Or, 3 Reasons Why I Often Wish for the Magical Power to Reach Through the Internet and Smack the Person on the Other End*
1. Forwards are offensive in appearance.
First of all, the grammar is usually awful. Misspellings, improperly placed apostrophes, incorrect use of “your” and “you’re,” excessive exclamation points–I’m developing a twitch just thinking about it. On top of this, forwards are invariably written in nightmarish fonts. All caps Comic Sans in bolded red? Really?
2. Forwards are logically and factually unsound.
Most forwards I receive are political in nature, and generally contain spurious “facts,” unsupported claims, and poorly structured arguments–all expressed in shitty writing. Even the ones that aren’t politically motivated (like the “don’t wear a ponytail or rapists will target you” variety) have no basis in actual fact or even common sense. And yet they are swallowed whole by unthinking masses and forwarded about as gospel truth. The absence of critical thinking in writing or unquestionably believing this toxic rubbish is most distressing. No one thinks to consult Snopes.com to determine whether these emails have any real validity–oh no, just go ahead and push that “SEND” button and never consider that you might be giving me an electronic poke in the eye.
3. Forwards are deliberately malicious.
Political forwards nearly always have disturbing undercurrents of bigotry and prejudice. The religious variations use guilt and superstition to exploit readers’ insecurities (If you forward this to 20 people, God will bless you! If you don’t, you are clearly ashamed of Jesus!). Others which purport to warn you against some danger (rapists, terrorists, bird flu) generate needless fear and paranoia. Really, this is the true reason I despise forwards–they are clearly intended to manipulate and agitate readers under the guise of helpful information or encouragement.
*This post does NOT apply to email forwards whose main content comprises cute pictures of animals, which are always welcome in my inbox.