be that difficult to concoct since one of the primary aspects of auto-rewritten junk is that the sentences are always in the same order. Therefore if the original article stated:

Widgets are small. Widgets are handy. Widgets are affordable.

The rewritten crap may use different words for small, handy and affordable, but the essential meaning will stay the same and in that same order.

Do you hear us, Google? Wake up! :)


gramsmith profile image

gramsmith 6 years ago

Posted very informative article here........Thanks........


Hal Licino profile image

Hal Licino 6 years ago from Toronto Author

Thanks!

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