You may have heard about New York candidate for Governor Carl Paladino and his, um, off-color e-mails. Paladino apparently has been forwarding all sorts of material to his friends for some time.
He sent an e-mail to those same friends recently, trying to explain why he did it. You can read the text of the letter here from a Buffalo News blog. Be sure to read some of the comments if you go there.
Short version -- Paladino says that it's a way of keeping in touch with his friends, to let them know he's thinking about them. Which leads to an interesting issue.
Everyone with an e-mail account gets some sort of forwarded material. It might be jokes, it might be political propaganda, it might be somewhat wild statements that can be proven to be untrue; it might be "Bill Gates will send you $1,000 if you forward this e-mail within..." messages.
Me, I think I'm doing my friends a big favor by not sending them jokes, especially ones with potentially objectionable content. (Luckily, I don't find that stuff the least bit funny, so it is very easy to hit "delete.") If someone does send out something that can easily be checked out and proven wrong, sometimes I'll hit "reply all" and quote a source saying the forwarded e-mail is completely offbase. You know how news types are, always interested in promoting accuracy.
I'd like to think I'm being a much better friend this way. And hopefully, my friends realize that.
And I'm not even running for Governor.
P.S. One final catch to the story -- the fable, essentially, was used as a Twilight Zone episode. You can read about it here.