The following phishing email claims to be from Verizon, my wireless provider, which prompted me to take a look. (ASIDE: Birdwatchers out there, isn't there a remarkable correspondence between the rhetorics of phishing and pishing? I mean, they're both manipulative strategies aimed at coaxing a target out into the open via misrepresentation. Annnnnnd, maybe that's where it ends.) The email:
Thank you for choosing VerizonTM. Unfortunately there was a problem processing your billing information for the month of December, 2006. Soon we have changing some servers in our data base for a new service for our customers. Our number of clients has been growed up very much last month and for that, was necesary a new aditional data base server, where some clients are moved in new server.
I guess what I wonder is: Is it cool to read the grammatical deviations in the message as clues that something phishy is going on? "Soon we have changing" and "Our number of clients has been growed up very much" stand out—but what kind of conclusions can we make about them? On the one hand, knowing how copy flow works at a joint like Verizon, one is pretty safe in assuming that, if it really was Verizon, the in-house copy editor would have corrected this stuff. On the other hand, "necesary" and "aditional" features don't necessarily mean an email is bogus.
I'm wondering about this at all because I'm working on a syllabus again today. And I know such a syllabus is treated with a similar level of scrutiny, so maybe it would be a worthwhile exercise to seed my Composition Theory and Practice syllabus with "aditional" features (a la Joseph Williams) to provide an occasion for discussing exactly this kind of illegitimacy. Such a move would equate the syllabus with spam, though, which may be a little further than I'm ready to take it. ;)