first I learned about “Loab” and it sent shivers down my spine. A strange dead-eyed ghoul that started haunting AI image generators last year, Loab reminds me of a demon I’ve been tracking down for years. One in a different medium, in a different era, under a different name: the Marquis de Sade.
This doesn’t seem like an obvious connection. One of the most notorious names in all of literature, the Marquis de Sade, an 18th-century French nobleman known for his debauchery and evasion from the authorities, escaped prison in 1772 and escaped public execution. A modern product, the accidental creation of the artist Supercomposite, who claims to have “Discover” Last April, she was in an AI text-to-image generator. The two are very different. However, Sade’s work shows people their unspoken fascination with chatbots like ChatGPT and Google’s Bard Similar interests discovered seem almost destined to intersect.The question is: who will be prepared for this?
Sade’s efforts to document the forbidden desires of mankind—or at least his own—began in the depths of the Bastille, which is somewhat famous. In the late 1770s, after being imprisoned for a series of scandalous crimes, Sade became obsessed with writing with a quill, resulting in a series of works so obscene that its author has been described as “the freest Soul of the Assassin”, “Apostle of the Assassin”.
His most notorious effort was 120 days of Sodom, Written on a 40-foot long scroll. Sade called the novel “the most impure story written since the birth of the world”. It tells the story of four wealthy degenerates who lock their young underlings in a castle and subject them to months of escalating depravity: incest, bestiality, coprophagy, necrophilia, disembowelment, amputation , cannibalism, etc. By the end of the novel, the castle is covered in blood and limbs.Because of his writing, Sade was so deeply associated with cruelty, he inspired the word Sadist– to gain pleasure from pain.
While Sade believes the scroll was destroyed in the storming of the Bastille in 1789, it actually embarks on a continent-spanning adventure involving underground porn collectors, pioneering sex researchers, Nazi book-burning, scandalously surreal Artism, daring robberies, and international court battles have recently seen a massive manuscript scandal in France. In fact, some authorities believe the scroll is cursed because of its grisly subject matter and the upheavals associated with it.
Damn or not, the very existence of this novel is a mystery. Why would anyone bother with such a herculean effort when the results will never be published? Who is behind the scenes? Was Sade a revolutionary dedicated to exposing the rotten core of the aristocracy into which he was born? Or is he just an unrepentant criminal, documenting his atrocities, committed or just dreamed about?
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