I’ve laughed at the spam in my e-mail account before. The English is atrocious, the claims are fantastic, etcetera. These questionable vendors claim that their pills will cure my chronically flaccid thingy-dingy, make my hair grow thicker, lower my cholesterol — AND be cheap and affordable. We treat spam like a virtual scourge. Mail programs filter it automatically, there are programs sold to filter/clean/block/prevent it. The IT community advises people to never click the link, lest they lose money and pride.
Like this one from “Estella Miguelina:” “MaxPenis Pills – Penis Pill 95% Success Rate. MaxPenis is Powerful! Click For Details.” Oo…MaxPenis. Sounds like a superhero. Or supervillain, I’m not sure which. The movie would be “R” rated either way.
But I realized something. There has always been spam. Think back in history…has there ever been anything that claims to fix all your woes, cure all your ills, make you healthy, happy, wealthy and attractive to the opposite gender? There has:
Snake oil from the 19th century did all these things — and just for a little bit of your money. It *cures* sprains, rheumatism and toothaches. It makes the muscles “supple.” It gives “the whole System” a feeling of “vigor.” Doesn’t that read like something in your spam folder?
I’ll extrapolate a little, and theorize that if this has been around for the past 100 years of American history, it stands to reason that this phenomenon has been around for longer than that. How much ancient writing has been deciphered to actually mean “get Grok’s Sabertooth Oil…make ‘spear’ bigger…” and the paleontologists (anthropologists?) looked at each other and said, “That’s the fifth Sabertooth Oil ad we’ve deciphered this month. We can’t publish that. Let’s go with the standard ‘worshiping the gods’ story.”
Take these Egyptian hieroglyphs. I’m thinking they say, from the top: “Is your snake limp? Take a bottle of our potion, and make it as hard as a hammer.” (to the bottom row) “No more taking your snake into your own hands.”
See? There has always been Spam.