Spam Revisited

Mon, 24 Oct 1994 21:51:42 EDT

an Anthro-L and see what happens.
Seriously, I am grateful to those surprisingly many folk who--in
the space of a few hours--responded to my spam query. To summarize the
responses: /spam/ is now an Internet vocabulary item that is used
generically to describe an overwelming quantity of /X/. It has a
negative connotation. More specifically it is a metaphor for spreading
something undesirable all over the net.
More than one respondent cited Monty Python as the origin of the
usage, referring to skits in which every dish was served with /spam/.
Several respondents cited the recent example of the lawyers who advertised
their services vis-a-vis green cards as an example of /spamming/.
One respondent cited Lee Ellen Marvin (Univ. of Pennsylvania Folklore
Dept.) as someone who has done research on the term and its use on the
Another respondent (while acknowledging the probable Python origin,
I think) suggested this vivid image: imagine opening a can of meat and
having the contents explode all over you----that's like clogging the net
with an annoying [to many users] message.
Thanks, guys! Denise O'Brien