Compulsory Website

It seems you can’t escape the rumour mill. Whether it’s gossip-over-the-fence in a small town, or urban legends in a big city, or rumour-mongering on the internet, there will always be someone who has a juicy (scandalous/inspirational/funny) tale to tell you.

Even when these tales are tall, they are usually entertaining or shocking or fascinating – that’s the whole point – and can, of course, be harmless. On the other hand, they can be purile at best (sickly-sweet moralising), or quite noxious at worst (racist or politically-motivated or hateful).

Anyone with an email account is vulnerable. Anyone who paddles in the blogosphere is vulnerable. Anyone who inhabits Myface or SpaceBook or Twit or any of those other strange cyber-villages is vulnerable.

Who hasn’t been warned that Obama’s full birth certificate is a fake? Who hasn’t been told about the boy who gave his sister his blood in a transfusion but mistakenly thought he was giving her his life? Who hasn’t been alerted to the rare sight of the planet Mars appearing the same size as the moon? Or pious people being saved from certain death by winged visitors? Or Kevin Rudd’s great-grandfather being a horse-thief? Or evil conspiracies being exposed?

If you, like me, prefer to only believe things that are actually (or probably) true, then the snopes website is a must. The Urban Legends Research site run by Barbara and David Mikkelson is gold. Thank goodness someone goes to the trouble of digging into the background of the stories churning through the electronic rumour mill in an attempt to uncover the truth. Fascinating reading and perhaps a small step towards a saner and truer world.

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~ by Garry on May 15, 2011.

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