My ebook: Journeys with the caterpillar

My ebook
Journeys with the caterpillar: Travelling through the islands of Flores
and Sumba, Indonesia
" is available at
this link

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Sir spamalot

This year marks the 30th year of spam, spam email to be precise. What seemed like a simple innocent act to Gary Thuerk, a DEC executive, as he sent the first spam mailer, has become a menace for even the likes of Bill Gates (Although, his recent resignation need not be linked to his failure in dealing with spam).

Some reports suggest that spam accounts for 90% of all emails or a hundred billion emails a day. And even though 95% of these are blocked by spam filter, spam emails attract far greater ire from governments and general public as opposed to other forms of spam such as TV commercials and billboards. (Of late, this has started to change with cities like Sao Paolo banning billboards). But then, some may argue that every human being is like a spam to other, unsolicited, largely useless, only causing infrastructure clogs.

There is lot of good qualities in spam which we ignore in our possessed hurry to block or delete them. First of all, they are the only ones who seem to care about our gravest problems. Who else cared to talk to us frankly about our sexual problems or our horrible credit scores? Spammers are also the least prejudiced of us all; who else would even bother asking students to buy a villa in the French Riviera? Most importantly, spam emails are consistently polite and humble, a quality which most genuine emails lack. Which spam email will end just mentioning “FYI”? And occasionally, they can provide us that moment of humor, case in point being the spam mails I receive from “aggarwal matrimony” groups (It’s as logical as bonobos receiving matrimonial offer from the aggarwal community). And who after Jesus and Marx have given man so much hope if not spammers? I mean who else said that losing fat was possible without moving the ass one inch from the couch?

One realizes the importance and endearing nature of spam emails only as she rises up the corporate ladder. As one becomes more senior, the only direct mails she receives are ones seeking approvals for leaves or expenses. Most of the other genuine mails are ones on which she has been marked cc, which typically receive similar treatment as spam, instant ignore. So don’t be surprised if your catch your boss reading a few spam mails with delight when she has a moment for herself.

Spams also make us feel valuable and worthy of living. Many may argue that the most serious issues in the world like the Israel-Palestine or the India-Pakistan conflict are a result of more basic problems like erectile dysfunction and therefore the leaders involved make up by taking macho war-mongering stances. Isn’t it a pity then that the spam filters of the decision makers involved filter out mails which contain different spelling combinations of words like “Viagra”?

P.S. Below is the video of the Monty Python skit that popularized the term “Spam” among technology fans

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