Geographical Soma and Postfixing SPAM
Yesterday, I returned from my friend Jason's and his (then) bride-to-be Sarah's wedding in Indianapolis. The parts of Indianapolis I visited were incredibly clean and smoking is not allowed in public spaces, bars being an exception. The most interesting aspect of Indianapolis. without going too deeply into the gory theoretical details, is its manifestation of what Baudrillard would call the hyperreal.
On Saturday night, wedding guests were invited to The Rathskeller. That night, Possum were playing music that I would not call “dead” as much as “reanimated.” The calendar billed Possum as presenting “Your Favorite Rock Hits,” a tag which suggests the mass-cultural character of the material Possum reanimated but omits that those “Rock Hits” were reduced then submerged in a swirling medley replete with loosely-scripted patter. To escape the embarrassment of so transparent an acoustic come on, one had to enter wistfully and witlessly the nostalgia that eddied as Salt and Pepa's “Push It” flowed into Cyndi Lauper's “Girls Just Want to Have Fun.” The feeling was frightfully and undeniably pleasant, reminiscent of what the characters of Pynchon's Gravity's Rainbow experience as a giant Adenoid assimilates them:
[. . .] the Adenoid is blasted, electric-shocked, poisoned, changes color and shape here and there, yellow fat-nodes appear high over the trees . . . before the flash-powder cameras of the Press, a hideous green pseudopod crawls toward the cordon of troops and suddenly sshhlop! wipes out a an entire observation post with a deluge of some disgusting orange mucus in which the unfortunate men are digested—not screaming but actually laughing, enjoying themselves. . . . (15)
Possum's reanimated medley is a metonym for the racial and cultural streams which converge on the buckle of America's Bible Belt. Possum's concoction is not the brew of the exalted and over-attended Creole culture of New Orleans. Indianapolis does not produce gumbo or jambalaya but exudes reanimated nostalgia. It is the place where homogeneity blurs the edges of the cultural fragments it absorbs. I told Catherine if Indianapolis were a drug its name would be soma.1
When I returned to good ol' Athens, the SPAM count for the domains I host had increased from fewer than ten a day back to about forty and rising. Procmail was losing the battle of informatic mutation. Before leaving for Indianapolis, I had read a Slashdot thread that asked, unidiomatically, “The Time Has Come to Ditch Email?”, with a post by Just Some Guy plugging an article (by Kirk Strauser) explaining how to “Filter Spam with Postfix.”
I spent the time between 6:40 pm yesterday and 12:14 am today changing Postfix's configuration file and implementing Postgrey.2 Since then, two pieces of junk email have been delivered to all of my domains, with no false positives.
1 In case it's not clear, I had fun in Indiana.
Pynchon, Thomas. Gravity's Rainbow. New York: Penguin, 1973.