“867-5309” up for sale

Celestial bling

A spam blog!

The “Dream Income” blog is devoted to archiving spam. Actually, the posts are nothing more than the header to the spam, then the message text — as if the spam itself were writing the blog.

It’s quite hilarious to look at, partly because it looks like a real blog, written by a real person. And that reminds us of the most salient fact about spam, which is that quite apart from it being a huge annoyance, it’s also the world’s largest and most successful Turing Test ever: A mass communication by robotized life forms desperately attempting to pose as human.

More significantly, the blog rocks because it is keeping an archive of spam. That’s actually a rather valuable service. Because who saves spam? Hell, I’m one of the few freaks that actually regularly reads his spam, just because I’m interested in it; but not even I save copies of them. The end result is that this no central “Library of Spam”; this enormous cultural explosion of hucksterism is not really being recorded anywhere, and in a purely academic sense, that’s sad. It’s the same way many pieces of pop culture were treated. Public libraries didn’t save copies of comic books, penny dreadfuls, or pop CDs either, and so much of that incredibly rich history is hard to find too.

(Thanks to Jonathan Korman for this one!)

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I'm Clive Thompson, the author of Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing Our Minds for the Better (Penguin Press). You can order the book now at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Powells, Indiebound, or through your local bookstore! I'm also a contributing writer for the New York Times Magazine and a columnist for Wired magazine. Email is here or ping me via the antiquated form of AOL IM (pomeranian99).

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