Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 16, No. 222.
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Date: Tue, 24 Sep 2002 06:37:01 +0100
From: Brian Whatcott <betwys@DIRECTVInternet.com>
Subject: Re: 16.221 the brief silence, a critique
At 01:30 PM 9/23/02, Willard, you wrote:
>... the publication of Humanist, at Virginia, was hacked into and
>damaged last week.
... As a Miltonist (as I was trained to be) I have
>imagery ready to fit the circumstance and am not discouraged in its
>application by the constant litter of slimy flostam that washes onto my
>electronic shores every morning. This morning, for example, as I was
>walking along them, so to speak, I looked down and saw one labelled, "GOD
>BLESS" from "mmadamabacha". Those messages that read, e.g., "humanist,
>honey...", have very little to say, comparatively speaking. Consider, for
>a rich bit of cultural history, the steps between that "GOD BLESS" and the
>meaning I rightly read from it -- which, roughly, is this: "I want to cheat
>you out of large sums of money by appealing to your naked greed!" Now, if
>you are inclined to cry out, "o tempora, o mores" at all, here indeed is an
I will confess, the meaning of Dr. McCarty's piece was not pellucid.
Here was my difficulty:
I was alerted to the imminent onset of some well-schooled
Miltonist imagery by the text. But I discarded the 'slimy flostam on
Willard's electrinic shores'. This was not the allusion I was looking for.
I did not understand why a message with the salutation,
"humanist, honey" would have little to say.
Endearments are always welcome in my mailbox,
recalling that many of my transmissions end in "Love, Brian".
I don't understand why the linkage between God bless...
and a solicitation for money is a rich bit of cultural history.
The solicitations which I rarely receive, purport to
emanate from Nigeria, and concern the secret and illicit
disposal of government-held funds on the American
stock exchange. These are the only ones where amounts
figuring in the millions appear. My more usual spam centers on
investments of $20 in pyramid email schemes, no more.
These two kinds seem curiously empty of cultural history to
me - but then I am probably culturally-enriched spam-challenged.
I was however, greatly cheered by the supposition that I might
number among that small band for whom a cry of
"o tempora, o mores" would be at all likely. Sadly, I shake my head,
realising that not even I am so pretentious, despite the schooling
demanded in some earlier age, in the prerequisites of the language
concommitant of seeking honest labor in the fields of Medicine or Law.
Altus OK Eureka!
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