Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Family, Conservatives, and Email Ettiquette

So.  I've been getting a couple of email forwards from a quasi-distant family member over the last week.  I say "quasi-distant" in part because he's my blood-aunt's husband, and I went to their wedding in 1992, so it's not like I have any sort of lifelong attachment going on here.  He's a nice guy, and he's married to my aunt, and he's family.  "Quasi-distant" also refers to the fact that I see him, at the most, 2 or 3 times a year. Always on Independence Day, and usually a time or two again before the next one rolls around.  Get it?  We're close, but I don't consider him "inner circle" of family.

He's also ridiculously right-wing.  I don't mean that he's ridiculous, because in my experience he carries on a good conversation and, to his everlasting credit, actually LISTENS when I shoot holes through the nutjob theories he gets from 1) his church, and 2) Rush Limbaugh.  But, he's that kind of ridiculously right-wing…the kind of person who thinks that Limbaugh is actually delivering the news, and not whack-a-mole weirdness that is one step removed from National Enquirer status.  And so, these are the emails I've been getting: über-conservative conspiracy theories, Gingrichian sour-grapes rants, and rah-rah "patriotic" pro-American diatribes.  Of course, they're not really emails per se…they're sent to everyone in his email directory, probably something that HE got sent, and so on, back and back, to some untraceable "family values" conservative think-tank.  (Question:  do they call it a "think-tank" because they want to do the thinking, and just want you to shut the fuck up and blindly follow?)

I should leave these alone, but fuck it:  you gonna send that shit down the pipeline, into my email inbox, well then you gotta pay the fiddler, buddy.  So I basically took these two things, tore 'em apart line by line, and appended a little truth.  But of course, I didn't just reply to my uncle.  Ohhh, NOOOOO!  Did I hit "reply to all"?  You bet I did.  'Cause, fuck it.  Why should I be on the receiving end of all that wicked bullshit, and just quietly delete it?  Read or unread, that shit's gotta stop.  I figured, "I'll stop replying to all this crap the moment I stop getting it!"  Which only makes sense, right?  Can't reply to what you don't get.  

Anywho…I started getting a couple of replies to MY reply, someone else on Unc's email list, asking how the hell this "crazy lib" got his email address, telling me to get a job and leave him alone, yadda yadda.  So of course I replied to THOSE as well, stirring the hornet's nest in a much more respectable way than he did.  (Haven't you noticed that about crazy libs?  We actually have respect for ALL people!  Imagine.)  His second email was even more hilarious:  since he couldn't argue the truth I'd presented (not worth going into here, but trust me, the original emails were easily-disproven lies), he started going on about God and country, telling me about all his family who died in W.W.II, on and on and on.  

This is my new motto with stuff like this:  never back down, never shut up, and never go away.  I'm tired of people putting crappy lies and all sorts of weird stuff out into the air, especially in the pseudo-anonymous way that email and the web encourages.  I will be unrelenting, and I will make sure that people who spread this garbage know that at least ONE person out there will have a different opinion, and will shout it loudly from the rooftops via wireless transmitters everywhere.


Blogger Strangeite said...

Thank you. I am glad that I am not alone in my "reply all" tactic. I have noticed though that the magic number seems to be 4 emails before I get removed from their forward list.

The only piece of advice I can give is that snopes is your friend. It really helps to deflate their gas baggery when you actually cite your sources.

8:25 PM  
Blogger Steph said...

The closest thing I have had to this problem is an aunt who is on the complete opposite end of the political spectrum--she's a total leftie, but of the doom-saying, we're-all-screwed variety. During the Bush administration, particularly the early years, her e-mails made me want to drink cyanide and just be done with it. I generally agree with her politics, but I think she missed the memo about the importance of hope.

8:52 PM  
Blogger kat said...

Woo-hoo! Can you CC me in on the next one?

6:56 PM  

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