I've been sick with a flu that just won't go away and it occurred to me that my last post here was on a somewhat cranky note. Which I don't like to do. I was only joking anyway... well, mostly. But I'm not mad! Not entirely. Just feverish and worn a bit thin.
Since I've been home and largely at loose ends, I've been actually paying attention to the emails filling my inbox and I've been largely disheartened by what I find there and by how little of it was written by or indeed vetted by the people who sent it to me.
So allow me this curmudgeonly moment and an open missive to the people of the United States of America:
Benjamin Disraeli once said: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics." He has since been quoted in this context by everyone from Mark Twain to the writers of West Wing. In modern parlance, I would add one to Mr. Disraeli's list... "Lies, damn lies, statistics... and chain emails." I might eventually go so far as to add a fifth "Political bloggers" but that's not what this is about.
I commend to all thinking people of this benighted country the following article from FactCheck.com, written back in 2008 and as true today as it was then.
That Chain E-mail Your Friend Sent to You Is (Likely) Bogus. Seriously.
The most pernicious part of this trend in American political mudslinging isn't that there are lies being told about issues, or bills or candidates, it's that they are a cynical abuse of friendship and filial devotion. We are inclined to believe a story simply because we love, respect and trust the person telling it to us. It is made even more of a sin because it's not consonant with chatting with your neighbor over the garden fence about the latest rumors out of the DC cesspit, it's about the widespread and largely innocent spreading of lies among loved ones at the behest of a hidden author.
This is nothing more than an abuse of the Great American Grapevine by some venal cur hiding in a bunker deep underneath a white marble facade in Washington DC. It is about taking those closest to you along in the grand and sweeping lies promulgated by the extreme wings of some political party. And it needs to stop.
For heaven's sake, people, it's time to make up your own mind based on something other than internet rumors. This is an important moment in American history. Things are happening around us and we need to know our minds and our decisions aren't based upon rumors and innuendo, but upon facts and the reality of our situation. Not doctored photos and out of context quotes. You need to be thinking clearly, not loading yourselves and your loved ones up with lies.
There are lies we cannot avoid from people we know are likely lying to us. Politicians, used car salesmen, lawyers, political bloggers and talk radio calumniators... Why in God's name would you want to add yourself to that list? Please think for yourself and stop lying to those who love you.
That is all.