When Spam Comes Knocking: If Spam Could Talk


Spam. The sleaziest of the sleazy. If only spam could talk, what would it tell us? Therein lies the conundrum, because if we are to use only the product – the waste product – of the spammer as evidence of its existence, then what we’re left with is the impression of a pure idiot. Honestly, read this and tell us if you disagree:

Dear Email user,

This message is from Administration center Maintenance Policy verified that your mailbox exceeds its limit, you will be unable to receive new email, To re-set your SPACE on our database prior to maintain your INBOX, you must click the link below:

CLICKHERE: <Link omitted to protect the reckless>

(If the link above does not appear click able or does not open a browser window when you click it, copy it and paste it into your web browser’s Location bar). Thank you for your cooperation.

Admin Help Desk.

Let’s face it. You have to be pretty damned stupid to construct something like that, source an email list, blast it to the world, and expect anyone with two gray cells to rub together to respond. Right?

So if spammers are so damn stupid, why the hell are they still around? Honestly, if Darwin was correct – and there’s no good reason to believe he wasn’t – then by now, spammers’ typing fingers would have fallen off, they would have grown gills, and they’d be unable to keep down solid food.

So what gives?

Well, for the first time, perhaps, we have a chance to experience what life would be life if, instead of hiding behind keyboards and the dull glow of a computer screen, spammers came right up and knocked at our doors. Thanks to the fine chaps at Hapstance Films, who have crafted a brilliant short film called “The Inbox,” a  witty little diatribe that takes a lighthearted poke at the dark and disturbing art of spamming.

In the piece, reminiscent of the fine tradition of Monty Python, an everyman is home one evening when a spammer comes calling. Just the type of seedy, misanthropic lowlife you’d expect of spammers, the anthropomorphized visitor isn’t satisfied with simply knocking at the door and disturbing the man’s dinner plans. No. he barges right in and demands information: personal information, mother’s maiden name, that sort of thing.

When the everyman protests, the intruder hilariously points out “BUT YOU WON!” What, asks the everyman, have I won? “THE PRIZE!” What prize? Asks the everyman. “THE BIG PRIZE!” You can imagine where it goes from here. He begins pilfering the everyman’s desk for information. An appropriate metaphor, because that’s exactly what spam does.

But it doesn’t stop there. Hilariously, the father shows up – hijacked, seemingly, as he tries to convince his son to click a link. In fact, anyone with an email account will nod and laugh with each new character, a smorgasbord, if you will, of the crap that invades our mailboxes on an habitual basis. And the denouement of “The Inbox”…well, you’ll just have to watch, won’t you?

Spam is such a serious threat, and the threat becomes more soberingly dangerous each day, it seems. It’s no joke to those of us who wrestle with it and attempt to gain a foothold on spam, the waste product of human depravity itself. But at some point, we have to stop and step back. Take a good long look at the waste product and understand what it is that we’re looking at. It’s spam. It’s called spam for a reason. It’s unwelcome. It’s nasty. It makes us want to take a shower whenever we come in contact with it. It pollutes, by association, every legitimate piece of email from marketers for known companies, because we want it to stop. We don’t care that you’re legitimate.

Stop bugging us.

Written by Malcolm James


  1. Cass · May 21, 2013

    You know, I start to think that all these reports about spam do the wrong job. Instead of drawing alert, they draw indifference. People get pissed of by constantly hearing about spam and they just don’t pay attention to it.

  2. Annette · May 23, 2013

    Do you want to know why spam is still around? It’s because there are still people who fall for it! They believe in the empty promises of work-at-home jobs that pay thousands of dollars a month or penny stocks that are about to soar high in the next few days or even on so-called pills that make manhood grow. People just fall for them almost all the time.

  3. Bessie Jane · May 28, 2013

    “Take a good long look at the waste product and understand what it is that we’re looking at.” In my opinion, this is precisely what we need to do – try to understand why spam exists and how it exists. The best way to attack a problem is not to run away from it, but to look at it straight in the eye and find ways to prevent or counteract it. In the case of spam, this can be done by regularly and religiously training people to understand spam and then work out some solutions that will fight the problem.

  4. Arthur · May 29, 2013

    I agree with you, Bessie Jane. I am running a small company, and for early months, spam has been a major problem primarily because we didn’t implement controls and our staff weren’t educated enough as to the dangers. When we created a simple spam education program, we’re able to reduce our spam levels to as much as 87 percent.

  5. Donald · May 30, 2013

    Yours is really not a special case, Arthur. As for me, an IT admin, I had to fight for it in the company. In my previous work, I needed to convince almost everyone, from the rank and file to the upper management, that they needed to spend on good exchange servers and update them to ensure we can fight spam properly. It exhausted me I had no other recourse but to quit.

  6. Bessie · August 2, 2013

    @Arthur – Yes, small companies are almost always the first ones hit by spam, especially those that do not have secure protection. Small companies that do not consider spam education as an important part of their employee education suffer the most. It’s good to know that you decided to go the right way and train your staff. It pays a lot to be well-informed!…@Donald – I am one of those who have experienced what you went through. Doing the right thing is difficult if the people around you do not understand what you are doing – or what your intentions are. I feel bad that things didn’t turn out right for you!

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