Posted by: Rob | May 1, 2008

Idiots on the Internet

Yeah, I’m probably getting a bit repetitive with my themes, but…

I had saved an e-mail forward on my desktop some time ago – I don’t know how long, doesn’t matter – and I opened it up tonight and re-read it. It’s another one of those feel-good pieces; perhaps you’ve seen it? It starts out with:

A well-known speaker began one of his famous seminars by holding up in the air a $20.00 bill. In the room were nearly 200 people.

He asked them, “Who would like this $20 bill?”

Immediately hands started going up.

I thought about posting it here, sort of in the vein of some of the other things I’ve run across in my internet and e-mail travels and have posted here. But first, I thought I’d plug it in to ole Google and see what came back. Maybe there was a credit for an author or something.

Nope. Just the usual re-treads and re-prints. Such an inspiration. Looked like it was even on a few religious sites. Of course, someone had added something like:

Count your blessings, not your problems.

And remember: amateurs built the ark … professionals built the Titanic.

If God brings you to it — God will bring you through it.

Or some other such nonsense. And then I spied a link to a message board on snopes.com. It was a couple of years old and posted in the Urban Legends Reference Pages forums by someone looking to “anti-glurge” it. (I don’t really know what that means, exactly, but I figure it means to find a dark side hidden in a feel-good piece or, at the very least, make a mockery of it.) I read one of the two forum pages, yawned and clicked around to some of the other Urban Legends to see if there was anything interesting.

I clicked on this beauty about “The Smith Sisters”, titled “Another Myspace/IM death chain letter”. The posters did a credible job of picking apart a poorly written piece of fiction. One poster pointed out that one of the snopes staffers had actually summarized most of the salient points from thread which is summarized under the heading “Skinned Flick“.

Now, this is where the “Idiots” part comes in. At the bottom of this summary Barbara Mikkelson made a comment about how silly the extent of the dissection of this story on snopes seemed until they read this discussion at alexlab.com.

I dutifully clicked on the link and…HOLY SHIT! there are 3,224 comments on a blog bit that regurgitates the story of the poor Smith Sisters. That’s right. Three thousand! The comments (and the piece) go back to January 2006 and the latest comment is from…TODAY! I only read a couple. I quickly became nauseated and bored; most comments appear to have been written by Monkeypunchers*.

Now, if you want to see something really creepy, check this video out:

*Monkeypunchers: Have to thank Johnny Virgil for that one. I found the definition here. (under the pic of Hillary)

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