Tuesday, February 11, 2003


The NY Times Magazine has a pretty good article about spam - Tangled Up in Spam is six pages of info on spam filtering, spam history, and so on. One of the things the article points out is the strange bedfellows that pro- and anti-spam arguments and proposed legislation create.

This actually seems to be quite common on the 'net - new and weird combinations of people and organizations being thrust together to argue a certain point. Funny strategic alliances, forged to advocate anti-spam legislation or to combat the imposition of certain filtering or monitoring schemes. Job done, whether the goal was accomplished or not, and all of a sudden these people are on opposite sides of the fence again. The Internet is this strange social stew: put free speech and child molesters in, stew slowly over time, and watch to see what arguments take form in the simmering Internet pot. Add bits of spice such as globalization, various (and often conflicting) national laws, etc. This is not a melting pot metaphor, by the way: I don't think there's anything particularly homogenizing about the Internet in an intrinsic kind of way. Nope, one can find people of all varieties and flavors online: weirdos, wackos, conservatives, liberals, radicals, people with such strange political viewpoints that trying to categorize them would be futile, professors of religions of all types, academics, independent scholars, pseudo-scholars, and mockers of various types of scholars (you have to have seen the Postmodern Essay Generator, or heard about the Alan Sokal SocialText affair - more info here and here).

Wow. That was an early morning ramble! Anyway, thanks to Clancy over at Kairosnews for the link.

Ah, off to psychology of language.

- posted by laurie @ 2/11/2003 05:50:00 AM
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