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Sunday, June 5, 2011

Don't Make Me Snopes Ya

You wouldn’t know it, necessarily, to look at me, but I’m kind of a kill-joy.

I haven’t always been that way; but dagnab it anyhow, the e-mail chains have got to stop.

What do you mean “what e-mail chains”? Well, sure, I could list them here: the perfume-spraying kidnapper, the headlight-flashing gang initiations, the incredibly funny whatzit that goes dancing across your screen if you’ll just forward the e-mail in question to several hundred people...

But I’m not going to do that.

What I would like to talk about, however, is my inability to just shut up and let the people who seem to know no better –friends and relatives, yet! – continue to forward these things as if they are true.

As if their having been written – and subsequently forwarded – somehow makes them true.

Now why in the world would anyone just accept, whole cloth, things that are contraindicated by common sense?

I have a thing about the truth. Once I know what it is, I can’t let it go.

Me and facts? Good friends. While I freely admit to a host of misconceptions and preferences, once I’ve seen the light, I can never go back. Works with friends, jobs, the distinctions between butter and margarine, mayonnaise and salad dressing: I can be gullible, but once I know the facts?

It’s all over now, baby blue.

And so for years now I have been one of those who receives the e-mail, goes to Snopes to check on it, and then does a “respond all” to everyone who received the e-mail with me.

Surprisingly enough, not everyone is appreciative of this.

“Sheesh, Pearl, why do you have to ruin it for everyone?”

Ruin it? Ruin it. Indeed, why in the world would we let facts get in the way of an urban legend? What the hell! Let's just let this sucker circulate the globe a couple more times!

Don’t get me wrong. I enjoy the story of the man with the hook for a hand or the dead hitchhiker with the folded sports jacket at her headstone as much as the next guy. That’s one thing. But when we start accepting, as true, things that are not, we’ve entered into new territory.

Forewarned is forearmed. Don’t send me the forwards of the forward of the forward. I check forwarded e-mails. And I report back.

42 comments:

Douglas said...

I love Snopes! (and you too, of course) I have given up trying to point out the obvious to those that send me these things, it's just pointless. But we always gleefully accept the untruths of those who would seek public office, so why just pick on email chains?

jabblog said...

I agree wholeheartedly with you!

5thsister said...

Preaching to the choir...

Julianna said...

"Not everything you read on the internet is true" -Abraham Lincoln

:)

ellen abbott said...

"But when we start accepting, as true, things that are not, we’ve entered into new territory." not new territory, politicians have been doing that forever.

Audubon Ron said...

Julianna: Killing me!!!

B/c I don't see the truth is not why I'm the male equivalent of Blanche DuBois. It's b/c I don't want to know the truth.

"I know I fib a good deal. After all, a woman's charm is 50% illusion."
Blanche DuBois

Drake Sigar said...

Pearl = Mythbuster extraordinaire.

24 Corners said...

Gullible is as gullible does.
xo J~

Shieldmaiden96 said...

I feel so much better knowing I am not the only one who does this. I always consider it a win when I send a Reply to all debunk and the sender does a 'Reply to All' apology. I don't know why I get so indignant about it, probably because there are enough genuine stressors in the world without being pestered by circulating rumor.

And, I guess, I do derive some perverse pleasure from smacking down the well meaning and naive. But I'm just a bad person so don't mind me.

Glen said...

Well it's Thanks to people like you, That the Hospital in Kansas didn't get its new Children's ward, funded by the single dollar bills that Bill Gates had promised to donate, each and every time this email was passed on! I hope you can sleep at night!

powdergirl said...

I hear ya' Pearl,
I'm big on true too. I don't snopes anything, I assume its not true if it says anything at all about how if I forward as well, something bad/hilarious/fantastic will happen.
And outside of e-mail, one of my most oft repeated phrases is, "Just because you keep saying it, that doesn't make it true. "
I very much let the facts get in the way of a good urban legend : )

Anonymous said...

Dissemination of falsehood not confined to email forwards. On occasion I point out a flaw in an assertion Beautiful may make, and the response I get is, "It is so. I've read it in books." Right. That makes it so.

Love your attempts to enlighten! --vanilla

Simply Suthern said...

I've popped the odd e-myth balloon on more than one occasion.

Oilfield Trash said...

I get sick of getting those darn emails.

Silliyak said...

It's such a waste of words, just write "Everything bad is Obama's fault" On one hand I feel like if I DON'T point out the obvious, in a way, I'm helping perpetuate the lie. On the other hand, if someone can't see it themselves, anything I might add probably won't get through.

Cheeseboy said...

What about the one where the woman gets stuck to a car on a first date and her date has to pee her off? Oh brother. I'm with you, I hate these things.

Jhon Baker said...

I do this as well - being a killjoy can be a bit of fun - once I was taken out to lunch by a now x-friend to be told that it was rather assholeish of me - well, good riddance, I can't stand willful ignorance when it leads to a life in fear or something so blatantly false it should rank as poorly executed satire.

Casey Freeland said...

You and I ar blood-brothers in this instance. I do the exact same thing. And people do not appreciate it. But I think it's because they are made to look foolish for sending the crap out and believing it. It's ego. Once a person has committed to a supposed truth, proclaimed it to others, it's 100 times more difficult to turn them around, even in the face of undeniable facts. That's why politics work.

Cheers,

Casey

jenny_o said...

I'm a bit of a coward when it comes to alienating my well-meaning relatives, but I did speak up on two occasions - one was hate-mongering and I no longer cared if I alienated that person because that no longer falls into the category of well-meaning, and the second was incorrect medical information, which was just dangerous.

The rest of the asinine, crude, and just plain stupid forwards I get - I just bite my tongue.

And it'th tharting to feel thore, for thure!

R. Jacob said...

Gosh, golly gee Aunt Pearl, it's not all true?
signed
heartbroken

WrathofDawn said...

We is cut from the same cloth, Pearly-Gurl. I'm a Snopes quoter, too. A gurt big ol' spoilsport, that's me.

Belle said...

I always like the truth. I read on the internet there was something called a "Tree Octopus" with photos and everything. Kal set me straight. It was a joke. I would hate to go to my grave believing there are octopuses hanging around in trees!

Eva Gallant said...

I always delete those, too. (unless it's something REALLY funny, then I might forward it to a couple of people.)

hocam said...

I agree, I enjoy some of the funny ones, but hate the ones that tell you you must send this on to another 8 people or else I won't become rich on the fourth day. This is sheer cruelty!!!! If only I knew eight people I could be rich and live happily ever after.

Daisy said...

I have Snopes on "speed dial" along with the myth buster. I really really really hate getting emails that are absolutely stupid and an insult to my intelligence. One cousin told me she sends them to keep in touch - and sent one of "those" emails to confirm it. I told her I would more appreciate a short note from her telling me how she is, what she is doing, etc. so now she doesn't write anymore. I find them insulting; maybe I'm hyper sensitive. Right now, I feel like I'm in good company!

The Six-Fingered Monkey said...

See, I used to be the same way and you know what happened?

Nobody sent me any of those stupid forwarded things any more.

Actually, people stopped sending me email altogether.

:(

Now what?

Irish Gumbo said...

Just the facts, ma'am. Keep up the good work!

Kevin Musgrove said...

I usually respond with something I've made up myself. Which usually turns out to be true because I receive the story in an email three weeks later.

KSK said...

I have never heard of this snopes.... I'm so embarrassed.

Gigi said...

What is it about the "forward" option that makes people feel compelled to do so??

Douglas said...

I forgot to mention that I know for absolute sure that the story/tip/whatever in the email is false if it says "This is true. It was checked out on Snopes." I even got one once that included the link to the Snopes article. Except that following that link showed that Snopes labeled it False.

HermanTurnip said...

I'm sorry Pearl, but I have no more time to read your blog. I've just forwarded money to a Nigerian prince who is going to send me a portion of his inheritance. Good-bye, suckers! I'll be thinking of you as I smoke Cohiba's lit with $100 bills...

lisleman said...

I think one of my sisters forward this dumb stuff to me because she is too lazy to check it out at snopes. Most of time I just delete. It does upset me at times depending on the subject.
I also posted about this problem
http://afcsoac.blogspot.com/2011/02/i-put-spell-on-you.html
thanks for seeking the truth.

Cloudia said...

you my hero



Aloha from Waikiki :)

Comfort Spiral

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Mollie said...

I just had to do this with my mother-in-law. I think that maybe she finally got the message this time. We'll see.

June said...

I dislike those things....the first hundred times I got some of them, they were cute or funny.....the political stuff (Let's all hate Obama, Let's all hate Mexicans, or Let's all hate Muslims, or Let's all hate some other minority group) angers me to madness.
In the case of the "Mexicans" one, I wrote back that I would forward it to "MY MEXICANA FRIEND, E," and never got another email of that nature from that sender.
With the Obama ones, I have on occasion found some clearly, bizarrely, blatantly untrue story about a Republican or a Teabagger and sent it back.
I no longer even read the things. They make me too mad.

Joshua said...

I used to just forward the chain email back to the person that sent it to me just to piss them off. The only "chain" mail I received that I loved was my uncle sending me a letter with 3 names and 5 lottery tickets. It's hard to describe, but it's basically people you know and don't know sending each other lottery tickets from random states. It was fun, for a bit, but I only did it a few times. That shit gets expensive. And just like when I do partake in scratch off lottery tickets, I cashed out when I won. Made off with $100 though.

Hilary said...

I do the same thing. I have one friend who always replies to my Snopes quote with "I knew you'd be the one to find out if this is true or not." So why couldn't she just Snopes it out for herself? People are strange. And they many want to group-hate something/someone.

Dawn @Lighten Up! said...

It's not your fault your "snopes" work isn't appreciated, Pearl. They just "can't handle the truth!"

Yandie, Goddess of Pickles. said...

You're doing the human race a great service.

By the way, I really want to punch the 'You don't have a heart if you don't forward this' senders. I didn't give anyone my email address so they can guilt me!!

KaLynn ("MiMi") said...

I absolutely hate those emails! And the emails with all the "begats" at the top. DELETE. Don't even read anymore. If I have to scroll more than 1/2 inch. . GONE! But I do sooo love to debunk those emails that the girl next door was sitting in her car at the gas pump when her cell phone rang and ignited the entire gas station. . .yeah like you. . .it's fun. . . Cheers! my friend! Go get'em!

Mandy_Fish said...

I once had a sister-in-law stop speaking to me because I politely asked to be taken off her email chain list. I didn't even snopes her!