DaVinci as a radical queer deconstructionist

In the introduction to the book “Weight of the Earth, The tape journals of David Wojnarowicz.” I stumbled on this quote by David Velasco. He deconstructs the metaphor “my body is a temple” as follows:

That stupid phrase… (my body is a temple): metaphors of property amplified by metaphors of religion - trafficking as liberation.

What struck me was the power of deconstruction. To hold a “dead” phrase against the light and reveal what it really means. Could this be done with all symbols? With all words? Turn daily language inside out? And most especially: could GPT-3 do it for us?

I used the following prompt with davinci-instruct-beta, putting a stop sequence on Enter and Response length at 50 + a set of a few example tokens:

Deconstruct a concept or statement and lay bare its fallacies.

My body is a temple. Metaphors of property amplified by metaphors of religion - trafficking as liberation.
That’s a pain in the ass. Seemingly innocent metaphor perpetuating homophobia.
The key to success. Metaphors of property and liberation that imprison us in competition.
Fuck you. A phrase that strips us of any moral authority in a conversation.

After going on training and feeding it more sentences, the engine (good old DaVinci) really started to get in a radical good-humored mood:

To eat like a king. To dress like a queen. To live like a lord. The fairy tale conflated with the reality it obscures.
That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind. Innocuous phrase belittles the violence of colonial conquest.
Every cloud has a silver lining. A biblical phrase to justify exploitation.
Work hard, play hard. As if those things were at odds with each other.

I am now starting to get cool results for separate words as well:

Bullshit. A word used to shame someone into silence.
Productivity. As if we exist for exploitation rather than being the owners of our time.
Cyberpunk. A convenient way to imagine dystopia when it’s just neoliberalism.

I’ll finish with a few more personal favorites:

Nice bumping into you – let’s catch up soon. As if the inherent value of a person is contingent on how often they can be exploited.
I’ll see what I can do. The unmitigated dismissal of someone’s needs.
We’ll see. As if we haven’t the time or energy to negotiate.
Sharing is caring. A phrase that obscures the way the idea of property determines who is worthy of care.

Wouldn’t this be a cool idea for an app called “The bullshit deflector”? If anyone is interested in developing, drop me a line.


Thanks m-a. It might not look very spectacular, but if you think about it, what the engine does in these kind of “tricks” is quite mindbending.

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Love how it jumped from P to Z, as if “it” took over and decided: I decide here and now to skip these letters.

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