Urban Legends and the morons who perpetuate them

Okay. First I got email about Bill 602P. This bill, which supposedly is going to make email cost ten cents per (amount of money per email varies), doesn’t exist. So I don’t mind doing the fucking 30-second ask.com search and totally debunking it.

Then today I get some bullshit email about how “Touched by an Angel” is going to be taken off the air because the word “God” is said in every episode. WTF??? That’s fucking illegal, friends, last I checked. But, just to be sure, I do another ask.com search (this one takes less than 30 seconds) and gues what! This is bullshit as well!

Fucking . . . I know both the people who sent these to me. One of them is the fucking secretary of my academic team! You would THINK someone with supposed intelligence would have the two brain cells to rub together to fucking search online, if nowhere else, to validate this shit!

Anyone else fucking sick and tired of getting bullshit email, petitions and the like to stop things that aren’t happening (Bill 602P and Petition 2493 or whatever the fuck it is)?

And the very first thing I do whenever one of them comes to me is reply to ALL with the snopes URL. Hopefully, that’ll nip it in the bud, and make the person who forwarded it to me think twice next time.

I know someone who sends this tripe to me on a regular basis. The funniest part is wading through the obligatory 10-mile-long list of hosts the email passed through. The person who sends them to me does contract work for NASA, and I’m usually shocked by the number of hosts in the NASA domain that appear in the headers. No wonder the damn Mars Lander crashed. The rocket scientists were too busy worrying about carcinogens in their shampoo and $250 cookie recipes to do their work!
Often I reply with a snopes URL, but it never seems to do any good.

Last night I got an e-mail that basically said Coke was hydrochloric acid. It can dissolve your bones, it has a pH of such and such, imagine what it’s doing to your intestines, blah blah. It reminded me of Cecil’s column, so I automatically knew it was bullshit. The friend who sent it to me is no dummy, so I’m a little disappointed in him for being unable to sniff out crap.

So naive. So, so naive. At least, it hasn’t worked in my case. Either a.) the forwarder blithely ignores my replies and keeps forwarding me the same stuff over and over, or b.) I become their fact-checker. As in, I still get the same e-mail, but with an “is this for real” note at the top. Geezum crow, I forward the URL for snopes, datafellows, whatever my source is, each time with a “check here first next time” note, but it help. It just doesn’t help.

That’s because you have to do it the way Mr. Cynical does. You have to “reply to all.” And along with the URL, you have to put in a comment like “this silly thing has been passed around more times than the world’s largest joint.” And you have to note repeat offenders (“Once again, Mary has been taken in by an urban legend.”)

I’ve pretty much stopped receiving them, and somehow managed to keep as friends most of the offenders.

Sometimes I swear that the 2% of internet bandwidth not used by porn jpegs and mp3s is half-dedicated to UL email.

Eek! I don’t think I’m quite that cruel–yet. Let’s see if “Mary” sends me another “Win a Holiday” virus warning :wink:

The worst part about the petitions is that even if the things were real, they would never be of any use–an internet petition means nothing, since people have many email adresses (I have at least 10). I have explained this * in person * to some people, and they do it anyway. Can I please just kill them?

I have every single mail I get with “fwd” in the subject automatically routed to my “trash” folder. This way, I just review it once in a while to make sure nothing important is in there (there never is) and do a batch dump.

For very persistant people, I usually write back something like “This account is for personal/business use only. Please do not forward these messages to me, as they count against my allotted server space and cause problems. Thank you.”

or a simple “Just how fucking dumb ARE YOU?? You’re dumber then dirt! And uglier then a hat full of assholes, to boot!”

That one usually does the trick.


But can these people at least spell?

:: grin, duck, run ::

I’ve got a cousin who is guilty of this act, repeatedly. I replied to all, even though I don’t know most of them, with my standard disclaimer. It didn’t help, so I blocked her address. When she called to ask what was wrong with my e-mail I told her that, as far as I’m concerned, her e-mail priveleges were revoked. She got a new address and, so far, has restrained herself. Although, for a while, I did get the fact-checker treatment.

I do the reply all and actually copy the text from the Snopes site, just in case the yahoos are too lazy to bother or too incompetent to know how to get there. Fighting ingnorance, one idiot at a time.

[mild hijack] In the same vein. I really, really hate it when people forward me oooey gooey stuff about friendship, hugs, largest cyber-snowball fight, etc. ad nauseum, and then instruct me to spread the love, complete the circle and be sure to send it back to the person who sent it to me “because you can’t have too many friends, hugs, or whatever.” I NEVER send it back. And I still get tons of it. Sigh.[/mild hijack]

(Oh and iampunha, thanks for picking me to be on your “team,” I did notice, I’m just kinda quiet.)

Yuk, what an insipid pit post. I’ve been reading way too much sweet e-mail. Please feel free to insert assorted cuss words as desired. I did go back and take out the smilie.

I love to write back about my own personal experiences with whatever it is. I go into graphic, horrific detail. I go so over the top that even the biggest lamebrain can see how stupid the entire premise is.

IMHO this is a lot more fun and really drives the point home. THEN I turn them on to snopes.

You people don’t use ULs as stupidity detectors? It always helps to know some person is even dumber than she* acts.

    • Feminine pronoun used purposely because I’m thinking of a specific person**

** - Footnotes are probably illegal in The Pit, right? Look! as_u_wish posted a really girly message! And if THAT doesn’t distract them from beating up on me, how about this?

I dunno. It distracted ME.

I actually managed to teach someone how to do research on UL’s. She had sent me (and various other people) several of them, and each time I disproved them using snopes and other sites. I encouraged her to do her own research. (It probably helps if the person is already a friend who won’t blow up if you correct them.) I also loaned her my copies of the Brunvand books. Eventually she did start doing her own research and is now replying to other people’s UL’s.

Tell them that they’re final contestants for the Darwin award first, THEN kill them if they offend again.

One of Cecil’s own Angels of Death

I had a casual aquaintance send me this ICQ message:
“forward this and pictures will run across your screen”

My reply:

“I got that url and did as you asked, I forwarded it to three people. The picture thing worked but you forgot to tell me that the pictures were pornographic! My kids were watching for god’s sake!”

I got a few pages of apologies before I told her the message was a load of crap.

She thanked me and I have received no more of these from her…

:: runs in panting ::

Hey guys!!! Everybody!!! I just heard from a friend at AT&T who heard from a guy a Lucent who knows a hacker that there is a new virus going around!!! It’s so nasty, if you even read the subject line, your monitor will explode!!! And they figured out how to make it explode in just the right way to pop out both your eyes and leave them hanging on your face by the veins!!! Everybody hit the deck!!! Can’t stay, gotta run, gotta spread the word!!!

I have : forwarded the pertinent site debunking that particular UL, forwarded the UL site, said, no, this isn’t correct, because of, done to reply to all stuff, GIVEN UL books to all my relatives, and I still, sigh, get them.

Once, some one sent me something that I said had to be bunk, BEFORE it hit the UL/snopes web sites [pat self on back] [/pat self on back] that one, in particular got me angry; The Kelsey Brooks whatever child missing one. this idiot brain dead mother takes a nap with her toddler, wakes to find her gone, looks around the house, calls the police, THEN sits at her computer screen setting up this photo and e-mail begging people to please help her find her child and forward the message… without ONCE checking with the kids’ friends on the block. As a mom, trust me, the first thing I do when my kid’s not where I expect him, is to check with his friends (frankly before checking in with the police). jeez. and that one’s STILL roaming around some 2 years after the kid was missing for a grand total of 3 hours. grrrrrrrrrrr.

I’m putting a band together. It’s going to be called Susan DeLucci and the Miracle of Life.