WARNING: I watched "Chicago 10" on PBS last night, and I'm in "a mood"
I have several friends, mostly from the Heartland of America, God-Bless-Em, who apparently think that because I'm retired and back in school (again), that I must not have anything better to do with my spare time than read endlessly, mindlessly forwarded emails...sometimes they even title these outdated Urban Legends, photos of waaaaaaaay too-cute exophthalmic kittens in baskets full of roses (hell, yer eyes would bug out too, if you had rose thorns sticking in yer arse), and cartoons of old ladies with sagging tits (and what, pray tell, is so funny about that?) and so forth, with subject lines like "so you don't get bored in your old age," "to entertain you in your spare time," and like that. The assumption being, I suppose, that even if I were NOT working my butt off trying to keep up with my college course work (and because of my advancing age and the senility they assume just naturally accompanies aging?), that I would have any interest in 5 year old emails that have been around the world 4,764 times (and still have ALL of the forwarding email addresses embedded in them to prove it) and that expose "shocking new truths revealed about...."
SO FAR MY TWO ALL-TIME FAVOURITES ARE:
1) that KFC has stopped using "chicken" in their name because the meat they use is really genetically engineered...um...nameless "things" that are not really chickens at all, but mutant creatures that are born without beaks, feathers or feet" (although some of them DO have 6 legs - oops!); and
2) The Shocking True Story of "X" who finally confesses in his long-awaited (by whom?) autobiography that, while the GOP Elephant was giving him a friendly blow job in a back room at the 1980 Republican National Convention, things got a little out of hand, one thing led to another and __________ and that this clandestine encounter resulted in a love child (named "Paris" ...um, er "Lindsay" ...arrrr, "Brittany"...or whoEVER - just as long as she is young, white and female), who was then sold for adoption into a Megarich All-American Family as part of a political kickback deal and who is now a runaway wild child on drugs as a result of having been conceived in a back room at the Republican Natio...hey, ya know, that even almost makes sense (maybe I should pass that one on?). Nah, I checked it on www.snopes.com and it's just another Urban Legend. Darn! And I was soooooooooooooo hoping to find something new and really juicy to forward to all my friends...
The Real Question here is what is it about that kind of cr*p that compells normally reasonably intelligent folk to pass it on without thought? Have we reached the point, as a species, where simply reading certain combinations of words causes us to automatically follow directions and
"PASS IT ON!" [CLICK] or
"FORWARD THIS TO 20 OF YOUR CLOSEST FRIENDS WITHIN 33 1/2 SECONDS AND IN 117 DAYS AND 2 HOURS 3 MINUTES AND 47 SECONDS YOU WILL MIRACULOUSLY RECEIVE..." [CLICK] or
"DON'T BREAK THE CHAIN OR YOUR NEXT CHILD WILL BE BORN WITH A HEARTBREAKING CONGENITAL BIRTH DEFECT (YOUNG, WHITE & FEMALE?) AS A RESULT OF HAVING BEEN CONCEIVED IN THE BACKROOM OF..." (whew, well, at least I'm off the hook on that one, because I'm post-menopausal...but, what if that applies to my grandchildren as well? Best not take any chances, my kids are all already mad at me) [CLICK] or
"IF YOU FORWARD THIS EMAIL TO 50 PEOPLE TODAY, WITHIN 3.5 DAYS WAR, POVERTY, AND GLOBAL WARMING WILL DISAPPEAR FROM THE FACE OF THE EARTH" (hmmm, if they added Sarah Palin to this one, I might just go for it...) [CLICK] [CLICK] [CLICK] [CLICK] [CLICK]
Don't get me wrong, I really love the internet - it's a wonderful tool for accomplishing all shorts of things, including:
- avoiding doing your homework for hours on end;
- checking your bank account online in the hopes that, due to the current economic crisis (or whatever they are calling it Today) the bank will fold before they realize you are overdrawn...again; and
- writing to your Congressperson to demand that she/he do something about ____________ (fill in the blank) - saves on the cost of stamps and reduces wasted time, paper, as well as the gas needed to drive to the local post office;
But, really, just because I'm over 60 and back in college (again), doesn't mean I've lost the power of critical thought completely - yet...
By the way, if you are reading this and you are Mrs. Miriam Jefferson Osotho-Mbundi, Personal Assistant to the Vice-President of Lottery Prize Distribution at the First National Savings Bank of Botswana, I'm STILL waiting for that 11,44,862.54 UK pound check that you promised me in 1998...
Hmmm, I wonder if that check has been earning interest all this time???
STEAL THIS BLOG....YIPPIE!!!