>>>>>PASS THIS ON! (emails from the right)
August 15, 2007 5:16 PM   Subscribe

My Right Wing Dad is a new-ish and rather informal blog that aims to provide "a chance for folks to examine the unrestrained rhetoric that is quietly passed from in-box to in-box in America," by hosting a collection of the emails that form an often untraceable and unacknowledged part of public discourse in the U.S., especially on the Right. Tagged by category (for example: God, college, flag, liberal, and World War II), the amateur archive presents a range of colorful opinion, not all of it strikingly accurate, and some of it offensive. In efforts to understand liberal and conservative habits of communication, it may be worth considering the role of forwarded email in the electoral process, and the reasons that the forwarding of email is popular among some people, and whether this behavior tends to correlate with particular political opinions. The emails hosted on MyRightWingDad may in any case be enlightening, unless you're already on the forward list of someone in the know.
posted by washburn (105 comments total) 26 users marked this as a favorite

 
PLEASE DON’T READ THIS. You will get kissed on the nearest possible Friday by the love of your life. Tomorrow will be the best day of your life. However, if you don’t post this comment to at least 3 metafilter posts, you will die within 2 days. Copy and paste this, to be saved
posted by cobra_high_tigers at 5:25 PM on August 15, 2007 [4 favorites]


I used to be on my stepmother's forward list.

...then I started reply all-ing with Snopes links.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:25 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Pope Guilty, I've had the same experience with my own Mother and with some friends from high school. Usually one debunking reply-all is all it takes.
posted by ursus_comiter at 5:30 PM on August 15, 2007


Wow, what a neat idea. Thanks for the post, wash.
posted by thebrokedown at 5:30 PM on August 15, 2007


Also, upon spending some time reading those forwarded emails, I'm remember what wanting to beat someone senseless feels like. Thanks!
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:32 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


The sheepdog post isn't so bad. A little self-righteous, but there's a lot of truth in it.

Except, I wouldn't say that the dichotomy from which people choose is between the sheepdog and the sheep. It's between the sheepdog and the wolf.
posted by wuwei at 5:33 PM on August 15, 2007


Can someone explain the appeal of the prayer wheel/chain letter? It's always boggled my mind. Do they just get off on fooling other people? Isn't that a minimal, anonymous gain? I don't get it ...

Kind of a lite blog, btw. No update in 3-4 weeks. Apple iPhone line photos?!?
posted by mrgrimm at 5:33 PM on August 15, 2007


Usually one debunking Goatse reply-all is all it takes.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:34 PM on August 15, 2007 [6 favorites]


I am thankful that until now, this whole world was completely unknown to me. I have a hard time believing they have any real sway, anyone with critical reading skills above an 8th grade level should be able to see right past them. This isn't exactly Hegel.
posted by geoff. at 5:34 PM on August 15, 2007


What, no "hanoijane" tag? Color me (pinko commie fag) unimpressed.
posted by adipocere at 5:35 PM on August 15, 2007


The sheepdog post isn't so bad. A little self-righteous, but there's a lot of truth in it.

A sheepdog, of course, does defend against wolves, but its primary responsibility is keeping the sheep in line so that they can be sheared and slaughtered for the benefit of the shepherd.

...I don't believe that this actually disrupts the metaphor.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:36 PM on August 15, 2007 [14 favorites]


Pope guilty: yeah I thought about that too. The funny thing is that the sheepdog/wolf dichotomy also fits something that the writers of the email might not like. That is, that a sheepdog is a wolf that has been tamed by society. By 'government" and rules.

Thus, the _reason_ that we have things like civil rights, civilian control of the military, and human rights treaties _is because_ it is the only way to restrain the human capacity for lethal violence.
posted by wuwei at 5:40 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


I have a rule that automatically sends messages with "FW:" in the subject line directly to the trash.
posted by mullingitover at 5:42 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Usually one debunking reply-all is all it takes.

... to get you removed from the list, which will continue undisturbed.
posted by rxrfrx at 5:52 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


A collection of forwarded right-wing emails passed on from right-wing dads everywhere

Lucky guy. Sadly, this is a rare thing in liberal America.
posted by Gnostic Novelist at 5:53 PM on August 15, 2007


Oh Christ, I get these from my dear grandmother so much that I'm sure I've missed a legit email or two. I have to say that at this stage of her life I simply don't have the heart to send her debunking emails.
posted by rollbiz at 5:57 PM on August 15, 2007


My favorite is this one.

Bad Photoshopping, false and misguided message, etc, etc...What's not to like?
posted by rollbiz at 6:02 PM on August 15, 2007


What rollbiz said.
posted by Poolio at 6:03 PM on August 15, 2007


retreat in battle, as any soldier will tell you, is not the Army way.

LOL!
posted by mrgrimm at 6:07 PM on August 15, 2007


My aunt and I had to rap my dad on the nose with the rolled up snopes a few times before it sunk in. The sad thing is I think he knew they were lies and spread them anyway just to be a dick.
posted by 2sheets at 6:25 PM on August 15, 2007


Most of this silliness makes perfect, serious sense provided you accept one assumption: that Iraq was a terrible threat to the US that needed to be stopped. If you buy that, then it logically follows that the US soldiers who participate are sacrificing themselves for our benefit and that anyone who objects to their actions is deluded. If, on the other hand, you don't buy that... then you're not as stupid as Dick Cheney thought you were.
posted by Clay201 at 6:27 PM on August 15, 2007


The sad thing is I think he knew they were lies and spread them anyway just to be a dick.

That is kind of depressing.

I'm as plugged in to the vast left-wing conspiracy as anyone, and I simply don't get these sorts of e-mails on a regular basis. At best, my sainted liberal mother used to occasionally send me a MoveOn appeal to e-mail/call/fax my congressman about one thing or other until I told her that I was already on their mailing list.

It's been years since I've seen one of those "chain" e-mails that was anything other than a right-wing-talking-points-of-the-month e-mail, and I can't even remember when it was that there was a distinctly liberal-talking-points version.

I have my own ideas about why they skew right-wing, based on the demographics of right-wing sympathizers and their internet habits, but what I'm really curious about is where these e-mails start. Who writes them? How do they get "plugged in" to the network that causes them to be constantly forwarded?
posted by deanc at 6:47 PM on August 15, 2007


Good question, deanc. Credit where credit's due: this post was prompted by an interesting askme post that was, in a tragic miscarriage of justice, deleted. Unfortunately, I have no answer to the poster's question of where these emails come from, or to what extent they may be intentionally assembled by professionals paid to do so. Yet allow me to quote Fwd: FW: 18 WAYS TO BE A GOOD LIBERAL, which specifies that the good liberals among us have only one choice:

18. You have to believe that this message is a part of a vast, right-wing conspiracy.


So, there you have it.
posted by washburn at 6:49 PM on August 15, 2007


The email in the first link (the sheep, sheepdogs, wolves one) is an unsourced excerpt from the 2004 book 'On Combat' by LTC Dave Grossman, U.S. Army (Ret).
[source, and the original]
posted by Kadin2048 at 7:02 PM on August 15, 2007


Interesting. I've often wondered about the demographic of e-mail forwarders in general. Based on who I get such forwards from it's an older-person thing (70+) and/or sent by folks who don't IM or text or engage via facebook, myspace or some other more mediated environment. I wonder if the number of forwarded political / ideological e-mails is on the net increase or decrease.
posted by tidecat at 7:03 PM on August 15, 2007


Man, this is a real problem in my family.

It's so easy to sit here and make wise ass posts about how dumb these people are but I find it so hard to ignore it when it's coming from my family. It forces me to deal with something that I usually try to ignore. I mean, I know on some level that my parents (who are basically simple, sheltered, god-fearing people) buy in to this rhetoric, but when they find something they think might be life changing enough to forward to their drug addicted, abortionist, sodomite son, I take the bait every time. When I discover what a complete load of crap these people are suckered in by -- it just astounds me. There have been times where my sister and I haven't spoken to our parents for weeks over some piece of folksy "wisdom" they forwarded for us to consider.

I think the thing that is really galling is the realization of just how easy it is to emotionally manipulate people when they don't seem to possess critical thinking skills. I mean, shouldn't we license people to use email?

I like the idea of a central repository for all these electronic treatises. That way I can prepare my humerous, condescending rebuttal ahead of time.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 7:05 PM on August 15, 2007 [9 favorites]


I didn't find the "Rules for the Non Military" particularly repugnant until the end, when it informs that the soldier gives us the right of free speech, and also anyone daring to sing our national anthem in Spanish should have their ass kicked.

I can see why forwarding stuff like this is popular, it's like a mean-spirited "Yeah! Me too!" loop that assures people that others agree with their simplistic racist bullshit.
posted by supercrayon at 7:11 PM on August 15, 2007


Usually one debunking reply-all is all it takes.

... to get you removed from the list, which will continue undisturbed.


Yep! Who am I to tamper with such powerful reality distortion fields?
posted by ursus_comiter at 7:12 PM on August 15, 2007


I feel like taking a shower.
posted by c13 at 7:25 PM on August 15, 2007


My right-wing dad just mails me stuff from the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Most recently, he sent me this: Blame it on Mr. Rogers.
Attached was a sticky note reading, "Plus he wore Jimmy Carter sweaters! Thank God we never watched this guy!"

Only problem being that Mr. Rogers was on during the day, while he was at work, and actually my mom and I watched it pretty much daily. Oh well.

I see now from this post how lucky I am.
posted by naoko at 7:30 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm always tempted to create a funny right-wing moniker and REPLY-ALL from that to see how deranged and pigheaded a rightwinger I'd have to be before I got dropped from the list.

--ReaganWasRight@hotmail.com
posted by surplus at 7:36 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


This is why old people should never have been given access to email. They also buy from spammers. There is no end to their wickedness.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:37 PM on August 15, 2007 [5 favorites]


I didn't find the "Rules for the Non Military" particularly repugnant until the end, when it informs that the soldier gives us the right of free speech, and also anyone daring to sing our national anthem in Spanish should have their ass kicked.

...you don't find advocating the enforcing of patriotism through brutal beatings to be repugnant?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:43 PM on August 15, 2007


Unfortunately, I don't get these. I've got enough right-wing relatives for it to be a possibility, but I don't think any of them have managed to get their hands on my email address yet.

But I wish I did. I wouldn't counter with Snopes. I'd counter with articles from the the Green Left Weekly, and The New Internationalist. I'm sure it would be fun. After all, I'm sure they're only right-wing idiots because of lack of exposure to the alternatives... email might be an efficient way to enlighten them to some other International Struggles.

Remember folks, the Left are biased...the Right just have opinions....
posted by Jimbob at 7:45 PM on August 15, 2007


Damn, I know the girl referenced in the first entry. Now I to do something powerful enough to get paraded around these circles for my liberalness.
posted by Schismatic at 7:46 PM on August 15, 2007


My right-wing dad just mails me stuff from the Wall Street Journal editorial page.

Next time he does that, reply with the following:

"The Wall Street Journal specializes in the ability to accurately assess value for the purpose of reporting on markets and industry. Given their expertise in this area, they have decided that their news section is valuable enough to charge a subscription fee to read it online while their editorial page is available online for free. That's how much the WSJ thinks the editorial you're sending me is worth."
posted by deanc at 7:49 PM on August 15, 2007 [17 favorites]


My dear old dad is not particularly right-wing, but the people at his Florida RV Park constantly ship this tripe through the community emails. (I much enjoyed a liberal variant in the blue about five years ago: The United States of My Racist Aunt.)
posted by LeLiLo at 7:57 PM on August 15, 2007


“it's like a mean-spirited "Yeah! Me too!" loop that assures people that others agree with their simplistic racist bullshit”

Or an attempt to bring such a concept to fruition.
It all seems rooted in appeal to authority. With authority being the variable.
That is - authority being whatever you value as authoritative, including authority itself. Many folks use “the troops” as an authoritative fetish. Some use intellect.
E.g. Slarty Bartfast’s critical thinking skill threshold license to employ free speech (I deeply suspect the comment is offhand and lightly meant, so no offense) but it’s a nice at hand example of a reference to an authoritative something or other. Not a particularly ‘bad’ one in context, but that’s the form: ‘you should ‘x’ because this ‘y’ is so unquestionably ‘z’ - it can be logical or stupid. Y’know the semi-unspoken thing in the “doing the job of” et.al - that you should support the war because the troops are so great, or people shouldn’t forward e-mails because they’re stupid and racism is wrong.

Speaking earnestly I think it’s important to help people develop critical thinking skills dispite, or perhaps especially because, they hold whatever position. Might challenge your own assumptions in the process.
But there’s always been a hefty chunk of folks who think other people should think/act a certain way, whatever they’re on about specifically, Jesus, UFO’s, the man, hippies, conspiracies, etc.

More lightly, yeah, I wish it’d dry up and blow away too. Lousy old assters with time on their hands and access to technology. Back in the day it took energy to proselytize, now it’s point and click.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:57 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Hi there, beloved friend of this email recipient:

Please visit http://thanksno.com/

Because this person likes getting personal messages from you, but doesn’t want any more email like this, please.

Love,
ThanksNo.com
posted by awesomebrad at 7:59 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


geoff:

I am thankful that until now, this whole world was completely unknown to me. I have a hard time believing they have any real sway, anyone with critical reading skills above an 8th grade level should be able to see right past them. This isn't exactly Hegel.

Believe it.

http://www.informatics-review.com/FAQ/reading.html
posted by notreally at 8:07 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


Oh Christ, I get these from my dear grandmother so much that I'm sure I've missed a legit email or two. I have to say that at this stage of her life I simply don't have the heart to send her debunking emails.

Yeah. She forwarded one of these (one of a long, long series) to the extended family massmail list -- one of those "all immigrants must learn ENGLISH and THEY are the ones who put us in DANGER" screeds, originally written by some wingnut editorial columnist in some shitty little pissant whitebread town. I responded to it and got called out for living in an "ivory tower" and the usual shouting points. My response was that, unlike my grandmother, I actually live in a multicultural city. In fact, my housemates and I are pretty much the only gweilo within eight blocks, and that her imaginary racial issues...aren't.

So I'm probably out of the will.

And this is after:

- Politely asking various relatives, a number of times, not to send me massmails, but only to send pressing or otherwise interesting family news

- Responding to the annual "Mars is really close to us" mail and so forth with links to Snopes

- Assorted other responses, on-list, debunking or otherwise recommending independent inquiry into whatever bullshit was being sent out.

In the end, I just dropped everyone on the list into my Spam file without mentioning it, and waited for my dad to (inevitably) ask me "did you get that e-mail from your aunt Karen?"

Nope. No, I didn't. Can't imagine why. Must've gotten lost in the ether. She's got my number, right?
posted by solid-one-love at 8:11 PM on August 15, 2007


Great post.

This guy, on the other hand, sure does seem to be an asshole.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:22 PM on August 15, 2007


There ought to be a word to describe political kitsch. Preferably in German.
posted by Armitage Shanks at 8:28 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


...you don't find advocating the enforcing of patriotism through brutal beatings to be repugnant?

I should have been clearer, I didn't find anything unexpectedly repugnant. Enforcing patriotism through brutal beatings is part of the expected grossness quotient, like how if you take a bath in shit you're not surprised by the smell so much as what you find in there. Like, "Ew, when did you eat all these pennies?!"

Not that I know anything about that.
posted by supercrayon at 8:33 PM on August 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


There ought to be a word to describe political kitsch. Preferably in German.

Arschlochenprattle.
posted by Divine_Wino at 8:42 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


I get these emails forwarded to me by a friend's mother. She is married into a very conservative family and sends them along to her kids' young, liberal friends so she can cackle at our outraged "Reply-alls" whenever we get one. Sadly, I've seen a few of these already.

Saddam is, or was, a weapon of mass destruction, who is responsible for the deaths of probably more than a million Iraqis and two million Iranians..

AHH. See, Saddam IS the Weapon of Mass Destruction. It was all an analogy, the whole "find the WMDs" thing. It's very New Testament of Bush to have done this, it was just a little parable so all of us sheep could understand it! All those librul assholes must sure be red faced now!
posted by SassHat at 8:48 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


SassHat writes "It was all an analogy, "

No, it were a parable, like them that Jesus done told. Cause George W Bush is tha Lord's Anointed.
posted by orthogonality at 9:01 PM on August 15, 2007


Man, you all got away with only one snopes link? I've snopes'd, I've rbutted generally, I've done frothing-mad curse-laden word-by-word dissections of those emails, and I still get "Jesus helps the soldiers" posts. Ack.
posted by notsnot at 9:08 PM on August 15, 2007


ATTENTION PATRIOTS: It is a well known fact that Madalyn Murray O'Hare (the Pope of Atheists) intends to outlaw all religious broadcasting in our blessed US of A.

Also, please be aware that Barrack "Hussein!!!" Obama is a radical Muslim whose mother was a "white atheist".

Furthermore, Katrina Refugees (lazy, criminal, diseased blacks) are invading towns in Utah and taking advantage of our incredible hospitality.

Finally, remember when all the Mexicans stayed home from work? Crime totally went down that day. Seriously. This is obvious since we all know that Mexicans are criminals.

PASS THIS ALONG TO EVERYONE YOU LOVE IF YOU DONT YOU'LL HAVE SEVEN YEARS OF BAD LUCK, KEEP THE FLAG FLYING 9/11 NEVER FORGET USA NUMBER ONE FOREVER~!
posted by Avenger at 9:20 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


My wife is going to love this. She's been getting these from her uncle ever since her address got leaked to the rest of the family.
posted by spikeleemajortomdickandharryconnickjrmints at 9:24 PM on August 15, 2007


The sheepdog post isn't so bad. A little self-righteous, but there's a lot of truth in it.

Are you kidding? It was painful to read. I could almost hear the grinding of the author's mental cogs. It's a pretty certain sign of a fourth-rate intelligence when somebody not only chooses a dubious metaphor, but then spends a few thousand words tediously explaining it in minute detail.

This defeats the entire purpose of metaphor: it's supposed to be a shortcut to understanding that needn't be explained. That whole tract could have been replaced with something like "Don't hate the sheepdogs. They protect the innocent sheep from the wolves"

(although even the second sentence there was largely redundant, and only really necessary to empasise that the dogs are less about herding the sheep than protecting them).
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:31 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


For a bit of fun, anybody who gets spammed with this kind of thing should just copy rants from www.whitehouse.org & reply-to-all. It's hilarious the number of people who fail to realise that it's parody.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:36 PM on August 15, 2007


Man, you all got away with only one snopes link? I've snopes'd, I've rbutted generally, I've done frothing-mad curse-laden word-by-word dissections of those emails, and I still get "Jesus helps the soldiers" posts. Ack.

I'm going to recommend R. Mutt's suggestion, in that case.
posted by Brak at 9:40 PM on August 15, 2007


I deleted it so quickly I don't have a copy of it, but did anybody else get the one about the mother of the dead soldier that is driving an SUV around with pictures of her dead son's dead bunkmates?

In retrospect, that was a goodun.
posted by yhbc at 9:40 PM on August 15, 2007


Hey, this reminds me of the Worst Meta filter Post ever!
...What ever happened to “GOD helps those who help themselves"?Here again, in times of strife, the question on everyone's mind becomes: "Who is to blame?" Well, I know the answer.... I blame NOAA for not calling you personally to tell you a HUGE hurricane is coming to your house and to leave the are...
Good times.
posted by delmoi at 9:56 PM on August 15, 2007


Saddam is, or was, a weapon of mass destruction, who is responsible for the deaths of probably more than a million Iraqis and two million Iranians..


You know who else was responsible for the deaths of probably more than a million Iraqis?
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:57 PM on August 15, 2007 [3 favorites]


Pfft. That's nothing. Check out Bill & Hillary's Trail of Death.
posted by Skygazer at 10:20 PM on August 15, 2007


Skygazer, Pat Robertson used to market a video about that. I'm not clear on why the Clintons didn't sue his ass into oblivion for libel.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:57 PM on August 15, 2007


Pope Guilty:A sheepdog, of course, does defend against wolves, but its primary responsibility is keeping the sheep in line so that they can be sheared and slaughtered for the benefit of the shepherd.

...I don't believe that this actually disrupts the metaphor.


Re-reading that "sheepdog" entry, I was struck by how much it reeks of pure, unadulterated Fascism with a capital "F". This guy is basically saying, "We allow you to have free speech, so you had better pony up some respect real quick like".

Didn't the idea of our military being "the servant of the people" originate with our founding father's or something? I must have missed the part in American history where the military became the benevolent overseers of a complacent and docile society.

Sheep to the slaughter indeed.
posted by Avenger at 11:01 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


Sheep, Sheepdogs and Wolves?

I thought Pink Floyd said it was Dogs, Pigs (three different ones), and Sheep.

I'm so confused.
posted by Bonzai at 11:04 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


...and kinda hungry too, right, Bonzai?
posted by UbuRoivas at 11:48 PM on August 15, 2007


Hey, this reminds me of the Worst Meta filter Post ever!

...What ever happened to “GOD helps those who help themselves"?Here again, in times of strife, the question on everyone's mind becomes: "Who is to blame?" Well, I know the answer.... I blame NOAA for not calling you personally to tell you a HUGE hurricane is coming to your house and to leave the are...

Good times.
posted by delmoi at 9:56 PM on August 15


Hey, delmoi, here's the funniest fucking part of that whole saga.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 11:51 PM on August 15, 2007 [1 favorite]


A cousin sent me (and others) a long string of flag images and WordArt of "freedom isn't free" and portraits of young people in uniform.

I returned (to the whole list) a thank you, and some alternative perspectives--Veterans Against the Iraq War, Iraq Veterans against the War, and some pacifist religious stuff, and that classic from the Onion, about God repeating the "Don't Kill" rule. Did I mention there were prayers (and calls for prayers--though certainly not calls to prayer) interspersed with the soldiers and the flags?
Two of the other recipients thanked me (no ccs on those; I imagine they are still getting those emails).
posted by girandole at 11:55 PM on August 15, 2007 [2 favorites]


My mom used to send me these...well, not these so much as cutesy-pie poems about kids and Jesus or whatever.

But then a truly miraculous thing happened: her sister (my aunt) got email, and started sending her ten times the crap Mom ever sent me, and REALIZED INDEPENDENTLY THAT SHE SHOULD STOP SENDING ME STUFF. It was pretty awesome. My sister sent her on a spa vacation that year for her birthday.

(Washburn: I couldn't believe that AskMe was deleted, either. Maybe if the poster had pretended he wanted to make the right-wing emailers a mix-tape it would have stayed around...)
posted by Ian A.T. at 11:58 PM on August 15, 2007


Hey, delmoi, here's the funniest fucking part of that whole saga.

Is that really her? Like, for reals?

I can just see her furiously mashing her keyboard to type out messages like "JESUS WHY R BLACK PEOPLE SO LAZY JUST GET IN YOUR CARS AND DRIVE AWAY FROM THE STORM. YOU SAY YOURE TOO POOR TO OWN A CAR BUT GUESS WHAT I OWN A CAR SO WHY DONT YOU? POOR IS A LIFESTYLE CHOICE LIKE BEING GAY OR MEXICAN SO STOP BLAMING WHITES FOR YOUR LAZINESS."

Its like the spirit of redneck America in human form.

A big human form.
posted by Avenger at 12:11 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


Is that really her? Like, for reals?

I think so. I hope so. Otherwise it'd be rather nasty. But I would say a 90% chance.
posted by Optimus Chyme at 12:28 AM on August 16, 2007


This one is particularly odious.

Now I just have to excise the mental image of some douchebag with a Confederate flag for a desktop clicking [Fw:] to every chain letter that promises them good luck if they forward it to 50 people and shoot a Mexican.
posted by [expletive deleted] at 12:42 AM on August 16, 2007


Is that really her? Like, for reals?

(probably some sort of confirmation bias, but the more i look at that face the more i think i see a rather unpleasant, generally unhappy & screwed-up sort of person. then again, it's only one photo & they can be very misleading)
posted by UbuRoivas at 12:47 AM on August 16, 2007


My parents sent me an email that both Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo were ex Navy SEALS and were covered with tattoos. Thus, the sweater and jacket.
posted by Poagao at 12:54 AM on August 16, 2007


Good grief. I used to get stuff like this all the time from a high school friend I recently got back in touch with. In fact, this stuff was all she would send me! I finally asked her to take me off her list unless she needed to tell me something. You know, an actual e-mail. I didn't hear from her for a long time, so I thought I had maybe offended her. Then, just yesterday, I got something about NASA and God. I marked it as spam, and that's that!
posted by katillathehun at 1:48 AM on August 16, 2007


To paraphrase then, Avenger and Optimus Chyme: HA HA HA HA. LOOK AT THE STUPID REDNECK PHOTO. HA HA HA HA. FAT PEOPLE ARE WORTHY OF MY SCORN. RIGHT WING CORN FED STUPID. HA HA HA HA.

I'm ashamed you'd even think this was an acceptable comment to post.
posted by seanyboy at 2:39 AM on August 16, 2007 [6 favorites]


Well, I, for one, am a wee bit on the chubby side as well as descended from corn-fed redneck stock -- so I suppose it takes one to know one?

And seriously, you can't really insult someone any more after they've decried African-Americans for "choosing to be poor". They've pretty much already insulted their own intelligence into oblivion.
posted by Avenger at 3:07 AM on August 16, 2007


you can't really insult someone any more...
Insult away, but insult people for what they say or do. This "OMG AND THEY'RE UGLY TOO" stance demeans the argument and makes you sound nasty.
posted by seanyboy at 4:50 AM on August 16, 2007


LOLSHEEPLE.

It's depressing; I run into this mindset all the time. Combine "America is the best in every possible way" with " I can't be bothered to read or learn or pay attention" and you get a bunch of smug, intolerant assholes.

It's really a matter of maturity. Like Al Franken has said: "Conservatives love America the way a 4-year-old loves their mommy. Liberals love America like grown-ups. To a four-year-old, everything mommy does is wonderful and anyone who criticizes mommy is bad."

The scary thing is the ignoramus anti-intellectuals of today can easily become the brownshirts of tomorrow. Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 5:50 AM on August 16, 2007 [3 favorites]


especially on the Right... this behavior tends to correlate with particular political opinions

Huh? I've never gotten right-wing forwarded e-mails that I recall; I've gotten a bunch of lefty ones (Bush jokes, rants about encroaching fascism, &c &c). I know, I know, the right-wing ones are ignorant and bad whereas the lefty ones are just spreading truth and light. Sigh.

That said, I will happily join the mockers of the sheepdog rant:

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished and removed.

Hahahaha!
posted by languagehat at 5:59 AM on August 16, 2007


So, content of the emails aside, I thought my dad was the only one sending this stuff around. I find it amazing that he's just one of many right-wing-email-forwarding-dads out there and that his hobby is about as odd as golf.

FWIW, I never reply and I mostly just delete them.
posted by GuyZero at 6:00 AM on August 16, 2007


In addition to the racist, "patriotic" crap, my Dad used to send me "hilarious" pictures and jokes about what an idiot George Bush is. I understand why he did it; unlike him, I was a liberal, so I would of course find this puerile stuff funny. Generally, I would ignore it.

I had quickly learned that Snopesing or replying in any way to these messages did nothing except egg him on. This is pretty much a dynamic of my family, I understand, but I also think in general there are a lot of people of that mindset who believe in the old adage "If someone's outraged at you, you probably are speaking the truth." Snopesing is fine but let's face it: if facts could change these peoples' minds, they wouldn't be having the beliefs they do in the first place.

Finally after some particularly egregious act of the bush Administration -- god only knows what anymore -- he sent one and I kind of lost it. I replied with something like, "I’m not amused by the Bush Administration. I don’t find him cute or wacky. I don’t get enjoyment from his inability to form a coherent sentence in his own language, or his pride in his ignorance, or his kooky worldview based on apocalyptic mythology. None of this makes me laugh. Not with him, not at him.

"It also doesn't help that you voted for the man. Twice."

I'd like to say that this stopped the emails, but it didn't. It took a stroke to do that. He can't really use email anymore, which means not only do I not get those emails, but I also don't have to worry about my inheritance going to some dude in Nigeria.
posted by Legomancer at 6:02 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


So who is composing these emails in the first place? Seems odd that it's random people sitting down to write paragraphs-long missives using Jay Leno's name. Have any of these been tracked down to it's source?
posted by TorontoSandy at 6:03 AM on August 16, 2007


(Cut on dotted line and forward as necessary)

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
IT WAS ON CNN

A full page ad in USA Today announces a new Government campaign to clean up the Internet!

Rest assured that this will be in the news again soon! Microsoft and AOL are planning a massive email scan. Political emails sent by people who DID NOT VOTE will be DELETED to combat internet "Spam". Companies are working with the US Government, IRS and CIA to ensure that only Registered Voters who Participated in the last election can send Political email.

DON'T TRY TO SKIRT THE AUTHORITIES, THEY WILL KNOW IF YOU VOTED OR NOT AND FINES ARE LARGE!

------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

(I mean, it would be funny as hell if it actually worked, but... it would just be one more chunk of unattributed garbage clogging the tubes.)
posted by caution live frogs at 6:55 AM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Is that really her? Like, for reals?

No, here you go.

Among the older individuals I've known who circulated this garbage I also found it to be amongst a constant stream of "babe" images and/or "jokes", usually in USA flag bikinis on crappy boats on some crappy lake posing with Budweiser cans perched on their tits. Another was a gibberish sentence such as "awaupzcvuipoeajklf" followed by a marvelous inquisition "Geuss what typed this" - and the punchline was some huge fake tits slammed down on a keyboard. High brow, to say the least.

Another theme I noticed was some fairly "popular" footage, supposedly from Iraq, involving an IR camera observing a few trucks in a field as a machinegunner lights them up, including radio chatter etc. Everyone was fucking awe inspired by this shit like it was some insightful footage carrying significance.

Something about the level of detachment and the cognitive dissonance made me want to fucking vomit. You know these old cranky assholes would watch this IR/NV kill-cam porn all fucking day but they'd absolutely balk if you sent them images of dead civilians or other depictions of actual reality, I believe "on the ground" would be their coined phase. On the ground in the fantasy of their fucking facile minds, that's for sure.
posted by prostyle at 7:04 AM on August 16, 2007 [1 favorite]


My parents sent me an email that both Mr. Rogers and Captain Kangaroo were ex Navy SEALS and were covered with tattoos. Thus, the sweater and jacket.
posted by Poagao at 3:54 AM on August 16


Dolly Parton is covered in tattoos as well. Notice how she's always wearing long sleeves; they're covering up her super sweet full-arm tats.
posted by NoMich at 7:11 AM on August 16, 2007



Yeah, Pope Guilty, I've had the same experience with my own Mother and with some friends from high school. Usually one debunking reply-all is all it takes.


Or a reply-all with "UNSUBSCRIBE".
posted by Hubajube at 8:01 AM on August 16, 2007


This website could replace my uncle.
posted by thewittyname at 8:10 AM on August 16, 2007


[i]Dolly Parton is covered in tattoos as well. Notice how she's always wearing long sleeves; they're covering up her super sweet full-arm tats.[/i]

mmm....Dolly Parton's tats...
posted by Legomancer at 8:12 AM on August 16, 2007


I totally believed the Mr. Rogers-as-tattooed-Navy-SEAL story until, um, a few weeks ago. When I looked it up on Snopes. Whoops.
posted by naoko at 8:23 AM on August 16, 2007


One of the writing projects I'm most proud of was a quickie response I worked up to some sappy horseshit I was forwarded by about 16 different relatives.
posted by COBRA! at 8:28 AM on August 16, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bad link, COBRA!
posted by agregoli at 8:42 AM on August 16, 2007


really? Works for me...
posted by COBRA! at 8:44 AM on August 16, 2007


Goes to your page, but not to any specific entry for me. There is a "you do not have permission." Shame, cause I'd like to read it...
posted by agregoli at 8:52 AM on August 16, 2007


Aha - it's just a messed up page, it's way down there if I scroll down.
posted by agregoli at 8:53 AM on August 16, 2007


Nice work, COBRA!
posted by Atom Eyes at 8:54 AM on August 16, 2007


Your "average American" is an ignorant bigot.

I'm amazed at the number of people here who say they never get stuff like this.

I get at least a dozen or more of these per week, sometimes from unexpected sources, though the "usual offenders" certainly generate the majority of traffic.

Those of you thinking that people don't really believe these stories or are sending it as some kind of joke or trying to be ironic are either purposefully deluding yourselves, or living in some sort of Matrix-like alternate reality. I am afraid many of you would have complete and total mental collapse if you spent a week surrounded by fundamentalist christian conservatives.

Let me assure you, and reassure you, to make absolutely no mistake of any kind that the vast majority of people who participate in these sort of forwarding campaigns believe every single word.

Usually asking someone to stop does little. Doing a reply-all with Snopes links seems to only work on the less dedicated.

If you ask someone to quit sending you little prayers about the angels on your shoulders, they take that as a sign that you need those prayers more than ever, and double up.

Once word spread at work that I am a motorcyclist, I started getting flooded with "guardian angel" and "biker's prayer" emails. The biggest problem with this is that they were heartfelt gestures, and most of these women really did think they were doing me a favor. They believe, at some level, in the power of these virtual trinkets. They were doing me a FAVOR in their mind, all while annoying me to no end.

The sentiments in these emails are almost always along a very narrow band of thought. In fact, the following would comprise 90% of the literally thousands of these I've seen over the past several years:

1. Support the troops, no matter what
2. Support the prez, no matter what
3. Deny as many rights and liberties to gays or the poor (!) as possible
4. Get rid of the foreigners
5. Liberals are killing babies, ruining America, aiding the terrorists, treating minorities as equals, and spending all your money on poor people
6. God/Jesus/Angels love you/will protect you/will give you success
7. Every email on the internet is tracked by The Government, Bill Gates, or Ben & Jerry's.

That's the culture in a nutshell.

You have to remember, in just the past few years there have been legions of 40/50/60 somethings with little to no technological background migrating to the Internet. It's easy for communities like Metafilter to have a hard time believing there is anyone who hasn't been doing email since the early 90's, but its true.

A lot of these people are very intelligent, sometimes even learned, but they are not sure how to treat information delivered to them via this "information superhighway" that they hear is changing the world.

They might believe that surely an email someone sent to 50 people was verified as true and accurate?

Or they might think that since what read on CNN.com is to be believed, then something received in email that was reported on CNN is just as valid, no?

These emails also confirm what many people, your "average American" actually believe but are too ashamed to tell anyone.

They might not come right out and say you should boycott Pakistani owned gas stations because they collaborated with the 9/11 terrorists, but they most certainly will forward you an email story about the Budweiser deliveryman refusing to deliver to a foreign-owned store because the owner said "Praise Allah" or something. Creating something like that would take a lot of typing, and also look hateful. But if they forward a message like that, there's plausible deniability. "Hey, I didn't type it, I was just passing it along".

So not only are they ignorant bigots, they are also lazy cowards.

In my "real life", the few people I find near me who share my beliefs all suffer from this. This topic has come up a dozen times in the last 2 years "My uncle keeps sending me stuff about how Arizona is going to start offering a bounty for every Mexican caught at the border by citizens. How do I make him stop sending this shit?"

Then, I see those on Metafilter who not only have never been assaulted by this, but perhaps even question its existence or legitimacy.

Some of you have charmed lives. And it makes me jealous.
posted by Ynoxas at 9:03 AM on August 16, 2007 [11 favorites]


gotta say, my jaw dropped when i saw this on the blue the same day i posted this on the green, even if it was deleted for good cause.
posted by paul_smatatoes at 9:26 AM on August 16, 2007


Good job, COBRA!

And Ynoxas, that rocks.
posted by malaprohibita at 9:26 AM on August 16, 2007


thanks, guys!
posted by COBRA! at 9:32 AM on August 16, 2007


Ynoxas has it, and we are doomed.
posted by everichon at 9:54 AM on August 16, 2007


Honestly, Ynoxas, send them Snopes links. I've used it to stop three family members. In fact, my 85 year old grandmother goes to Snopes first and sends the links out, and if she can't find it there, she e-mails me to help her Google out the truth.

I also got my middle-aged mother and my late 20s cousin to stop it as well.
posted by dw at 10:16 AM on August 16, 2007


7. Every email on the internet is tracked by The Government, Bill Gates, or Ben & Jerry's.

.
posted by stet at 10:40 AM on August 16, 2007


I think an amendment to the Al Franken quote might be: "Conservatives love America the way a 4-year-old loves their mommy. Liberals hate America the way a petulant adolescent hates their daddy."

To add to what Ynoxas said, I think a lot of those folks want to feel included in whatever social thing is going on. And anger is often very comfortable, as comfy as antagonism to a given foe can augment one’s sense of identity, especially if one feels one is losing it. Which is another reason to forward something instead of generate one’s own thought, brutal, compassionate, whatever.
(The ‘ofay’ term from early black americans comes to mind - pre-civil rights, the roots of black identity were growing, and eventually you had black power, etc. Of course in that case, more of a positive outcome, same kinds of mechanisms tho’)

“Sheep, Sheepdogs and Wolves”

Mornin’ Sam *punches in*
Oh, good morning Ralph *punches in*
wiki (if you grew up w/o cartoons)
posted by Smedleyman at 1:06 PM on August 16, 2007


I think an amendment to the Al Franken quote might be: "Conservatives love America the way a 4-year-old loves their mommy. Liberals hate America the way a petulant adolescent hates their daddy."

Kind of proves the original sentiment, don't you think?

Irony's a bitch.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 1:18 PM on August 16, 2007


Who starts chain emails: Snopes?
posted by limnrix at 2:51 PM on August 16, 2007


Lovely, COBRA!.
posted by paduasoy at 3:42 PM on August 16, 2007


“Kind of proves the original sentiment, don't you think?”

Only in method of criticism, yes.
I think, taking it literally, Franken is wrong that “everything mommy does is good” in that there have been more that a few temper tantrums over the government doing certain things that don’t align with their respective perspectives.
I think those tantrums play out along those lines, yes.
Not sure I can ascribe a “good” or “bad” to either, if your comment is directed at me personally.
‘Maturity’ just isn’t relevent to me.
And I say “perspectives” because given the context of the words “conservatives” and “liberals” I wouldn’t say principles.
Seems to me Franken is using (and I’ve listened to his show) the term in the common social context rather than the literal philosophical.
I get along quite well with principled liberals as I share many of the same anti-authoritarian views.
“Liberals” on the other hand seem to want to shove the government down my throat as much as “conservatives” want it up my ass.
For me the irony is that the argument is over the route of insertion, not the force of or fact of the insertion itself.

Hell, I want to get rid of someone I just forward the best of the ‘enlarge your penis’ and ‘impress your partner with huge cumshot’ spam. Same thing.
posted by Smedleyman at 8:06 PM on August 16, 2007


Not sure I can ascribe a “good” or “bad” to either, if your comment is directed at me personally.

I am a proud and sometimes vehement liberal, eager to argue issues and philosophies. Political discussions are never personal with me, however - it just closes the door to any possible areas of agreement. I may be snarky while attempting to make a point, but I certainly appreciate everyone else's viewpoints.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 8:45 AM on August 17, 2007


Fair enough Benny, just asking for the sake of clarification.
posted by Smedleyman at 1:30 PM on August 17, 2007


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