The Best Of Spam, The Worst Of Spam
By Ara C. Trembly
Ever since Adam sunk his choppers into the wrong apple and got humanity kicked out of what had to be the greatest vacation resort of all time, people have been making bad decisions that have had far-reaching implications.
Literature and film are rife with examples of nattering nabobs, innocent children or na?ve adults choosing the wrong door, feeding the wrong pet, messing with forbidden forces of nature, or trusting the wrong people.
Of course, there was the legendary Pandora, who opened that box and allowed a spate of ills to flood our world. Thanks a bunch, Pandy.
And what “Twilight Zone” devotee can forget the episode in which the kindly space aliens book of knowledge, “To Serve Man,” is discovered to be a cookbook, just as the hero is dragged off into their spaceship and, presumably, trussed up for some human barbecuin?
Then there was the destruction of a town due to the misfeeding of some cute little pets that turned into malevolent green monsters in the 1984 film, “Gremlins.” No water, no food after midnight–how hard can that be?
The point here is that when people mess up, it can cost them, and the rest of us, in spades. Yet, a one-time mishap is often understandable–nobodys perfect, right? Its the repetition of such unwise choices, however, that takes us from the arena of the accidental to the realm of the ridiculous.
For example, in the film “Hellraiser,” all hell literally breaks loose when humans start playing with a satanic puzzle cube that ultimately spews forth demons who delight in the pain of said humans. After much hurting and bloodshed, and a battle with a demon whose head is entirely covered with what look like acupuncture needles, the forces of evil are eventually contained at the films end.
But wouldnt you know it, we foolish humans are again seen opening the gates of hell by messing around with that same cube in the five or six sequels to the first pinhead epic. When will we ever learn?
This same kind of scenario can be applied to another kind of evil–the kind most of us experience when our computer tells us “youve got mail.” Im talking about spam, which is basically unsolicited commercial e-mail or the cyber-equivalent of telemarketing.
According to SurfControl, a Scotts Valley, Calif.-based maker of anti-spam software, last year spam cost American companies nearly $9 billion in lost productivity as well as increased staff and operational costs, with IT having to deal with clogged networks, compromised storage and other problems.
Nobody likes these unwelcome commercial interruptions. In fact, according to a recent article in Information Week, every demographic group in a Harris poll on spam favors, by at least 70%, a government ban on spam.