Spam Poetics: "Guys This Is Fastidious"

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I started seeing them cropping up again, on old articles. I don't know when the comments were switched back on, but it happened at some point, and as has been the case for as long as we've had them, the full bilge-wash of the internet came rushing into the space we'd opened. If a person had wanted to comment on a piece—and our readers, as reasonable people, mostly would not want to do something like this—they would have found themselves in a room full of dipshit hawkers, blaring garbled praise and Machine Learning come-ons in the faintly South Asian English syntax unique to this sort of spam. The spam comments were back, and back to coming in every 90 seconds or so for days on end.

I cannot keep up with them. This is the whole idea, but also I myself cannot keep up with them—I can barely keep up with anything, with my work for Vice or my stuff here. This is the nature of things, and the spaces we are too busy to fill—the holes and fissures in this old website, and other more metaphorical ones—are the vacuum the internet abhors the most. The spammers cram in, pile up their junk, make themselves at home. In so doing, they remind me how much empty space there is at this site.

When we started turning these spam comments into poetry, years ago, it was in the spirit of recuperation. We did a lot of it, too. Now, though—and this was also true a year ago, I find—seeing these comments just makes me tired. It reminds me that the things I detest and kick against do not tire, let alone sleep. They are not shamed, and do not stop. They really want you to buy sunglasses or locksmith services or vacation tickets, here in the comments section of a niche sports website. They're pitiable, in that way, because you are obviously not going to do that. But it is tough to pity them.

Anyway, in deleting a few hundred comments, for old time's sake, I saw something shining through the nonsense. A coded statement of purpose emerged, weary and worn, but defiant. It is all holes these days, but there is some life in the old website yet. Let's give thanks for that.

 

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