APPROPRIATION AND MUTILATION: THE WEIRDEST FORM OF FLATTERY?

If you search for “366 Weird Movies” on Google, you may discover this odd tribute: an unauthorized, uncredited, unlinked “remix” of our review of The Toxic Avenger, Part II on an anonymous blog.

This new version contains a few insights that I missed in my initial review.  For example, we learn that the movie is a “moral jocose spoof” with “politically false noxiousness,” one which “should pay fans of absurdist murderousness< a harm” (all true enough statements, I suppose).

Richard Harrington’s Washington Post review, cited in our article, has been similarly reworked to produce even more profound insights.  He finds that the original Toxic Avenger had ” a dope, surreal vim” and ponders the eternal question, “What happens when you disparage a cinema that’s considerate simple derision and disparage out cold the considerate on the unharmed derision?”  Smoke a joint and try to wrap your mind around that one; it’s even better than “If a tree falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?”

What’s going on here?  Has 366 Weird Movies become grist for some elaborate Internet Dada mill? Looking at the reworked text, it looks like someone has taken the original article and used an automated program like Babblefish to translate the review into a foreign language, and then translated it back into English to mangle the grammar and vocabulary.  They’ve also inserted the nonsense phrase “on the unharmed demeaning” randomly at several points in the text, and helpfully highlighted arbitrary words and inserted links to two unrelated blogs: one from a mom in Australia, and the other to a young Arab journalist in Kuwait. The blog itself contains page after page of similarly stolen and transformed posts from all over the Web, including columns giving relationship advice (“A functional relationship can contrariwise indeed befall when both partners are advantageous with themselves enlighten and then with each other and scoff at a oodles.”)

The blog calls itself “humorous” (the title, not a description), and the posts are presumably generated automatically.  We’d love to believe this is some sort of Information Age variation of a surrealist word game like the cut-up.  These days, though, it pays to be cynical.  After all, the result reads an awful lot like spam poetry, those random jumbles of words inserted into marketing e-mails to try to fool computerized spam filters into thinking that advertisement for a Sri Lankan pharmacy selling Viagra and hydrocodone without a prescription is really a meaningful communique.  We’re not suggesting that your next email promising natural penis enlargement will come wrapped in a butchered version of our Tromeo and Juliet review, but you never know.

Searching for a scam angle to this robotic blog, all I can come up with is the possibility that the authors, knowing that Google and other search engines favor large sites over small ones, are trying to automatically generate a huge amount of posts in an effort to increase the site’s “page rank.”  Presumably, they send a ‘bot out to scrape content from random web pages.  If they simply plagiarized articles, the original author’s might find them and demand they be taken down.   To combat this, they run the article through some sort of translation/thesaurus program first that changes random words to prevent the original authors from searching for stolen articles.  They include outgoing links to try to fool the googlebot into believing that this is a legitimate site, not just a “link farm”.  What would be the purpose of all this?  Well, at the footer of each page, the authors link to two (presumably commercial) online gaming sites.  If their scheme to get the blog a high Google page rank worked, then those two sites would benefit from being linked from the “popular” website.

If anyone has any opinion on whether this is a scam or a legitimate piece of Web performance art, feel free to comment.

We reprint the full text of the “remix” version below (with no link, since the original authors didn’t bother to link back to us.)

COMMENTS: on the unharmed I am a contrarian. on the unharmed I in that The Toxic Avenger, Part II is in bring up of items a slight exceed cover than the basic The Toxic Avenger. on the unharmed The judgement is the relay in pitch from malicious teen revenge fantasy/comedy to moral jocose spoof. on the unharmed demeaning This addendum purges much of the mean-spiritedness from the original-such as the scenes where the audience is expected to fame with the Avenger as he stalks and kills half-naked girls from the northern crust of teen society-while silently retaining it’s politically false noxiousness. on the unharmed demeaning The centerpiece scuffle with appear comes Noachian on, with Toxie dispatching and dismembering a conceivably continual diversity of bizarrely costumed goons-a dog not enough shaver, a transvestite, a midget, and a edition of rejected Village People characters-to the consonance of “It Don’t Mean a Thing if it Ain’t Got that Swing.” on the unharmed demeaning The appear is more extended and over-the-top than the restaurant holdup arrangement in the basic Avenger, and should pay fans of absurdist murderousness a harm. on the unharmed demeaning The basic over-impressed viewers in 1984 expected to its gewgaw and outrageousness, but viewed retrospectively, this addendum is at best as fluctuating and amusing (which is to bring up, precise fluctuating and mildly humorous). on the unharmed Once Toxie reaches Tokyo, he meets placid more rum characters, including briefcase carrying, mohawk-wearing Japanese businessmen, and fights ninja duels with side-splitting props, including “throwing starfish” and a swordfish-like being with a functioning chainsaw in inappropriate of the horn.

The jokes are aggressively lowbrow, but every minute and then the Troma writers knock down in something scheming to put in mind of you they’re not as simple as some of the shamelessly unconvincing slapstick gags energy suggest-there’s a scheming insertion of a David Mamet “quote” that’s laugh-out-loud side-splitting.
WHAT THE CRITICS SAY:
“What happens when you disparage a cinema that’s considerate simple derision and disparage out cold the considerate on the unharmed derision? on the unharmed Usually, you deceive a addendum.
The producers photograph more footage in search this addendum than they could make use of, so the assembled cast hastily finished mistaken a more recent addendum, The Toxic Avenger Part III: The Last Temptation of Toxie and released it the unchanged year. on the unharmed Other Troma Inc., films, including the basic ‘Avenger’ and ‘Class of Nuke ‘Em on the unharmed High,’ worked partly because there was a dope, surreal vim coursing as a consequence on the unharmed them. This addendum seems less inspired than arranged.”-Richard Harrington, The Washington Post (Toxic Avenger 2, contemporaneous)
Tags: 1989, Comedy, Gore, Lloyd Kaufman, Michael Herz, Spoof, Superhero, Troma
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