I've had email for a number of years now. My first email account was a simple 1990 version of the UWash Pine client for Macintosh, and then a succession of Prodigy, Tyrell and AOL accounts and finally, my own domain and some cozy rented server space in Hong Kong. I can turn the dial up on the Spam Assassin until it's so sphincterfied that I couldn't get a message through to myself. However, the problem with email, as with telephones and other forms of mass communication, isn't usually strangers trying to ram the castle gates, but relatives and well-meaning but misinformed friends.
This is all the more discomforting when you realize that most of my relatives and friends have had email as long or nearly as long as I have. They are all adults, most are in their fifties and beyond. So why are they such incredible dumbasses when it comes to email? Why are they incapable of looking up bizarre and outright unbelievable claims before they hit "send"? Jesus. I won't even get started on my "Caps Lock Cousins".
Their worst fault is chain letters. (They're called chain letters because if you send out an email that includes the phrase, "Forward this to everyone you know!" you should be locked in a damp, moldy basement and chained to an agitated badger with a bad case of halitosis and a tendency toward loose stools.) Chain letters, when the U.S. is in the middle of an election cycle, invariably become the front lines of smear campaigns. Neither party has a monopoly on smears, although it seems to me that the Republican lie machine is more imaginative than the Democrats' whine-merchants.
So raise your hands and join me in this election-year pledge:Thank you, you're a fine looking group. The matching shirts is a nice touch.
"I (your name here), do solemnly swear (or affirm - sigh) that I will not cut any fucking slack for any human, however well-meaning or self-righteous they may be, if they send me an obviously stupid campaign smear email - f'rinstance, that Barack Obama was sworn into office on the Quran instead of the bible, or that Hillary Clinton was dubbed "Walking Eagle" by some American Indians, or that John McCain, - well, the John McCain emails haven't started yet, but they likely will. If I receive anything that doesn't pass the smell test at Snopes or FactCheck not only will I reply to your vapid shit-for-brains email and tell you what a low-wattage cretin you are, I'll hit "Reply All" and say the same thing to every one of your unfortunate friends, relatives and coworkers you left exposed on the "Cc" line of your message like so many pigeons on a fence. This applies to relatives, coworkers, friends and strangers alike"
I don't give a rat's flaming rectum who you like in 2008, I really don't. You aren't going to change my political mind with your sophomoric attempt at shock campaigning, but I'll embarrass you in front of your friends so fast it will make your PC squeal like a pig. While we're at it, I'll also apply this line of thinking to any other brainless email you send out - virus warnings, dire predictions of coming terrorist attacks or emails that are just plain stupid. I'm still getting emails telling me how Bill Clinton's people trashed the White House and Air Force One on their way out of office, including prying off all the letters"W" from all the keyboards. Bullshit! Ollie North, apparently, is a Great American hero (Bullshit!) and John Kerry eats babies for lunch from Jane Fonda's supple thighs, all smothered in Heinz ketchup. Bull. Shit.
Enough! It's time to crawl, kicking and screaming, into the twenty-first century. If you're going to live in this amazing Buck Rogers world with me, you're going to have to stop scratching your asses with your keyboards and think a bit. Remember, Snopes is the final authority, but if Snopes' Barb Mikkelson hasn't done all of her research yet, I'll freelance my opinion and chop you off at the knees without her help. Grow the fuck up or leave me alone.
Thus spake the rabbit.