Spam: The Open Window of Culture

Have you ever analysed the pattern of the spam arriving in your mailbox every day? I know, most of us have filters that keep the majority of that junk from bothering us..but some gets through, anyway. I actually have an account that I mostly abandoned years ago, simply because I couldn’t find my mail anymore. Now it is the spam tracking account.

A year or so ago, almost all the spam hitting my account was sexual in content. I really enjoyed it. How many different ways can you spell…well, things I probably ought not type out on here. But you know what I’m talking about. I loved reading though the solicitations for “personal web-cam” sites and contemplating the machinations of various penis-enlargement devices. I sympathised with the plight of the half-dozen or so men who sent me their stories of “sexual malfunction” (which had always been cured with some mystery pill), and grinned at their descriptions of the 36-hour “love marathons” which they now enjoyed. I contemplated the statements that all women wanted a “bigger” man, and wondered if I was alone in my disagreement. I thought about all those other folks on the spammers’ lists, and wondered if they worried about the same things my spammers did.

Then we had a “buy real-estate in Costa Rica” phase, an anti-depressant phase, and the inevitable spell where a simply amazing number of men in various African countries wanted me to help them get hold of an inheritance (for a share of the spoils, of course). There was a time when the number of letters from Ebay and Paypal informing me that my account needed my credit card number typed in was truly frightening, and I marvelled at the programming skill which had enabled my spammers to duplicate these sites so perfectly.

Recently, however, I have become worried about my spammers and their seeming lack of direction. I always kind of viewed my spam trends as a window on society…what are people worried about today? Obviously, for a long time we had a strong sex drive, and sadly a lot of people out there were not able to do anything really productive with it. Clearly, many of us are really desperate for a supplemental source of income, and really hope our Fairy Godmother has not forgotten us. I didn’t really need the spam to tell me that many in our society are chronically depressed, but it was there. We worry that we are too fat, that we have dropped the ball on one of our “important” online accounts, that our relationships are not all that they could be. But today, this is the run-down from my spam account:

  • Full of Health? Then Don’t Click!
  • Xanax Bestseller!
  • Watch Out For El Nino!
  • boarding school
  • She wants better sex? All you need’s here…
  • murder
  • Your mortgage approval
  • Beautiful, breathtaking coastal land, practical…
  • Hi, nimble-headed

What the hell is going on out there? Using my usual system of analysation, I have to conclude that we are confused. We don’t know which way to turn, which issues are of genuine importance, anymore. Being nimble-headed as I am, I cannot seem to determine whether I need to be worrying about my mortgage payment or my sex life…and what was that about boarding schools? Maybe we are bad parents and need someone else to look after our kids. Or maybe we can’t find the time for all that crazy sex with the kids around…and who was that at the window?! Heavens, what a nightmare!
I have seen a trend elsewhere in our society that as the news continues to pour in with more and more stories of scandals and wrong-doing on the part of those we would like to respect, we are growing more and more confused and paranoid. We are not sure which issues are really important to our health and happiness, and which are just more sensationalized mini-dramas made up to get our adrenaline flowing and our appetites whetted. We thrash around looking for the magic bullet, the perfect cure, the instant solution. But perhaps what we really need is to slow down, go outside, and look around. The world is still out there, carrying on in much the same way as it has for thousands of years. The people you meet on the street aren’t bad people, and the kids are not really plotting to murder you in your sleep. The politicians will keep on doing what they’re doing, but we can handle it, and the place where you live is probably fine for right now. Close your eyes, and take a deep breath. At least out here, the spammers can’t get you.