Spammed

I am not a fan of (the mendacious aspect of) advertising and marketing. The power to make you need what you don’t want. The influence exerted on our collective (sub)conscious stokes and feeds off our perversely over-capitalised civilisation – to the degree that everything has a $/£/€/etc sign on it. It permeates the entire cultural fabric. Our Prime Minister is a flailing public relations bozo. Mediocrity is rendered appealing. (“But, Lee, isn’t your take on mediocrity subjective; what you consider mediocre, others may consider quality – isn’t that what art/choice/life is all about?” Yeah, yeah, whatever. Maybe I just don’t tacitly accept the status quo. But, like everybody else, I sub-consciously have.)

Perhaps contrarily is the irony, despite a lengthy advertising demonstration, of the repeatedly irritating incompetence of the seeming majority of bar workers when it comes to properly pouring a pint of Guinness. Particularly annoying, however, is the recent round of idiot spammers besieging NN, like Drosophila on the overripe bananas in my kitchen. I mean, the bloody cheek! Advertising space costs, doesn’t it? Perhaps if they were polite enough to have the courtesy to request permission, and were willing to pay for it, then… Otherwise, they’re just opportunistic parasites lacking the nerve to spam under their real names(s).

Also recently, although my laboratory research career is over, I’ve been reminded of its genesis. A while back, somebody (sorry, I can’t remember who or when so can’t link) posted here on a certain e-mail, which, if you’ve had a Ph.D. for a few years, you might be familiar with: that smarmy attempt to appeal to your (scientific) vanity – the offer to publish your thesis. I’ve received this kind of thing a few times myself, and, as with those e-mails from some dictator-persecuted, cancer-slain, super-wealthy African philanthropist’s recently-moneyed widow beseeching you to squirrel her fortune into your bank account, immediately deleted. So, I am somewhat bemused to have just come across this on Amazon. ‘Currently unavailable’, it qualifies. Hardly surprising – to my knowledge there are (or were) only three hard copies of my opus: one in the department where I did my Ph.D., one in its host university’s library, and my own (currently in a box in storage). And I have no recollection of sharing electronic versions. So, unless some bootlegger has gone to the trouble of photocopying all three hundred-ish pages, it could never have found its way on to Amazon’s warehouse shelves. So why is it on the site? Its wannabe publisher pre-empting a flattered response on my part? I wonder that this contravenes the Trades Description Act. No price on it. It is not for sale. Never has been.

So, on my own blog, I can’t even legitimately advertise my own product. Quite right too.

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