The chain letter, at long last seems to be dead. I'm still getting the occasional email from Nigeria telling me that, because of my sterling character (this is usually the point where I know the letter is not for me), some poor widow would like me to help her invest a vast inherited fortune. I'm curious--Has anyone ever managed to accumulate a vast fortune in Nigeria? (Other than its present dictator/President?)
Actual chain letters no longer seem to find their way into my email. About the only vestigial remains that I get are some political nonsense--both left and right--from friends either too lazy or retarded to use Snopes. The last line of such letters usually ends with "Only 10% of the people who receive this will have the balls to pass this on..."
What exactly do balls have to do with this? If testicles indicated intelligence, I presume we would have more Nobel prize winners among Nascar drivers. I can imagine the conversation: "....any consideration of the long-term consequence of these actions--TURN LEFT! --must, of necessity, factor in the hitherto unanalyzed feedback mechanisms--TURN LEFT!--that will arise...."
Another familiar phrase, "I'm not going to be the one to break this one...." Why not? If you show the least amount of common sense or even a smidgen of individuality, will Odin smite you?
It is not that chain letters have vanished, it is more like they have caught a virulent strain of cancer, mutated, and metastasized over to Sit On My Facebook, where they have grown even more stupid. How many times has an acquaintance posted something that says, "Let's see how many likes we can get for this?" What possible difference does it make? If we get enough likes, will Lassie get Little Timmy out of the well? Does Tinkerbelle get to live another day?
Why do people post something that begs for as many people as possible to "like" the post? Let's put this "like" nonsense into perspective. I once posted a reasoned and rational letter comparing the foreign policy of Thomas Jefferson to current events and got a dozen likes--mainly from students eager to kiss my ass. The Doc, my wife, posted a blurry photo of our cat washing his Nascar brains and got 1800 likes in a single day.
On the other hand, just this week, someone posted something that said, "Stop Bullying! Share if you agree--otherwise you don't care about suffering!" A perfect example of why Facebook needs a "Dumbass" button.
How many times will people fall for the same tired gag? "Share and post the word 'One' and you will be amazed at how the picture of a mule changes into a photo of a fairy princess." If you are gullible enough to comply, the only thing that will change will be that the mule has now been added to your photo album, where it might as well be used as a self-portrait. How many triangles do you see? 80% of people will first see the word RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE OF THE PUZZLE. Can you think of a city whose name doesn't contain an 'E'?
Or, how about, "GOD LOVES YOU! Share within 30 seconds and God will reward you." First, I didn't know that God followed social media that closely, but if he does, does he really work like a slot machine? This is also why Facebook will never catch on in the Middle East. "Do you love Allah? Like and share if you want to stay out of prison!"
Then, there's the popular, "Share if you support prayer in school--ignore if you are a heartless, godless secular humanist who wants to destroy the American way of life." If I am going to be subjected to pseudo-religion and wacky superstitions, I want to "friend" Pat Robertson. No one can outdo Pat for total nut-job crazy. I still remember his quote about the feminism:
"The feminist agenda is not about equal rights for women. It is about a socialist, anti-family political movement that encourages women to leave their husbands, kill their children, practice witchcraft, destroy capitalism and become lesbians."
That's the kind of crazy that would make Facebook fun. Share if you agree.