If you’re new to this blog, allow me to point out the “Contact” page, the right-most option on the menu bar above. (Also, welcome!) Yes, one of the features of this website is that you, Gentle Reader, are able to reach out to me if you so choose. Ideally, you’re an A-list director with a plum role for me, or a producer willing to put one of my scripts up on Broadway purely on the strength of these snazzy six hundred word essays. It’s great if you’re an old castmate of mine reaching out to catch up. It’s fine if you’re a stranger saying hello. Heck, feel free to send me hate mail thru this thing if you really want – I’d rather you didn’t, but this is still America, after all.
This past week, however, marked the first time I was truly depressed by a communication received through this website. And no, it wasn’t somebody telling me one of my plays sucked. It wasn’t somebody sending me a link to some old bad review for the hell of it. It wasn’t some anonymous online troll hurling vitriol at me for “the lulz,” or whatever the terminology is these days.
It was spam.
It was a general marketing pitch, trying to sell me some system that would boost my online presence to extend my reach to sell something or other. The usual. And it didn’t address me directly, and wasn’t particularly tailored to the creative life, so it was clearly a cut and paste job. But unlike email, which can be sent in bulk to many strangers if you’re so inclined, this was sent directly to my website. Which means that somebody out there in the interwebz is looking up websites like this, one at a time, to try and sell – something. Through underhanded methods that the rest of us barely understand.
I get that this is the world we’re living in. There’s a hell of a lot of scam artists out there, and some of them are doing pretty damn well for themselves. (That I’m posting this on President’s Day may or may not be a coincidence. You decide.) And it’s not like it derailed me in any way – it took me a few seconds to scan the thing and realize it could be safely trashed. I’ve spent exponentially more time writing this post about the darn thing.
And yet…it still clogged the system. It still commandeered this website, which I use to try and communicate with the world, and tried to turn it towards the pettiest ends imaginable. For those few seconds, it cheapened this site to the point where I wondered if it was worth my time and energy to maintain it, if that’s all that it attracts.
And if you look around, at our spamming, scam-artist culture, it’s exactly that sort of demoralization that’s running rampant. Any one of these vulgar stratagems, so long as you don’t fall prey to it, is no more than an irritation. It’s their cumulative effect, the way they convince us that life’s nothing more than a dishonest marketplace, that causes the most damage.
Well, you don’t have to worry about that here, Gentle Reader. I don’t accept scams, and I don’t send them out myself. There’s no viral ads lurking around here. I’m not trying to deceive you, or swindle you, and I put my trust in you not to do the same to me, and hope that trust helps count for something in this crooked world. I’m not trying to sell you anything.
(Well, except when I’m in a show – then I am going to try and get you to come see it. Why do you think I have this website, anyway?)