Tuesday, October 6, 2009

'Scary' emails

I hit my inbox this morning and surprise, surprise...there's another useless 'Scary' forward taking up perfectly good space that could be better used for the assorted phishing scams, virus bait and other valuable stuff that manages to squeak by my firewall. I can't even delete the usual batch of missing child alerts and Viagra sales fast enough to get to get rid of these things.
Just as a matter of course, any email that has that key word in it is pretty much automatically filed as a waste of time. Most folks I know don't normally use it in adult-to-adult conversation so an instant 'Wack Job Alert' goes up. I actually did use the term a lot when my kids were small to describe movies they couldn't watch or places they shouldn't go but even they outgrew it by around the age of six. I don't recall really needing it much in grown-up discussions which means that if somebody thinks I need to be warned about the next impending crisis via email, the hot setup is to leave out the 'scary' part or I'll be suspicious right out of the gate.

These things are particularly annoying because of the 'Ohhhhh - this is REALLY scary' format they usually come wrapped in. I can only picture a purple dinosaur addressing four-year-old children as actually saying that and meaning it. Unless Captain Kangaroo is somehow resurrected from the dead to host a news show on Lifetime.
The common alternative to the panic stricken, heavy breathing headline is the other old favorite, 'The media won't report this..." which by extension means they won't because they might have to back it up with a fact or two but we who forward unfounded rumors and are not bound by any such scruples, will. The logic of this one baffles me because the apparently easily-duped 'Mainstream Media' will report on just about anything, often going pretty light on the facts themselves. Why would these guys who are in it primarily for the money, let some of these really scary and hence really profitable stories get away? Sorry, but I'm not getting the picture here.

Anyway, this particular beauty was about how 'Scary' it is that President Obama is allegedly not a US citizen. Really? Imagine my astonishment. Didn't this one make the rounds for about the sixth month in a row right about the same week that Bush II was packing for Texas and Ashley Flores disappeared for the nine hundredth time? Gee, I suppose that must mean that nobody in Congress or anyplace else for that matter, was smart enough then or is smart enough now to figure it out. It's either that or you have to believe that everybody in government above the rank of Park Ranger is involved in a conspiracy to do...something. I'm not sure what they're out to do but they're all in on it. Didn't Jim Jones think like that?
So anyway, let me get this straight; the only way this travesty came to light is through unverifiable, unattributed email forwards and the attached breathless YouTube videos? Nobody but the long-lost original paranoid fruitcake that wrote the thing can see that the country is going to disintegrate unless we all forward this to two million unsuspecting inboxes in the next four minutes? Hmmm...color me doubtful.

What's truly 'scary' to me and the only reason I'm bothering to write about it in the first place is that so many normally intelligent people buy into this foolishness just because it drops into their inbox with two lines of exclamation points and a bold font. But then, an awful lot of pretty reasonable people got caught in the Nigerian Scheme and some are still waiting for their check from Microsoft's latest email beta test so I suppose I shouldn't be all that surprised.

Call me a sucker but even though my inbox says the sky is falling, I still believe there's hope for our little social experiment. No matter where Obama was born.

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