Follow Up

Well, let me just add to my distinguished colleague's remarks that, I think, the reason spam has such a negative aura is, not only is it unwanted and useless, but it provides nothing in return for its existance.

Let me explain. (Oh, thank you!) Advertising has always been with us, probably since the dawn of time, and certainly since the industrial revolution. But even a cursory glance at modern marketing will show that there has been a great deal of give and take from advertisers.

Advertisers buy space in newspapers and magazines, thus defraying the costs of printing and publishing and allowing us, the consumers, to purchase "Tales That Witness Banal Misunderstandings" (or the fabled Whatever) at a far less arduous cost, thus allowing the producers of the contents to, in essence, have a career.

Similarly, television commercials help to pay for the production of programs transmitted. Many shows in the early years of television were actually named after their "sponsors," so that you had the U.S.Steel Hour, and the Colgate Parade of Drama, or other, less ficticious programs.

Decades later, programs would open with the news that, eg, "Bewitched" was sponsored by Kelloggs, and you could then be sure that you'd witness a commercial or two for Kelloggs products.

(In the early days of radio, the stars of radio programs would give the advertisements themselves. Jack Benny would talk about how his eyesight was restored by whatever coffee company was paying his wages...or something similar to that. What am I, Google?)

My long-winded point? Just this--while no one liked commercials, the commercials helped to pay for the entertainment they interrupted. We couldn't have one without the other. Otherwise, the other would be prohibitively expensive.

Spam emails don't do anything like that. They don't make the internet less expensive. They don't pay for Chris Onstad or James Lileks to do what they do best. They don't even pay us if we do what they ask. They just show up and block our legitmate interests with their clinging, vampirous embraces.

They're worse than door-to-door salesmen. At least they had to pay for gas, food and lodging. Spam pays for nothing, to no one. Is is any wonder they're hated?

Come on, spammers. Pay for something. Make Microsoft Office only $25 dollars because YOU pay the rest. Make Adobe products price in the double-digit range. THEN, you might earn some respect and, even more important, some sales.

Do I hear the ringing of deaf ears? I thought so. I feared so. Oh well.

At least it answers one question, which is why vampire films are so popular these days. There's so much inspiration.

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