Sunday, 7 March 2010

I Believe.....

You know it never ceases to amaze me what people are prepared to believe and accept as fact.

Yesterday I received two identical e-mails from friends of mine containing the same fallacy. The e-mails had the subject: “You’ll never guess who her father is,” and contained various images of the glamour model Emma Atkinson. At the bottom of the e-mail was the punch line that she is the daughter of the comedian Rowan Atkinson (Mr Bean).

I don’t know why, but I naturally distrust information that comes via e-mail. I’m just a natural skeptic and have an insatiable need to confirm things I’m told by other people. It infuriates Hay sometimes, as I’m never off the internet.

Anyway, it came as no surprise to me that Gemma Atkinson and Rowan Atkinson are totally unrelated. People seem quite happy pass on this misinformation without first checking it for veracity. I guess this is why there are so many fake virus e-mails filling up the internet.

One particular friend of mine never fails to pass on fake virus e-mails, despite me having told him how to check them out and every single one of his ‘warnings’ having been a false alarm.

The human being is naturally credulous – a word you will not find in the Oxford English Dictionary.


  1. True enough. When I get some of the really bad email junk (read racist) I love to be able to 'reply all' in my rebuttal. I find future rubbish greatly reduced fairly quickly.

  2. Doesn't 'Reply All' only compound the horror? I delete, with delight. My pet hate is 'Forwarded' emails from people who are to damn tired to send you an original...

  3. You won't find "spasticated" either: I made that up yesterday.

  4. Jinksy: No. It reduces the incidence - to me at least.

    Braja: Hate to disdabuse you; we used it as kids.

  5. Spasticated? Carnegie Primary School, 1961, at least.

    No, reply all. Too many people just delete or ignore - this only encourages the perpetrator. Silence is approval. Ask the Jews of Germany. Reply all and tell the sender that it is (descriptor = racist, sexist, whatever) nonsense and to please only send you funny or clever stuff. I find this often prompts others to do the same "Yeah, I agree with Lee" sort of emails then do the rounds.

  6. Viva, Snopes/Hoax Slayer/Urban Legends! :)
    My bete noire is forwarded email displaying screeds of former recipients - great way to boost spam lists and promote viruses...