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The Row Boat
"Had we but world enough, and time..." *
I've been getting some interesting spam in my email lately. Generally, the blocker is pretty good about getting out the usual porn and pre-approved loan offers. Thankfully also the tempting college diplomas, which would save me another year of troublesome toil. But alongside these, there have been a series of odd ones that are far more self-conscious than the old, recognizing that now people have figured out what spam is and maybe also that it is mean to fool them. Spam is growing up, developing consciousness, and even conscience. But like so many repressed cries from the wilderness throughout human history, the power of communication it offers will not be silenced.
One interesting spam consists of a lengthy letter accusing Microsoft of spamming to its customers. It is hard to know what exactly is going on here, what the intention is. Does the author try to legitimize his own spamming by showing that the big companies that claim to oppose him spam also? There certainly is no higher ground taken against a spamming company if the accusation itself is spam. Do the ends justify the means? Something, anyway, is going on. The last paragraph of this letter is interesting:
Ahem. Gastronomic note: Spam stands for spiced ham, and is a trademark of Hormel Foods' tinned luncheon meat, first introduced in 1937. For this reason, spam is often referred to as unsolicited commercial email (UCE). There is also a spam fan club.
Spam begins to come of age, I think.
The other I just got is titled "what is Islam ?" and gives a short, structured explanation of Islam's teachings in odd grammar. What interests me most, though, is the language of the introduction, as the author tries to wrest the reader's attention before the letter is cruelly sent to the trash heap with the ads for penis enlargement. The sentnce is charming and pleading. There is no attempt to confuse or trick. Instead, there is actually a conscious recognition that these are the methods of the spam genre, but in this case, for something really important, the rules of the genre are being transcended.
I know that, my article may be unusual ,but it might be useful. PLEASE read it.
Believe it or not, the link at the bottom actually works, too.
Like any persecuted act of human communication, great creativity can arise in spam. I am excited for the flowering possible in it alongside my requisite annoyance. I would not hope that we lose the annoyance; it is part of how the genre expects to be experienced as well.
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re: Meta-Spam - 10/17/2006 19:56:20
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