7.21.2008

Fw: fw: fw: fw: fw: fw: fw: fw: fw:

Let's talk about email forwards. I used to be under the impression that the people who persist in sending them out all the time were one or many of these things:

1. Naive in that they actually believe the one about baby Angela's kidneys and how only your email forwards will save her life.

2. Old and just getting into the computer thing and not yet realizing how obnoxious forwards are.

3. Stupid in that they assume that I want to read the same things they like to read about the flying angels and the sunsets.

4. Alarmists who feel it's better to be safe than sorry, and so send out every safety-related forward ever written. Watch out for those HIV needles at the gas tanks, folks!

5. Possessors of a juvenile sense of humor and must therefore forward every single "funny" email they receive. They don't seem to realize that I will judge them and their sense of humor for this.

6. People who mistakenly believe that sending 3 email forwards per day is considered "keeping in touch." Note: it's not.

I did not realize that there's another category altogether--a category Steeped in Evil. A friend of mine receives multiple email forwards from an acquaintance of hers. These forwards are political in nature and are intended to warn the general public about the little-known character defects and secret world-destroying plans and puppy-skinning habits of a certain Presidential candidate. When my friend gets forwards like this she always looks them up on a myth-debunking site and then sends the relevant information back to the sender. Because she was raised right. And breast-fed.

After a few rounds of this, the sender responded that she doesn't necessarily trust those debunking sites. (Because an anonymous email that's been circling the globe at the mercy of half-wits is way more trustworthy.) And then, friends, she said THESE WORDS:

I stopped looking everything up and forwarded things that I thought were important. I have read a lot about [candidate's name (misspelled)] and I do not like him. I believe he will ruin this country.

So . . . let's look at this. This woman is deliberately choosing to pass on information without checking first--information that she knows has a high likelihood of being false. She is, in effect, saying that truth and accuracy don't matter and that she is perfectly fine with spreading lies if they happen to support her own bad opinion of a person. Also, how is something supposed to be important if it's not even true?

This, to me, is one of the more reprehensible things I've ever heard of. You start here, and you end up eating babies.

20 comments:

Sherry said... [reply]

My husband gets 2-3 politically-charged forwards every day from an old mission companion. Fortunately they are not full of lies as the ones you mentioned. Rather, they tend to be essays about how a certain political party is right about everything and another political party is wrong about everything.

Also, EVERY forward is addressed "Dear Friends," and my husband is beginning to think, "Dude, we are so almost NOT friends any more."

I have been encouraging him to send an email back saying, "Thanks for all the emails. Before you sent them to me I was a member of the [opposing] political party, but now I've completely reversed all of my former beliefs."

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

I got an email from somebody who got my address off of a very old ward list in a place we lived three states and three years ago. After paragraphs of slamming political candidates I liked using all kinds of false accusations. The conclusion was "yada. . . yada. . . yada . . . prayer and fasting leads us to believe that Mitt Romney is the candidate for us." How can you get an answer to prayer without actually looking at anything factual?

I've tried, very carefully, to put my mother onto snopes.com. She is a "better safe than sorry" type. And how do I tell her that I basically hate those born-again-Christian-feel-good-about-yourself emails that command me to forward them to 10 people? She already thinks I'm the family's designated liberal nutjob.

Don't even get me started on the illegality and uselessness of an Internet petition.

But my real favorite thing is when people use these forwards in talks. Especially sacrament talks. Plantboy and I were at a ward conference in L**** a couple of years ago wherein a counselor in our stake presidency shared a very touching story that he said happened at L**** just the year before. Plantboy turned and said, "That was a nice story. Wait. Why is there smoke coming out of your ears?" I explained that I had been forwarded this same "touching" story probably three times over the previous two years, each time it was claimed to have taken place somewhere else. I know it was the same because he read the story word for word as per my email.

Sorry for the post disguised as a comment. This touches a nerve.

Melanie said... [reply]

Great topic. I know exactly which forward you're talking about. I received it my own mother. After checking snopes to verify that it was wrong (like there was any doubt), I sent her back--and cc'd everyone she had forwarded the email to--a strongly worded reply about how we as American citizens have the responsibility to be EDUCATED participants in the political process. And we wonder why the liberals have a stereotype of the ignorant, reactionary religious right! If Christians and conservatives want to be respected, maybe they (we) should start basing their political opinions on something a little more substantial than forwarded emails.

Science teacher mommy: My mom thinks I'm the evil liberal of my family too, just because I once commented that George W. Bush would not go down in history as our nation's greatest president.

jomama said... [reply]

hahaha. this is so funny. because i get these emails from my dad. ALL THE TIME. he forwards them to pretty much everyone he ever met. they used to really bother me, but as my dad is a very touchy person, i wouldn't try to correct him. so now i just delete everything from him that has a "f" or a "w" in the subject heading. one time i accidentally opened one, and i was so mad i could barely see straight.

Sakhmet said... [reply]

YES WE CAN!

Rynell said... [reply]

Email forwards are stupid, for all those reasons you point out. I also dislike the fwds that try to appeal to your emotions. Send this email to everyone you know. Be a friend, send this along and IF you get it back you will know you are loved. Yuck. I've got more problems that I thought if weird forwarded emails with clip art puppies and daisies are fulfilling my emotional needs. Any sort of chain letter email irks me. NO I don't want to exchange kitchen towels or recipes or whatever. I break the cycle every time. Just call me mean email chain breaker/ party ruiner for everyone.

jane dough said... [reply]

That's it. I'm done. I want out. If these are the people who are out there voting as thoughtfully as monkeys in a behavior experiment, I want OUT!

jane dough said... [reply]

Oh yes. And why are supposedly faithful members of the church so superstitious that they have to forward that crap to ten hapless victims?

Janssen said... [reply]

Also the token liberal in my family. Happy days.

And these forwards kill me. A college friend of my sister's sent me one of those "if you send this to everyone you know, you'll get $35 for each person from Bill Gates" and I realized the bar for BYU has clearly dropped to an all-time low.

Azúcar said... [reply]

I reply all with the corrected information. There's nothing like a little public humiliation to halt the emails (for a little while, at least.) Most of mine come from my mother-in-law who mostly passes along 'safety' information (although poorly-researched political fear tactics are also her forte.)

One of my friends was so bad, she had absolutely ignored all polite requests to stop, that I started marking her emails as spam. Thanks to Gmail I never have to read her's again!

micah e. said... [reply]

Speaking of eating babies... have you ever seen the episode from BBC's Louis Theroux's Weird Weekends, "The Most Hated Family in America" on the Westboro Baptist Church? They, too, are concerned with baby eating: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0HjI-SuqKPI

abby said... [reply]

Email forwards are so 1999. My grandma sends them but at least they tell me that she's alive so I guess that's good.

Breanne said... [reply]

May I suggest a #7?
The ultra-superstitious who are truly paranoid that they will receive good news in the next 24 hours if they forward it to 9 people. My own mother was recently a victim of this one and I died a little inside...
In her defense, she could fall under #2, but I've known a lot of #7s out there.

Nerd Goddess said... [reply]

Or the guilt-ridden who believe that if they don't forward this e-mail to 10 people, they don't really believe in Christ.

Good heavens.

Heather said... [reply]

Hah, token liberal child here too. My dad is super political, so I was surprised I'm not getting pres. candidate bashing fwds like my husband keeps getting from old mission "buddies". Then I remembered that my dad is smart, not stupid. Thank goodness for that.

I do hate that my cousin keeps sending me forwards saying that if I don't send it back to her I obviously don't care about her or anyone else in the entire world or all the kittens.

Scully said... [reply]

Nerd Goddess, I HATE those. They are nothing but spiritual blackmail.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

I feel so much solidarity right now I want to cry.

Cicada said... [reply]

I've been spared the political emails, thank goodness. However, I do manage to get the sappy ones on a somewhat regular basis.

I really like the idea of replying all and sending back corrected info, though. I might have to start doing that if I ever get the political emails.

Stephanie said... [reply]

its even worse when you get them from a close family friend.

and then your husband asks him to please not send amymore, and sender is all OFFENDED that we wouldn't want his crappy and mis-informed emails.

sigh. sometimes i hate the internets.

ps i read your post about horrible chastity analogies. double sigh.

it was good reading though

Azúcar said... [reply]

Oh, I forgot that my mom forwards items. However, in her case, they are always in Spanish; it's almost like brushing up on my language skills!

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