One of the fun things about having a job at an educational institution is that one occasionally gets rather fascinating junk mail. I mean, sure, there’s the usual phishing nonsense, Who’s Who schemes, viagra ads, and Nigerian scams, but sometimes, we get something really special.
We get what I like to call KookMail — and it is sometimes positively awesome.
Kookmail comes in a number of different forms. The two most common (for someone in my area of specialization, anyway) are:
1. Amateur religion/history/sociology/physics/metaphysics theories-of-everything created by engineers or computer scientists with little to no serious background in any of the material about which they write, but who have a self-published book to pimp and a chip on their collective shoulder about the gatekeepers of academe who conspire to keep their brilliant insights from being heard. Usually, the e-mail is a sort of attempt to drum up business and/or garner “respect” and “respectable” responses to their work. There’s no real rhyme or reason apparent in the choice of persons to whom they send these missives — whole religion or philosophy departments (grad students, administrative assistants, etc.) have been known the receive them.
2. Grand Mysteries of the Universe, Revealed! For example, consider the Bosnian Pyramids. Apparently, there are some roughly pyramid-shaped hills in Bosnia. There is also a guy named Semir Osmanagić (from whom I received an e-mail this morning) who claims that these alleged pyramids are in fact ancient sites of mystical power, and is excavating the hills in order to bolster his claim. The archaeological consensus is against him on this point, but he doesn’t care. He will Fight the Power. He will find the truth about the Maya and Atlantis and the great mysteries of the ancient world, and if he has to manufacture backup from scholars who’ve never heard of him, so be it (or so it seems from the available evidence). There are energy beams! ENERGY BEAMS! “Interdisciplinary scientific methods” have been used to investigate them! Take that, nonbelievers!
I am now on this guy’s mailing list, and the unsub link doesn’t work (and is probably intended to harvest more e-mail addresses for more annoying spam lists). I look forward to receiving much great news in the future about Miraculous Discoveries That Will Change The World Even As We Speak.
Such joy is mine.