Saturday, June 28, 2008

YOU HAVE TO READ THIS!!!!!!!!

BONUS Newspaper Column :

You know what I kind of miss? I miss the nutty political e-mails I used to get.

You know the ones I mean: the ones that have subject lines like "URGENT!!!! MUST READ!!!!!" or "PASS THIS ALONG TO EVERYONE YOU KNOW!!!!!" (The multiple exclamation points were always a dead giveaway.)

When you opened the e-mail, you'd find some crack-brained conspiracy theory or Internet rumor, like the one about how Bill Clinton ordered U.S. Navy ships to strike the American flag when visiting Vietnamese ports, or the one that claimed John Kerry went to Ronald Reagan's graveside and said, "I'm just here to prove to myself that the s.o.b. is really dead."

It's true that those e-mails used to raise my blood pressure with their sheer idiocy and blockheaded indifference to the truth. But they did get the blood flowing in the morning. Occasionally they provided me with material for this column.

Unfortunately, I think I may have killed the goose that laid those eggs. I got to the point where, as soon as I got something that claimed, for example, that "The Clintons are charging rent to the Secret Service detail assigned to protect them," I'd go to trusty sites like http://www.snopes.com/ or http://www.factcheck.org/ I'd find out that the story in the e-mail was pure BS. Then I'd copy and paste the refuting information into a reply e-mail and hit "send" to all of the people in the recipient list.

Pretty soon I stopped getting those e-mails. They diminished to a trickle, then died off entirely.

At first I was happy. But then, I confess, I started to feel guilty, like I was being kind of a buzzkill. It obviously gave some people great joy to let all of their friends, a large number of nodding acquaintances, and a staggering number of complete strangers know that Bill Clinton is personally responsible for the deaths of at least 50 political opponents and may, in fact, have dropped the hammer on a few with his own hands.

It obviously sent a little thrill of righteousness up their spines to inform the world that the Clintons ran a drug operation out of an Arkansas airstrip that made the Medellin cartel look like a bunch of high school kids splitting up an ounce of weed. It seemed almost mean-spirited to point out that this was all fiction, and badly written fiction at that.

Eventually, I started to miss those wacky e-mails. As regular readers of this column know, I am a great aficionado of the weird things that occasionally burst from the minds of my fellow Americans. It's one of the many, many things I love about my country. Oh, sure, the British have their lovable eccentrics, but when it comes to absolute gibbering lunacy, obsessive paranoia over just about everything, and wild leaps of illogic, well -- God bless America.

I know those e-mails are still out there. I know, for example, that people are getting and sending e-mails that insist that George W. Bush personally arranged for the destruction of the Twin Towers by "controlled demolition" and that the whole "terrorists hijacking airliners" story was a hoax designed to let Bush seize power.

Obviously, this is absurd. For one thing, a "controlled demolition" that drops a multi-story building into its own footprint takes weeks, even months of preparation, not to mean the gutting of the target building. It would be impossible to pull off without someone noticing. Second, George W. Bush isn't nearly that smart.

I know that, somewhere out there, there are people getting and sending e-mails that claim that Barack Obama is a Muslim who swore his senatorial oath of office on a Koran. I know that some people are getting and sending e-mails that take Obama to task for the rantings of his former pastor -- who, let us not forget, is a Christian, just not the right kind of Christian for some people.

And the really hilarious thing is that, in many cases, the people who are sending the "Obama's a Muslim" and "Obama goes to a racist Christian church" e-mails are the same people. You find that somewhat logical disconnect in only two places: the Internet and in the more secure locked wards in our nation's mental hospitals.

But I don't find that stuff in my in-box any more, so I don't get to dash off an e-mail that begins "you blithering idiot" And doggone it, I miss that.

So help me out. Take your best shot. Give me your wild, your crazy, your weird conspiracy and rumor mongering e-mails, at dustyr@nc.rr.com.

But don't be surprised if I e-mail you back.

2 comments:

David Terrenoire said...

I've always felt left out because I never got those emails.

I don't know why.

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