Sunday, January 27, 2008

the campaign of mis-information

I received another really special email this morning.  There are several people who feel compelled to include me in their forward lists.  You know, the "send this to 8 people in the next 8 minutes and something marvelous will happen to you" emails.

Occasionally I'll like the story or pictures in the email, and if I do, I delete all the forward history at the beginning of it, and also the chain letter aspect from it before I send it off.  I also am very cognizant to whom I send which emails.  I have a list of people to whom I send stuff about church or nature, another set of people to whom I send pictures of cute animals (further sub-divided between the "dog people" and the "cat people"), another set of people who get things that are funny (again subdivided between those who get clean jokes and those who get dirty jokes), and yet another set who I send the pictures and stories related to the military (subdivided between those who served in the Navy and those who served in the Marines, etc).  If I forward something, I really try to send them what I think they would like to read.

Sometimes I do send forwards to people, knowing it's not something they would like to read.  If it's something to make you think or provoke some kind of moral action, I have another subset of people who receive these emails.  I only send it to these people because they know its purpose, not necessarily to push their buttons.

The day has come where it's so easy to forward junk that we automatically do it -- to our entire list of contacts -- because it's easy.  I confess that I used to forward along ALL of the junk that I received.  At first when I had my own email account (I was a freshman in college.), I sent out all the junk I received to everyone I knew because it was all so new and exciting for me.

But I'm over that now.  I really try not to send mindless forwards anymore.  I'm sure my filtered-system isn't pristine, but it's better than sending everybody the same junk because I hope something better will happen if I send something to six more people.

That said, I get a lot of what I consider to be mindless forwards.  

The last several months I have received scores of mindless political forwards, and today I received another one.  It was so bad that I read it out loud to The Hater.  The worst part for me is that it didn't even say "for good luck send this many people"...  I know this person sent it because he thinks he's educating people about how great our President is compared to past Presidents.  Give me a break.

It actually suggested that it's more morally acceptable for us to be involved in the war in Iraq than WWII because Germany never attacked us.  (Never mind that Iraq never attacked us, either.)  To be as old as he is, I'd really think he would understand how the allied powers worked, that Germany and Japan were in cahoots.  Now this guy is an older guy who sends me the majority of my junk mail, and he was once one of my patients, so it's not really someone I can reply back with "Dude, stop sending me this (colorful gerund) garbage."  Instead I replied, "Really?  You think we shouldn't have been involved in WWII?  You think it was wrong to take out the Nazis?  That surprises me."  He's not replied back yet, but if he does, I'm sure I know what it will say.

Just a few weeks ago he sent another mindless political email, slamming one of the leading Democratic candidates and what church they attended.  It was over the top.  I replied back to him, pointing out that his email was slanderous liable and asked where his real sources were.  He replied, "It may not be true, but it's good to know.  I just forwarded it."

I'm innocent because I forwarded it.  All I did was hit the button.

If a kid at school drops the f-bomb or calls the teacher ugly names, he'll get in trouble because it was the wrong thing to do.  It doesn't matter that he's just repeating what he's heard at home because there are certain rules at school that cannot be broken.  

When you write or forward an email, you are accepting the responsibility of its contents to the people to whom you send it.  This is exactly why I don't send dirty jokes to my grandmother.

Give me a break.  

I am overwhelmed with the current campaign of mis-information, both through civilian emails and the media.  Please stop thinking that I'm a mindless sheep who will follow whatever the masses (or the church) tell me to think.  Believe it or not, I'm able to read myself and interpret what I read myself.  This is what makes me a free-thinking adult.

Nobody questions the information that people give them...  Especially if it reinforces an opinion that they already have.

A few years ago I was working as a nurse in a unit that gave cancer patients Bone Marrow or Stem Cell transplants.  While home, one of The Hater's aunts asked me what I did.  After I told her, she grew defiantly solemn and said, "I don't believe in stem cells."  To which I answered, "It doesn't matter if you believe in them or not, they're in your blood stream either way."  Then we talked about how not all stem cells come from embryos.  Real living (healthy) people have circulating peripheral blood stem cells that can be used to cure some types of cancers.  Sometimes a mother's afterbirth can be milked to get stem cells from the cord blood for transplant (this is well after baby is safe in the bassinet and no longer connected to Mom's system).  This was in NO WAY connected to the embryonic stem cell debate, but all she heard was "stem cells", and even after I had explained it, she said, "That might be okay, but I don't believe in stem cells."  I changed the subject.

And why did I change the subject?  Because I don't have the energy to argue with the backward interpretations of the evangelical movement.  Because she shouldn't be the person who gets those forwards.

If you really think that Hillary getting elected to the White House will make any difference in the Clinton's retirement, you're an idiot.  They already have boatloads of money, and they're not hurting for their IRA like you are.

If you are a Christian, then why does it matter that another Christian goes to a different church?  You don't have any problems with the Baptists in their church or the Methodists in their church --- heck, you don't even have a problem with the Catholics doing their thing.  Think and let think already.  God is God and you don't see Him all mixed up in the details.

One war isn't the same as the other war.  People who are awarded medals in the military deserve them.  If a black man is elected President, they're not going to rename it the "Black House".  Why is it that socialized education is okay, but socialized medicine is the devil?  

Stop thinking in absolutes. 

And while you're at it, please remove me from your neo-con forward list.


Mommavia said...

Grrr, I hate emails like that! I won't even read a forward if I have to scroll through all the forward history. I don't need to send it to 10 people to show I love God...or get a secret suprise in 27 minutes. I will live my life as(hopefully) God intends me to and sending crap emails isn't on the list. And the emails about the kids who are missing. I am sure there is 1 that is legit, but come on people, check out and stop making yourself looking like an idiot.

Anonymous said...

It is about time.... Good post keep it up.

bill said...

Well, okay, but only if I get added to your dirty joke list....

Vol Abroad said...

Why not get a blog to spread around the lies and half-truths? That's what I do.

Anonymous said...

Well said, well said. Vol-Mom