I was getting jiggy with my wireless connection on the Amtrak train last night, connecting to my Bauer bulkmail server over a telnet connection, broadcasting the latest news about ABC’s plot lines (“Heavens! Death comes to Port Charles!“) Meanwhile, the train was crawling along at a snail’s pace — someone had been hit and killed on the tracks ahead. Eventually, we rolled past several large rescue vehicles, all their lights strobing. Ten feet from my window, I saw Amtrak workers zipping up a body bag and lifting it from the tracks (no kidding; I arrived at the precise TV Cop Show moment.) The engineer said that it was the second death on the tracks that day. Meanwhile, my bulkmail server kept chugging along, broadcasting messages through the air to a remote SMTP sever.
Essay questions: choose one (20 points, 45 minutes):
- React to the author’s juxtaposition of the trivial and the timeless. Is soap opera bulkmail idiotic and ridiculous when compared with “real” events, or do all areas of human endeavor have their own dignity?
- Does the small backpacking tent in the montage below act as foreshadowing for the body bag on the tracks? Does the author wish, symbolically, to be hit by some sort of metaphorical train? If so, which train is it? Is it the Gravy Train?
- Will the departing soul of the deceased mix with the CDPD bulkmail packets coming from the author’s Sierra Wireless AirCard antenna? Does it mean anything that these packets contain theories about who on the ABC soap Port Charles is going to die? Would it suck if these thousands of email transmissions blocked the soul from reaching heaven? If so, who will get haunted by an angry mutilated ghost: the author, Bauer Publishing, or Soaps In Depth newsletter readers?