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How do I respond to an anti-Islam email?
July 24, 2006 8:40 PM   Subscribe

My girlfriend's parents (future inlaws?) forward me a lot of those awful right-wing emails. The latest one is an anti-Islam rant (inside).

My girlfriend's parents (future inlaws?) forward me a lot of those awful right-wing emails. You know the ones I mean: foaming at the mouth in large, multicolored fonts. There was a horrible anti-Mexican one back when the immigration "debate" was going on. Now they've forwarded me a really biased anti-Islam one (below). My questions are (1) How should I react to this behavior by my future inlaws? and (2) How do I refute this particular message?

I should add that I'm a white Christian, one of those few who remembers the sermon on the mount. I took a college course in Islamic Civilization, unfortunately way too many years ago.

A Good Muslim .....

Apparently not!

This is something I've wondered about for some time now: How & why do the
Muslims hate us & everyone else so much? Doesn't their God teach them to love?


Can a good Muslim be a good American?

I sent that question to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.

The following is his reply:

Theologically - no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of
Arabia.

Religiously - no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except
Islam (Quran, 2:256)

Scripturally - no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam
and the Quran (Koran).

Geographically - no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns
in prayer five times a day.

Socially - no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends
with Christians or Jews.

Politically - no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders),
who teach annihilation of Israel and Destruction of America, the great
Satan.

Domestically - no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat
and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34).

Intellectually - no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution
since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be
corrupt.

Philosophically - no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow
freedom of religion and _expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist.

Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.

Spiritually - no. Because when we declare "one nation under God," the
Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as
heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent
names.

Therefore after much study and deliberation....perhaps we should be very
suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country. They obviously cannot be both
"good" Muslims and good Americans.

Call it what you wish....it's still the truth.

If you find yourself intellectually in agreement with the above statements,
perhaps you will share this with your friends. The more who understand
this, the better it will be for our country and our future.

Pass it on Fellow Americans.

The religious war is bigger than we know or understand.

posted by neuron to Society & Culture (73 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
 
"Spiritually - no. Because when we declare "one nation under God," the
Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as
heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent
names."


If Christian's God is loving and kind, he would love Allah AND Muslims, which means you are supposed to as well.
posted by willc at 8:50 PM on July 24, 2006


wow...

well i'm sure someone who can refute those statements more eloquently than i will post back, but if they don't and i have time tomorrow i'll give it a shot.

so very much of that is claiming "muslim" when it really means "muslim extremist". by the same logic, christians shouldn't be trusted either since there are a bunch of nutty wack jobs under that broad umbrella too.

as for the family aspect, the biggest question still remains, what does the girlfriend think of this? what you do depends fairly heavily on where exactly she stands.
posted by teishu at 8:52 PM on July 24, 2006


You could reply to the e-mail with another prejudiced rant (Easily obtainable through your favorite search engine), prefacing it with "That was pretty hilarious, but I think I like this one more - it's even more ridiculously over-the-top and silly!".

I doubt it would lead them to reevaluate their beliefs, but if you show that you don't believe or find merit in that crap, they may stop bugging you.

I sent this to a couple of folks who kept sending me those sob story e-mails and it seemed to do the trick.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 8:57 PM on July 24, 2006


The high-tech: Create a mail filter to automatically delete mail from them with more than one "Fw:" in the title. Back in the day when I used a client-based mail app, I had a filter to trash anything with three or more "Fw*:"s in the title.

The polite: Kindly ask them to not forward you those things.

Has worked for me: Write back an e-mail outlining exactly why they're wrong. I haven't figured out whether they just took me off their list, or just stopped forwarding crap in general, but it's worked. Granted, this was to a few 'peripheral' friends, not a future in-law, so it might be riskier.

I have no clue how to respond to "perhaps we should be very suspicious of ALL MUSLIMS in this country" bit, other than with a dropped jaw and a shocked stare. I'd probably end up calling it racism, but it probably wouldn't bode well for your relationship.
posted by fogster at 8:57 PM on July 24, 2006


Some people forward every mass mailing they get, because it's "interesting". So you face a real risk of overreacting, where you give a cutting point-by-point rebuttal of something they don't even really care about.
posted by smackfu at 8:59 PM on July 24, 2006


Are these people open-minded enough to give any refutation you might offer a fair hearing? If not (and frankly, I suspect not), don't waste your breath/keystrokes trying.

To deal with this kind of thing in general, though, just tell them "Please don't send me this stuff. I find it offensive." If they want to get offended at your being offended, just tell them "look, you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this."
posted by adamrice at 9:00 PM on July 24, 2006


I don't think you'll have much luck trying to refute this with someone who considers it a rational tract.

But someone already gave it a go here:

http://heliologue.com/blog/2006/04/17/can-muslims-be-good-americans/

Also, Allah is the moon god of Arabia?!?
posted by justkevin at 9:00 PM on July 24, 2006


When my great-uncle sent me a similar screed about atheists, I sent a detailed and (I thought, anyway) scathing response pointing out the many ways in which he had just insulted me and most of my friends, and the factual and logical errors in the message he'd forwarded along. Apparently he took it to heart, and he apologized. I heard later that there'd been a lot of phone calls between his side of the family and my mom, and concern about whether I would un-invite them from my upcoming wedding. I wasn't that angry with him. But as far as I know, he's stopped forwarding hateful messages like that via email. At least to my immediate family.

Not so applicable in your situation, I admit. If it had been my future mother in law sending me that crap, I don't think I could have pulled that off. What I would do if I were you is just start deleting any mail from them. If they ask why you never respond to their mail, or if they send you something important and you never get it, explain to them that your spam filtering software must have learned that they were spammers, since they were sending you so much crap. Technology's easy to blame.

As to how to refute this particular message? Well, I'm pretty sure that I could create a version of it explaining why good Christians can't be good Americans either, for similar reasons. You might start there.
posted by hades at 9:04 PM on July 24, 2006



"I'm sorry. I'm really not into this political stuff you've been sending me. Could you please stop sending it? I mean, it's always nice to hear how you and your wife are doing, but this stuff isn't my cup of tea. Maybe in the future you could send me pictures of the cat or something?"
posted by jason's_planet at 9:06 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


I'm with jason's planet on this one. I've had a similar situation with people sending unwanted e-mails and I politely sent a response along the lines of "It's great to hear from you, but I'd prefer to not receive e-mails of this type. I hope you understand." It's worked very well because I've communicated quite clearly that I don't welcome the e-mails without being preachy, reactive, or rude. In all the cases I've done this, people have been respectful and have honored my wishes without any change in our relationships as friends and family.
posted by galimatias at 9:14 PM on July 24, 2006


Sorry, I forgot to answer question # 2: In most cases of things political (especially extreme right or left wing), people aren't going to change their mind. There isn't much you can do to refute their beliefs or change their views. Accept that one of the things that makes freedom great is the ability to have any opinion you want, and one of the responsibilities of freedom is respecting opinions that differ from your own.

If you ask them to not forward those e-mails, it sounds like from your side the problem is solved. It might not be worth the aggravation to try and change their minds, and could certainly tarnish your relationship if it gets confrontational. That's probably the easiest and most mature thing you can do here.
posted by galimatias at 9:21 PM on July 24, 2006


That email reads like someone making fun of "close-minded" conservative Christians and hoping to start a chain letter (it appears he was successful.)

Practical part of the answer: Just put your in-laws on a spam filter (read: ignore it). Don't bother trying to refute it because if they're sending this stuff out, they aren't interested in discussion, but just convincing you. If they are the type that send out weird alarmist propaganda like the above, chances are they have very little to say to you in an email in the first place - they will either call you or tell your wife whatever important non-chain-letter news they want to relay to you. If they actually want to discuss the email (highly unlikely), say you don't believe it and aren't interested in spam, and could they please stop spamming you? Maybe even say you're thinking about converting to Islam - that might stop them from bothering you altogether!

Christian part of the answer (judgemental liberals, you can begin judging...now!): The Christian God certainly loves Muslim people (who exist, as opposed to Allah, who does not). He just doesn't like their sins--the beheadings, the suicide bombings, the flying of airplanes into skyscrapers, the covering-up of women, etc., etc., Just like He loves murderers, rapists and child molesters, and hopes they will eventually change their evil ways, He loves people who are into killing and maiming people because of their religion, although it likely makes him sad that they're doing this in dedication to a false god. Loves the sinner, hates the sin.

Some of the email is true (it's definitely hard to refute facts like the anti-American indoctrination of Muslim children or the famously anti-Israel stance of Muslims in the Middle East). Propaganda usually combines small amounts of truth with big lies. But that's not to say you should be suspicious of all Muslims. Some of them are just confused and truly believe Islam really is a "religion of peace".

What does it take to be a good American? Don't kill anyone? Be a productive contibuting member of society? A person claiming to be a Muslim (not a true Muslim, one who only observes the superstitious laws like "don't eat pork" and "don't eat with your left hand" - as opposed to a true Muslim who believes that if he dies in the service of Allah while killing infidels during a jihad, he will get 72 virgins in heaven) can certainly do that.
posted by ostranenie at 9:22 PM on July 24, 2006


Its important to know where your girlfriend is in this picture. Is she waving the flag and cursing about dirty muslims or is she aghast at what asshats her parents are for holding extreme views about a culture they obviously know nothing about?

I'd delete them or set up a spam filter and when they ask why you don't respond, just say that you're too busy earning a living to pay attention to all the forwarded email.

Tact should be your watchword since these folks may end up having a rather larger place in your life if you marry their daughter.
posted by fenriq at 9:24 PM on July 24, 2006


Tell them you find the emails hateful and abhorrent and please never, never, send you another. Don't be complicit by your silence.
posted by LarryC at 9:32 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


re: question 1: Just let it go. That's what the delete button is for. Turn the other cheek, as it were.

Re: question 2. Don't refute it. All they did was hit "forward" and pollute your inbox. A point by point rebuttal of why those facts are "wrong" is a waste of your time and won't accomplish what you hope for. If you do reply, just write that while you highly value the personal emails that they write you, would they please abstain from forwarding mass emails to you. Say you don't want them inadvertently added to your email blacklist or something.

>
>
Can a Christian be a good American? I asked an overseas friend who was brave enough to work with these strange people, and this is his reply:

Theologically, no, for his ultimate allegiance is to Christ, not to his country. (Acts 4:19-21).

Religiously, no, for no other way except the way of Christ is acceptable to them. (John 14:6).

Scripturally, no, because his allegiance is to all 1189 chapters of the Bible (even the ones that contradict), not to our Constitution or laws.

Politically, no, because he must answer to the Pope, a German. WHO LIVES IN ITALY.

Domestically, no, because divorce is against their religion (Matthew 19:6), as is premarital sex (Romans 1:29), and those things are a big part of having a relationship in this country.

Intellectually, no, because some of the Founding Fathers who ratified the constitution were deists. Oh, and the first amendment's "no law respecting the establishment of a religion" is unacceptable to them, because every christian wishes to replace education with sunday school, it's a fact.

Philosophically, no, because if you look at the bible you don't find elected leaders or heroes. They're all monarchs or appointed by God. Clearly, Christians are all staunch monarchists who are opposed to Democracy and FREEDOM.

Call it what you wish...it's still the truth.

DON'T TRUST ANY CHRISTIANS. GO BACK TO ENGLAND, KING-LOVERS.

pass this email on, fellow americans. god bless.

posted by neda at 9:33 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.

Funny, the people of Turkey don't seem to agree with either of these...

Also, Allah is the moon god of Arabia?!?

This is an uncommon, hardcore-crank-Christian misinterpretation of Islamic history. Pay no attention.
posted by frogan at 9:36 PM on July 24, 2006


Are they sending you these emails because:

(a) They assume you believe the same things as they do, and want to share their latest weapon in the culture war?
or (b) They are trying to "convert" you to their cause?

It makes a difference.

In the first case, it might just be a matter of informing you of where you stand. They might not know. There is a reason politics are best left out of polite conversation, and they might need to be reminded of the reason for that. But I think this needs to be done in person, not in email - maybe that's just because I have experience doing this in person.

Quite often I've been in a social situation with a new person - a rarely seen relative, or a friend of a friend, or a work colleage of one of my family, and they will simply, naturally, start making the most outrageous, bigoted, racist statements you can imagine. They aren't doing it to be deliberately offensive, their world view is just so narrow that they assume everyone they meet feels the same way (about the unemployed / arabs / asians / environmentalists). It comes from listening to too much talk back radio, I think. And I instantly combat it, refuting their statements, telling them that statistic X they made up is wrong and the real deal is THIS, and did they know about THIS happening and it's amazing how much false information is being spread by Y because they have an interest in Z, and I believe that THIS is what's really going on. The aim isn't actually to start an argument, or change their opinions. It's simply to let them know, in no uncertain terms, that you don't believe what they do, that you are one of the filty pinko commies they were just complaining about, that you're quite knowledgeable, and that things will probably be friendlier if you don't bring up politics again.

Most people will get the hint and decide to talk about something else. Only the minority, the real obsessives (or drunk) will try to continue the argument.

In the case of B, where they are trying to "convert" you - well this is were you need a real argument, probably. Those statements are so cliche'd that is' almost insulting to have to refute them one by one.

Theologically - no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of Arabia.

Firstly, Allah = Jehovah = Jahweh = God.
Secondly, since when is the Christian god ONLY the god of the United States? Can Jews not be good Americans because they worship the God of Israel?

Religiously - no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except Islam (Quran, 2:256)

You name me a single other religion that "accepts" religions other than itself. With the possible exception of Hinduism, which tends to absorb other religions as it sees fit.

Scripturally - no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam and the Quran (Koran).

This doesn't even make sense, but once again, doesn't a Christian owe his allegiance to something other than a country as well? Many, many Christians see their allegiance to their God as being more important than their nationality.

Geographically - no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns in prayer five times a day.

Once again, this doesn't even make sense. You can't spend 10 minutes a day facing west and be an American? What? How about, again for Christians, how can they be american if they get on their knees and eat bread and wine at communion?

Socially - no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends with Christians or Jews.

Large, large numbers of modern pentacostal / evangelical Christians believe they cannot be friends with non-Christians. They can't listen to non-Christian music, watch non-Christian movies or TV, read non-Christian books.
Secondly, the proof is in the pudding. I've got Muslim friends. One of them even sends me Christmas cards.

Man I can't even go on with this, it's too frustrating.
posted by Jimbob at 9:41 PM on July 24, 2006


By the way, where do these emails come from? They are all written in the same 8th-grader language, no matter what the topic.
posted by Jimbob at 9:43 PM on July 24, 2006


You're not going to change them and probably not even shame them. So you need instead to establish boundaries around these types of hotpoints between you.

This might be a good start.

http://www.thanksno.com/
posted by kookoobirdz at 9:43 PM on July 24, 2006


First, you and your girlfriend need to work this out. If she has a sense of dread about any political discussions among you and her parents, then just stay away.

Second, be very clear about your intention. What do you want to accomplish? If you want to make them see the light and move towards a better-reasoned political stance, welcome to a very very long and probably fruitless task.

If, on the other hand, you simply want politics not to be part of your relationship, then say something like: "Just to let you know: I'm just not a big fan of mixing politics with family. I doubt we're in agreement on some issues -- but I'd rather not find out. Perhaps we can stick to other subjects in the future?"

As I say, check with the girlfriend first.
posted by argybarg at 9:49 PM on July 24, 2006


Man, that's really horrible. You're possibly (probably) dealing with idiots. The content of the e-mails really isn't an issue, but they're (again, probably) needling you, and that's something to pay attention to. It's not easy to have enemies for in-laws, and keep in mind that they disrespect you for your beliefs as much as you disrespect them. If things get sticky in your relationship/marriage (and they will, at some point), you can rest assured that they're not going to be on your (terrorist lovin') side. Your girlfriend/wife/fiancé is going to have to deal with listening to your character being assassinated by people she loves and desires approval from when things between you are tough. This is not fun, and adds an extra layer of shittiness to any troubles you'll have in the future, even if your gf is on the same page with you about this. Tread lightly, watch your back, and keep communicating with your gf about this.
posted by nixxon at 9:49 PM on July 24, 2006


I agree that silently filtering the messages would be easiest... but I don't think you should do that. Remember, triumph-of-evil, good men doing nothing, and all that. At the very least you should tell them why you are filtering their messages; "I'm afraid I don't care to receive bigoted hate-filled screeds" or something along those lines.
posted by Justinian at 9:52 PM on July 24, 2006


I'd say you'll probably do more good by preparing the ground for future conversations, rather than refute this particular email. Keep it short and sweet and let them know you're always open to hearing about their lives and how they're doing. Maybe also add "To be honest, I've found this sort of mass-forwarded email to almost always be a mix of fact and fiction that's not worth sorting through. Perhaps someday we'll have a chance to solve the troubles in the world over friendly coffee. :) For now, would you mind removing my name from your mass forwarding list for this kind of email?"

If you must refute this one, be ultra-friendly. Maybe pick one item that can be dealt with quickly, as an example that these kinds of messages often contain misinformation. But I wouldn't spend too much time on it.
posted by mediareport at 9:56 PM on July 24, 2006


Ignore it. You will thank me later on.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:58 PM on July 24, 2006


(1) How should I react to this behavior by my future inlaws?

Ignore it, the same as you would ignore useless crap being forwarded to you by anyone else. This is from the same planet as "OMG there are people driving around with their lights off and if you flash your lights at them then they TAKE YOUR KIDNEY! IT HAPPENED TO MIKEY!" It's just from a more offensive continent on that planet.

Delete their stuff the instant you can detect that it's a forwarded scree. If they ask you about it, just tell that you don't read mass-forwarded stuff.

(2) How do I refute this particular message?

You don't. Attempting to do so is like attempting to refute the arguments of a trained parrot.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 10:02 PM on July 24, 2006


Ignore the messages. To do so would be to wisely avoid conflict with the people whose daughter you will be marrying. To say that ignoring the messages is somehow to be complicit in evil is absurd. We're not stewards of everyone else's political opinions.

Responding with something like, "Please don't send me any more such messages. I find them offensive," is itself displaying an alarming absence of tact. You'll come across as self-satisfied, condescending, and holier-than-thou. Nobody wants to be lectured about correct opinions by a moralistic, enlightened little left-wing prig.

We do not have an obligation to rebut every ignorant opinion we hear expressed, even by loved ones.

I know whereof I speak; my father-in-law has given me hardbound books by Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly for Christmas.
posted by jayder at 10:07 PM on July 24, 2006


At first this one looks like a tough cookie, but it's based on the assumption that there are no progressive muslims and that all muslims are hard-lined fundamentalists. Your response is therefore as simple as refuting this assumption.

Furthermore, you can drive the point home by comparing christian fundamentalism to christian fundamentalism. At the end of the day, it's not the christians or muslims we gotta worry about -- it's the misguided and indoctrinated crazies.
posted by freakystyley at 10:49 PM on July 24, 2006


"We do not have an obligation to rebut every ignorant opinion we hear expressed, even by loved ones."

In a democracy, where does societal change come from? We hope not by conquest. We hope not by deceit. We hope not by purchase. Everybody votes; real, lasting change comes one voter at a time, one teacher at a time, and one person at a time.

If we want to do better, we have to try to talk to each other, even to explain things to each other. Listening and critical thinking is, of course, critical to this process, and if you are dealing with people who won't listen to you, you might have to give up pretty early. But please don't assume that you absolutely can't communicate with the senders of that unfortunate message. Please try. I don't see any other way for the world to get better.

And to those who are thinking that the old, prejudiced people will die off eventually -- they will still influence plenty of people, in large and small ways, before they go. Also, talking to them might be good practice for talking to the younger people they've already influenced.
posted by amtho at 10:53 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


In a democracy, where does societal change come from? We hope not by conquest. We hope not by deceit. We hope not by purchase.

We hope not... we hope to high heaven not...

But let's not forget we got here via large scale genocide...


As for the OP: This one depends on how comfortable you feel with the parents. You say future inlaws so I take it you've been dating this girl for a relatively long time and know her parents pretty well. In that case, I would respectfully ask not to receive the emails, noting that you find some of them offensive, and that you respect their position/opinion.

If you don't know them all that well, then just start deleting them without even reading them. /dev/null is your friend.

The only way this is going to be a real problem is if:
1) You do want to marry this girl
2) She insists on being near / spending lots of time with her parents and you being there too...

And since you haven't mentioned having to worry about this right wing propaganda in personal discussions, I'd say you're probably in the clear...
posted by twiggy at 11:20 PM on July 24, 2006


Perhaps adopt a humble and demure tone. Speak in personal, earnest, and non-judgemental terms (I'm not emphasizing actually being earnest here so much as coming across that way--I know its patently manipulative and dishonest.

Maybe harp on the "all Muslims" generalization by sincerely defending a great Muslim friend. I'd start with something like: "Hey Bob and Sue, hope all is well. I got that email of yours and I have to say, this is so far from what I have experienced. For example my Muslim friend X is really one of the most balanced, kind, intelligent, etc people I know...[more ernest praise for Muslim friend]. Then perhaps slowly make more generalized statements about how extreme and ridiculous the email was (of course don't use those words). Maybe add a message of tolerance, preferably from a Christian source. Maybe diagnose the email as being an unfortunate case of extremism breeding extremism, etc..

Talk not as if you are disagreeing with them but as if you are sharing with them, and trying to think through the forwarded email with them. I doubt your arguments will change their minds but it might give them a clue as to your position without offending them.

Of course this strategy may backfire in that they may be prompted to dialogue with you further and press their case. You may not have the stamina to suppress your indignation and keep up a warm and fuzzy facade. Also, as I said, it does involve wholesale manipulation and pretense; that may not square with your ethics. Although: I have occasionally gotten lucky in that this strategy actually helped disarm persons who were initially dogmatic and overbearing, and pave the way for honest (no patronizing on either side) and fruitful discourse. However, I don't think you have a moral obligation to fight enmity wherever, and in whatever form you encounter it. Sometimes its just not worth your time and energy and sometimes its a lost cause.
posted by crack at 11:39 PM on July 24, 2006


Don't ignore or be passive, but that doesn't mean you have to email them a huge rant about their bigotry. I agree with those who said that you should send a polite email saying "I appreciate you thinking of me when you forward out emails you find interesting, but I find many of them offensive and would appreciate it if you took me off your list". You don't want to be deleting their emails all your life, do you?
posted by apple scruff at 11:46 PM on July 24, 2006


I like crack's advice, to the effect that if you wish to dialogue with them about this, do so in the spirit of sharing, not confrontation.

But I also think this is an issue of choosing your battles carefully. Middle-aged dads who sit in front of the T.V. and nod approvingly at Bill O'Reilly's lies are not going to be converted to the side of enlightenment by their liberal sons-in-law. If you have little or no chance of changing their opinions, why inject tension in your relationship with your in-laws that could affect your relationship with your spouse?

You'd be better off, I think, ignoring the e-mails and expressing, by example, what it means to be an enlightened, non-bigoted person with an appropriate tolerance for different cultures and belief systems.

My strategy, whe confronted with the expression of bigoted opinions by family members, is to nod noncommittally, make the appropriate noises of interest and engagement ("Oh really?" "That's interesting." "Wow.") and then, when the family leaves and it's just me and my wife, ridicule them mercilessly. It works for me.
posted by jayder at 12:37 AM on July 25, 2006


My mom (80 years old) once sent me something similar. However, I have never known my mom to be prejudice or even close minded like this. I think these days she's just more ill informed than she used to be and tends to believe much of what she reads.

I sent her a reply saying something along the lines of "wow, there really are a lot of lunatics out there arent' there. I hope you don't actually believe this crap. You certainly didn't raise me to think like this". We later had a chat about it and I explained to her how one of my best friends (whom she met and liked) is Muslim and how dangerous those kinds of emails were. I think she got the point.

If I were you, I would simply reply saying you don't agree with that kind of thinking. It addresses the point and it's honest.
posted by gfrobe at 1:53 AM on July 25, 2006


What LarryC and Justinian said. By deleting these mails without comment, you are tacitly validating their behaviour. Fuck that. Let them know that this is unacceptable to you.
posted by blag at 4:17 AM on July 25, 2006


I used to get e-mails like that from one of my uncles. He eventually stopped when he realized I wasn't paying attention.

There was a link posted in the blue sometime ago, some web site you could direct people to after they'd forwarded you an e-mail you didn't appreciate receiving. Anyone remember the one I'm talking about?
posted by emelenjr at 4:19 AM on July 25, 2006


Another vote for not ignoring the messages. I couldn't live with that on my conscience. I don't think you can change their minds, but I would voice my disgust at the hypocracy and ignorance displayed by the e-mail.

This is something I've wondered about for some time now: How & why do the Christians hate us & everyone else so much? Doesn't their God teach them to love?
posted by slimepuppy at 4:43 AM on July 25, 2006


Hypocrisy, yeah yeah, I don't speak the English well.
posted by slimepuppy at 4:44 AM on July 25, 2006


i would replay with a virus. my wife is white roman catholic, i am africa american (i prefer black) and a muslim. they HATED me at first, but at least they kept their emails to themselves. i would send a VIRUS.

which brings up a question i've asked many people and never gotten a real answer for: why do white christians spend so much time disparaging other races and religions? i've never in my 30 years had a conversation with my black friends concerning whites as a people. not ever. i've never even heard of anyone i know having a conversation like that. but i recall many times from my customer service days, people tranfering to my line and wanting to talk about the 'black bitch' or the stupid black person who just couldnt help them. they assume i'm white because of my diction - which is an insult in itself.

so why does it happen? i have a white fraterenity brother who had the stones to go against standard culture and pledge with our organization. he says he grew up using words like 'nigger' ect. but this guys family is the staunchest, most straight back christian family in his county. is this what christ teaches? as a muslim, i also study Jesus and as far as i know, this behavior seems ungodly.
posted by Davaal at 4:50 AM on July 25, 2006


Also, Allah is the moon god of Arabia?!?

This is an uncommon, hardcore-crank-Christian misinterpretation of Islamic history. Pay no attention.


Robert Graves has an essay with the same claim, part of his Triple Goddess thing. The crescent is a point of evidence.

Graves, of course, had a lot of peculiar notions, but he was no hardcore crank Christian.
posted by IndigoJones at 5:21 AM on July 25, 2006


If these folks are anything like my parents saying anything is a total waste of time. I'd ignore the emails. Now if they say anything to you directly, you can certainly disagree but I think you are peeing into the wind if you think commenting on the emails will do one darn bit of good.

Now excuse me while I try to figure out a way to persuade my mom that disowning my daughter (who will be marrying an African American young man) is a stupid idea.
posted by konolia at 5:22 AM on July 25, 2006


(I hasten to add, Graves was no anti-Muslim. Translator of the Rubaiyat, collaborator of Idries Shah. Just as a point of reference)
posted by IndigoJones at 5:34 AM on July 25, 2006


You can't ignore it at this stage. And the reason is, you have to know whether they are True Believers or just passively ignorant. And you have to know before you marry into the family, so that you know what you're getting.

If they're True Believers, they're going to be on and on about converting you to [whatever], preaching at you, preaching at your wife, preaching at your children, continuing to spew hate, on and on. They will be militantly ignorant in support of their beliefs. This is a massive ugly thing that you'll have to deal with.

If they aren't, if they're basically sane people who happen to be ignorant of the world outside America, you can tell them to stop sending such emails - and they will. You can tell them truths about the world outside America - and they'll say, "Thanks, I didn't know that."

But you need to know which one. Because one is a BIG pain in the ass. So you might as well be a little confrontational now, so that you find out before you get too invested with your girlfriend. (You also need to sound her out on this subject, obviously.)
posted by jellicle at 5:46 AM on July 25, 2006


The question you have to ask is: are your future in-laws cranks or jerks?

A crank is someone who has strongly-felt political opinions and loudly expresses without regard for the sentiment of his audience. You should not pick a fight with a crank who happens to be your in-law -- that's what the delete button is for. (And, at Thanksgiving, that's what a nice stiff cocktail is for.)

A jerk is someone who knows you can't stand his political views, but throws it in your face because he knows you hate it, and wants to piss you off. If you think your in-laws are in this category, you need to do something about it, because there's no reason to let them insult you, and, even if politics isn't that important in the scheme of family relations, they won't stop the disrespect with politics. The right way to put a stop to it isn't by e-mails though -- the next time you see them, advise them sternly that you need to agree to disagree on matters political.

One key note: you forfeit the anti-jerk approach if you, yourself, put politics in play -- many of things that leftists believe to be utterly and innocently true are every bit as offensive to conservatives as you found the screed about Muslim incapability of bieng a true American.
posted by MattD at 6:08 AM on July 25, 2006


In an unrelated note, I'm going to start referring to myself as the moon-god of Baltimore.
posted by electroboy at 6:13 AM on July 25, 2006


Also, Allah is the moon god of Arabia?!?

Jack Chick explains it all for you.
posted by staggernation at 6:29 AM on July 25, 2006


My inlaws did the same thing for a bit. I asked them to stop because "I have a very twitchy spam filter that tends to trash forwards. I don't want it to learn to trash emails from you automatically, so could you please leave me off the forward list?"
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:45 AM on July 25, 2006


The website from the blue that emelenjr mentioned is thanksno.com.
posted by gnomeloaf at 7:07 AM on July 25, 2006


My military brother used to send me questionable shit via email (Fwd:Fwd:Fwd:Fwd:......) when he was in Iraq and I just ignored it. Once he was back on American soil, we had a heated discussion about all of them and I told him that they were all highly offensive and to never send them to me again. So um.. honesty I guess.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 7:14 AM on July 25, 2006


I liked neda's "email". But I think the tone crack takes will likely get better results.
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 7:15 AM on July 25, 2006


Ignoring a mass-forwarded screed is not "tacit validation," and it's not "complicity by silence." It's just not. There is no assumption that we agree with everything that we don't specifically object to. The opposite view just feeds into our increasingly antagonistic, fractured society. Turning a mass email into a family battle is far more likely to solidify opposing opinions than to change them.
posted by pardonyou? at 7:20 AM on July 25, 2006


To deal with this kind of thing in general, though, just tell them "Please don't send me this stuff. I find it offensive." If they want to get offended at your being offended, just tell them "look, you and I are going to have to agree to disagree on this."

If you don't want to ignore it (which is what I do with all political-rant e-mail forwards, even the ones I agree with), the above is the best advice you're going to get. Trying to reply point-by-point is a waste of everyone's time and liable to lead to considerable aggravation. The time may come when you will find yourself comfortable enough with these people that when the subject comes up you can take some gingerly steps toward educating them, but your first priority should be your relationship with your girlfriend (and by extension her family), not arguing with one particular set of ignorant bigots.
posted by languagehat at 7:21 AM on July 25, 2006


And what pardonyou? just said.
posted by languagehat at 7:22 AM on July 25, 2006


I don't expect that these people are actually interested in hearing a refutation, and there were some good suggestions already, but I'll add mine:

This is something I've wondered about for some time now: How & why do the
Muslims hate us & everyone else so much? Doesn't their God teach them to love?

You won't really find many Muslims who hate the American people as a whole. You will find plenty who hate US foreign policy, but most people do not conflate the American people with the US government. You will find some people on the far end who feel a bad taste for Americans because they are so ill-informed about the world that they can't imagine why anyone would have a problem with US foreign policy instead of getting down on their knees to thank them, and for, among other things, re-electing a warmonger, and we hear from them a lot on the TV news, but really most Muslims don't in fact hate "us" (and several million of "us" are Muslims anyway.")

So why would Muslims bear bad feelings toward the US government? If this person has been wondering for some time, it must have been a very idle curiousity that he didn't bother looking into at all. How long has he been wondering? Since before the flattening of the "Paris of the Middle East" with US-supplied weapons? Since before the current massacre in Iraq? Since before the bombing of civillians in Afghanistan, and the kidnapping of goat herders to be placed in a prision thousands of miles from home with no charges? Since before the first gulf war, and the subsequent embargo that killed millions for lack of food and medicine, including many children whose deaths Madeline Albright deemed "worth it?" Since before Saddam Hussein was installed by the US in the first place, and armed by them with weapons that he used in the Iran-Iraq war, and with which he gassed the Kurds? Since before any of the other various dictators of Muslim countries were brought to power and propped up with the assistance of the US government? Since before the Palestinians were oppressed with US weapons? Did this person see the images of torture in Abu Ghraib, of children dead in demolished houses, of the little girl whose family was killed before her eyes? And did that give him any insight as to why Muslims might be a little agitated about US foreign policy? Or did he turn off his television and forget about it, and expect the people to whom these things are happening to forget about it just as quickly? In fact, though, the person who wrote this email would probably expect Muslims to be grateful to the US for all of these things, because they are being liberated! The poor US has been going around Muslim lands liberating Muslims for all these years, and those people don't even have the decency to be grateful! Imagine!

Can a good Muslim be a good American?
If by "good American" the person means a nationalist, jingoistic WASP then I certainly hope not. If he means a productive member of society, then he should probably look around and notice the disproportionate number of, for example, health care professionals in this country who are Muslims and who spend their days treating ill Americans. Being a productive member of society doesn't mean waving flags and shouting for war. It means in part living peacefully, which makes me wonder whether the person who wrote this is capable of being a good American.


I sent that question to a friend who worked in Saudi Arabia for 20 years.

If that isn't complete bs, this person lived somewhere for 20 years without even bothering to learn the most basic tenets of the faith of the people around him. That would be remarkable.

The following is his reply:

Theologically - no. Because his allegiance is to Allah, the moon god of
Arabia.

You might ask your in-laws why they worship the Arabian moon god, then, since Allah is simply the Arabic word for God, the same word used in Arabic translations of the Bible, and the same word used by Arab Christians to refer to God since before the birth of Islam.

Religiously - no. Because no other religion is accepted by his Allah except
Islam (Quran, 2:256)

A curious "mistake," since a translation of 2:256 actually reads: " Let there be no compulsion in religion: Truth stands out clear from Error: whoever rejects evil and believes in Allah hath grasped the most trustworthy hand-hold, that never breaks. And Allah heareth and knoweth all things."

See also 2:262 "Those who believe (in the Qur'an), and those who follow the Jewish (scriptures), and the Christians and the sabians,- any who believe in Allah and the Last Day, and work righteousness, shall have their reward with their Lord; on them shall be no fear, nor shall they grieve. "

Scripturally - no. Because his allegiance is to the five pillars of Islam
and the Quran (Koran).

I would really like to know which scripture one has to pledge allegiance to to be a good American. Oh wait, I guess we already know, and I guess we already know why it's wrong. But I doubt that people who forward emails like this would agree or even be interested.

Geographically - no. Because his allegiance is to Mecca, to which he turns
in prayer five times a day.

Wow, I'm not sure what this even means.

Socially - no. Because his allegiance to Islam forbids him to make friends
with Christians or Jews.

Not true. there is an ayah instructing Muslims not to take Christians or Jews as our protecting friends/ guardians and people often wave around a bad translation of that when they have certain intentions, but of course American Muslims interact peacefully with their neighbors of all and no faiths every day.

Politically - no. Because he must submit to the mullah (spiritual leaders),
who teach annihilation of Israel and Destruction of America, the great
Satan.

Muslims do not submit to human beings, but to God. Fortunately, God instructs us to obey just man-made laws while in non-Muslim countries. As far as destruction of "Israel" and "America," even the most extreme fringes would call for no more than the destruction of the Israeli government and the American government (not, for example, the peoples, or the lands), but most, at least in the case of America, would call for reform rather than destruction. Just stop oppressing people, and everyone will be happy. That's it. Of course, all good Americans should be calling for governmental reform all the time, if they keep up with the news.

Domestically - no. Because he is instructed to marry four women and beat
and scourge his wife when she disobeys him (Quran 4:34).

First of all, no one is "instructed" to marry four wives. It is permitted, but in no way required.
A translation of the ayah in question follows: "Men are the protectors and maintainers of women, because Allah has given the one more (strength) than the other, and because they support them from their means. Therefore the righteous women are devoutly obedient, and guard in (the husband's) absence what Allah would have them guard. As to those women on whose part ye fear disloyalty and ill-conduct, admonish them (first), (Next), refuse to share their beds, (And last) beat them (lightly); but if they return to obedience, seek not against them Means (of annoyance): For Allah is Most High, great (above you all)."

The second sentence instructs women to be obedient to their husbands (as does the Bible), who are responsible for protecting and maintaining them. The next sentence describes what should be done not about disobedience, but about disloyalty and ill conduct. Even then, the first step is to admonish her, then if she continues, to sleep apart from her, then if she still continues, to beat her lightly. Even this "beating" is not battering in any way, but would be better described as swatting, like with a small stick. There are a lot of hadiths on the subject which, for example, forbid us from hitting any living thing in the face, one in which the Prophet says of women "do not beat them, do not beat them, do not beat them," another in which he says that the man who is best among you is the one who is best to his wife, and so on. From an Islamic perspective, though, a person's participation in ill conduct is worse for them than a light beating. A light beating lasts for a short time and causes no permanent damage. Ill conduct can go on for a lifetime, and ruin not only the actor's life, but it can cause harm to others as well, then it is punishable in the hereafter. Which goes back to the beginning of the ayah which points out that men are the maintainers and protecters of women. How else could you protect someone by beating them (even lightly)? Still, you'll find that in the Islamic community as in other communities, education correlates negatively with domestic abuse. Devout Muslims who know their religion are very unlikely to ever raise a hand, or even their voice, to their wives, who would likely take their advice to heart when they admonish them, or feel hurt enough when they refused to share a bed with them, that they would reform their behavior long before it reached that point.

Intellectually - no. Because he cannot accept the American Constitution
since it is based on Biblical principles and he believes the Bible to be
corrupt.

Ha. Ha. The constitution based on Biblical principles? Please. The constitution is clearly based on the liberal philosophy of the time. I haven't seen any problems with the US constitution. Most of it is just a list of which government body is in charge of which functions of government, and the rest is a list of the rights reserved to the people...I'd like to see one specific part of the Constitution that Muslims supposedly can't accept.

Philosophically - no. Because Islam, Muhammad, and the Quran do not allow
freedom of religion and _expression. Democracy and Islam cannot co-exist.

I think enough has been mentioned above to show that Islam does allow freedom of religion. Representative Democracy and Islam can co-exist so long as tyrants are not propped up with outside support. See the last Egyptian election, in which people literally had to fight their ways to the polls in some cases, but were held back by the tyrant's guns. (Back to the first question. Guess who bought the guns?)

Every Muslim government is either dictatorial or autocratic.
Heh. Why is that? Anyone who opposes these governments, by the way, is called a terrorist. Except the Iranian government. Whoever opposes the Iranian government is either a dissident or a freedom fighter.

Spiritually - no. Because when we declare "one nation under God," the
Christian's God is loving and kind, while Allah is NEVER referred to as
heavenly father, nor is he ever called love in The Quran's 99 excellent
names.

Being called "father" or "love" has nothing to do with God's position above humanity and the universe as a whole. The first pillar of Islam is submission to God and belief that Muhammad is his prophet; Muslims know very well that we are all "under" him. But the writer had to skim over this, because a number of God's names do, in fact, point out his supremacy (as well as his kindness and compassion, by the way). The 99 names can be seen here. There is certainly nothing in them that a Christian would disagree with. Or anyone who believes in God, I think.

That was long enough that most readers here will have skipped it, and it demonstrates one reason that your in-laws are likely uninterested in hearing about it. It is quicker and easier to spout hatred against the other than it is to gain any sort of understanding about them.
posted by leapingsheep at 7:24 AM on July 25, 2006 [2 favorites]


"Moon God of Arabia"?

it's definitely hard to refute facts like the anti-American Islam indoctrination of Muslim American children or the famously anti pro-Israel stance of Muslims in the Middle East America.

You name me a single other religion that "accepts" religions other than itself.

Judaism, for one. Want to bow down before the false messiah? Fine by us. We're the chosen people, so suck it!

See also Buddhism, for a less trash-talking variant.
posted by mkultra at 7:25 AM on July 25, 2006 [2 favorites]


um...it seems i didn't close the italics at some point. sorry.
posted by leapingsheep at 7:29 AM on July 25, 2006


Many hateful/propaganda e-mails can be refuted with online sources. Find one that proves the ridiculous bias of said e-mail and send the link back to the sender via a hypertext one word reply.

"oops".
posted by Hanover Phist at 7:31 AM on July 25, 2006


Tell them you find the emails hateful and abhorrent and please never, never, send you another. Don't be complicit by your silence.

Nonsense. Do you love the girl? Does she understand that you find her parents political views intolerable? If you can answer yes to both, simply delete the messages and don't mention them. Nothing good can come from entering into a protracted argument about politics and religion with potential in-laws. Tough it out through the holidays (everyone does this in some fashion) and let it go.
posted by aladfar at 7:34 AM on July 25, 2006


I used to get these sorts of email from my in-laws. I'd just delete them, but then one day they sent one (regarding John Edwards) that was riddled with easily refuted factual errors.

I did a "reply-all" and politely refuted the errors, provided unimpeachable sources, and requested that, while I didn't mind the forwards per se, could they at least fact-check and think for themselves a bit before hitting that "forward" button.

My response was quickly followed by a chorus of hallelujahs from other far-flung family members. I no longer get those sorts of forwards, and my personal relationship with them did not suffer.

In your case, I wouldn't bother trying to refute this particular email -- there's nothing rational there at all. Wait for easier prey and pounce on it.
posted by ewagoner at 7:43 AM on July 25, 2006


Another vote for ignore. My wife's uncle sent out a mass e-mail about Iraq and the 'liberal media.' I spent hours drafting a reply, complete with dutifully sourced citations, facts and figures. Hit reply to all. Big mistake. A multi-threaded, 3-day long flamefest ensued. I'm quite sure no opinions were changed. The whole thing was emotionally draining and a big waste of time.
posted by Otis at 7:47 AM on July 25, 2006


I'd be tempted to refute it point by point, or to at least make some snotty comments.

On the other hand, they're your in-laws. Which generally means "not your business"
posted by dagnyscott at 7:50 AM on July 25, 2006


Turning a mass email into a family battle is far more likely to solidify opposing opinions than to change them.

Nothing good can come from entering into a protracted argument about politics and religion with potential in-laws.

There's no need to go to one extreme or the other, either saying nothing about the message or having a "protracted argument" or "battle". You can just say what you think, once, and let them have the last word if that's important to them.

And if an action is "far more likely to solidify opposing opinions than to change them," then what _is_ likely to change them? Don't we all have some responsibility to do that? Not necessarily big divisive actions, but small, uniting actions? Even just showing the love that seems to be missing from this e-mail would be a step in the right direction, whether or not the issues are addressed directly.
posted by amtho at 7:54 AM on July 25, 2006


"Wait for easier prey and pounce on it."

See, in a way that might be a good strategy, but thinking about it that way might be more likely to lead to conflict than clear thinking on their part.

ewagoner, please forgive me if you didn't mean it that way -- you probably didn't. But what I'm getting at is that there's no need to be confrontational; in fact, I acknowledge that it would be at best counterproductive.

At the same time, I think that our communicating, clearly and sincerely, with each other may be at the core of any kind of solid improvement in the seemingly endless cycles of conflicts I hear about every day (that I can stand to listen) on the news.
posted by amtho at 7:58 AM on July 25, 2006


E-mails: Ignore, delete if you can bear to; send terse but polite note requesting that they refrain from forwarding you e-mails if you can't.

As for trying to refute this or educate the senders, I refer you to the wise words of that cheerful old curmudgeon, Robert A. Heinlein:

"Never try to teach a pig to sing. It wastes your time, and annoys the pig."
posted by enrevanche at 9:21 AM on July 25, 2006 [1 favorite]


I got fired when I told a former boss that I was offended by an email he had sent me containing a speech by Charlton Heston. I was going to go on the old high horse about how I didn't think it was appropriate to discuss politics in the workplace and we should just agree to disagree and all that, but I think he was just setting me up to fire me anyway. It was a tiny company, less than 15 people, and the boss was one of the company principals.
posted by matildaben at 10:52 AM on July 25, 2006


In re crack's advice, I don't agree on one point, that such an approach is patently deceiving.

Throughout history, the greatest communicators and teachers have been the ones who could empathize and understand their students/listeners. Good communication is based on rapport, and there is no easier way to lose it than to work straight off your raw emotions.

In this case translating your raw emotions into speech via a garbled and lost in transmission. response to this email would be disasterous and result in nothing but trouble. Instead, careful consideration has to be made as to where these people are coming from. What is driving them to think this way? Fear? Ignorance? A lack of critical thinking? All of the above, I should say.

So how do you go about communicating with such a person in a meaningful way? How do you teach someone like this without them even knowing you are teaching them? I think it is almost exactly what crack said, you have to change the spirit of your communication style, you have to conform it to something they will understand.

This can take the form of pleading that your feelings were hurt by the message for X and Y reason (this is true), and putting it out in a humble way. The exact answer depends on what you think will get through to them.

What I'm trying to get across is that it is not dishonest to change the way you communicate based on who you are communicating with. You have to learn to mesh with all types of people or else you end up painting yourself into an awfully small corner of humanity. From a computer science point of view, translating your emotions directly into speech is the equivalent of dumping ascii text onto a network. Without the TCP/IP headers, hell without the handshake and the pleasantries, the data is unreadable to the receiver.
posted by zhivota at 11:03 AM on July 25, 2006


Also, I forgot to add, I believe it is our responsibility, as moral human beings, to try to change people who believe things like this. But then, I've been known to be an activist. :-)
posted by zhivota at 11:06 AM on July 25, 2006


Do not refute because I don't think you are going to chg anyone's opinions and chances are in the end you'll find it emotionally draining. But if you really really need to do so I second leapingsheep's response. Everything I was thinking of putting in my response, he's done it already - only better. However do find out what is your GF's position on this and does it bother her that you don't agree with those views? If your inlaws are the hardcore conversion propagandists types then it might spew some trouble later in your married life ..kids et al. You need to be clear on it with your GF that you two won't allow your inlaw's religio-political views in your life.

I don't want to sound alarmist, but if I were in your shoes and if I found that my GF was so diametrically opposite to my beliefs, I'd rethink my decision to move forward on the marriage. So do find out where she stands. IMHO that should matter more to you than replying to your in-laws.
posted by forwebsites at 3:16 PM on July 25, 2006


I think I'll agree with zhivota. Its not patently deceptive or dishonest. But I still face an ethical dilemma in situations like these: On the one hand ignoring them because you deem them a lost cause or not worth the trouble can be misanthropic/nihilistic or presumptive/arrogant, on the other, strategically taking the gingerly (I like that term languagehat) approach leaves a bad taste in my mouth. These are adults after all, paternalistically playing clandestine teacher to them is to regard them as less than equal interlocutors. But as I said, in my experience it has on rare occasion eventually helped to facilitate frank and friendly discussion on an equal footing. But sometimes the pace of the rehabilitation process was too slow and not worth the mental expenditure. I'm glad I am not an international relations envoy.
posted by crack at 3:17 PM on July 25, 2006


Just a quick personal not about the "Islam accepts no other religions" thing.

When I lived in a Muslim country, and people asked your religion, they were entirely happy to hear you were a Christian or a Jew. They lumped all three of those together into what they called "The Religions Of The Book" and wouldn't hassle you at all in any way.

What would really freak them out is if you told them you were an atheist. That just wasn't acceptable. Not that they took it as an insult to their faith, but that they were genuinely concerned for you and felt they had to help you for your own good. It'd be like you telling your mother you'd taken up injecting heroin. Even if it's true, don't do it.
posted by AmbroseChapel at 5:04 PM on July 25, 2006


Good luck. I finally got fed up with this kind of racist, religionist, hate-filled crap and told a friend that I really didn't agree with any of it, and I'd appreciate it if she could not send me them in the future. She replied that she knew it would rile me up and that's why she sent it.

We're not very close anymore.
posted by Meep! Eek! at 7:01 PM on July 25, 2006


[original poster] Wow. Thanks a lot, everyone, for all your ideas. I think every single response here was helpful in some way. AskMeFi rules!

I'm still gonna have to keep chewing on this one for a little while, though.
posted by neuron at 7:08 PM on July 25, 2006


I love the crank versus jerk theory offered by by MattD. That explains so much. That's absolutely right.

I also like pardonyou?'s view of the situation.
posted by jayder at 8:49 PM on July 25, 2006


Sweet Moses! I got this same shitty email today and went straight to MetaFilter for my rebuttal.

Thanks, Many-Brained Creature of the Web!
posted by ColdChef at 8:48 PM on February 13, 2007


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