Archaeology of Spam

February 2005


Archaeologists tell us that you can tell quite a lot about a civilization by looking at its garbage. The same may be true of its spam.

We have all seen the television programs about the discoveries people made about this or that lost civilization by making a close and careful examination of their garbage. OK, I'd be willing to bet that you can find out quite a bit about the way someone lives by what they throw away. Personally, I try not to have a lot to throw away -- not because I'm paranoid, but I like to be thrifty with the planet. One big exception for me is email spam. I throw away more spam than just about anything else. So, I wondered what might be learned about my civilization from the spam I throw away?

Let's look at a couple of examples and see if there's anything we can learn from my discarded spam:


4 Wives looking for fun have been matched for you in your area:

  1. Lauren, 123 lbs, 5'7, 36c, 21 miles away, available Jan 24-26th
  2. Amanda, 121 lbs, 5'9, 36d, 12 miles away, available most week nights (looking for side-fling)
  3. Alexis, 125 lbs, 5'9, 34b, 19 miles away, available Jan 22-28th
  4. Rachel, 123 lbs, 5'7, 36c, 12 miles away, available most week nights (looking for side-fling)

Well, right away I can tell some interesting facts about my civilization. For starters, I find that I have a much different definition of "wives" than these folks. To me wives are women currently in long-term relationships with people on the basis of mutual trust and respect. They also have a very different interpretation of what "fun" is than I do. Sneaking around with some stranger, doing something we're both ashamed of and which we'll probably both regret, doesn't rank very high on my fun index.

People's first names are very important to these folks. I suspect that they all share the same last name, "Smith". I ought to do better at remembering people's names -- it's one of the things I do badly.

They think some physical attributes are very important: height, weight, and bra size. If I listed important attributes, these three would be way down my list. If I was going to predict compatibility based on physical attributes, I guess I'd probably not pick somebody two feet taller or shorter than I am, but then I'd not rule out anybody based on their height. Maybe the height and weight are listed to suggest that all these women are fashionably skinny. Perhaps bra size is used as a predictor of passion -- or some people obsess far too much about breasts in this culture.

They think a convenient locale is very important: is it important because we're stingy or because she won't want you if you live more than 22 miles away? I suppose that indicating when a person is available is logical. Two of these wives are looking for a "side-fling." I'm not sure what one of these is, or whose side it would be on. The other two evidently want something else, or they don't care.

I always wonder how I got on their list? What do they get out of it? Somebody's got to make some money out of this, somehow. How did they locate these women and deduce that they were desperate for companionship? What inspired them to make such a search? Why do they think that I'm interested?

I've never gotten a "cheating husband" spam. I guess they're a dime a dozen and you can find one under every other rock. Or could it be that husbands never cheat.


A Genuine College Degree in 2 weeks!

Have you ever thought that the only thing stopping you from a great job and better pay was a few letters behind your name? Well now you can get them!

BA BSc MA MSc MBA PhD Within 2 weeks , No Study Required, Completely verifiable! These are real, genuine degrees that include Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate degrees.

Student records and transcripts are also available. The opportunity exists due to a legal loophole allowing some established colleges to award degrees at their discretion!

These people mean something else by "genuine" than I mean by it. A degree is a certificate attesting to the alleged competence of an individual by virtue of their having studied something. Somehow a degree that attests to your having studied nothing seems both unuseful and ungenuine.

This is good proof that our culture has decided that qualification is more important than experience or ability. People value degrees not because it is good to know things, but because even the appearance of a degree will go straight to your wallet. Self-fulfilling prophesy: our civilization doesn't trust people anymore because it doesn't produce people who are trustworthy.

I love the final statement about the legal loophole. At whose discretion are degrees normally awarded, if not the discretion of the college? Is there such a thing as an illegal loophole?

I always wonder what would happen if I ever inquired about their wares, even if I just wanted to write about their scam. Would I get on some "don't hire this guy, he's dishonest and he's stupid" list.

What does your spam say about the state of your civilization?

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