Jewish World Review March 1, 2004 / 8 Adar, 5764
In its efforts to disguise itself, has spam disappeared?
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.
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JWR contributor Ian Shoales is the author of, among others, Not Wet Yet: An Anthology of Commentary. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2003, Ian Shoales