I've long been under the impression that "malignant surf" is the way the poet Robert Lowell referred to his correspondence. (If anyone knows a citation or can even disabuse me to the phrase's provenance, I'd welcome either).
I know one thing: the description predates email. I can only imagine how Lowell would feel towards what often feels like a firehose flow of electronic correspondence that threatens to drown us.
"These tips won’t make you a perfect e-mail responder, and frankly I don’t think that’s possible, but they will make you good. As I’ve heard many times in my life: perfect is the enemy of the good."
Good enough for me.