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What Do The Chattering Classes Chatter About?

By Londonist Last edited 116 months ago
What Do The Chattering Classes Chatter About?
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Email.

Who could live without it these days? Well, according to the World Internet Usage Stats more people than you might think! Only 40% of Europe is online and only a measly 4% of Africa. The latter stat is shocking when you count up all the scam emails that we receive every day promising us untold wealth through lottery wins, letting money "rest" in our accounts and righting the monetary wrongs of evil dictatorships.

Sorting the chaff from the wheat is the aim of a new British Library project which wants to sift through your inbox and open an archive of electronic communication between the chattering classes; namely, us. The library is famous for holding the letters of former Royals as well as writers such as Oscar Wilde, but now it wants you too.

An official representing the project stated that, “E-mail has in many respects replaced traditional forms of communications such as letters or memoranda, thousands of examples of which we have at the British Library”. They are also asking famous authors and politicians for samples to add into the archive.

This all seems like a noble pursuit and potentially very interesting until you visit the website for EmailBritain which is sponsored by Microsoft’s ubiquitous Hotmail. The example of communication which is currently on display is entitled, “The Person who ate my muffin” and reads:

IT WOULD HAVE BEEN BETTER IF U ASKED FOR ONE OF MY MUFFINS, INSTEAD OF JUST TAKING IT WITHOUT PERMISSION. NEXT TIME JUST ASK!

Never Mind Oscar Wilde wasting away in Reading Gaol and his bleedin’ moaning about suppressing his homosexuality and stifling his genius, this person has had a muffin stolen for God ’s sake. Call Jack Bauer!!

It’s not all cake theft though, the project wants all sorts of things including emails about your blunders, life changes, complaints, love and romance, funnies, mundanities, news, tales from abroad... Oh, and spam.

Yes, you heard it right, they want your spam.

Well, one thing is certain by the end of this project, the good people at the British Library and Microsoft will no longer wonder where to find cheap medz or hot babez and, who knows, maybe Dr Umbangoh from Sierra Leone will finally get his money back.

By Simon James

Last Updated 04 May 2007