Case study: Internet crap

Why in the name of God do people read the crap which circulates the world via Internet when these emails have no attribution or documentation?

This post, with a read time of about 10 minutes, cannot be appreciated unless you take the time to read the snopes.com analysis linked herein.

Involved is a particular bit of tripe from a man who claims a desire to publish his wife’s “beautiful” letter-to-the-editor because the Orange County (Calif.) Register ignored it. Basically, the email compares a Utopian view of late 19th- and early 20th-Century immigration with the blight of today’s unwelcomed hoards.

Snopes analyzes the letter with its usual dose of reality.

I wrote the following to the person who forwarded the letter to me – you know one of those emals where you have to plow down through countless email addresses until you get to its body and which always ends by demanding you keep it moving around the world.


I am so happy I read and studied Clyde Raymond Miller's "The Process of Persuasion," the acknowledged bible for identifying the various techniques of propaganda, because this CRAP is chock full of them. I read it and recognized it for what it is: xenophobic propaganda which is written to stir your emotions while blocking your ability to reason for yourself.

A rule of thumb on these Internet letters from NOWHERE is to delete them. If you do read them, look for the APPEAL at the end that asks the reader to spread it to "millions" and makes the reader feel less-than-patriotic if he or she doesn't send it along.

Actually, these letters are not from "nowhere," they are written by hired guns of advocacy groups which support or oppose an issue, a cause or a candidate. These people are very skilled at composing propaganda and setting it into circulation.

Why would you read these letters when you don't really know who wrote them?

Even if the content of this letter were TRUE, as a former editorial page editor I could tell you that the letter would have been rejected by any newspaper, because it's too long. When I write an occasional letter-to-the-editor to the newspaper here, the word limit is 250.

All that aside, you don't have to worry about persons coming here from Mexico just to make money for their families. Right now, the value of the U.S. dollar is plummeting, and when it drops BELOW the value of the Mexican peso, they will all go back home. Wall Street is very nervous over the continuing downward spiral of the U.S. dollar. Now, that's an issue for concern.

Here's what SNOPES.com says about this “letter” (and, dear reader, it will be worth your time to read the analysis!): LINK

Now, to take this to a personal level:

I have read best-selling books on the history of almost every American decade. It is a mistake to believe America - the America we grew up in and love - is and has been perfect, for it has not. There have been problems in every decade which have had to be rectified.

There have been systemic problems such as prejudices against blacks, Jews, American Indians and peoples of almost every nationality and faith.

There have been grave mistakes made when the U.S. has intervened in the affairs of foreign govenments (for example, the CIA-led coup to overthrow the elected Iranian leader and install the Shah or taking the side of the United Fruit Company in overthrowing the elected leader of Guatamala - to the advantage of a private business using near-slave labor).

So, as the SNOPES analysis points out the Utopia the letter writer would have you believe has never existed here. And, sadly, never will.

I am currently listening to noted historian Doris Kearns Goodwin's "No Ordinary Time: Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt: the Home Front in WWII," which is a documented record of the post-Depression 30s and the war-time 40s. During those decades Americans did sacrifice, but there were race riots and violent labor strikes.

Most notably, as a result of post-Pearl Harbor hysteria, the internment of more than 120,000 Japanese-American CITIZENS in filthy and overcrowded "concentration" camps remains a blight on our history. The last camp housing these "suspected enemies" closed in 1946. (History and photographs, University of Utah collection). The U.S. finally paid these citizens retribution for what they went through.

I am struck by a common theme in each decade of our history: each has had the SAME problems to deal with – the same prejudices, fears and paranoia.

Hence, the French phrase Snopes.com uses:

"Plus ca change, plus c'est la meme chose" - the more things change, the more they stay the same.

No, America is not perfect - as evidenced by all its current problems - but it's still a good country with good people, in my opinion, and I'm glad I was born here. I know you are, too.

Have you ever asked yourself, "Why?" Why were we lucky to be born here, when so many are born into oppression, disease, poverty and hunger?

I refuse to find fault with any persons who want to come here to find for themselves what we, by the sheer luck of birth, simply inherited, having done nothing to deserve it.

1 comment:

phillip said...

Your last two paragraphs are pure gold!