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Ode to spam

Written By: daveski on March 15, 2009 5 Comments

There’s no better time for reflection and thanks than early Sunday afternoon, looking out the window of Urban Blend (hat tip for the electricity that powered this post) close to Jack London Square in Oakland, a great spot for writing and general productivity, and where the barista (this used to be an auto shop—does that term still apply?) returns your change by multiplying the amount by 100,000. So my $5.15 purchase, paid for with a $10 bill, was rewarded with the words, “here you go, man, four hundred eighty-five thousand dollars”. Completely fictional but even the thought, the very possibility, made me smile.

Which, as I logged in to FIT, somehow oddly made me think of the perverse and utterly fictional form of electronic communication that we seem to spend our lives trying to avoid, but which always finds a way to, how shall I say this, ‘get in touch’. Yes, I’m talking about spam. And instead of fighting it today, I thought I’d turn the tables and say thanks to the most frequent multilingual alphanumeric commenter to Found in Translation and thousands of other blogs across the world—the commenter whose words never* make it to the front page but, when read in another light, might pass for something between poetry, modern art, and graffiti. A transgressive discourse that is so annoying not just because there’s so much of it, but because it seems to undermine the order of the world we live in. It just doesn’t make sense.

So, as a way of saying thank-you to all the hard-working bots out there, I thought I’d select a few lucky winners from this morning’s collection and offer a few responses:

  • “GovernmentisGreat” at IP address repeats “publicnaked” over and over. Funny, this is just how I feel sometimes blogging, wondering if the very act of writing is more an act of communication or just gratuitous self-exposure. Thanks again for the insight, GovernmentisGreat! Maybe I’ll look you up sometime!
  • Meanwhile, “immobile” at IP address writes, “Sehr wertvolle Informationen! Empfehlen!”. How grateful I am to be able to study German from the spambox! I feel my grammatical awareness being raised, and I wonder…is “Informationen” a plural form? Is that a common ending for all nouns?
  • And, to round out today’s selection, let’s give a shout-out to “slot machines” at S/he/it writes, “[url=http://credit-debt-reduction-counsel….” Well, actually, the comment goes on—for quite a while, in the same tone of voice, which is fine and all, don’t get me wrong—but heck, I wouldn’t want to spoil all the fun. Maybe if slot had at least said hello or asked us how our day was going first, or said something relevant to the “Conservapedia and the President” post s/he/it was commenting on, we could have approved the comment. Or maybe I just need to work on my interdiscursive sensitivity.

Actually, there are actually 9 spam messages waiting in the queue now, but, alas, there’s not room enough for everyone.  Thanks, though, for all your interest in Found in Translation! And I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that you can try again tomorrow…

*OK, OK: very, very rarely


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5 Responses to “Ode to spam”

  1. Usree Bhattacharya on: 15 March 2009 at 1:29 pm

    I laughed out loud, Dave. Heh. I have wanted to do a post on our spam “friends” for the longest time! 🙂

    I feel like our Russian spam friends need a definite shout out! So here! 🙂

  2. Youki on: 15 March 2009 at 6:16 pm

    I love the spam that compliments the site:

    “Your site is great! bob@gmail.com [www.buyprescriptiondrugs.com]”

  3. Usree Bhattacharya on: 17 March 2009 at 11:13 pm


  4. Usree Bhattacharya on: 17 May 2009 at 2:26 pm

    Hey Dave, if you haven’t yet, then check out Spamusement, where they take actual spam subject lines and convert them into cartoons. Like some spam subject lines, some of the cartoons may be NSFF.

  5. Jennifer on: 27 January 2010 at 2:42 pm

    This is too funny, I found your site while trying to get help with spam messages I have been receiving lately. I actually typed in the “GovermentisGreat” and found it hilarious that you were a victim of this one as well..

    While I was here I had a chance to read through some of your other posts and decided that I wanted to respond to this one,as in a way it also relates to this topic:

    “Is language more generally in the midst of an inexorable decline?”

    I would have to say yes it is, in a world of IM (Instant messaging), texting and automation the importance of being able to engage in meaningful conversation is being thrown out the window.

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