Saturday, February 28, 2004

Viagara for the Soul

The spam in the comments boxes has been showing up with greater frequency, though Movable Type makes it easy enough to delete. Six from one girl yesterday, five more today from some guy whose name I can't remember. It would be a phony name anyway, it's safe to guess. What these folks leave is most often gibberish laced with links. Today's contributor, however, left some food for thought, arguably wise sayings lifted from somewhere - Bartlett's Unfamiliar Quotations, perhaps? - and pointing back to URL's where one can obtain, if one is so inclined, Viagara, penis-enlargement products, and debt-consolidation loans. I couldn't decide which seemed most attractive, and ended up deleting the comments and the URL's before availing myself of any, but not before pondering the wisdom left in their wake. Three of them got my attention:

1. Friendship makes prosperity more shining and lessens adversity by dividing and sharing it. [Left appended to my post "Don't Say Goodbye - Yet", on Terri Schiavo's dilemma.]
2. Gratitude is merely the secret hope of further favors.
3. Genius may have its limitations, but stupidity is not thus handicapped.

Thus, once upon a midnight dreary, as I pondered weak and weary, it occurred to me that TS O'Rama is right: this stuff is inspiring. It is pithy and profound, ponderous and poetic, concise yet cynically counter-intuitive, terse yet strangely touching, especially in light of his (the spammer's) concern for my financial and sexual well-being. In me, particularly, it struck a lyric chord, and sent me soaring, or at least aspiring, to empyrean heights. And so, if TS will concede that imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, he will not begrudge the results:

Friendship makes prosperity
More shining
And lessens adversity
By dividing and sharing it;
How true - my want
Of prosperity
Has taught my wife
To stop whining
And to cope by grinning
And bearing it.

Gratitude is merely the secret hope
Of further favors;
Of what a cynical slippery slope
This gratitude savors.
No more my thanks to God for joy,
For all life's leaven;
Tis just a secret hopeless ploy
To land myself in heaven.

Genius may have its limitations,
But stupidity is not thus handicapped;
Of genius I've no intimation
And am, therefore, by the latter trapped.
I once despised you, spammer dude,
And wished on you and your house a pox,
But now I'm awash in gratitude
For wisdom by way of a comments box.

There. It is as though something lost to my life has been rediscovered. Thank you, Spam Man, thank you.

looks like i'll need to update our official groupie site with some new quotes. very nice, mr. luse!
Posted by smockmomma email at February 28, 2004 11:43 AM

beautiful and inspiring, as usualhow do you do it?
Posted by alicia email at February 28, 2004 01:10 PM

The Gratitude one is brilliant. Nicely done.
Posted by Jayson Franklin email at February 28, 2004 01:17 PM

How do you do a mass delete of comments by author in MT, anyway?
Posted by Dismas email at February 28, 2004 02:08 PM

Dismas, sometimes you can't. The six mentioned (from the girl) were all attached to the same post, which made it easy. If they're attached to different posts, I have to go to each one, delete, and then rebuild. It's a little time-consuming, but I'm still grateful for the ability to do it. Someone with more knowledge of the MT system might have a faster way; I just haven't found it. I also ban the IP addresses, but I have no way of knowing if this keeps the amount of spam in check.
Posted by William Luse email at February 28, 2004 04:45 PM

Oh, and thanks Mr. Franklin. Brilliant's a strong word but I'll take it.
Posted by William Luse email at February 28, 2004 04:46 PM

You've made a silk purse out of a sow's ear. Bravo Mr. Luse!
On The Public Hawking of Private Devices and Quotational Spam Absurdum (for the infractors thereof)-
Petrifaction is of two sorts. There is petrifaction of the understanding; and also of the sense of shame. This happens when a man obstinately refuses to acknowledge plain truths, and persists in maintaining what is self-contradictory. Most of us dread mortification of the body, and would spare no pains to escape anything of that kind. But of mortification of the soul we are utterly heedless. With regard, indeed, to the soul, if a man is in such a state as to be incapable of following or understanding anything, I grant you we do think him in a bad way. But mortification of the sense of shame and modesty we go so far as to dub strength of mind!
Epictetus XXIII
Posted by Julie email at February 28, 2004 06:38 PM

Julie, why do I get the sense you are well-read?
Posted by Willliam Luse email at February 28, 2004 07:08 PM

I have found an easy way to de-spam in MT. I have all my comments emailed to me. When they arrive, I read them, and if one is spam, I simply click on the little link that says "De-Spam using Moveable Type". it takes me to a page that is almost idiot proof.
Posted by alicia email at February 28, 2004 09:09

That bad, huh? :P Okay, but there is something very weird about people who unblushingly adveritse stuff appropriate for a 24-hour truck stop off of 1-95 on a christian blog.
And I think it was way cool the way you skewered that particular decadency, because you did it beautifully.
Posted by Julie email at February 28, 2004 10:44 PM

Julie, I got the point and my comment was a compliment. The kind of people who spam Christian blogs do not live in the same moral universe as you and I. I'm not even sure they stop to notice the Christian part. Like animals, they just do it.
Posted by William Luse email at February 29, 2004 12:41 AM

Hear, hear!! You're answering the question of why spam happens to good people - so they can make something better of it. Especially liked the gratitude one.
Posted by ts email at February 29, 2004 11:05 AM

Praise from the master himself. I am not worthy, but I'll take that too.
Posted by William Luse email at February 29, 2004 04:10 PM

The mystery of the existence of spam is a difficult question. Why would a loving God allow spam. But I see that yet again God has brought good out of spam. Good poem.
Posted by Jeff Miller email at February 29, 2004 07:34 PM

Thank you, Mr. Most Humorous Blog, I was hoping you'd stop by. (You were the most humorous, weren't you? I never checked the final results.)
Posted by Willliam Luse email at February 29, 2004 08:05 PM

Actually I came in second, two votes behind Fr. Bryce.
Posted by Jeff Miller email at March 1, 2004 01:07 PM

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