It’s taken more than five years of blogging, but I’ve finally come across a spammer who has grudgingly earned my respect.
A recent search of my spam folder showed the usual array of half-assed unsolicited emails, ranging from “Toronto Escorts” (sorry, I’m not an “escort” kind of guy and if I were, I wouldn’t travel 1,500 miles to be “escorted”), to sites for cosmetic surgery loans and cellulite diets.
And, of course, there were the usual abusers of English grammar: “My family members all the time say that I am killing my time here at net, however I know I am getting familiarity daily by reading thes fastidious content.”
But tucked amid the above detritus was this gem, appended on to a post I had written about the gruesome reality of the American Civil War: “This takes into account the view of the Latin Church and medieval contemporaries such as Saint Bernard of Clairvaux that gave equal precedence to comparable military campaigns against pagans, heretics and many undertaken for political reasons. This wider definition includes the persecution of heretics in Southern France, the political conflict between Christians in Sicily, the Christian re-conquest of Spain and the conquest of heathens in the Baltic.”
Oh, this was still spam; the comment came from an individual promoting a Spanish-language herbal remedy website.
But it was several notches above the usual unsolicited monstrosities that are the bane of electronic communication.
Given the nature of the comment and the fact that it had to do with war, if not the War Between the States, I decided to attempt to seek the source of the comment.
It took just a few moments to discover the comment was taken directly from Wikipedia’s definition of the Crusades, specifically, the 20th century description of the Crusades as inclusive of all military efforts against either foes in the Middle East or Europe, at the direction of the Papacy.
So, it appeared, someone had taken the time to cut and paste this comment, rather than randomly generating barely decipherable text – think “All your base are belong to us” – or, as another spammer did, sending a useless shill: “Coach Jerseys – 5850 yuan to 3510 yuan.” (I’ll get back to you after I get my yuan-to-dollars converter fixed.)
Of course, spammers being spammers, I realize that there was probably some logical explanation:
- Perhaps this is the same comment that this spammer throws up on every blog and it just so happened that mine, coincidently, involved war. After all, there is really no other connection between my post and the comment besides the fact they both touch on war;
- Perhaps this is some master spammer who has created a brilliant program to pull coherent complete sentences from Wikipedia with at least tangential relevance to the blog post being spammed; or
- Perhaps this is a neophyte spammer, who still cares enough about spamming to try to make every unsolicited comment worthwhile.
No matter what, I have to doff my cap to anyone who manages to work Saint Bernard of Clairvaux into spam. Well played, you rogue.
(Not, mind you, well-played enough for me to post your message so that your spam is viewable, and not well-played enough for me to mention the name of your website, but well-played, nonetheless.)
And no matter what method the spammer in question used to generate their comment, nor the fact that it was plagiarized directly from Wikipedia, it still beats the heck out of the usual tripe, which continues to flow unabated.
Consider the following, which I received just the day before the comment I’ve highlighted above: “I uncovered your web page via search motors even when looking for the connected topic, your web page demonstrated up up. give many as a consequence of you for the fabulous blog. Amazing skills! hold on man, you rock!”
(Top: Philip II of France arriving in Holy Land during the Third Crusade.)