I have a love/hate relationship with e-mail. What I love is the speed, efficiency, convenience, and brevity of communication. Although it should never be mistaken as a replacement for any and all other forms of correspondence, e-mail is nevertheless a marvelous tool.
But then, there is the "hate" part of the equation. There is e-mail's seeming omnipresence, its avid contribution to the tyranny of the urgent, and its time-wasting-black-hole capabilities. Of course, a modicum of discipline and discretion, along with a bit of automation and elimination, can adequately deal with these loathsome limitations.
But then there is spam. Even with all our best efforts, filters, firewalls, and security features, it can flow into our mailboxes, onto our desktops, and even into our SMS, phone, and IM displays in torrents. Some of it is laughably inept. Some of it is dangerously malignant. All of it is a nuisance. I still cannot for the life of me imagine why this enterprise is still worth it to the spammers who perpetuate its awful annoyance--who is still gullible enough to try to buy vI@gRa or c!aLi$ or r0!Ex w@+C#e$ over the internet from unsolicited spam?
Worse than junk mail, spam is a blight, an epidemic, a scourge. As Michael Specter points out in the most recent issue of the New Yorker the seemingly endless struggle against spam is a losing battle that we simply cannot afford to lose.