The Unbearable Light-ness Of Being A Spammer

Posted on Sun 01/31/2010 by


Satire by  Shawn Goodwin

This week, media outlets, bloggers, and bitter, gun-clinging religious fanatics have been preoccupied with the story of “Ellie Light,” a woman who spends all of her free time writing and distributing letters of support for President Barack Obama. Light has been sending the same letter to every newspaper, gas station, residence, warehouse, farmhouse, henhouse, outhouse and doghouse in America. While obviously a big fan of the current administration, Ms. Light is probably a victim of its economic policies, since only the unemployed and the “American Idol” contestant who sang “Pants on the Ground” have the time to spam a newspaper’s Letters to the Editor section.

From the inception of this spontaneous, “grassroots” campaign, Light has been an army of one. However, the fact that Light posted the same name on every letter reveals that this army is based out of Fort AstroTurf. Make no mistake, when it comes to hiding her secret identity, this woman is not exactly Clark Kent, even though some pundits thought they had her real name, then they didn’t, then they did again. The real irony here is that a seven-year-old investigative reporter from New York City’s PS 63 could have solved this mystery in the amount of time it takes Keith Olbermann to say something stupid. Sadly, it took the Cleveland Plain Dealer about a week:

“On Thursday evening, The Plain Dealer’s Sabrina Eaton reported on ‘Ellie Light,’ who had virtually identical letters to the editor published in newspapers around the country, with most of them claiming a different hometown in each paper’s circulation area.

Since then, others have followed the trail of the Ellie Light letter. The blog Patterico’s Pontifications seems to have the most comprehensive list so far. To the dozen or so original listed, the blog adds several dozen more, including the Stamford (Conn.) Advocate and the Gainesville (Ga.) Times.  The letter has even appeared overseas, including in the Bangkok Post. And now there’s a Facebook fan page for her. In most letters, Light claims a nearby hometown.”

Judging by the letter, Light’s real hometown is most likely Los Angeles, California.

Specifically, she may reside at 4211 Avalon Boulevard, at the Kedren Community Mental Health Hospital, Bed #302. Only a mental patient of R.P. McMurphy proportions would attempt what this person has been doing. Strangely enough, this is not Light’s first incident with a chain letter explosion. For instance, in 1979, Light used the name P. Nutt-Farmer in a series of chain letters defending President Jimmy Carter’s economic policies. Among other claims, Light argued that “malaise” was a good thing, stating that “it was the largest cash crop for our Native Americans and is now enjoyed in movie theaters across the country.” Not one editor had the heart to school her on the difference between “maize” and “malaise.”

In 1998, Light utilized the chain letter bomb to praise the leadership of President Bill Clinton. This time, Light’s nom de plume was “Willie Wonky,” and she carried the water for Clinton during the Monica Lewinsky scandal. Light wrote that Clinton “inherited” intern problems from evil Republican George H. W. Bush, and that the president could not wave a magic wand to make all of his problems disappear. Magic wand, of course, was a poor choice of words. This AstroTurf effort was stopped as quickly as it began because while he was a rather competent president, no one in America ever confused the first President Bush with being a ladies man.

Now Light is posting letters extolling the virtues of President Barack Obama. She makes the argument that “Candidate Obama didn’t feed us happy talk, which is why we elected him.” If there was a section in the crimes code for writing under the influence, Light would make Paris Hilton look like a teetotaler. The only thing Candidate Obama gave us was happy talk! After a while many Americans expected the skies to open up on Inauguration Day before it rained unicorns and sugar plums! As it stands, it is much too early to judge Obama’s presidency – good or bad – and it is irresponsible to give him a free pass for the current state of the union.

If Light had merely sent a deluge of votes into an “American Idol” runoff, no one would bat an eye. Heck, if she voted multiple times in the same election no Democrat would care, either. The problem with these letters is that Light is trying to give the appearance of a groundswell of support for an unpopular president while at the same time making excuses for his recent failures. Had this been a solo incident through Light’s local paper, there’s no harm, no foul. Publishing the same letter in dozens of newspapers across the country and the world? Bizarre.’s official satirist, Shawn Goodwin, is a blogger and police detective from Philly.

Read more excellent articles from