Quote: “Host refused to talk to me.” The Postfix program at host mail2.wildblue.net, whatever that is.
Figure of Speech: anthropomorphism (an-thro-po-MOR-phism), the humanizing figure. From the Greek, meaning “change into human.”
If you subscribe to this site’s emails using Yahoo Mail, you may wonder why Figaro hasn’t visited lately. It’s because we seem to be blocked by Yahoo’s spam filters. Make sure you put email@example.com on your good-guys list, or switch to a friendlier service, for crying out loud. Look what it’s done to poor host mail2.wildblue.net. “Host refused to talk to me,” she — it — sobs .
Wait. How can both of them be host? Doesn’t mail2.wildblue deserve treatment as a guest? And what would they talk about if the Yahoo host weren’t being so rude?
“See the mountable rack on that new DNS server?”
“Yeah, steer clear of that one. I hear she’s into serial console redirection.”
Computer inventors have been anthropomorphizing their machines from the getgo, of course, fantasizing that their circuits and algorithms have human characteristics. Anthropomorphism qualifies as both a metaphor and a metonymy. Both tropes can be a force for good. Building human qualities into machinery, for example, makes great ergonomic sense. But if you take your metaphorical metonymy literally — believe that your machine actually is human — you’re in for a big date repellant among humans.
As your server would “tell” you: 403, baby. Access denied.
Snappy Answer: “Have you tried flowers?”