John Chomsky, Mad Bomber

Why is this never mentioned?

Is any of the content true to their ideas? Who knows! They’re both pretty baffling thinkers and you could tell me either one said just about anything and I wouldn’t not believe you. But the vibe is right. From the perspective of someone who understands how each of them strings words together and shapes an argument, it’s very convincing. Mostly what this toy proves is that my grasp of Herzog and Žižek is roughly the same as a trained neural net. If you show me a sentence I can say whether it’s aesthetically “Žižekian,” but not whether it’s philosophically meaningful (nor do I know whether this is only true for me, or for everyone).

Using 32 of her illustrations, MysteryInc152 fine-tuned Stable Diffusion to recreate Hollie Mengert’s style. He then released the checkpoint under an open license for anyone to use. The model uses her name as the identifier for prompts: “illustration of a princess in the forest, holliemengert artstyle,” for example.

Usually the ground on which this dispute takes place is copyright, and there are dire copyright issues here. But Mengert also pointed out that:

“What I pride myself on as an artist are authentic expressions, appealing design, and relatable characters…

As far as the characters, I didn’t see myself in it. I didn’t personally see the AI making decisions that that I would make, so I did feel distance from the results. Some of that frustrated me because it feels like it isn’t actually mimicking my style, and yet my name is still part of the tool.”

What she saw in the generated images wasn’t the “style,” the blocks of flat color or geometric shapes. It was fine details of a character’s facial expression that she wouldn’t have chosen. Like if Herzog looked at the screenshot above and said “Of course Chomsky understands Greenpeace intimately, what nonsense. Also I know how to pronounce ‘Pinochet’ correctly.”

I could feel a hypothesis forming, something about AI-generated content exposing the superficiality of my understanding of most of the things I want to think I’m a good judge of. But then the infinite conversation continued and Herzog started claiming that Noam Chomsky had a brother named John who bombed all the Kennedy family’s properties in the sixties and seventies, and that’s some pretty wild shit. Why is this never mentioned?1 

That was a nice diversion into AI wasn’t it? But like a dog vomiting up a pile of half digested kibble, thinking “I made food!” and gobbling it back up, the media is still focused on Elon’s big Twitter adventure. Mitchell Clark and Jay Peters reported the prospect of $8 blue check lordships, and maybe now Twitter is going to turn into OnlyFans with paywalled video, a plan that was shelved earlier this year because of the certainty that it would be flooded with copyright violations and child porn, and probably get Twitter blocked by the App Store and credit card processors. I’m sure a 48-hour crash legal review with the empty chairs where all the fired lawyers used to sit has cleared those risks right up though.

Meanwhile over on Tumblr, boobs are back on the menu. Max Tani, still not an impact point, reports that Insider is pushing half its journalists outside (the paywall). And Bellingcat is hiring a social media producer to, I assume, make trending TikToks about the exact lat/long coordinates of Russian generals based on dashcam footage scraped from VKontakte.

Today in Outsized Baubles:

“How outsized could a bauble be?” you may be wondering. More outsized than you think, Dad! More outsized than you think! Held my breath when they gave me the gas! Wanted to see! I saw! I saw! More outsized than you think!

Feels Like Bean Dad Comes Earlier Every Year:

Ye finally made himself too toxic for a company literally founded by Nazis, but Tim Loh and Kim Bhasin at Bloomberg claim “the partners had been bickering for years.” What will become of the sneakerhead resale market? Sounds like Adidas has been pumping out Yeezy shoes in volume and they’re not worth much anyway. If you haven’t seen it, the only good thing to come out of Ye’s ongoing meltdown was the perfect Borscht-belt delivery in this clip:

The antisemitism though? Still very bad.

Today’s Song: Migos, “T-shirt” (RIP Takeoff)

I’m like a duck here, placid and unruffled on the surface, but working incredibly hard underneath to write about something that isn’t E**n Mu**. Please like & subscribe if you appreciate it. Please share and subscribe if you want more E*o* M**k. I don’t know if that share link works, I’m trying an experiment here. If it doesn’t, sorry. Is this #opendesign? 

Join the conversation

or to participate.