Fiche de révision de vocabulaire d'anglais - The Origin Of the Word "Spam"

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Leçon 7 : The Origin Of the Word "Spam"

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Résumé en français : Ils envahissent nos boites de réception, mais au fait pourquoi les appelle-t-on des Spams ?

You know ‘ spam ’ – the annoying and unasked for email you get in your Junk Box every day? At least hopefully, if you have your ‘ junk filters ’ set properly to identify the endless cures for erectile dysfunction or West African bank heiresses who have temporarily mislaid their bank details ( would you believe it !)
You know spam, of course you do, you know it and hate it, but do you know where the word comes from ?
'Spam' comes from a comedy sketch by British comedy team Monty Python’s Flying Circus, which was broadcast on the BBC in 1970.
The sketch is set in a typical UK cafe of the time where every item on the menu included SPAM , a type of canned meat. A customer wants to order breakfast and the cafe owner says, you can have "Spam and Sausages, or Spam and Eggs , etc. Or Spam Spam Spam and Chips ." As the menu is read out, the dishes just seem to increase in quantity of Spam, until they reach "Spam Spam Spam Spam Spam and Beans and Spam. "

At this point, the bewildered customer almost gives up , but is pushed out of the way by a crowd of Vikings singing the SPAM SONG ; "Spam spam spam spam spam spam spam spam…LOVELY SPAM, WONDERFUL SPAM" . Drowning out all conversation, and, indeed , all human life in the cafe.

The reference to the excessive amount of spam in the dialogue in the cafe and everywhere goes all the way back to British rationing in World War II, which, due to post war austerity, had to continue under worsening conditions, another 8/9 years.
Spam was one of the few meat products that wasn’t rationed, and so was widely available . People ate so much of it they got sick of it; it became synonymous with monotony and monotonous food – though , myself, I rather enjoyed it at school and would cut it into funny shapes – to amuse myself.
The 1980s were peopled by computer ‘ geeks ’ who were notorious fans of Monty Python ( repeating certain sketches ad nauseam ) remembering this great sketch they would type 'SPAM !!' as a form of abuse to people who had gone into Chat Rooms to promote their products.
They would paste up large sections of quotes from the Monty Python sketch to jam early and crude internet connections to drive outsiders out of insiders groups so the conversation could continue.

So, there you go , the origin of a major 21st century word and a key aspect of new technology in an obscure 2 minute comedy sketch I can remember from British TV years and years ago. Which only goes to show the world’s temporal, as well as spatial, interconnectivity.

 

 

By P.Campbell

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Fiche de révision de vocabulaire d'anglais - The Origin Of the Word "Spam"
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