Scott Hardie | August 8, 2003
Back in May, a 63-year-old friend of mine forwarded me a rant from Andy Rooney of "60 Minutes." Here's the text I received...

I like big cars, big boats, big motorcycles, big houses and big campfires.

I believe the money I make belongs to me and my family, not some governmental stooge with a bad comb-over who wants to give it away tocrack addicts for squirting out babies.

Guns do not make you a killer. I think killing makes you a killer. You can kill someone with a baseball bat or a car, but no one is trying to ban you from driving to the ball game.

I believe they are called the Boy Scouts for a reason, that is why there are no girls allowed. Girls belong in the Girl Scouts! ARE YOU LISTENING MARTHA BURKE?

I think that if you feel homosexuality is wrong, it is not a phobia, it is an opinion.

I don't think being a minority makes you a victim of anything except numbers. The only things I can think of that are truly discriminatory are things like the United Negro College Fund, Jet Magazine, Black Entertainment Television, and Miss Black America. Try to have things like the United Caucasian College Fund, Cloud Magazine, White Entertainment Television, or Miss White America;and see what happens. Jesse Jackson will be knocking down your door.

I have the right "NOT" to be tolerant of others because they aredifferent, weird, or tick me off.

When 70% of the people who get arrested are black, in cities where 70% of the population is black, that is not racial profiling, it is the Law of Probability.

I know what sex is, and there are not varying degrees of it. If I received sex from one of my subordinates in my office, it wouldn't be a private matter or my personal business. I would be "FIRED" immediately!

I believe that if you are selling me a milk shake, a pack of cigarettes, a newspaper or a hotel room, you must do it in English! As a matter of fact, if you want to be an American citizen, you should have to speak English!

My father and grandfather didn't die in vain so you can leave thecountries you were born in to come over and disrespect ours. I think the police should have every right to shoot your sorry self if you threaten them after they tell you to stop. If you can't understand the word "freeze" or "stop" in English, see the above lines.

I feel much safer letting a machine with no political affiliation recount votes when needed. I know what the definition of lying is.

I don't think just because you were not born in this country, you are qualified for any special loan programs, government sponsored bank loans or tax breaks, etc., so you can open a hotel, coffee shop, trinket store, or any other business.

We did not go to the aid of certain foreign countries and risk our lives in wars to defend their freedoms, so that decades later they could come over here and tell us our constitution is a living document; and open to their interpretations.

I don't hate the rich. I don't pity the poor. I know pro wrestling is fake, but so are movies and television.. That doesn't stop you from watching them.

I believe a self-righteous liberal or conservative with a cause is more dangerous than a Hell's Angel with an attitude.

I think Bill Gates has every right to keep every penny he made and continue to make more. If it ticks you off, go and invent the next operating system that's better, and put your name on the building. Ask your buddy that invented the Internet to help you.

It doesn't take a whole village to raise a child right, but it does take a parent to stand up to the kid; and smack their little behinds when necessary, and say "NO!"

I think tattoos and piercing are fine if you want them, but please don't pretend they are a political statement. And, please, stay home until that new lip ring heals. I don't want to look at your ugly infected mouth as you serve me french fries!

I am sick of "Political Correctness." I know a lot of black people, and not a single one of them was born in Africa; so how can they be "African-Americans"? Besides, Africa is a continent. I don't go around saying I am a European-American because my great, great, great, great, great, great grandfather was from Europe. I am proud to be from America and nowhere else.

And if you don't like my point of view, tough.

The forward stuck in my mind because of the passionate writing, and because it matched the mindset of my friend fairly well.

So today I received the same forward from another friend, but with noticeable changes:
- In the "When 70% of the people" paragraph, "black" is changed to "of a certain race."
- The section in the middle about speaking English is MUCH EXPANDED, with lots of CAPITAL LETTERS and EXCLAMATION POINTS!!!!!
- At the end of the "My father and grandfather..." paragraph, it says, "That's what I say also, get the HELL out of this country, if you immigrated from some where else, or even your ancestors did also."
- At the end of the "I don't think just because..." paragraph, it says, "TRUE TRUE, go and do that in yourown country."
- The last line has been changed to, "And if you don't like my point of view, tough. DON'T PASS IT ON!!"

I don't have any particular point to make about these changes specifically, except that the words "don't pass it on" would obviously only be written by someone in email, not said by a commentator on television. Mainly, I just want to share my amusement at how email forwards get edited by the people who pass them on. Granted, embellishments and mistranslations have shaped human storytelling since the beginning of time (ask King James), but it usually happens by accident. With email, even though written text is so much easier to pass on verbatim than a spoken story, people will deliberately go in and change what they see fit. That, to me, is funny.

For further comparison, I looked up the speech online, and sure enough there are other variations. "Shoot your sorry self" was replaced by "shoot your sorry ass." The reference to Martha Burke and the author credit to Andy Rooney was sometimes removed. Weird little changes, like "Law of Probability" changed to "law of statistics." Much more swearing in some versions, and more listing of specific races at the end besides just African-Americans. This page made too many changes to list, but at least the author acknowledges that he changed it himself.

As usual, confirms that it's bullshit, made up by some anonymous racist and edited by the masses as it spread. I wonder if the original author's name was on it in the first place, and someone else had the idea to claim it was written by Andy Rooney? It's likely.

And finally, Andy Rooney claims that was behind the article in the first place (which is impossible to "track back" through email like he claims), and that site's webmaster rebukes Rooney's claims, completely missing the point. At least, I think those articles are the real thing...

Jackie Mason | August 8, 2003
[hidden by request]

Scott Hardie | August 8, 2003
The only thing that irks me about the pro-gun movement is the belief some seem to have that the Constitution gives Americans the ethical right to own guns. The second amendment gives us the legal right only; it's not unfair for us on the other side to believe that gun ownership is ethically wrong or just plain foolish.

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