Date: Tue, 12 Sep 1995 10:00:58 EDT
From: Douglas Bayer x3701 3NW dbayer[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]YUKON.HQ.ILEAF.COM
Subject: Re: Internet Term Stumper (fwd)
Every discussion of this that I've read eventually comes to
the conclusion that the fan story, however compelling to
all who know the old saloon joke, is a "reinterpretation."
Wired and others "in-the-know" would have us believe "spam" is
based on the incessant chant in the Monty-Python song of the
same name (sung to the Charge! tune familiar to hockey fans):
"SPAM-SPAM-SPAM-SPAM! SPAM-SPAM-SPAM-SPAM! ..."
(Doesn't ring a bell for you either?)
Most "Did you know...?" column-fillers state one version or the
other as plain fact.
But a few cast doubt on the "fan" story and state that those
"in the know" claim the MP song is the real origin, then ask
the reader to decide...
So the whole story is that people tell both versions.
And just as a jazz pianist can play a chord with one finger--
by setting you up to expect a different note that e plays--
the word is the richer for both, and for the debate.
Members of this list may be qualified to judge which is more
Personally, I'm intrigued by the idea that it started with the
cult song, but as it gained currency, it outran its obscure
reference. Far more people have heard, or even told, the
s***-hit-the-fan joke at least once in their lifetime than have
ever heard or sung the MP song.
I hope I don't get spammed for this, but does anyone know how the
term 'spamming' got coined for mass e-mailing?
i read that it's from the metaphor of spam (yes, the trademarked pork
product) hitting a fan, and the resulting havoc. i don't have a copy
home, but i think it's mentioned in _internet for dummies_.