Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Americans Against Gullibility

I am a skeptical person by nature. If someone tries to sell me on the healing properties of grapefruits or magnets or colonic irrigation, my first reaction generally runs along the lines of "that's the stupidest thing I've ever heard." What really irritates me though, are "facts," stories or warnings that people forward to me by email. I know that this is surprising, but not everything found on the internet is true! *gasp* (Think about it - if I'm able to use the internet as a forum in which to spout off my opinions, so can anyone else with too much time on their hands!)

I would like to introduce you all to one of my very favorite websites. http://www.snopes.com/ It's an urban legends reference website that addresses all of these ridiculous email forwards that clog up our e-mailboxes. If you are reading this sentence, your homework is as follows: before forwarding any emails about a little boy with cancer who wants business cards, or greeting cards, or letters so that he can get into the Guiness Book of World Records; before warning all of your female friends about attackers in mall parking lots knocking them out with fake perfume samples and then stealing all their money; before giving your friends yet another copy of the Neiman-Marcus cookie recipe that supposedly cost $250; before refusing to buy Tampax Pearl tampons because you think they will cut your cervix; before passing along a stupid email where people are supposed to put a star next to their own name for a fictitious school project; before boycotting Exxon and Mobile gas stations because you think that will lower gas prices, go to this website! (For the record, all of the examples I listed in the previous sentence are indeed examples of urban legends that are completely false. If you want to know more, follow the links. I must confess that I actually believed the cookie recipe one until I checked it out on Snopes.)

Let me clarify that I am not picking on anyone here. This is simply a public service announcement. These emails are annoying, and since most of them don't have even a shred of validity, they're a complete waste of time. Frankly, I don't have the time to read or even delete these emails. (Oh, who am I kidding? If I have this much time to devote to a blog tirade, I have time to read these emails... I just don't want to.) These emails are often less than "harmless." Don't believe me? Click on the "Guiness Book of World Records" link above. A family and an organization have had to relocate because people just won't stop sending cards and letters for a "dying child" who is now a healthy 29 year old man who doesn't want any more greeting cards, business cards, letters or anything else.

Bottom line? The fact that you've heard a story a hundred times or that it was forwarded by a "very reliable source" doesn't make something true. I will leave you all with a fabulous quote from a girl I knew in high school (who shall be referred to simply as "Girl"):

Friend: "Hey, Girl, did you know that the word 'gullible' is not in the dictionary?"
Girl: "I know, ok?? Why does everyone keep telling me that?? I already know it's not in there!!"

16 comments:

ÄsK AliCë said...

I love Snopes! I'm such a bitch sometimes I'll copy the entry about whatever email I was sent and send it to the person who sent me the scam haha...

That story about the girl is hilarious!

Tova Darling said...

Hahaha! I love that you send people the snopes entry when they send you a forward! My old roommate and I got in a fight once because she told me that Taco Bell served grade F meat, and I looked it up on snopes and told her she was wrong, and then she accused me of calling her stupid. Some people just don't appreciate the truth. :)

Dr Zibbs said...

Don't believe Snopes.com. My friend's Aunt works there and she said it's funded by the Mormon church. Now if you'll excuse me, I have to remove a kidney of the lady who's passed out in my tub.

LYDIA said...

lol Zibbs @ Mormon church.

Let me tell you something I hate even more than these emails. Chain emails.

Those ones where half of the email is spent trying to convince you to forward it on, and if you don't you will have back luck for 17 years, your hair will fall out, you will lose someone you love, and your husbands penis will fall off.

Yeah those ones piss me off.

Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

And who can forget Ashley Flores, the daughter of some deli worker from some supermarket. You're gonna love this one: Someone ACTUALLY took the time to translate the whole fucking email into SPANISH!!!! I got it in Spanish, for the love of God, last week! I ALWAYS go to Snopes or TruthOrFiction.com and email back with Reply To All so everyone can see that it's a load of crap what this person has sent out. it's also a sure-fire way to get off someone's bullshit list...

Mrs.D said...

Ugh, I know. I have so many gullible friends and relatives who believe ALL this shit. I roll my eyes every time when they forward me stuff.

I hate chain text messaged even more. So dumb.

Marie said...

I'm with you Lydia, if the e-mail contains a "non-forwarding" threat or moral judgment, I hit the delete button with all the more relish.

Poetica said...

I get so bloody annoyed with these emails too, glad to see I am obviously not the only one !

Tova Darling said...

OO, along the same lines of the "forward this or you'll die tomrrow" ones are the ones where they say "if you're my friend, send this to 10 friends and also back to me. If I don't get this back, I'll know we're not friends."

Talk about manipulative friendships! Since when does being a friend mean that I'm forced to send you stupid emails?

Piece o' Coconut Cake said...

With the emails that say "send this to 10 of your friends so you don't die" I usually send them back to that person - 10 times. OH, YES I DO!

Poetica said...

You've been tagged, check my blog;)
I promise it's not a freaky chain letter, too ;)

Former Fat Chick said...

I love you all...I do the same thing as Ask Alice, everyone thinks I'm a bitch! haha, but why are the all so ignorant! mormon snopes...hahahah

Fancy Schmancy said...

I totally worship at the alter of Snopes. Because of them, I often know about the false emails before I get them. Not to mention knowing about any true stuff that doesn't even get forwarded to me. What I hate, though, is that someone I know also knows of Snopes. Instead of discreetly telling the person who sent something to her that it's not the truth, she hits Reply To ALL and dresses them down, and then sends it to everyone in her address book. Ostensibly to prevent them from making the same mistake. It bothers me.

pj said...

Snopes is awesome. Check out the story about Cal Ripken Jr missing a game during ' the streak.' It is pretty funny even if you are not a sports fan.

Candy's daily Dandy said...

Thanks for the tip Tova. Finally, an source to combat all that annoying e-mail. After being a slave to those nasty "bad luck" emails I finally decided to delete any fwd's that looked suspicious. I reason that if I don't know and don't see it, it can't hurt me. (I am silly superstitious)but I have deleted some important stuff that way. My bad.

J&D said...

 

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In my opinion, we don't devote nearly enough scientific research to finding a cure for jerks. ~ Calvin & Hobbes