Jewish World Review March 1, 2004 / 8 Adar, 5764

Ian Shoales

Ian Shoales
JWR's Pundits
World Editorial
Cartoon Showcase

Mallard Fillmore

Michael Barone
Mona Charen
Linda Chavez
Ann Coulter
Greg Crosby
Larry Elder
Don Feder
Suzanne Fields
Paul Greenberg
Bob Greene
Betsy Hart
Nat Hentoff
David Horowitz
Marianne Jennings
Michael Kelly
Mort Kondracke
Ch. Krauthammer
Lawrence Kudlow
Dr. Laura
John Leo
David Limbaugh
Michelle Malkin
Chris Matthews
Michael Medved
MUGGER
Kathleen Parker
Wes Pruden
Sam Schulman
Amity Shlaes
Roger Simon
Tony Snow
Thomas Sowell
Cal Thomas
Jonathan S. Tobin
Ben Wattenberg
George Will
Bruce Williams
Walter Williams
Mort Zuckerman

Consumer Reports

In its efforts to disguise itself, has spam disappeared?


http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | I have been noticing lately that spam, the unsolicited mail that floods our e-mail inboxes, has either become more creative or totally lost its mind.


I received an e-mail, for instance, with the header, "Explicate Brooklyn." For some reason, this exhilarated me. I felt the urge to explain Brooklyn to the world once and for all. But when I opened the e-mail, it revealed a long paragraph containing things like this: "mulberry intimidate genome sanskrit nebraska acolyte." And then, scrolling down, I would find, CLICK HERE. But what I would find if I clicked? In fear and trembling, I forebore the experience.


In addition to pure surrealism, I have also noticed that Spam has employed other techniques to escape detection from the detecting world. Viagra for instance, becomes "V copyright symbol I dash A dash G dash R dash A." Penis becomes P dash E dash ampersand N dash I dash S.


The point is, of course, to avoid being noticed as junk mail. To bring to us, the users, useful information about breast and penis enlargement, and mortgage rates, and credit ratings, and vitamin discounts, and, well, you know, a magical world almost lost to us, but about to be rescued, thanks to the Internet.


For some reason, many are annoyed by the influx of Spam. Perhaps it's because, unlike junk mail, which we can just, in a moment, throw in the trash, spam requires a bit of effort, roughly fifteen minutes a day if I'm a judge, to eradicate.


Recent legislation, as a result, has promised to get rid of spam, hence the furtive disguises spam has assumed to insinuate itself into our gaze.


But the weird thing is, again from my personal perspective, I never paid anything but brief attention to spam in the first place. There must be customers out there eager for viagra alternatives and penis-enlargement tips, otherwise, these unwanted advertisements would never have appeared in the first place.


But it makes me wonder: in its efforts to disguise itself, has spam disappeared? After all, if an e-mail show up with the message, "cheddar politics government refugee principal," and I go to the Click Here link at the bottom, if a picture of Salvador Dali does not show up, I am going to feel hurt, angered, and betrayed. Unless Brooklyn is explicated at last, of course. But I doubt that will ever happen. Only God can explicate Brooklyn.

Donate to JWR

Enjoy this writer's work? Why not sign-up for the daily JWR update. It's free. Just click here.


JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.

Up

02/24/04: Hi! I'm Ted! Fly me!
02/12/04: It really is a Small World After All
02/04/04: PT, I hardly knew ye
01/29/04: Soylent green is cattle!
01/22/04: Shoales to PETA: Please SHUT UP!
12/23/03: McLattes
12/16/03: Pledge rock
12/10/03: Bad Cat
10/15/03: Subpoena as business model
10/09/03: Milk?
09/29/03: Rejected by a dating site
09/09/03: Dead, Live!
08/27/03: That Wacky Deutschland
08/12/03: Puffery
08/08/03: Love that (other) Bob!
08/04/03: Is the free market doomed?
07/08/03: Hill Williams at Bay
06/30/03: The Amazing Red Faced J-Lo
06/25/03: TCB, KFC
06/16/03: Because it's there
06/11/03: The Matrix regurgitated
06/05/03: Here, Spike
05/07/03: When Hippies Retire
04/09/03: Your mommy could have told you that silence is the stoic's path to personal salvation --- hey, but who would have listened?
04/01/03: Hedging the war
03/28/03: Space: The Penultimate Frontier
03/18/03: Hour of the Narc
03/07/03: Home entertainment tips for pinkos --- no joke!
02/28/03: When Anorexia is a good thing
02/21/03: Aussie invasion!
02/11/03: This museum of my dreams would be no accident
02/03/03: Hasn't 'reality TV' always been with us?
01/30/03: Get tougher?
01/21/03: Spinning through the 'newscycle'
01/16/03: "G" for verbal violence?
01/03/03: Farewell to novelty
12/23/02: Neo-frontiers
12/18/02: A nation of hypochondriacs?
12/11/02: Cursed
11/08/02: Good news for skateboarders looking to keep up with world events
11/01/02: "Extreme" annoyance
10/24/02: Snipers are people, too!
10/16/02: Hockey Therapy
10/08/02: Cupid, the parasite
10/03/02: How to have fun in Africa
09/30/02: If you are employed, you're part of the problem
09/25/02: "Up and comers," go away!
09/18/02: Collectibilitized
09/10/02: Monotone felons
08/20/02: Will we soon need a passport to get caviar, duc a la orange, or Polish sausage?
08/14/02: Law and Disorder --- and Starbucks
08/12/02: Rummy's monkey
08/05/02: Time for some real cultural heroes
07/31/02: Yearning for a nostalgic American product that was neither
07/24/02: Voicemail heaven?
07/18/02: At the movies with your friendly neighborhood curmudgeon
07/12/02: King of Kitsch
07/09/02: Musicians' brains
07/01/02: Where's my cow?
06/24/02: Modern record stores can be a scary proposition
06/21/02: Life IS a movie?
06/19/02: Spreading fertilizer on a dictionary to try to raise a novel
06/17/02: Happy cows are really miserable?
06/12/02: Very similar to a rock
06/05/02: Of Humice and Men
05/30/02: Pooches in sharkskin suits and the end of dog tags
05/22/02: We baby boomers used to rule the roost
05/20/02: The Files now Ex
05/14/02: Entangled in Spider-Man's web!?
05/02/02: April Showers May Come Our Yadda Yadda
04/24/02: From child murderer to milk hawker
04/10/02: New realities
03/21/02: You did it your way? I have to kill you now!
03/14/02: IN THIS CORNER SUSAN LUCCI AND STEPHANIE ZYMALIST!
03/12/02: Life in the warehouse
01/28/02: Shoes and food
01/24/02: Suspension of disbelief has nothing to do with whether we accept something as real or not
01/22/02: Save the Grand Ole Opry?
12/15/01: If you truly want to appeal to the lowest common denominator
12/11/01: KNITTING!
12/07/01: Conspiracy by the 'fat suit' lobby?
12/04/01: The future of comic books
11/15/01: Literary tips in a jar
11/12/01: The ectoplasm of a ghost economy
11/05/01: Sumner Redstone's passions
10/31/01: My irony
10/29/01: Even in wartime, America can still bring it home
10/25/01: Ad memories
10/17/01: Pathetic me
10/08/01: War time lite
10/01/01: Confessions of a sarcastic scribe
09/11/01: The end of Mom
09/07/01: Boy Loses Girl, Boy Bites Girl, Boy Gets Girl
09/05/01: Virtual elegance?
08/31/01: I COPY, THEREFORE I AM
08/28/01: Buzz!
08/23/01: Radio workout
08/20/01: I robot, you Jane
08/15/01: A wild and crazy world!
08/10/01: When the future was "as real as a dime"
08/08/01: Garage Dearth!
08/06/01: That Big Clock
08/02/01: Stop the pop!
07/31/01: Catchphrase history of the world
07/26/01: The Bride of Science
07/23/01: That java jive
07/17/01: Homogenized hegemony
07/13/01: Applying Newton's First Law of Physics to textbooks
07/10/01: The dumb and the dead

© 2003, Ian Shoales