Leo Tolstoy: Howie Carr's Ghostwriter?

Amanda Palmer = Stephen King?

Behold the Internet's latest triumph of cultural appropriation: I Write Like. The website, founded by a 27-year-old Russian software programmer named Dmitry Chestnykh, is basically every wanna-be literati's morning-mirror-self-pep-talk session: Plug in a couple paragraphs of your best wordsmithery, and I Write Like will tell you which esteemed author your writing most resembles.

We're not sure how it works; probably something to do with science or magic (this is more confounding than magnets!). But according to an Associated Press article, the site uses an algorithm to identify keywords in your writing that resemble those frequently used by the authors in the system. Right now, that author database is kind of slim, yielding only limited comparisons, but it's still a lot of fun. Plus, it's definitely less creepy than the last Internet fad created by a web savvy Russian dude.

So, as the site's concept demands, we've taken some passages committed to page by Boston's quotable public figures to see how they stack up against the most revered users of the English language.

Mayor Thomas Menino: Cory Doctorow

A random excerpt from Menino's January 4, 2010 Inaugural Address is apparently in the linguistic vein of noted blogger, novelist and copyright activist Cory Doctorow.

Amanda Palmer: Stephen King
A July 7 post on her "Amanda Fucking Palmer" blog revealed that this Dresden Doll's musing on the mid-summer heatwave and the "Double Rainbow" YouTube clip has a certain, uhh, terrifying ring to it? It might have something to do with the use of the phrase "i am the lizard king." Or it could just be because she's Amanda fucking Palmer.

Howie Carr: Leo Tolstoy

An excerpt from Carr's July 18 column for the Herald came back heavily bearded and lengthy. I'm sure you could ask Carr to produce vivid descriptions of 19th-century Tsarist society if you wanted to, but he'd probably just yell at you.

Sen. Scott Brown: David Foster Wallace
The opening paragraphs from the pickup-driving, maybe-populist's victory speech showed that perhaps, lurking under Brown's all-American good looks, there lies a tortured soul a la the late Foster Wallace. Maybe this whole, broad-shouldered everyman thing is pure jest ... pure, infinite jest.

Attorney General Martha Coakley: Raymond Chandler
In the interest of fairness, Coakley came out with just as unlikely a literary counterpart. The first few paragraphs of her concession speech to Scott Brown appear to be the work of pulp writer and early perfecter of the private detective character Raymond Chandler. This certainly is a case fit for Philip Marlowe.

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