Walter Mencken 9:23 a.m., Oct. 10
- Community Blog
Whether we're talking about internet snake-oil sales pitches, or mystery meat in a can, it's a fact of life. We can't live without exposure to both of them at some time or another, whether we like it or not.
But how much do we really know about either? I realize that an exploration of SPAM is may seem like being forced to work for a day in the vet lab that analyzes your dog's poop, but hey, if you had anything better to do, you wouldn't be reading this.
SPAM, it turns out, has been around since 1937. Say what you will, that's some product longevity, right there. It's sold all over the world, and is not only produced in Austin, Minnesota (home of the world famous Spam Museum), but also in Denmark, the Phillipines, and South Korea. And somebody likes it, because as of 2007, over 7 billion cans have been sold.
Not to be outdone by the Austin in Minnesota, Texans had to get into the act as well. So for almost 30 years (1976-2007), Austin, Texas held the annual Spamarama festival around April Fool's Day. Unfortunately, as of 2008, Spamarama was canned. One cannot help but note the irony in the demise of this salty celebration due to the recession, when more folks than ever may be sampling their very first can of this budget protein source.
But now to everyone's favorite type of SPAM, the type so eagerly foisted upon us in our emailboxes, and even on the front page of the Reader, none-too-cleverly disguised as "blogs." Now, I always assumed that like most cryptic geekisms, SPAM must be some sort of acronym standing for something that the antigeekess had not yet sussed out. Something along the lines of Silly Pugnacious Advertising Missive, or Somebody's Perfectly Annoying Message. WRONG!
Many readers may be aware of the legit factoids regarding this already, but for those who are not, allow me to shine a bit of Grail light upon our mutual cluelessness. The term SPAM is in fact derived from the 1970 Monty Python SPAM sketch, in which -- whether she likes it or not -- Mrs. Bun is apparently going to be having some SPAM -- yes, the kind in the blue can -- for lunch. (I'm pretty sure the Vikings are marketing execs.)
And just in case we hadn't had enough of SPAM in its various forms, in 2005 Broadway was gifted with Spamalot, based on the film Monty Python & the Holy Grail. The name "Spamalot" is derived from a song performed in Broadway fashion by the Knights of the Round Table when Arthur and his knights visit Camelot, where they "eat ham and jam and SPAM a lot."
The final word on the subject of SPAM comes from my email box.
Subject: Warning about canned meat.
If you receive a warning from the Department of Health,
Telling you not to eat pork from cans,
Because of swine flu.....
It's just spam.
More like this:
- Spamalot is nuts — and wonderful — June 20, 2014
- Spamalot at Welk Resort — June 14, 2013
- John Mayer's Pie Hole — Feb. 12, 2010
- Three shall be the number of the counting, and the number of the counting shall be three! — Sept. 24, 2009
- Spoiled-a-Lot — May 5, 2005