Tom Gilson

What I Do Not Realize Is In Fact…

Just for fun…

I get spam comments here. Most of them appear to be machine translations from some other language into English. One of them today began with this:

What i [sic] do not realize is in fact how you’re now not really much more smartly-appreciated than you may be now.

My first response to that was, Huh? Does this even mean anything?

My second response was my eager question, Could it be a compliment? Lots of spam comments butter up the blogger with words of appreciation like, “Your blog is as astounding!” Yes, “as astounding.” That’s a common first sentence in comment spam, in exactly that form.

I’m always on the lookout for an encouraging word, so I decided to take a closer look. I wanted to find whether this commenter was as enthralled with my blog as the ones who think it’s “as astounding.”

Alas, I was disappointed. Have you deciphered what it means yet? Here’s help for you.

Let’s start by setting aside any problem the sender might have had with not realizing something. The remainder of the sentence goes like this:

In fact you’re now not really much more smartly-appreciated than you may be now.

The emphasis clutters things up, so let’s remove it:

In fact you’re now not much more smartly-appreciated than you may be now.

Coming clear yet? It is for some readers. I’ll keep going. Since everything is “now,” we can eliminate the redundancy:

In fact you’re not much more smartly-appreciated than you may be.

Now it gets complicated again. In an odd construction of this sort, the word “may” could have several possible meanings. After giving it some thought, I’ve decided it’s probably indicating uncertainty over how much I am in fact being smartly-appreciated. (Readers who see it another way are welcome to explain and defend their position on this most important matter.)

If I’m right, then it’s a version of,

In fact you’re not much more smartly-appreciated than you are (however much that may be).

We’re getting close now: close enough to see that the comment says nothing at all.

I’m not quite sure what it would mean to be smartly-appreciated. Whatever it is, I am no more of it than I am. The sentence turns out to be necessarily true, regardless of what “smartly-appreciated” means. Thus it’s sadly devoid of any interesting information.

It’s lacking in interest, that is, except for the one remaining puzzle: how did the sender express it with such complexity while not realizing it?

I think that’s as astounding.

"Engaging… exhilarating.… This might be the most surprising and refreshing book you’ll read this year!" — Lee Strobel

"Too Good To Be False is almost too good to be true!" — Josh McDowell

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Recent Comments

  • kcklos43gmailcom November 4, 2020 at 4:35 pm on My Puzzling Problem with Too Good to be FalseTom, how about: This is a different kind of book about Jesus, regardless of how many you've already read!
  • Tom Gilson November 3, 2020 at 7:26 am on My Puzzling Problem with Too Good to be FalseThat is exactly right. Since that is not my argument, however, I did not make that mistake. Th comparison with Mein Kampf is more than just a little disturbing!
  • Thaddeus November 3, 2020 at 4:39 am on My Puzzling Problem with Too Good to be FalseHi Tom, I haven't read the book yet, but I have some of your works. I see that some people feel that this just HAS to be true as this couldn't be made up...it's too fantastic to be false. A false premise (premiss) This approach reminded me of Hitler and

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