Thursday, February 22, 2007

Avaricious Poetry

Warning: Off-topic babbling and musing follows.

The unpraised -- and perhaps kudos unworthy -- spammers may reflect this era's stream of consciousness poetic artisanship. A scan of the titles in my spam buckets is often amusing and even thought-provoking.

Any given weekend, the spammers off from their jobs or studies try pathetically to entice us to open their offerings. I have seen estimates that they can profit even if they get one out of one hundred of us to look at their spam and one of a thousand of those to give them money.

Perhaps, but let's consider the literary and theatrical aspects.

On a few accounts and a mail reader with several others, my spam filters catch almost everything. I have these set to hold messages for a week. A couple of times a month, something I want -- generally with a link or two embedded -- ends up in one of these bit buckets.

I am paranoid about email. I never open anything that is clearly spam. Also, even for my sister and other angel-loving types, I don't open inspirational videos, PowerPoint presentations or even JPEG images -- nothing that can hide an executable.

For my slightly twisted amusement, before deleting these, I can scan down the amusing fictive senders and subjects.

Try as they might, spammers can't seem to rise to the level of refrigerator magnetic poetry or even to Dave Berry's standard of that's a good name for a rock band.

A couple of years ago, the subjects seemed to make a (dis)honest effort to trick you. The sender had a common WASPy name (Susan or Charley) and the subject was something like they were expecting you for dinner or such.

Recently though, there are a lot of single-word subjects, apparently generated from an English-language dictionary, or a random, nonsensical phrase or text captured off the Net. Consider:
  • irrefutable
  • petal
  • harpoon agitate
  • stealth packer (actually a candidate for Dave Berry)
  • truth acute angle
  • brandenburg unary
  • engineering inconsistent
Gertrude Stein might have been inspired by some of this.

Petal. Petal. sleepwalk we talk and walk Irrefutable latch. Heigh ho, Oakland. talk and walk

In the main though, rhymers would have to collect many weeks of such gems to assemble even a short poem. The blank verse folk would have an easier time, but verbs are hard to come by.

Instead, the free-association sorts can revel in the subjects just for the stimulation. Consider:
  • Be sanhedrin of salty
  • bed logo
  • by proscribe the marjorie
I consider these small gifts, offerings left by the demented, scattered freely about in the off-chance they will find a home.

It was like a moment last weekend when the family left the Chestnut Hill multiplex (I recommend Pan's Labyrinth) and I noticed a folded sheet of stationery on the pavement with visible writing showing through. I felt the compulsion of my youth to pick it up and voyeuristically enjoy that offering. I can control myself now, most times, but did note it to a son to see his response. He was indifferent to that personal artifact and strode on.

He also can ignore the subjects of spams.
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