If you had a joke or a story to tell, someone would have to "tell it" to you. You could decide right then and there if you liked it or didn't. You also could decide whether or not this bit of information was worthy to be passed on.
Consider a joke from the third grade. One child tells you, and then you tell someone else. Three weeks later, the joke has made full circle and is back at you. And that was in a small town with a small school.
For other types of information, you needed a book or a magazine. Of course, there was T.V.
The authoritative "written word" was something that only high brow people had access to, since they actually had to WANT to find it.
My point? The credibility of the information was close to the source. If it had an authoritative "feel" to it, it probably was written by an expert of some sort. My generation (40ish) and older is somehow brainwashed to trust authoritative sounding things.
The younger generations are instinctively rebellious towards this or cautiously suspicious. In a sense, they (the younger people) are smarter than us. They are trained skeptics, and we didn't train them to be that way. Why is that? Growing up on the internet and email forwards, scams, unstable government and shifting economy has trained them. They grew up in spite of our naivete-our diet of JFK speeches and hopeful America of progress and success. We trusted everything. They trust nothing.
Speaking of trusting everything, it brings me to the impetus for writing this high brow post: email forwards--again. (not again!) Yes, you need to hear it again. Well, not you, specifically. But someone out there needs this, so you can share it.
We need to be discerning. Anything that says, "forward this to your friends" is an email forward. Let's consider this logically.
1) If it has to tell you to forward this to your friends, do you think you can trust it? If it is really that good, wouldn't you just do this normally? Why then, do THEY want you to forward it?
2)Authoritative sounding forwards that start with "Dr. such and so says.." There are a million doctors out there, but unless it is a doctor I KNOW, like my favorite family physician, Dr. Woodman, I really don't care what Dr. such and so says. My favorite Dr. Woodman hides behind his desk when he sees me coming because I question everything he says and ask him to site sources, dates, etc. for anything he says. (Oh yeah, I do that) Even Dr. Woodman is put to the test and not trusted implicitly.
3) SNOPES.COM can verify anything for you. This week I just got on snopes and put it "drinking cold water after a meal causes cancer?" It said: FALSE. It was so easy peasy. Anyone can do it.
In Summary, let me reiterate:
1) Everything that comes in an authoritative written form is not authoritative or even true.
2) EMAIL forwards are not a good source of reliable information.
3) People who are older are more prone to believe these things because of the way we grew up. Your kids really are smarter than you if you are 40 or older.
4) I think I'll wait another 3 months before going on this rant again.