Monday, May 17, 2004

Spel Like A Spamer
Can you believe the sorry state of e-mail today? What used to be the Internet's one, true killer app is now little more than a cesspool of spam, viruses, and porno nasty enough to make Pamela and Tommy blush. The bad guys have taken a nearly perfect technological innovation and turned it into an experience more evil and annoying than the creature that would emerge if Celine Dion and Eminem procreated. (By the way, I have no idea what those last two sentences mean, but I have high hopes for the Google ads that are sure to appear at the top of this page.)

It's enough to make you yearn for the good old days when the only irritating, unwanted e-mail messages you got were work related. Nowadays when I open my e-mail I have to press the Delete key in such a repetitive motion that I probably look like a teenaged boy enjoying his Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition. But far more disturbing than the avalanche of spam is the worry that real messages are not getting through. Suddenly, e-mail delivery is about as reliable as a promise from a President of the United States of America.

Sadly, the spammers -- like the terrorists (who might well be the same people) -- have succeeded mostly in turning us against ourselves. Necessity being the mutha of invention, network nerds are furiously scrambling to shelter us from spam by blocking any mail that contains offensive keywords, such as Viagra, Rogaine and penis. Unfortunately, the filters are also blocking perfectly good words used in everyday conversation, such as motherfucker and cocksucker, not to mention Viagra, Rogaine and penis. (Yo, ACLU, are you on this? After all those years of heroic efforts to protect the first amendment, we're putting fuckin' Todd over on the network team in charge of the constitution?)

If you're a pottymouth like me or if you simply like to discuss prescription medications, baldness, working from home or genital enhancement in your e-mail messages, you've probably had some e-mail blocked by an over-aggressive spam filter. I don't know about you, but I've had a ton of mail turn up missing in recent months and most of the time it's because of my tendency (and my correspondents' -- you know who you are) to cuss like a pre-teen Wu-Tang Clan fan.

And, naturally, filtering has failed to stop spam because the spammers have fought back by simply misspelling the keywords. Have you gotten offers for "viagfra," "roggane" or "peniz enhanzer?" You might have thought that those spams simply originated in Indiana, but no: those words were spelled wrong on purpose to foil the filter.

(...We interrupt this OFGS for a Homeland Security Brainsprinkle (TM)... Speaking of terrorists and nerds, did you know al Qaeda means "the base?" But it doesn't mean "base" as in military base or base of operations, it means DATAbase. The name comes from Osama bin Laden's first and most important ability: to organize and motivate thousands of jihadists and, you know, sort their names in Microsoft Access. Yes, the guy is a nerd. He probably knows how to run envelopes through a fucking inkjet printer and get the addresses to look right. We don't need Rummy and Condi and fighter jets and tanks and humvees and troops and bombs to fight this guy. We need Bill Gates! Bill Gates and maybe that guy from Oracle who's worth more on paper than God and Allah combined. Let them recruit all those lowlife worm- and virus-writers and those billionaire 20-something Google dudes and that rotund Help Guy in your IS department with the oily hair and the Milky Way Dark candy goo in his teeth whose e-mail signature lists 27 ways to get in touch with him even though he's never available. Get them all to go after Osama and his fuckin' base. Just an idea. OK, back to our regularly scheduled OFGS...)

Because fetuses and homosexuals are not involved, we clearly cannot look to our government for help with the e-mail problem. So we're just going to have to take matters into our own hands. One option would be to use this opportunity to bring some civility back into our discourse by simply retraining ourselves not to curse. Nah. That seems drastic.

Instead, I think we should steal the spammers' approach and intentionally misspell offensive words. That way the mail will have a better chance of getting through and you'll still be able to cuss like the little fuckerpants you are, albeit with creative spelling. Have fun with it! For example, say bastid instead of bastard and sheit for shit and Cheneybrainy for dickhead. For pussy say Rush. Spell fuck feck. For motherfucker: mickeyfickey! Want to say, "my boss is the putrid pus popped from a thousand bloody zits? Ha ha - it's a trick: no cusswords!

For those of you who find misspelling unacceptable, how about substituting foreign words and phrases? They should get past the filters, at least in the US. Plus, you'll sound sophisticated. Shit can be scheiss and bastard can be merde and pussy can be bichano. For jackoff? Wanker! I've always been fond of the German expression, "Lechen mein arsch." I'm not sure how you spell it, so it's a double whammy: foreign AND spelled wrong! What filter could catch that? Want to tell someone that in your opinion he or she is a fucking moron? How about the Irish "You're a right feckin eejit." Gets the point across while being somehow endearing.

Of course, I can't do this alone. If I intentionally misspell profanity or use foreign expressions, my email will get past YOUR spam filter. But you're going to have to join me if your messages are going to get past MY filter. This is a team effort, people. Remember, there's no "I" in "team." (Come to think of it, there's no "I" in "masturbate," either...) But there CAN be an "I" in "fuck" if you want there to be.

So remember: spel like a spamer! I'm looking forward to hearing from yeh, yeh brilliant feckin' bastids.

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