Why some people should need a license to "drive" on the information highway — RANT

Once again the “Starbucks Hates Our Military” stupidity has landed in my mailbox. And once again, I have responded to it in the most definitive manner I could muster. And once again, feeling compelled to respond to yet another nasty, unfounded and destructive urban legend has thoroughly pissed me off….. so I’m going to post my rant-in-response here…. and from now on I’ll just reference the link. This response may have been about a specific urban legend, but the sentiment holds true for ALL of them.

So here goes:

Okay …..


This is FALSE! Please send it back to the originator with “reply to all” — let’s put a stop to this BULLSHIT!Not only should Starbucks NOT be boycotted for their actions post-9/11, they should get our business whenever possible…..And here’s why:

1. http://www.snopes.com/politics/military/starbucks.asp

and personally, I’m getting to a point where anyone who forwards crap like this on without even bothering to do a 2-second snopes check first (http://www.snopes.com/) is going on my permanent “Moron List” of people to never trust as dealing in facts, and to always suspect have no idea what the hell they’re talking about…… and who don’t even care if they know, as long as they’re talking.

2. I was still living in NYC on 9/11 — 2 blocks from the Armory on 26th Street — you know, the one where the families of those lost came to give DNA samples in order to try to match remains to their loved ones. I was a volunteer at that Armory for several days, and frequented a nearby Starbucks (12 hours on your feet is tiring, 12 hours on your feet with a bad back is exhausting — Starbucks caffeine infusions kept me going). I was in that store sometimes 3 times in a single day, getting not just coffee, but espresso drinks — not ONCE would they allow me to pay for my coffee while I was volunteering. If you had a volunteer ribbon on, your money was no good. And I TRIED to insist on paying for my coffee (I was not comfortable receiving personal gain — even in the form of free coffee — from the events of 9/11. It made me VERY uncomfortable). But they would not take my money. After a day or so I started removing my ribbon before going in….. it didn’t work….. they remembered me from the previous couple of rounds and STILL wouldn’t take my money for coffee…. they once let me actually BUY a muffin….. but the coffee was free for the duration of the Armory being in use for that. After a while the Armory functions were transferred to a pier on the West-Side and the volunteer functions were taken over by the Red Cross, but while it was just us locals doing what we could, and hitting that Starbucks, my coffee money was no good.

I make it a point to find a Starbucks wherever I go, and buy from them when I can. They’re a good company, they treat their employees well and fairly (which is all too uncommon these days), they’ve sent a lot of coffee to our troops (regardless of the misinformation contained in the e-mail to which I am responding), and they were incredibly supportive and giving in the wake of 9/11.

I know the following is not the most rational response, but this Starbucks crap keeps landing in my mailbox, and quite frankly it’s gotten to a level where it pisses me off. So anyone who passes this along, without so much as the slightest bit of concern regarding factuality (which is demonstrated by the mere fact that they passed it on — if they’d checked on it, they’d know it’s false and therefore would not (unless they’re a complete nutcase) send it on) — can basically kiss my cyber ass.

Going to ANY of the myriad Urban Legends debunking sites out there, typing in “Starbucks” and seeing what comes back, takes about 10 seconds — 10 freaking seconds….. and yet most people don’t bother to validate crap like this before they pass it on….. urban legend, after urban legend, after urban legend keeps cycling around as “fact” long after it’s be debunking repeatedly by multiple investigators — why? Because the internet has done something very dangerous — it’s allowed people to pass their knee-jerk reactions on to hundreds of others with a single mouse-click and without bothering to take a deep breath and THINK before doing so. I love the internet, it’s a wonderful resource, unfortunately it allows lies, misinformation and outright bullshit to be propagated as fact far more easily that it should be. And it allows the intellectually lazy to just keep passing the garbage on ad nauseum.

Soooooo — if you’re too freaking lazy to check on it before passing it along — then PLEASE be too freaking lazy to pass it on. Because the rest of us don’t need this crap landing in our mailboxes over, and over, and over, and over, and over……


And now for the more rational response — Here are some Urban Legends debunking sites:

About Urban Legends

There are many others too, but these 2 seem to be the most complete. I tend to use snopes the most — because it’s extremely rare that they haven’t invesigated something that one of the other sites has. There’s just no excuse for passing this kind of thing along without doing a quick check first to see if it has any validity.



The London Bombing

What happened in London the other day was a horrific crime. We all know that. I don’t think there’s any sane person for whom that is not perfectly clear — it was a horrible act, unreasonable and evil. And we are all appropriately horrified by it. What I’m having trouble understanding is why we’re all more horrified by this than we are (myself included) with the acts of horror that are occurring daily throughout the World. There are bombings in the Middle East every day. There are horrible and inhuman crimes being committed in Africa constantly….. somehow we don’t react to them quite the same way…. it’s as if we’ve come to expect such actions in those areas, and so aren’t shocked by them…. but really, if we stop and look at it, it is just as horrifying whether it’s Isreal, Iraq, Afghanistan, the Sudan, Ivory Coast, Zimbabwe, or even a gang war in LA, the violence and horror are equally great.

Is it that in regard to those places where such violence is a regular occurrence, we’ve allowed ourselves to become numb to it? That London, because we think of it as a “civilized” place, is more shocking? Anyone who’d commit such acts of violence, no matter where they commit them, has given up their own right to be considered a human being as far as I’m concerned. Once they decided that what was in their head was more important than a single human life, they lost their soul… and with it their humanity… the question then becomes, what do with do with these soulless and destructive bodies…. and how do we ferret them out and stop them from hurting anyone else? I don’t have answers to that, I just have questions….. which probably isn’t adding much to the debate — but then again, maybe it could.

Tom Cruise, You Need the Psychiatric Help You Eschew….

I don’t know how the rest of you out there are feeling about this, but I for one am sick to death of Tom Cruise and his anti-psychiatry rants. The guy needs to be left in a mental ward with schizophrenics for about a month — and THEN tell us whether there are really psychiatric illnesses or not….. then again, even if he did that, I wouldn’t give a rat’s ass what his opinion was. I grew up in a home with a mentally ill mother. A mother who heard voices. A mother who responded violently to the most benign things — such as coming home from school and saying “Hi Mom”. My mother needed help. She eventually GOT that help, but had she gotten it decades sooner, it would have saved her kids a lot of pain. But her generation didn’t believe in psychiatry, and people didn’t talk about mental illness, because there was a horrible stigma attached to it. Had it been otherwise, my mother might have gotten help sooner, she might have gotten better sooner. She may even have gotten better while I was still a kid and saved me from untold beatings and pain….. but she didn’t. And every time I hear Tom Cruise shooting off his fat, misinformed, know-nothing mouth all I can think of is that there may be some kid out there who’s life is being made miserable by a parent who needs psychiatric intervention…. and maybe that parent was even starting to think about getting that help…. and then they heard Tom Cruise, and his loud-mouthed ignorance gave them the cheap excuse they needed to put off, or not get, the help they need….. and that kid is still dealing with it. If that’s true in even ONE case out there, then Tom Cruise has done irreparable harm. The guy’s entitled to his beliefs. He’s entitled to run his life based on the cultish insanity of a misogynistic science-fiction writer if he so chooses. Not a problem. But now he’s become dangerous by trying to condemn others for not following him into his pseudo-religious insanity.

You couldn’t PAY me to see another Tom Cruise movie — ever. I will not buy anying that will put one red cent into that man’s pockets. Maybe if he becomes box-office poison the media will stop interviewing him and giving him a forum for his insane blather and down-right dangerous ranting. And I have a message for his fiance — RUN!