Thursday, 18 August 2011

This is why you shouldn't forward Internet crap


I came across this on another web page, and couldn’t resist analysing it, because it’s such a perfect illustration of why one shouldn’t re-post material from the net without a little fact-checking and analysis. Even if the author of the original article had a socio-political agenda (as it’s obvious he or she has) with which you agree, when the material is so shoddy and provably false, you’re harming your own case by regurgitating it.

First, the original article:

Question 1:

If you knew a woman who was pregnant, who had 8 kids already,
three who were deaf, two who were blind, one mentally
retarded, and she had syphilis, would you recommend that she have an
abortion?

Read the next question before looking at the response for
this one.

Question 2:

It is time to elect a new world leader, and only your vote
counts.
Here are the facts about the three candidates.

Candidate A:
Associates with crooked politicians, and consults with
astrologists. He's had two mistresses. He also chain smokes and drinks 8
to 10 Martinis a day.

Candidate B:
He was kicked out of office twice, sleeps until noon, used
opium in college and drinks a quart of whiskey every evening.

Candidate C:
He is a decorated war hero. He's a vegetarian, doesn't smoke,
drinks an occasional beer and never committed adultery.

Which of these candidates would be our choice?

Decide first... No peeking, and then scroll down for the
response.

*

*

*

Candidate A is Franklin D. Roosevelt.
Candidate B is Winston Churchill.
Candidate C is Adolf Hitler.

And, by the way, on your answer to the abortion question:
If you said YES, you just killed Beethoven.

Pretty interesting isn't it?
Makes a person think before judging someone.

Remember:

Amateurs ... Built the ark.
Professionals ... Built the Titanic


Right.

For the purposes of this analysis, I won’t go into the abortion question per se (though those of you who have read me for a while know precisely where I stand on that). I will, however, point out that Beethoven actually had a single older sibling (also Ludwig) who died at the age of six days, and three younger siblings - Anton Karl, Nikkolaus Johann and Maria Margaretha Josepha. [Source]


Don't you think the author of the piece had such great contempt for the readers that he or she assumed they didn't know anything about Beethoven or couldn't be bothered to read about him on their own?

Then, I don’t know enough about Franklin Roosevelt to say whether or how accurate the information presented is, but I do know something about Churchill, and I know a lot about Hitler. Oh man, do I know about Hitler.

Well, Churchill. The only reason Churchill wasn’t hanged for war crimes is that he fortuitously (more due to Hitler’s blunders than anything he did) ended up on the winning side of the war. Unlike Adolf, who came to the war crimes game late in the day, Churchill was an opportunist from the beginning, and a war criminal from long, long back, from the days of the Great War when he was First Lord of the Admiralty and – among other things – used the quite illegal Q ship programme (armed naval ships disguised as civilian vessels), had British ships illegally fly the (then neutral) American flag, and engineered the destruction of the Lusitania by stripping it of its escort when he knew a U Boat was waiting with orders to sink it. In Iraq in 1920 he had civilians bombed with poison gas. In the Second World War he attacked the virtually demilitarised and helpless ships of the neutral French navy, watched unmoved while three million Indians starved to death in an artificial famine, fire-bombed Dresden, and had planned to use poison gas at Normandy. He had to be persuaded to put the Nazi leadership on trial instead of executing them on capture. I don’t know about sleeping till noon, but there are plenty of reasons not to vote for him. Even supporters of Churchill need to acknowledge that he, more than anyone else, was responsible for the decline and fall of the British Empire.


Ah, now the Big One, Hitler. It’s a common myth that he was a vegetarian; he was actually rather fond of sausage, meat pie and stuffed pigeon, and last I looked that didn’t count as vegetarianism. Nor was he a “war hero” in any sense of the term – his fellow soldiers called him a “rear area pig”, a regimental messenger who rarely visited the front, and his alleged exploits were retconned into his biography by Nazi propagandists at a later date. His famous Iron Cross, incidentally, was recommended by a Jewish officer. And as for his non-adulterous nature, Hitler was probably a syphilitic, and it’s certain that his niece Geli Raubal died mysteriously (probably committed suicide) after he had what we might delicately call an “inappropriate relationship” with her. So much for that.

The depths of lunacy are reached, of course, with the Titanic part of the article. That ship had design errors which were absent on other ships made around the same time, and was sunk more due to the policies of the owners (the White Star Line) than to anything else – including the decision to steam full speed ahead through Northern Atlantic iceberg territory and the lack of lifeboats. As for the Ark...it’s a myth, for dog’s sake.

One would think the person creating this article might have spent a single minute googling for the facts, but that was probably beyond him/her. But then – seeing that there are people who are willing, nay, eager, to disseminate said “information” without analysis, one can’t really blame him for taking the easy way out.

I’ve often thought that if you write a thoughtful, researched article and release it on the web, it will die out in three forwards at the outside. Write a piece of attention grabbing crap, though, and it’s going to go viral at top speed.

Like this.

1 comment:

  1. I'm shocked at how much of the conservative agenda appears to be based on anonymous forwarded emails.

    Stuff that has been aruond for years, has been (inaccurately) attributed to a number of people and that was geenrally debunked in about 1999.

    I keep getting this one about Social Security and illegal aliens. I looked at it the first tme and immediately recognized that it wasn't tlaking about the Social Security system at all because the system doesn't use those terms.
    Sure enough... It was tlaking about the Canadian system. Someone had gone through and changed the words, though.

    Five days later, I get the same email again, AGAIN applying it to the American system.

    People love emails that a) outage them! and b) go along with their preconceived notions of outrage. The facts don't matter.

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