Darwin Awards emails: Good Idea or Tool of Satan?

Darwin Awards – anyone who has had internet access for the last ten years must surely know about them. In the last month I have received two emails regarding this year’s Darwin Awards. One was a link to the Darwin Awards site’s 2006 awards winners.

The other seem to be part bogus email, and part truth, as the “winner” in this email was actually the 1995 winner, now proved to be an urban legend that fooled even the Darwin people.

I got thinking about how many times I have received bogus Darwin award winner emails over the years and further more was thinking ‘why do people create these things in the first place?’ I can only come to the conclusion that there are quite a few pathological liars out there who just have to email all their friends with the cool stuff they are finding out on the internet. I’ve experienced only one of these liars and the stories they come up with can on the surface sound quite plausible – but once you dig into them a bit, they fall apart – sound familiar?

The problems start when these pathological liars send emails out to their naive friends – who might be naive about internet lore in general, and/or be naive in general and just buy everything their pathological friend tells them. The naive friend will likely have other naive friends, who have even less of a chance of knowing the reliably of the previous source. And they tell two friends, and they tell two friends, and so on, and so on…

… causing those of us who have been on the ‘net a long time to periodically get these bogus or semi-bogus emails, from those that we love but whose computer we must often support.

So what I end up doing is heading over to the real Darwin Award site, and checking out any email I get claiming to be “This Years Darwin Awards”, then going and informing said naive friend about the bogus nature of the email they sent me. I do this because I hate mis-information, especially its rapid spread through emails from trusted friends.

I think at some point, proven pathological liars are just going to have to be denied publishing privileges by any means on the internet. Either that or Darwin Awards are going to have to stop so I can just fire back an instant “This is bogus…” email without having to check into the veracity of the email I have just been sent. But that would be selfish of me. I can’t explain why Darwin Awards seem to be a more frequent target of “bogusification”. Perhaps pathological liars feel the need to one up the stupidity level told in the real stories?

On the other hand, Darwin Awards do present some useful use other than their obvious entertainment value. I can instantly peg someone’s “‘net cluefullness” by what kind of Darwin Awards email they send me. Something along the lines of “This year’s Darwin Awards are up {link to real Darwin Awards site}” tells me that they are cluefull and on top of it, assume I am cluefull. The ones who send me emails with some pasted text in them: definitely less cluefull. Not necessarily stupid, just not as experienced in what kind of crap floats around in the toilet bowl of email these days. I definitely use the BS filter on future emails from these people, because even if they thought it was worth sending, it could still be just another form of chain letter, scam, or well, BS.

I suppose I should answer my original question; good idea or tool of Satan.
I guess it’s good, overall, at least I get some useful information out of these emails, even if the email itself is crud.

About ralph

Just another blog to share some thoughts with the world.
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3 Responses to Darwin Awards emails: Good Idea or Tool of Satan?

  1. Thanks for the lovely vignette about the Darwin Awards, my dear! I have linked back to your page on the DArwin Awards website. You have a lovely writing style and a quirky way of looking at the world. I wish you all the best! ~wendy~

  2. ralph says:

    Quirky? I guess I need to remove my quirky tinted glasses ‘cuz I just call ’em like I see em! Glad you liked it – Darwin Awards have provided me great entertainment over the years especially since I’m BSc Ecology, so I know Darwin. Glad I could provide some entertainment back!

  3. Lynn says:

    I suggest that when you get a bogus email that you use the “reply all” function when you blast the sender. I do this all of the time when I receive hoaxes via email. Looking like an idiot in front of everybody encourages people to check things out rather than hit the send button the next time.

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