I was cleaning out spam earlier today and I noticed another bout of random acts of spamness: “If you’re not acceptable at this ratio, afresh either you are traveling afterwards the amiss projects or you’re angle and presentation abilities charge a tune-up…” I now see them in a different light, however. I know that their purpose is to seem kind of like English without actually saying anything. This is very similar to Lucky’s speech in Waiting for Godot: it is one academic cliche after another that has the style of serious argument without any content.
There is meaning to be found in this fragment, but it takes digging. Lucky is hypothesizing the traditional Judeo-Christian God, who lives in a realm that transcends time. He (which we must assume given that he has a white beard) loves us, even though he has no emotion. This is a hypothesis, of course, because God is incapable of communicating his feelings in a way that we can understand. What’s more, why God’s love is given to certain people and not to others is unfathomable. God suffers just like we do, but he is able to push through this and live in peace—but not for long. This is a vision of the universe that Schopenhauer would have considered gloomy. For the normal person, it treads very close to a reasonable argument for suicide. But this hardly matters, because one only gets this much meaning out of the speech after great effort. For those sitting in a theater, the speech is nothing more than logorrhoea. However, the fact that a speech about the unfathomability of the universe is itself unfathomable was certainly Beckett’s intention.
Unfathomable Speech: Spam
In Lucky’s speech, Beckett lampoons the language constructs that hinder communication. Today’s spam creates this same kind of language. The purpose of Beckett and the spammers are different, however. Beckett’s purpose is to show how word combinations that sound meaningful can be entirely without meaning; the spammers’ purpose is to create meaningless word combinations that sound meaningful. Thus, it is not surprising that they would sound similar.
The text created by the spammers is not their actual product. Their products are links—viruses that live on a host site; the text is a kind of defense system that hinders their removal. To accomplish this, the spammers wish to create text that is not repeated from infection to infection. There are two reasons for this, I believe: to avoid possible legal problems with posting identical comments for very different articles and to make the work of those checking comments more difficult and error prone (that is, make it more likely that the spam will survive).
In his day, Beckett was not confronted with intentional meaninglessness. People certainly tried to obfuscate, but this was not the main issue. He wasn’t attacking advertising. The much more fundamental problem was people trying to communicate truthfully and succeeding only in obfuscating. Thus, he would not have been attacking spammers, if they had even existed. But his solution to the problem of showing the effects of literary cliche on meaning deterioration is the same as the spammer’s solution to the problem of creating original text that sounds meaningful but is not. The solution: combine phrases in a random way. The difference between Beckett and the spammers is primarily in the phrases chosen. Beckett’s phrases are substantially more complex; the spammers rarely use phrases longer than two words. Also, Beckett takes great care in how he matches these phrases, to make them sound even more compelling. He is subtle and clever in how he combines them. Thus, it is only on a cursory reading that one would mistake one for the other. But the similarity of them in terms of their sound and rhythm is unmistakable.
Intentions matter. Even if the spammers could somehow create great Lucky-like (or Not I-like) speech, their output would still be unwelcome. It would still be evil. I am waiting for the day when Yesterday is used to sell an SUV.
Here is the brilliant, if flawed, scene from the Beckett on Film Waiting for Godot with Stephen Brennan as Lucky:
 What exactly is meant by “quaquaquaqua” is a point of some debate. Beckett is in no way a careless writer and so we can’t assume that it is a meaningless statement or an error. There are only two occurrences of it in the whole play and they are placed just as shown here: within four words of each other. It could be a pun on the word quaquaversal, which means “sloping downward from the center in all directions.” This is an appealing interpretation because this certainly sums up the traditional view of monotheistic religions. It could also be a pun on the Latin phrase quaque die (Q.D.), which means “every day.” This too has a certain appeal as it relates to the omnitemporal nature of monotheistic gods, or as Beckett writes, God that is “outside time without extension.” However, having studied the speech in some depth, I conclude that it is a kind of onomatopoeia indicating that Lucky’s mind is having difficulty getting started—like a cold car forced to accelerate too quickly.
 These three words (apathia, athembia, aphasia) are quite challenging. By apathia, Beckett is probably referring to the Latin word, which means “freedom from emotion.” Who knows what athambia means. It may mean the state of calmness. Aphasia is an actual English word (in the traditional latinized Greek sense). It means “the loss or impairment of the power to use or comprehend words usually resulting from brain damage.”
 Although it sounds like it, there is no mythology related to Miranda. In Latin, “miranda” means “to be admired.” Does that help? Of course not.
 Lucky’s six to seven minute speech is a single sentence without any stops like semicolons. I have inserted some punctuation to make it easier to read. These reflect just my interpretation, although they are in keeping with all performances I’ve seen.
 Related to this is the ability to automatically detect such spam. If the link text was always “Happy Happy Joy Joy!” then it would be easy to spot this text and remove the spam infection. If the text is always different, it would not be possible to do this. Although it is easy for a human to read the text that protects these spam links, computers still have great difficulty distinguishing between Beckett and noise.