I have a firm belief that email is one of the most powerful tools of mind control in modern American society. More specifically, I believe the “forward” button is one of the most powerful tools of mind control in modern American society. As recently as ten years ago people would have to go to much more trouble in order to pass on some bit of information, even by phone or letter. Today someone only has to press “forward” and within seconds they can send on the exact same information to dozens, if not hundreds of people. This is where mind control comes in.
I don’t believe there is some major conspiracy involving men with gruff voices meeting in dark, smokey rooms composing email messages meant to mislead the masses. Rather, the conspiracy is a random collection of misled people misleading each other. Blind leading blind.
So I received an email recently from Ben Stein (well, it wasn’t Ben himself. It was a considerate friend who lovingly forwarded his message along to me). Here’s what Ben apparently had to say:
He told me he’s Jewish, but not offended by Christmas trees – Thanks Ben.
He told me he’s not offended when people say “Merry Christmas” – Well, Merry Christmas, Mr. Stein.
He relayed a message from Billy Graham’s daughter explaining that Katrina happened because we kicked God out of our schools and government… – …
He said our kids will commit suicide if we don’t spank them… – … Uhh…
Okay, I know Ben Stein. And this is not Ben Stein. Seriously, I shared a Chick-fil-a sandwich with him once. He told me I was “really, quite funny.” I also managed to anger him several hours later when I asked if he was the informant in the Nixon administration referred to as Deep Throat (this was before the real Deep Throat was revealed a few years ago). And this means Ben (first name basis) and I are close, because I have many close friends I’ve never shared a Chik-fil-a sandwich with, or accused of being an infamous informant. Hell, I haven’t done either of those things with my wife! Therefore I must consider Ben one of my closest friends. So I know Ben Stein is a very reasonable individual, and he would never make those ridiculous comments, much less make assumptions about God’s will in respect to Katrina.
So I checked into it (which all of us should do) and discovered this email contained portions of a statement Ben made on CBS Sunday Morning mixed with comments and false information added by individuals dozens of links before me in this email chain. It’s like the game “operator” that we play as pre-schoolers. We sit in a circle and whisper into each other’s ear and soon a short phrase turns from “I love the smell of fire in the winter” to “I rub the smell of urine in the creamer”.
Many of us don’t forward messages on, and there are many other people who get frustrated with this as much as I do. But if you are one of those people who rely on forwarded messages for the formation of political, spiritual or parenting views please do all of us a favor and throw away your computer. It’s the better move for the preservation of our civilization. We don’t want the freedom promised by your patriotic messages that tell me to quickly send them to fifteen friends or else I’m ashamed to be a Christian, American, non-socialist Republican.
We’d rather have freedom from ignorance.
The Calico Rebellion
P.S.- I would, however, ask that all of you copy this into an email and forward it to everyone you know. In return for this act of loyalty to me/humanity I promise peace will come to Darfur, Palestinians will stop hating Israelis, Israelis will stop hating Palestinians, Germans will stop loving David Hasselhoff and someone will discover a full, unreleased season of Saved By the Bell and will give it way for free on the internet.
(okay, that last one was for me)
I ran across an article in the NYTimes that talks about one of the men behind the infamous/utterly ridiculous/surprisingly resilient “Obama-is-a-Muslim” email. Click here to go to the article. I’ll also post it on my “articles” page, along with other articles to look at.