Thank you for writing to us! Although we receive hundreds of e-mails every day, we really and truly read them all, and your comments, suggestions, and questions are most welcome. Unfortunately, we can manage to answer only a small fraction of our incoming mail.
Our site covers many of the items currently being plopped into inboxes everywhere, so if you were writing to ask us about something you just received, our search engine can probably help you find the very article you want.
Choose a few key words from the item you're looking for and click here to go to the search engine.
(Searching on whole phrases will often fail to produce matches because the text of many items is quite variable, so picking out one or two key words is the best strategy.)
We do reserve the right to use non-confidential material sent to us via this form on our site, but only after it has been stripped of any information that might identify the sender or any other individuals not party to this communication.
Claim: A roadway in South Dakota will be temporarily closed to allow for the transport of a large piece of coal to Mount Rushmore.
Examples:[Collected via e-mail, April 2009]
I just received an e-mail talking about a traffic jam caused by the transport of a huge piece of coal going to Mount Rushmore for the addition of our 44th President.
LANE CLOSURES ON RT 80 this weekend
Over this upcoming weekend they will be transporting a 40 ton lump of hard coal from Scranton Pa to Rapid City SD along Int. Rt, 80. According to
WNEP Channel 16 this will cause massive bottlenecks this weekend in upstate PA.
The coal is bound for Mount Rushmore. Early next year they will be adding our 44th president to the national monument.
True or False???
Is this true?
I-90 will be closed this weekend across South Dakota. They are hauling a 2000 ton lump of coal so they can add Obama to Mt. Rushmore!
Origins: Receiving multiple "Is this true?" inquiries about a particular bit of humor always poses something of a challenge for us: The immediate temptation is to brush off such questions by simply responding "It's just a joke," but that sort of answer is too facile — clearly something about these supposedly frivolous humor items is striking some people as plausible and therefore merits examination.
So what to make of this specific example? On one level it might charitably be considered a political spoof, a jab at the perceived overzealousness of some
Obama supporters who seemed ready from the moment of his election (if not sooner) to elevate him to the pantheon of America's Greatest Presidents, well before he might have done anything to merit such a honor. On a more obvious level it's nothing more than a denigrating, racist joke intended to emphasize that President Obama's racial heritage places him in a distinctly different (where "different" is often a code word for "inferior") class than any previous U.S. president. (It's not as if the stone carvings of Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and Roosevelt that currently populate Mount Rushmore were carefully crafted to match the skin tones of their subjects, so why would a similar carving of Obama require the use of a "lump of hard coal"?) Yet a third interpretation straddles the middle ground between these first two, positing that the joke is racial but not necessarily racist — that the intent is to satirize the notion that much of the adulation directed at Barack Obama has focused primarily or exclusively on his status as the first black president, not on any other quality of the man himself.