Inbox: Spam - Grammar? Language!

The email address I have at work, the primary address for the company, overflows with spam. A full displacement, as if a basketball were thrust into a mixing bowl. SPLADOW! Over the time I've maintained the account, I've seen all kinds of Nigerian (among numerous other countries of origin, so I mean not to imply something about Western Africa) money schemes, diet fads, terrorism warnings, medications, and sex drug ads come and go. The sex drug ads inspire the most laughter because they are either prescriptive statements about the value/necessity of sexual virility/voracity, or they are loaded with euphemisms and entendre that did not exist previous to that specific spam email. (Now, yeah, some of them may be current "Wuzzzzzzuuuuuppp?s" and "Your Moms" of the Middle School locker room set...)

It's a barrage of "love sticks" and "rods" and there's marked overuse of the words "supercharge" and "empower". All common enough, right, but this morning when I checked my email, there was a spam that just didn't make any sense:

"Put your doughnut in her oven"

The ad that follows is a basic Viagra .gif link image with a man and woman closely embraced, noses touching, lips pursed, but not yet kissing. Fine, innocuous. But, let's break down the subject line. Put your doughnut in her oven? Really!? Really! Really? What is the doughnut? What is the oven? I mean, are we talking about virility for the sake of making a baby, tracing lines from "bun in the oven"? Is the doughnut a baked good bambino, or are we throwing out the traditional oven implication all together? If we are, "doughnut" is hardly the preferred euphemism for penis. It's inaccurate as a point of comparison. Entirely. Cannoli would be more accurate, but still incredibly stupid.

So, what I wonder is if/when spam messages will alter the nature of language itself? As these subjects and spellings continue to change and redistribute the meanings of words and phrases throughout the virtual world, the physical world remains relatively unscathed. But is it possible that eventually all communication will take this form as a way to avoid the "filters" we will could hypothetically establish in the future? Will phrases like "put your doughnut in her oven" gain use and meaning through saturation... as all words would have to in a fluid, adaptive system of communication? Consider that "I can haz," and grammatical adaptations like adding "-ed" to words normally written differently in past tense (eated, sleeped) happen often on the internet via memes and a variety of fun, cute, websites. They are now acceptable, perhaps no academically, but in common speech. Does it stop? Can it stop? Should it stop? Is there any virtue to being a "linguistic purist"?

I don't have an answer to that. Contractions, like the one used just a sentence ago, are considered inappropriate now according to the APA Style Guide, but few would argue that rule/recommendation as valid or reasonable. Language changes. We accept that.

On a lighter, less "I was an English major," but more "I'm going to be unnecessarily indignant for a paragraph" note: Snuggies. Surely you've seen the ads on television extolling the virtues of these blankets with sleeves. And if not, YouTube it because it's hilarious. The mere idea that a traditional blanket is so cumbersome and restrictive that it constantly prevents you from turning the page in your book, or answering a phone, or hugging your child goodnight (yes, these are actual examples shown in the commercial) leading to you huffing loudly and shaking your head is absurd. Absurdly capitalistic. And sure, maybe I'm jealous that I didn't think of this idea myself. It's simple. It's a sleeved-blanket that you button in the back, and it makes you look like a cross between a Jedi, a Benedictine monk, and a cultist. What's not to love. But really? Do we need to pitch our "classic" blankets when you can get the same effect by putting on a sweatshirt. Or, hell, why not just turn a bathrobe around?

Let's start a buy a Snuggies for the Homeless program to put them to a decent use. Or, let's just donate some blankets. Instead of dropping 20 bucks on a high-concept throw. That would be a more snug way to live.

No comments:

Post a Comment