Keeping a weblog like this, one is faced with a near-continuous, and, it seems, ever-increasing flow of comment-spam. It can be dispiriting, and on occasion I feel like a beleaguered citizen of that underground city in the Matrix movies, only without the assurance of having Keanu Reeves on my side, desperately contending with a mechanised yet seemingly intelligent spambot assault with only a sketchy knowledge of the relevant technical whatnots to help me. On the other hand, I also sometimes admire the spammers’ resourcefulness and cunning. Alert and tireless as mosquitoes in a dark room in which we are trying to sleep, they buzz annoyingly past our ears and effortlessly evade our clumsy attempts to swat them. Of course, it is easier to admire the marvel of a parasite’s specialised physiology when it is not biting us, so I have very belatedly taken a few first steps to spamguard this site.
To my mind the most impressive (and, at the same time, the most repulsive) manifestation of this phenomenon are the cascades of porno-spam that intermittently swamp the comments here, that, if they were real SPAM®, of the kind that comes in a can, would be an unnaturally bright shade of pink, and would smell decidedly ‘off’. These comments’ unnerving titles and descriptions allude to interests and practices that vary from the impossibly specialized to the downright illegal. These are texts that bring to mind both the combinatorial methods of the OuLiPo and the compulsion-to-shock of a young Apollinaire or Bataille. From the latest such accumulation to fall on these pages, the commenter-name ‘Hovercraft Scat’ stood out as being exemplary in this regard: pseudo-random combinatorializing with a truly surreal effect. I’m not at all sure, though, that I feel grateful for such thoughts & mental images as these that never would have occurred to me otherwise.
I’d prefer to maintain at least the illusion of a dialogue here, and would be unhappy if the spam problem ever became bad enough that I would feel obliged to disable comments, as many have already done, or even to impede them by way of some kind of registration or approval mechanism. Thinking about it, I would say that it is even in the spammers’ best interests to moderate their actions, as a healthy and sustainable population of comment-friendly ‘host’ weblogs is their best guarantee of sustaining their own parasitic activities. I’d say that we should be worried if ever these bloodsuckers stop trying to bite us.
I must not omit to mention that these unsolicited comments are in no way connected with the fine food products pictured: I lifted the images from this page at the Hormel Foods site, and beg that company’s pardon for discussing unsolicited comments in proximity with images of their excellent canned meats.Posted by misteraitch at December 7, 2004 12:11 PM | TrackBack