The comment on my blogpost looked spammy, with an IPA somewhere in Africa and broken links to senders alternatively in the United States and India. As to the comment itself, it came from Vietnam, and here’s what the pigs there say as they’re being processed into spam. Mahlzeit!
Yesterday I posted a comment praising one of my textless photographs for raising what the pork-offal commenter called incredible roints and sopid arguments. “Sopid,” I assume, is call-center English for “solid,” and “roints” is “points” with an anti-Bayesian Greek rho substituted for the Latin p.
Today that comment attracts a meta-comment, viz.:
F*ckin’ awesome issues here. I’m very glad to look your post.
Thanks so much and i’m taking a look ahead to contact you.
Will you kindly drop me a mail?
Like many other spam comments, this one is hosted by an internet provider in Buffalo, New York, a port on the Great Lakes. Buffalo is what’s called post-industrial, and without the economic activity generated by enterprises like its spamhost, it and its city dialect might now be as extinct as Cavafy’s Alexandria. But with every new click on a comment spam, the old port traffics again, and lives and evolves. Hear its former idiom “looking forward” change under the influence of trade between call-center India and hedge-fund America into “taking a look ahead.”
In 1845, about half a century after New England began industrializing, Henry David Thoreau sat down by a landlocked little lake in New England and wrote, “I have thought that Walden Pond would be a good place for business, not solely on account of the railroad and the ice trade; it offers advantages which it may not be good policy to divulge; it is a good port and a good foundation. No Neva marshes to be filled, though you must every where build on piles of your own driving.” In 2016, the port of post-industrial Buffalo sinks piles into the deposits of its former physical language and opens itself to a new commerce with the ethereal. There, unmeaning words flow nonstop from click to click, lapping at piers to which nothing is moored.
About my post “Embrace your inner Red,” which consists only of a photograph, a comment spammer’s script generates this.
Have you ever thought about including a little bbit more than just your articles? I mean, what you say is important and everything.
However think about if you added some great photos or videos to give your posts more, “pop”! Your content is excellent butt with pics and videos, this website could definitely be one of the most beneficial inn its niche.
The image that comes to your mind will be better than any mere physical JPEG. Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard / Are sweeter.
I quote your formulation of the problem below. But won’t you tell your readers your name?
I, to name just one reader, would like to thank you personally. Most of my students arrive in college having learned that any paper can be made longer by inserting the three-word phrase “the use of” before every noun, but in their clumsy hands that’s a mere automatism. They do it without thinking. But your substitution of “by using” for “with” in “filled by using punctuation difficulties” is a move that’s genuinely profound. It not only complicates the simple; it ascribes purposiveness and moral agency to error.
And then when you commit errors yourself, irony is created and your slice of rotten spam becomes a work of art to rival Baudelaire’s “Une Charogne.”
Thanks! Readers, admire!
needless to say just like your internet site but you have to take apple iphone 4 punctuation upon numerous within your threads. Many of them are filled by using punctuation difficulties so i believe it is very irritating to tell the reality on the other hand I am going to undoubtedly keep coming back all over again.
Sometimes reading is possible only through a monocle. Here’s your evidence, below and above.
Below is one of the comment spams that are once again, after a long absence, trying to parasitize this blog. They arrive at exactly the right historical moment: the impending centenary of the Great War, whose concomitant rhetoric caused Hemingway’s Lieutenant Henry to deliver himself of a set speech famously beginning, “I was always embarrassed by the words sacred, glorious, and sacrifice and the expression in vain” and continuing, “I had seen nothing sacred, and the things that were glorious had no glory and the sacrifices were like the stockyards at Chicago if nothing was done with the meat except to bury it.” Keep those lines in mind now as you continue reading and encounter the phrase “For instance.”
Yes, Tenente: “Certain numbers . . . certain dates and these with the names of the places were all you could say and have them mean anything.” If it’s read only for the duration, within the sub-grammar of spam, the phrase “For instance” above does mean something. It is an anti-Bayesian element. Its function is to defeat the software that tries to detect a human purpose (such as “Buy my wares”) in the non-verbal vicinity of a verbal communication. But within the larger grammar of the English language, “For instance” also has an inhuman purpose. Out of the disembodied inhuman elements of logic it assembles trains of thought, coupling sex cars to sex cars and photography cars to photography cars. To spam that act of construction by decoupling its contexts is to commit an act of sabotage against language itself. Yes, Tenente: even the simple adverbial “For instance” can be made to mean nothing.
But once he had thought himself that far into the predicaments of language, Hemingway’s talkative hero retreated a short way by opening his paragraph about the meaninglessness of language with the self-negating formula, “I did not say anything.” As if saying that one is not saying anything could absolve one from saying something.
The monocled man in the picture above was braver when it came to saying something and then dealing with the damage. This was Tristan Tzara, and when he and his collaborators created Dada they created a language which not only articulated the possibility of meaninglessness but spoke meaninglessness into a counter-meaning. Put on the monocle now and see: a century after Dada, the spam’s money shot following the line about the anatomy of the penis is a link to a Facebook page advertising child care.
If we’re even to hope of thinking grammatically about that, we’ll probably have to break the communication down to single words like “penis” and “care” and read them slowly and squintingly, each one by itself, in isolation from its spamgrammar. For that, a recommended implement might be the monocle.
Source: Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms (New York: Scribners, 1929; Hemingway Library Edition, 2012) 161.
My May 2012 post “Men’s tools and camera queen,” long deleted from the blog, still attracts clicks from multiple sites in Poland. They’re addressed only to that post, and none of the clicking fingers have proceeded from their 404 to click further. However, the emotion throbbing within each click is palpable across it matters not how many watery kilometers lie between the Baltic and the Pacific
Countrymen of Chopin and Conrad, therefore! Jeszcze Polska nie zginęła! Here again at your click-command is the text that your bot has been yearning for!
It won’t mind reading a tamper-resistant PDF, will it?
The papers that came in from the Hong Kong students weren’t in ESL. They weren’t incoherent, not at all. But they were incomprehensible. The year was 1977, my first as a professor of English at the University of Hawaii, and the assignment had been ordinary by American undergraduate standards: a reading of a text, five typed pages long. One of the Hong Kong students gave me what I’d asked for, but from each of the others I received only a startling surprise: a thick wad of lined notebook paper consisting of thirty pages hand-copied, word for word, right out of the textbook.
This wasn’t cheating — not in any ordinary sense of the idea. There couldn’t have been any intent to deceive. The students must have known that I’d read the book. But then what had they given me? Why in the world would anybody want to look at it? I tried asking the students, but that didn’t help at all. With tears glittering in their eyes, they protested that they had to do their work that way, because that was what they had been taught in school. And (with indignation added to the tears) NO!, they couldn’t type their papers either. They had to copy the words by hand. That was what they had been taught.
Finally the student who had done the assignment American-style rescued me. In Hong Kong as of 1977, she explained, there were two school systems: the British and the Chinese. She had attended a British school and received pretty much the same education she would have received in England. It transferred right over to the University of Hawaii, an American school in an Unamerican locale. But the Chinese schools were strictly Confucian. An English class there wasn’t about learning English; it was about learning to ascribe the moral authority of tradition to a repeated activity — in this case, a muscle activity called “writing.” My own sense of the word “writing” had nothing to do with it.
A few weeks ago somebody from an electric utility commented in Salon about how much his industry has been changed by the computer. In his building, for instance, there was once a large room full of draftsmen. No more — and when I read that word “draftsmen” on my screen I suddenly realized that I hadn’t read it at all, anywhere else, for who knows how many years now? An entire category of labor, its name and its idea, have gone obsolete.
The draftsman’s pipe is no more, and so is the draftsman. The War Production Board, likewise, fulfilled its purpose and then vanished into history. Labor and laboriousness, however, remain in effect and on wartime footing. Yesterday, for instance, I posted a note about a mysterious daily attempt, apparently originating from many sources in Poland, to reach a note about Margaret Bourke-White that I posted to this blog a year ago. I’d guess that that busily repeated simulation of a desire to read has something to do with a larger cyberprocess that has been going on all year now: a massive effort to take over computers running WordPress (like mine, for this blog) and turn them into automated spam engines. Here, for instance, is a screenshot that I took last night with the help of the tracking program StatComm. It displays a barrage of attempts to log into “The Art Part” by hundreds of cyberpersonae attempting to impersonate me.
And in this morning’s screenshot, the tracking program Wordfence displays a tiny part of the ongoing effort, universalized all through cyberspace, to take over any computer running a WordPress page passworded with the default name admin. To the algorithm running that process, the word part of the term password has nothing to do with that human thing, writing in words. It’s only a coefficient to be changed in order to change communication from a manpower to something with a less anachronistic name.
While we still can, however, let’s consider one more labor function from the past. At the right of Ford Madox Brown’s Victorian allegory Work, two writer-sages, Frederick Denison Maurice and (in the hat) Thomas Carlyle, contemplate a repeated muscle activity under the aspect of its ideal form. In his poem addressed to Maurice, “Come, when no graver cares employ,” Tennyson envisioned that ideal as a series of laborious imperatives:
How best to help the slender store,
How mend the dwellings, of the poor; How gain in life, as life advances,
Valour and charity more and more.
A century and a half later, the shovel and the horse and the barefoot man with vegetation on his head are as obsolete as any draftsman, and the vocabulary word “charity” means something different when its culture’s writer-sage is Ayn Rand. Still, wouldn’t Frederick Denison Maurice and Alfred, Lord Tennyson have wanted us to hope that there may still remain something valorously human in Polish cyberspace — some impulse, for instance, toward actually reading my post about Margaret Bourke-White?
In that hope, let’s honor Maurice and Tennyson and Bourke-White as my students once honored Confucius. I registered Bourke-White’s photographs with the help of the fine muscles of my eyes, but then I wrote about them with the help of unembodied language. What I wrote may be unrepetitive after all, and subject to non-mechanical variation, and therefore untranslatable except in an error-prone, merely human way. Napisz komentarz w polu!
For perhaps a month now, my May 7, 2012, post about Margaret Bourke-White, “Men’s tools and camera queen,” has been getting multiple clicks every day from sites in Poland. I’d like to believe my prose is appreciated in the land of Mickiewicz, but the actual purpose of the clicks is probably more Conradian.
So I’ve taken the post down. If you actually want to read it, get in touch with me and I’ll send you a PDF.