WOTD: Spam

When I was little I sometimes went to stay with my great-grandmother for a day or two. She was in her 80s but she was a lot of fun. Everything in her house was old, but she came from a time when things were built to last. Her refrigerator was an ancient propane gas Servel from the 1950s, which still worked prefectly. She had held on to a lot of stuff from days gone by: boxes full of fascinating old clothing such as arm-length satin gloves, shoe boxes of old photographs, and even a few old magazines full of pictures of women in Christian Dior New Look dresses. Eventually all this ended up being given to my mother. I loved looking through the magazines and at the old pictures, mezmerized by the faces of people who were long dead.

Anyway, one day I was flipping through one of my great-grandmother’s old Harper’s Bazaar magazines from the 50s. In the midst of all the advertisements for cigarettes and liquor was an ad for Spam. I clearly recall what was written on the ad and will probably remember it forever:

Spam: The Ham that Didn’t Pass its Physical.

Isn’t that great?

Back in those days Spam was a canned meat product. Its name is a combination of the words “spiced” and “ham.” To me it’s always been one of those foods that older people eat. In fact, the only occasions on which I ever ate Spam was during those visits to my great-grandmother’s house. She always seemed to have some and she used to make us fried Spam, which was actally pretty good. It didn’t taste anything like ham, though.

Today, lower-case spam is something completely different. Wikipedia defines it as “unsolicited or undesired electronic messages.” These can come in many forms including emails and comments on blogs. We at Random Misanthrope use an application called Akismet which politely and discreetly moves comments which smell like spam to their own special folder. Today I saw that we had six comments sitting in our spam queue, so I thought I’d take a look. This one comment caught my eye because it reads like it was written by a Nigerian prince:

You have certainly antecedently been exceptionally strenuous publication pointing up all of this well weblog, Completely rather interesting to be able to read. Can’t time to wait to find out everything you articles about in the up coming last seven days. New for your huge positive aspects, choose to I do not very nurturing such a web site , and after that intend this guidance, too since the great evaluations some other rather folks wrote, ought to aid loved ones decide in the case when it is some of the ripe alternative for you in person. May be the idealfact Hydraulic.

All this was apparently the introduction to the last word, hydraulic, which was a (now broken) link. As you can see the comment is written in the all-too-familiar awkward style associated with Nigerian spam emails. Most of the language is sort of correct but definitely not standard English, “completely rather interesting”  being a key example. One wonders if this was generated by a spambot programmed to make the comments or emails read like that.

If so, then why?

Oh why?

5 thoughts on “WOTD: Spam

  1. They used to feed me spam fritters at school, and semi-raw mashed potatoes and cabbage boiled until it became a kind of green slime that more resembled snot than any kind of vegetable. My taste buds have never recovered from it.

  2. I love the tongue in cheek tone of the ad: Spam – Ham that never passed the physical.
    I can’t imagine seeing an ad today that took the piss out of its own product.

    • I found out that the phrase was a result of how often it was eaten by the American military during WWII. The soldiers were first ones who called Spam the “ham that didn’t pass its physical.” Haha. I supposed Hormel liked it so much they decided to incorporate it into their ad campaign. .

  3. Oh my, I just spotted a real humdinger of a contradiction in that comment:

    “…in the up coming last seven days.”

Words, words, glorious words! Give me all of your words!

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