Beware the Internet

I’m that obnoxious person who, when she gets passed a story via Facebook or email, goes straight to Snopes.com to see if it’s true. Some of the best stories that get passed around are just not true.

 

Or are they?

 

Not to mess with your head, but it depends on your definition of “true.” Take for example the story of the racist who boards an airplane and finds his or her is beside a person who is a member of a group that the racist hates. The bigot makes a fuss, but there are no more seats in economy class. The flight attendant announces that there’s a seat in first class and says no one should have to sit next to someone who makes him or her feel uncomfortable, and promptly bumps the victim of the tirade to first class. The reason I’m so vague in telling the story is that it never happened and many iterations of this story exist (a Muslim sitting next to a Jew, a Christian sitting next to a Muslim, a white person sitting next to a black person, etc.). The story isn’t true.

 

But we really want it to be.

 

And thus the reason I don’t object to the story. It is true…emotionally. I have long maintained that fiction presents ideas to society in a way that is easy to digest. Art in all its forms helps cultures grow, change, and deal with transformation. To Kill a Mockingbird isn’t less powerful because it’s fiction. Fahrenheit 451 teaches its lesson in a story. And these internet stories do the same thing in bite sized form.

 

But don’t get me started on when the pieces that are spread are attributed to the wrong speaker or are outright false. Especially those word origin ones. “Ship high in transit” is NOT the origin of one of our favorite four letter words, nor is “fornication under carnal knowledge.” Funny, but entirely false.

 

–Gabi

Books I’m reading now:

The Duke is Mine by Eloisa James

Timeless by Gail Carriger

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