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Issue 07
Spring 2004

Helping America procrastinate since 1636

January 28, 2021

What's In A Logo? A Story of Inherited Spam.

The Editorator
CAMBRIDGE, MA -I get all sorts of e-mails. SPAM of course is such a problem these days that it even gets its own Inbox. But getting bombarded by ads for V1agrÀ, Free College Diplomas, and GetOutOFDebtNow!, are actually the least of my problems. You see, despite what might be implied to the left of this sentence, my name is Andrew Friedman, and as a Harvard graduate student in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences (FAS), I was fortunate enough to have been granted the privilege of not choosing my own e-mail address. Thus, by default, I became .

That, in and of itself is not so bad, considering that seems like a fairly reasonable standard for FAS e-mail address distribution. Unfortunately, for me, however, my surname is not unique, and it just so happens that a certain Rachel Friedman, a recent Harvard graduate, was also blessed with exactly the same e-mail address during her tenure as a student in FAS. As a result, I've inherited all of her e-mail subscription lists, and everything short of her cat.

Now, Rachel, I don't know you, and you are probably a wonderful person, but it seems to me like you weren't so savvy when it comes to the World Wide Web. From the plethora of unwanted, automatic evidence I've gathered, it appears like you had a nasty habit of signing up for things online and including your real e-mail address. Much of the SPAM I now receive on your behalf comes with a subject line like, "Re: XFHSsdnufs - RACHEL RACHEL get free penis enlargement Vi@gra porn @#@#@RACHEL FRIEDMAN RACHEL.!!!" Now maybe I'm just being naïve, but it appears like some SPAM program has your name and e-mail address in its database, if not your gender. Personally, I've discovered that signing up for free trial software and other such things is best done with a fake identity. As long as I don't actually need to confirm something sent to a real e-mail address, I often use for obvious reasons. Sometimes it's useful to get a real e-mail address at yahoo, hotmail, or AOL, specifically for signing up for stuff that you know is going to hit you with the junk bomb. But I digress.

In addition to the SPAMatization, as mentioned, I've also had the pleasure of being automatically subscribed to all your mass e-mail lists, including, amongst others, the Harvard College Democrats, the Environmental Action Committee, and the Harvard Pre-Medical Society. You see, I've tried my hardest to unsubscribe to these lists, but most of the time, the lists just get angrier, so I've just learned to live with them. Usually, I just unconsciously delete the 30 or so daily e-mails that my SPAM blocker misses, but occasionally I accidentally read one of them...And this is where the real story begins.

One night, I happened to be playing around in Photoshop with the Harvard Satyrical Press (HSP) logo (above left), and putting it into an outline form (right), so my friend Andrew could cut that shape out of sheet metal with a high velocity water jet he has access to at the MIT Media Lab. (I'm not shitting you. He's since done it and it kicks ass. Andrew, it will totally go on our door once HSP gets an office. And by the way, you're the man.)

But anyway, at that very moment, I happened to accidentally read this e-mail from the Harvard Pre-Medical Society (HPS...hint, hint). I've included the transcript below, and highlighted what caught my eye.

Since, I couldn't help but notice the eerie coincidence between the HSP logo I had open in Photoshop and the potential HPS logo they were looking for, and since I'm also a jackass, I decided to give their logo design contest a shot with a few slight modifications. The progression went like this, left to right:

In the end, I decided just to be a little more subtle, making the whole thing bleed with Harvard Crimson...which I still think is just "Red", and nixing the devil tail S, although I was tempted to keep it in there just to be a complete asshole. As it went, I sent the wonderful folks at HPS the following e-mail.

In truth, I am sure why I'm on the HPS list. It's because of you, Rachel. And to be fair, if I win the illustrious HPS logo contest, and get my free T-shirt, stethoscope, or whatever, it will also be because of you. It is in that spirit that I award you with the "Thanks For Deluging the Shit out of My Inbox Award", from all of us here at the Harvard Satyrical Press. And with that, Rachel, I wish you a wonderful day.

-Sincerely, Andrew Friedman,
Editor in Chief/Warrior King of Zamunda,
The Harvard Satyrical Press  HSP 





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