You Are Dumb, which is not a blog, posts new columns every weekday, except for a couple of days each month when it doesn't. It is also a Twitter feed, @youaredumb, with content in a similar vein but much shorter. My spinoff food site, Forkbastard, can be found easily enough by the clever.
NOTES: This column originally appeared on March 11, 2004, nearly ten years ago today. I picked it because it's full of some seriously dated references, even though the core message is still the same. For "William Hung", substitute "Miley Cyrus". For "monkey falling out of a tree", substitute "What Does The Fox Say?". For "screensavers", substitute "anti-virus software". I cannot help you with "Comet Cursor". You're on your own with that one.
Memo to you. Yeah, you. With your mouse pointer hovering over the Forward button. YOU ARE DUMB.
Don't click it. Don't. DON'T. I know you want to, but fifteen plus years of e-mail history have taught us an important lesson, and you ignore it at your peril. Slowly slide the cursor away from the Forward button. That's it. Nice and easy. Oh, and you should really get rid of that Comet Cursor shit. That's bad news.
Oh, right. The lesson. That lesson, gleaned from fifteen years worth of e-mail traffic, is that nobody's lives have ever been even incrementally improved by receiving a forwarded e-mail. NEVER. It doesn't happen. Anyone who tells you it happened to them is either a bald-faced liar or very delusional, and you should smile, nod, and run like hell.
I do not know what it takes for you people to get this through your skulls. The Internet LIES TO YOU. Constantly. Especially in e-mail. Especially especially in any e-mail that suggests you forward it to people you know.
If it's a horrible warning, it's a lie. If it's a funny story, it's a lie. If it's a Darwin Award, it's a lie. If it's a call to action to support a cause, it's not a lie so much as it's just wrong, because forwarding the e-mail is not action and will not support your cause, as previously discussed. Nobody in Nigeria actually wants to give you money, nobody has a secret crush on you, and giving a 30-year-old pigtails and a lollipop does not make them a hot teen slut.
And that "screensaver" you clicked on just erased your hard drive. Because the Internet lies. Except when it's too busy being not funny to lie.
There shouldn't even be a Forward button. If you absolutely need to forward something, software should make you go to the trouble of copying it and pasting it into a new e-mail. Put a tiny hurdle in your way. It'd probably cut e-mail traffic by a third.
Can we at least settle for not forwarding things to co-workers? Co-workers in the same building? Co-workers in the same room? Even on the off chance the guy in the next cube is one of the half dozen people on the planet who hasn't seen the monkey falling out of the tree, or heard the vocal stylings of American Idol's William Hung*, they could, oh, maybe walk over to your computer and see it, instead of the room filling up with a half-dozen staggered versions of the same goddamn web page.
Just cut it out. You've had the culmination of hundreds of years of advances in human communication handed to you on a silver platter, and this is the best you can manage? Taking up valuable porn and free music bandwidth with your bogus recipes and your ten reasons men are different from women and your DUMB. Cut it out.
* I bid a hearty welcome to Internet searchers. While I don't know why anyone would want to search out information on American Idol's William Hung, I did find that the last time I mentioned American Idol's William Hung in a column, a number of people searching on American Idol's William Hung discovered You Are Dumb Dot Net in the process. So, when I realized I had another opportunity to mention American Idol's William Hung in context, I shamelessly took it. I hope you don't feel too bad, but remember, the Internet lies to you. Even about American Idol's William Hung.