With the advent of email the world became much more in touch. Information that a decade ago would have taken days to cross the planet now only takes a few bulk emails. For the most part this is a very good thing. However, along with this benefit comes the redheaded step child of email, the completely unresearched mass forwarded urban legend.
Do any of these sound familiar? Oliver North was afraid of Osama bin Laden back in the 80s. Mars is closer than it has been in centuries. Fred Rogers and Captain Kangaroo were decorated war heroes. The 9-11 flights were picked because of their graphic significance if you change the font to wingdings in Word. If they don’t then you may be the only person on the planet who has not been in the loop on the latest email legends.
I’m consistently amazed at how otherwise sensible, rational people will believe and forward on anything that shows up in their inbox. A few years ago I just used to erase these little annoyances as soon as I saw them. But for the last couple of years I’ve felt this need to research the data and forward the correct information to everybody on the lists. I frequent several websites that research these legends. I also subscribe to an email newsletter from factcheck.org that unbiasedly verifies political claims. I’ve heard it repeated in the political arena that “a lie unchallenged becomes the truth in 24 hours”. Perhaps it is this desire to set the record straight that motivates me.
I’ve had a few people criticize my actions by assuming that I was taking a political position on the email one way or the other. If I state that an email critical of Democrats is not factual that does not mean that I support the Democrats. If I show sources that Fred Rogers was never in the Marine Corp that does not mean that I think any less of Mr. Rogers or the Marine Corp. More often than not the position that I am taking is simply, this is not a fact and I will not use it justify my opinions one way or the other. Many times the facts I uncover go against my personal beliefs and desires. I mean I would love if Mars was going to appear as big as the moon next month but the truth is it just isn’t gonna happen. I just want to make sure that if I take any actions or form any opinions based on these emails that they are based on fact.
I guess my only point here is to say don’t trust everything you see in your inbox. And if you want to find out if something is true or not just send the email and I’ll do my best to ferret out the truth.
Psychic Predators in Caring Clothing - * *The June 6 edition of the “Broward/Palm Beach NewTimes” contains an excellent long-read piece, “How Modern Fortunetellers Pull Off Their Scams”. Repor...
5 hours ago