dear goodness

A subtle troll-doll spammer, this one. Note the progression: we start out with neutrality:

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.47.57 AM

WARNING: REST OF POST INCLUDES CONTENT AND IMAGES THAT MAY CAUSE OFFENSE OR PAIN (there was actual bodily pain in my case, with a particularly sharp wince that’s given me a crick in my neck; no lasting damage I hope. Also a tear came to the eye. Of distress, or hilarity, or of that dangerous mixture of the two that’s so much more uncontrollable: I know not. I hope I don’t have to sue anyone for negligence and nervous shock.)

OK. Caveats over.

This post is for “jetfan”: live long and prosper!

In the next stage, we have a move to “Honey Clouds”: a clever repeat offender here, doesn’t repeat the previous error (d’oh) of typing in a URL in a board post (this being against the rules)… but the style is a giveaway, and the temptation to insert two little words was irresistible. To anyone thinking the literary humanities are a waste of time/space: eat. your. non-hipster.hats:

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.53.02 AM

Here’s what’s being referred to, from a rapid Google (this and other screenshots to Sweet Cloud Spam Land are not hyperlinked, so as not to contribute to their site traffic):

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 12.01.59 PM

Back to the cloudy place: it reappears moments later (11:59), but before they’d been spotted and pointed out publicly (item above, 12:03; below, 12:05):

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.53.30 AM

And now, the folly: after the events at 12:03 and 12:05, it is not the action of a wise person to continue in that (unsuccessful) vein at 12:10:Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.53.48 AM

Spotted immediately (12:11), and the next offering (12:18) is merely “HC” (ambiguous, could be, amongst others a very fine poet resurrected from the dead):Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.54.14 AM


And here’s what’s being flogged to us (may feature dead horses, apologies to readers who prefer their consumption vegetarian to vegan):

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 11.43.11 AM

Now, we all know my fondness for such crass consumerist Viagra-paradigm-reinforcing vulgarity. Yes, there’s more of that ilk, and even more vomit-inducing inane idiocy, back at Cloudy HQ:

Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 12.03.40 PM Screen Shot 2013-07-11 at 12.03.54 PM


Much as I dislike stereotypes, sometimes they allow a little clemency in taking into account cultural differences. In this case, we’re in Southern California. So we get the sort of thing you see above: written by airhead clients, or by airhead staff, or by a simple spambot capable of writing airheadese. It’s not a very complex or sophisticated task / language, after all.

For alternatives, have a look at reviews on Yelp and suchlike.


Yes, it can get worse. The “congratulations” section. I mean, how cringeworthy can things get: the one and only item there is from The Team to The Boss.

I have a boss, I am sure many other people do too, including even some people reading this right now. I have had other bosses too, in various jobs over the years. In all sorts of jobs. From summer-holiday and temporary menial ones, to rather more high-falluting things, and things that might look like the one but were really more the other (going both ways). Been a boss myself; come to think of it, technically my current job means being the boss of some people and includes a bossing-around aspect with some others.

And this sort of monstrosity would be, quite plain and simply, unthinkable with any of them/us.

It does make one ponder those key literary questions: intention and reception. Was this discreetly solicited? Invited? Directly requested by fiat from On High? Even if it was just known that this was the sort of thing that the boss liked, that does make one ask questions about said boss. And any right-thinking person who would pander cravenly to such appalling bad taste. Bad if they thought this was OK or normal (as in, acceptable behaviour and tastefulness). Worse if they did so knowing how crass this is. 

Maybe nearly OK (but still on the bad side of the line) if intended as a joke: though the cruelty to its victim still counts as ethically non-good. A joke, though that sort of thing isn’t really ironic (see elsewhere: “Socratic irony”); it would emphasize the intelligence of the congratulators and the stupidity of  the congratulatee. A classic exercise of pulling the wool over the eyes, resulting in no change for the boss (see: Dilbert for many a good example) and the consolation of smugness for the employees. Poor things, they may need it, and it might be little things like this that keep them going. I mean, if I worked in a spa with idiots, on idiots, for idiots: I would be suicidal. Small naughty japes like this would save my life.

Alas, I fear that such a convoluted hypothetical scenario—smart underdog employees, stupid boss—is a rather less likely backstory than the simple Valley Girls interpretation of what lies behind this little snapshot of simple innocent everyday Valley life.

Sending someone this congratulatory tosh is one thing. Publishing it online is another. And a terrible one. Next ethical question: would it be worse to perpetrate this crime against the general internet-public’s eyes (with no warnings before clicking that “Congratulations” tab!) if one genuinely thought this was good and tasteful? Or without forethought as to its effects, negligent as to one’s actions’ consequences? Heads have rolled over less.

I, for one, winced. Probably can’t be arsed to sue, though.

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