August 30, 2010

More Spam than you ever Spam wanted to know about Spam

While clearing out my files in preparation for a new Sunday School year, I came across my Spam notes. A couple of years ago, I taught a lesson about prayer in which one of the talking points was that insincere prayer is like sending spam to God. So along with the lesson handouts, just for fun, I included one with the same title as this post. Just for fun, here it is:

Hormel Foods is not fond of the fact that people call electronic junk mail “spam.”

The term, of course, is not meant to disparage the famous tinned meat.

Spam (the meat product) was one of the few meats excluded from British food rationing during World War II. As a result, many Britons grew heartily sick of it.

This disaffection with Spam led to a 1970 sketch on Monty Python’s Flying Circus, in which a couple dine at a restaurant at which every dish contains Spam. When a patron asks for something without Spam, the waitress recommends “Spam egg sausage and Spam, that's not got much Spam in it.”

Near the end of the sketch, a group of characters start singing the praises of Spam — “Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam — lovely spam, wonderful spam —” ad nauseum. They soon drown out the dialog between the diners and the waitress.

In olden days, before the World Wide Web, geeks used an Internet predecessor, Usenet, to communicate. Messages were sent to a central address and distributed to all participants.

Sometimes, topic threads would be drowned out by marketers sending advertising messages to the Usenet server and, therefore, to each individual participant.

The geeks naturally termed this noise, which drowned out the topic of discussion, “spam.”

Obviously, a disproportionate number of geeks are Monty Python fans.

My research about Spam at the Hormel Foods Web site uncovered a recipe for Spam Cupcakes, along with many other dishes that might have been served at that Pythonesque restaurant.

Hormel Foods loves the Monty Python sketch, probably because Eric Idle's character says “I love Spam!” Video screeens showing the sketch in a mock cafe are a key feature of the Spam Museum.

You can find photos and a descriptive walkthru of the museum here. An exhibit professional reviews the Spam museum here, and over here, on a site that features tourist reviews of roadside attractions, one woman calls the Spam Museum "...fabulous! It's like a really great children's museum, except with potted meat products."

The museum gift shop sells the Spamalot commemorative tin of Spam. And Hormel's website includes a link to a Spamalot game. Catapults and cows. Just for fun.

1 comment: