Juxtaposition

NSFW if your work is uptight about anatomically correct vocab, religion or silliness.

After weeks of boring old whitebread home/auto/business insurance spam, Miss Mussel is excited to report that someone has finally taken the initiative and created something worth repeating.

Here’s what “Kathy” sent along this morning.

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I praise God for answering my prayers.
God, you are so wonderful, majestic.
Jesus Christ, I adore Your Sacred Heart.
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The first thing one notices when reading is of course the proximity of sacred and profane elements, a juxtaposition that has been explored for hundreds of years. Think pagan festivals turned into feast days, hymn lyrics set to drinking songs, Rook etc.

It is very rare that a spammer reveals such a deep knowledge of cultural history but the real delight is that she is able to sum up this centuries-old tension in just five short lines. In this case, the scandalous bits form a sandwich around the rather more benign statement, sort of like a triple-stuffed Oreo cookie.

An interesting technique to be sure, but the meter is the most important here. The first and last lines are 8 syllables in iambic tetrameter while the middle (benign) lines are 8.10.10, a meter that is very nearly identical to Carl Nielsen’s hymn tune Det koster ej for megen Strid. The reference to this hymn further underlines musically the sacred/profane dichotomy of the text.

The awkward overall meter pattern creates a sort of random effect, making it seem as if the three lines are entirely unrelated. If we go back to the text however, we see that for the form (object/verb/subject) and final word of the first and third line are identical. In other words, it’s ABA’. Spam in da capo aria form.

Miss Mussel awaits “Kathy’s” next composition. Perhaps a rondo this time?

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