@Horse_ebooks and Pronunciation Book revealed: They're run by humans after all
Long assumed to be spambots, both accounts have spawned a meme-like status across the internet and garnered a cult-like following for years. Let's be clear: this isn't mainstream internet; we're talking about deep, underground web stuff.
Pronunciation Book explained how to enunciate things like "48" and "Jesus", while Horse_ebooks tweeted bits of non-attributed text that sometimes looked as though it were cropped mid-sentence. The randomness and strangeness of everything made many assume there could be no human behind it all.
Speculation pointed to a machine glitch from, perhaps, ad companies or eBook sellers. The trolls of the web were in awe and debated on the accounts' origin and oddity. Well, much to their disappointment, the accounts' anonymous creators have finally revealed themselves.
And, no, they aren't robots. Say hello to the weird: Jacob Bakkila and Thomas Bender announced at Manhattan's Fitzroy Gallery on Tuesday that they owned both accounts and have secretly maintained them for four years as an online art project.
The New Yorker reported that Bakkila, who works at BuzzFeed, and Bender, a former employee of Howcast, will no longer carry on with their ruse. The duo compared the end of their online art project to painting, noting a painter doesn't work on one piece of art for forever. But Bakkila and Bender do have more strangeness in the works.
Their next online art project is a new website, called Bear Stearns Bravo, which The New Yorker described as a "choose-your-own-adventure interactive-video piece". They've also revealed their actual identities as part of an art gallery at FitzRoy, called Horse_ebooks 2, where Bakkila and friends are answering calls from 10am to 9pm EST.
The phone number to reach Bakkila is 213-444-0102. Take note: the stilted jargon he'll utter is similar to the content previously posted to the horse_ebooks Twitter account. He and Bender even published a new video to the Pronunciation Book channel, clarifying how to pronounce Horse_ebooks. It also hints at the language behind @Horse_ebooks and the meaning of Bear Stearns Bravo.
Gawker also has a video of the Horse_ebooks 2 art gallery. Check it out if you want to delve even further into the complexities of this retired internet phenomenon.