Has anyone ever read their spam? I just checked through the spam messages for this blog, making sure that someone didn’t actually get filtered out merely because of a dodgy email address.  

Can I just say, spam has come a long way since the early days of emails from Nigerian millionaires.

Now, I get spam which sounds almost like it could really, truly refer to my blog.  Things as simple, yet possibly applicable, as “Interesting!  I enjoyed your blog, and have grabbed the RSS feed.”  It’s only when you read the email address (cheapacousticguita etc etc) that you redden at taking the compliment to heart.

 There are some funny ones still, like this one:  “I enjoyed your viewpoint.  It was diametrically opposed to those of others online.  I think your readers might like to check out this website about espresso makers.”  Still, someone as gullible as me might stop and consider, hmm, they could be right…maybe my readers really would like to hear more about coffee?  

Social network advertising has taken spam to a whole ‘nother level.  Yesterday on Facebook, I got an ad saying: Are you a 33 year old woman?  (Why, yes I am!)  Free fashion trials for 33 year old women!  Click here now!  (How did they know?)

Of course they know everything.  I know that.  When I got married, it was all I could do to wade through messages about rings, dresses and interminable ads about weight loss (actually, I probably get those for being merely female.  I doubt they yet know my body weight, although, based on my writing style, the size and shape of my hand-drawn, profile picture and the number of my friends, maybe they can estimate it).

But back to the spam.  Some of it is compelling!  ‘Cos it’s written as flattery: as stark an appeal to the ego as “Great blog!” (from kindleaccessories dot blah).  

Apropos of something, I read today that scientists have worked out that the same thing in our brain which fires when we desire something is triggered when we see something beautiful, like a gorgeous piece of art.  The scientists emphasised desire is connected to the response to beauty, but not love – love actually seems to turn off some parts of the brain – which maybe the root of the term, love is blind.  But desire and beauty – they are deeply, neurologically connected.

This triggered all sorts of thoughts for me.  Is that why the cult of celebrity is so strong, especially amongst teens?  Is it why arts marketers, entertainers and pop stars can sell tickets – by combining wanting something with something(or someone) beautiful?

In a similar vein (actually probably totally unalike, but somehow connected in my brain, so I am going to run with it), perhaps the genre of “flattering spam” tickles the desire for compliments in me.  I carefully deleted all the spam in the queue, but that’s not to say I didn’t linger; didn’t carefully check that some of the less outrageously weird compliments might not be real.  Being only human, I can’t help but mix up desire with beauty; and beautiful praise with desire.  

If you see an occasional comment slip through, therefore – something about excellent iPod holders from Uzbekistan – I can only say that my blog has international reach.  Hundreds of spammers from around the world read me.  I’m famous.   And if they happen to want your phone number, be so good as to give it to them on your way out.  They’re keeping my ego stroked in a manner to which I have become accustomed.