In a period of less than four days, 534 different spam sites have attempted to prosecute their – frankly – shady products on the hedgehog, and all those who read her. For any of those with both chromosomes, around 532 would not have been of any interest whatsoever unless your beloved has requested a penis extension for his birthday. Of the other two, one offered a low rate interest loan from the bank of bqrwwallsiizx.com and the second promised that with just a single click, high resolution photos of Britney Spears would be available to me. “In every position you can imagine and some you can’t” allegedly and I’m quoting verbatim here.
You would clearly have to have the brainpower of a special needs haddock to even consider clicking on one of those links, and yet some people must because Spam’s random, scattergun approach is apparently successful. However, it firms up a couple of lingering suspicions I’ve had; 1/ It takes all sorts and 2/the web is primarily an electronic wank factory.
I feel quite proud to prod its’ vice ridden underbody with the occasional spike of the hedgehog. And yet, looking back over eighteen months, it appears I am not entirely blameless in some glorious stereotyping and ill considered abuse. A brief scan of 300 odd posts informs that the following groups have been lampooned, sent up, randomly abused or held up for a brief baseless examination before being dropped for something more interesting.
Countries and their people; London and Londoners, the Welsh, the Scottish, the Irish, Belgium (a staggering 7 times), the French, the Germans and almost every other major European superstate. I believe Macedonia has so far escaped any ill considered angst but there is plenty of time. To prove I’m not merely a jingoistic anglophile, I’ve also taken the piss out of Australia and America a few times as well. And there is a special mention for Milton Keynes. Someone had to.
Vocations and Hobbies; Policemen, pretend policemen, politicians, doctors, washing machine manufacturers, call centres (to the power of irritated), traffic wardens, security guards (hmm a pattern emerges), airlines, car dealers, cricket, football, rugby, folding bicycles, normal bicycles, road biking, mountain biking, bowling, golf and darts.
General piss taking stereotypes; The Young. The Old. The Middle Aged. Women. Men. People who can’t decide which they are. Professional sportsmen and women. High earners. Low earners. Family types. Singles. Pensioners. DIY’rs. Road Cyclists. Track Cyclists. Mountain bikers. My friends. Me.
Special one off “I’ll get you Butler” category; Chiltern Railways.
And that’s just a happy subset. So far this catalogue of angst has properly pissed off a total of two people. The first was a post that made me laugh but was – on reflection – a little more cutting than intended. The second resulted in me pulling an entry which I’ve never done before and I’m unlikely to do again. And that’s all you’re getting on that one.
It made me think about words tho. Not the shit I write, but the real craftsmen and women who forge masterpieces on the anvil of a million words. Wordsmiths if you like; writers who use the same nouns, adjectives and verbs as the rest of us but craft them in such a way that shock, cheer, illuminate or illustrate. What they also have in common is raising such a strong emotional reaction, it leaves you wondering if you shouldn’t just stick to addressing letters.
For me, it’s Simon Barnes on sport, Joe Simpson on mountains, Stephen Ambrose on War and then Dickens, Huxley, Salinger and Laurie Lee painting landscapes in your head and peopling them with astonishing characters. I quite like Dick Francis too 🙂 It’ll be different for you and quite right too although am I the only one that cannot get on with Shakespeare? It’s not the stories I have a problem with; it’s every time he was struggling to think of a word, he just made one up. I’ve been tirelessly campaigning to have “Moonscuttle” and “Gruntled” added to the OED but have been serially and snootily fobbed off.
So, for a moment of pretentious gazing of a hairy naval, I wondered about pickling the hedgehog once and for all and sending the old fella, with my best wishes, to a warm electronic burrow in the sky.