Today’s Featured Spam
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I am a ruthless protector of my privacy and right to not be solicited. I am on the “Do Not Call” registry, and if a representative of some organization or company has the temerity to call me anyway, I think nothing of hanging up immediately upon discovering the nature of his or her call. As rudely as possible.
I find it somewhat paradoxical, therefore, that my feelings about spam on my blogs is less cut and dried. Perhaps this has something to do with my profession.
I, as all of we bloggers [yes, the subject pronoun “we” is appropriate here], get a lot of spam comments on my blog. But hitting the “Delete Permanently” button seems so final and so uncaring. It negates the existence, and the full verbal and emotional expression of its originator. Let me explain.
As an English teacher, I feel it is important to appreciate writing regardless of the form or language level at which it appears: to recognize the abilities, and more importantly the intentions, of the author, instead of just red-lining through all of the mistakes. Writing is, after all, a very personalized form of expression. When reading, I look for the kernel of truth, colored by the personality of the author. I seek to know the writer through everything that makes him or her distinct. To miss the message due to the imperfect form of its delivery, would be unfortunate.
Now to the point of why I actually like the content of spam messages:
I have grown to enjoy spam. As mentioned in my recent poem Thoughts About Spam, I enjoy their creative use of language. In fact, I have grown to see spam messages collectively as comprising a poetic genre of their own. Poetry works because it uses unusual or unconventional positioning of words and phrases. It gets us to think about things in a new way. We are so accustomed to certain ways in which phrases and words are strung together, that reading or hearing those accustomed phrases allows us to bypass the close examination of their content, and access an assumed “nugget of truth”, as we swallow content whole, unexamined and unremarkable. And quickly forgotten. No learning has taken place.
The unusual juxtaposition of words and phrases, on the other hand, forces us to look closely at the relationship between words; and then to the relationship between the words and the concepts or things they represent. This is called metacognition (also referred to as “thinking about thinking”). It is a critical scrutiny of new information, allowing an opportunity for re-ordering, or creating new thought patterns into our schema (the matrix of knowledge that we have been building since we were first conscious). Poetry allows the mind to examine and re-order our schema, which leads to deeper understanding of a concept or of the relationship between one concept and another. In other words, poetry invites (even seduces) us to see in new ways. Adding to our schema is the process of learning.
Poetry also allows us the freedom, in the interstices of its vague or unusual wording, to derive our own personal meanings. Reading poetry is a very individual process, as individual as the writing of it.
Finally, the nature of the content of most spam messages is complimentary to the author of the blog being spammed. This is a strategy known as “Flattery will get you everywhere.” Spammers are counting on the power of flattery to win over their customers/blog visitors. Everyone enjoys being complimented for his or her work. We all love to be recognized and appreciated. Bloggers put a lot of work into writing and posting content; we love getting feedback in the form of “likes” and comments.
So before I hit “Delete Permanently,” I take the time to read each spam message, as if it were a poem. I take the compliments it heaps upon me (even though they may be generic to the point of being humorous–that adds to the experience), and experience the vicarious drops of metacognitive wisdom and love that it emanates.
I would hate to miss “so many outstanding people with great things.”