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Monday, July 11, 2005

The proper use of SPAM

You know when I was a kid, Mom bought SPAM occasionally and fried it for breakfast or fixed it in some other way as a meat dish for other meals. (It could take the place of real meat if you closed your eyes and hid your taste buds.) And back in those days, SPAM was known everywhere as a canned luncheon meat (or at least a facsimile there of).

Schools used it in the preparation of school lunches (this was before there was a dietary goal and never on Friday's because we had to have fish). The army used it in their meals because it was canned and could easily be transported and could be kept without refrigeration. Poor people bought it because it was cheap.

If you ever heard the word SPAM, your thought was a canned meat (of sorts).

But today when you hear the word spam, it refers to the sending of unsolicited email. So, being the natural inquisitive soul that I am, I decided to do a little research to find out why spam was called SPAM (or maybe SPAM was called spam .... whatever, read on) and guess what, I found out. (isn't the internet wonderful?)

I went to www.spam.com (yes there is a site for nearly everything) and low and behold, there was the answer!

Use of the term "spam" was adopted as a result of the Monty Python skit in which our SPAM meat product was featured. In this skit, a group of Vikings sang a chorus of "spam, spam, spam . . . " in an increasing crescendo, drowning out other conversation. Hence, the analogy applied because UCE (unsolicited commercial email) was drowning out normal discourse on the Internet

The trademark name SPAM (now owned by Hormel) didn't object to the use of the word spam, but did object to the use of their trademark in referring to UCE. Here is a quote:

Let's face it. Today's teens and young adults are more computer savvy than ever, and the next generations will be even more so. Children will be exposed to the slang term "spam" to describe UCE well before being exposed to our famous product SPAM. Ultimately, we are trying to avoid the day when the consuming public asks, "Why would Hormel Foods name its product after junk e-mail?"

So, make sure that in the rearing of children and grandchildren and for the sake of future generations, please take the time to teach the proper use of the words SPAM and spam.

For official company policy, please refer to number 5 on this corporate information page. Corporate info

Now aren't you glad I wrote this morning and explained all that to you? I am sure, that like me, you had worried about the history of SPAM.......(or is it spam?)

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