Saturday 24 March 2012

Chain letter

How can people be so gullible?

I just got sent a chain letter, by a cousin of mine. "Very bad news from the Jewish community in France - PLEASE read and SEND..." It cites several alleged antisemitic attacks, and calls for a boycott of all French goods and services. And "send this along to your family, your friends, and your co-workers".

So, naturally, I checked it out using google. It turned out to be a ten year old chain letter, and the alleged antisemitic attacks happened ten or more years ago.  I specifically checked out whether "on the statue of Alfred Dreyfus, in Paris, the words 'Dirty Jew' were painted". That was reported in the congressional Record, V. 148, Pt. 9, June 27, 2002 to July 15, 2002.

Ten years ago. Not news. Old information. So, what we can actually know, is that in 2002, there was a guy in Paris who was antisemitic. I don't think I want to boycott the 66 million inhabitants of France because of this.

One of the people in the chain of forwarders actually said "i hasten to say i haven't researched any of these incidents".

Well, it's like this. If you're going to aim to tell the world about something important and awful, it absolutely is an obligation on you to check it out first. If you can't do that immediately, then don't take action until you can. It took me five seconds with google to find that this was an old chain letter, and that it wasn't even accurate ten years ago.

The murder of four jews by a gunman in France recently was indeed awful. And so was the murder of three non-jews by the same man a few days ago.

And oddly, the chain letter didn't even mention these incidents, which are, at least, news.

And I'm left wonndering, what is the purpose of this chain letter? Clearly, it's to sow discord between jews and French people. So all the people who do as the chain letter requests, are acting so as to *cause* a problem that, currently, doesn't really exist. I mean, what do you think would happen if the objective of the chain letter is achieved, if all jews boycotted all French goods and services? How do you think that the French would feel about that?  Lenin had a phrase for this - "useful idiots".

So, what should you do if you receive a chain letter? Any chain letter?

The simplest thing to do is delete it. There's not much point in even reading it - every single chain letter I've ever received, that I've checked out, has been totally wrong.

If you do read it, and you decide that the issue raised is so important that it's worth telling people about, then spend five minutes checking it out. If it's important enough to tell the world about, then it's important enough to spend a few minutes checking. If you don't know how to use google to check out a chain letter, then get someone else to do it for you.

Here's a web page that debunks this chain email. That web page was dated six years ago!

A lie is halfway round the world before the truth has got its boots on. 

Don't help the lies.

1 comment:

  1. Yep, it is making the rounds again--and you are SO right about chain email. The original was back in the day when Congress was renaming french fries "freedom fries" IIRC. Thanks for posting this!