TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: Re: The Luncheon Meat Associated With Junk Email?

Re: The Luncheon Meat Associated With Junk Email?

Robert Bonomi (
Fri, 26 Aug 2005 14:08:07 -0000

In article <>,
<> wrote:

> There's a name given to junk email that is the same as a pork luncheon
> meat product produced by Hormel. I don't think the Hormel company is
> too pleased about their product associated with something negative and
> undesirable, but the usage has become widespread.

Hormel has made it clear that they *do*not*object* to the use of 'spam'
to refer to junk e-mail. They do maintain a proprietary interest in
'SPAM' and people who use the all-caps form to refer to junk email have
gotten 'cease and desist' requests.

OTOH, the Monty Python skit -- from which the e-mail usage derives --
did use the word as referent to the "spiced ham" product, and Hormel
did not have any problems with _that_.

> I was wondering if this word association has helped or hindered sales
> of the food product.

It has given Hormel *millions* (literally!) of dollars of free publicity
for the product.

And introduced it to a whole new generation -- too young to be familiar
with Monty Python's diner.

Sales have actually increased slightly, but not enough to support any
claim of cause-and-effect.

> The meat product has been around for years. It was given to troops
> during WW II. Complaints then arose about it, but they were NOT about
> the quality or taste of the product, which was fine. The problem was
> that the troops in the field were given that as meal three times a
> day, seven days a week and they got sick of the monotony. ....

Not necessarily 3x daily, every day, but often enough to *seem* like
it ;)

It was -- fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your viewpoint
-- about the only meat product that could/would survive _all_ the
conditions encountered in shipping food rations to the front lines.
The length of time it took to get food to the front, and the lack of
means to keep things cold, meant that other products spoiled and/or
went rancid.

> Getting back to words and communication, it is interesting how the word
> "pig" is so contradictory. As I understand it, the pig is actually a
> nice animal and some people have them as pets.

That is *WIDELY* variable -- depending on the species. The one
frequently kept as a pet is a South-East Asian breed -- the Vietnamese
Pot-Bellied Pig. A *distant* cousin of the animals used in the U.S
and Europe for feed animals.

Many U.S./European varieties are 'temperamental', to put it
charitably, and a wise person exercises considerable care around them,
particularly when feeding.

In large part, I suspect, with the 'nice' pigs, it is a matter of
'socialization' with humans, starting from a very young age.

Wild pigs are notoriously aggressive/dangerous -- especially when
'cornered' (as with any other wild animal). Do a literature search
for references to a "wild boar', and being gored by same, With their
tendencies to root in garbage, carrion, etc, the tusks/teeth were a
serious source of infection when injuries were inflicted.

> But we have so many negative "pig" usages -- a nasty term for cops,
> sloppy eating, greediness, an overly aggressive man, rude behavior
> etc.

With the exception of the law-enforcement-officer reference, all of
the connotations mentioned _are_ directly based on representative
behaviors of the typical American/European farm animal.

> Yet pig meats -- processed luncheon meats*, pork, ham, bacon,
> scrapple*,etc., are very popular foods.

> (**The combat cooks used mobile gasoline stoves, but the stoves
> required unleaded gas otherwise the burners would clog up from the
> lead. The army stocked leaded gas for vehicles, carrying a separate
> fuel was another burden. As an aside, apparently gasoline fired
> stoves and heaters were popular at one time, but no longer. Anyone
> know why? Gasoline too flammable? Why didn't they use safer
> kerosene back then?)

Popular because:
Gasoline burns hotter.
Gasoline has (somewhat) more energy per gallon.
Gasoline was easily available, *everywhere*.

Discontinued because:
Gasoline *very* volatile -- vaporizes at relatively low temperatures.
*Explosive* concentration of vapors was too easily reached.

[TELECOM Digest Editor's Note: Regards 'PIG' and police officers or
other municipal employees, do not forget how the City of Chicago and
Illinois Bell were each greatly embarassed by having 312-744 (312-PIG)
assigned to municipal offices -- including the police department --
in the middle 1960's by a witty phreak who happened to both work for
Illinois Bell (until he got canned in a housecleaning the telco did
a year or so later) and the Chicago Seed newspaper (until it went out
of business once the Vietnam war ended.) PAT]

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