Email Spam: my gin-scented tears…

Got a hero?

I’m a big fan of George Orwell.

Not only do I admire his incredible mind and writing, but he stuck his neck out for what he believed in. He went out to Spain in 1936 and fought in the Spanish Civil War to defend the elected government of Spain against the Fascists. He wrote of his experiences in Homage to Catalonia, which was later used as the basis for one of my all-time favourite movies, Land and Freedom.

I’m getting a lot of spam. I made the mistake years ago of putting my email up in plain text on my old site and in a couple of other places. I corrected this later, but that’s it. My email’s out there and they won’t bloody stop. Just in the past day, I’ve had to root through my mail and this is the result:

So just under TWO PERCENT of the email that arrives every day is genuine. The rest is rubbish. I’ve got some spam filtering in there, but it isn’t great. It sometimes junks genuine emails and I’ve lost some good opportunities through this (I almost missed the New Statesman gig after my spam filter killed it).

Not only is it rubbish, but it is stupid rubbish; I get stuff in cyrillic, adverts for stuff I can only buy in the USA, penny stock scam tips and phishing attack. I’ve even been promised the opportunity to “ejaculatte” for my “lady” if I buy some detritus herbal remedy (just as well we both love coffee!).  

One trick spammers use to try to get around spam filters is to use random text or text lifted from magazines or novels. It is very incongruous at times, but I wonder how Orwell would feel if he saw his work used in this way?

Those of you who are Orwell fans will notice that this line comes from 1984 and is recalled by Winston Smith as he writes his diary and thinks of his ex-wife Katharine. You can read it in context, here.

I’m sure the great man would have been delighted to see his work used to sell  condoms, penny stocks, housing stock, rolling stock, vitamin pills, slimming pills, happy pills, muscle pills, penis pills, Russian wives, Malaysian wives, Thai wives, Chinese wives and if you’re not happy with them, you can buy breast enlargement pills too! 

If anyone knows any good ways of getting control over my inbox, I’d be delighted to hear from you.

Update: As if to add insult to injury, a comment popped into my moderation queue quoting this very post within seconds! So now I’m getting spammed on my blog about the spam in my email. How ridiculous is that?? Incidentally, my blog’s spam filter’s pretty aggressive and has fended off almost 8,000 spam comments since last summer.

Bring it on!

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