I get some interesting stuff in my email — lots of recipes and cooking tips, lots of animal rescue/environmental newsletters, and tons of stuff wanting me to buy buy buy.
Last week, in the Urban Daddy newsletter (yeah, I subscribe; they’re giving away a $2000 grill package, which tempted me beyond all control), they wrote about a new email program called ToneCheck.
Okay, so you’re pissed off by the nasty note sent by your boss/editor/agent/a reader . . . whatever. If you’re like most of us, you whip out a response. Of course, if you send it, you’re going to be in deep sh*t, so this program will basically critique it for you. It looks for “angry” language, cursing, aggressiveness, etc., so when you hit Send, the program stops the process and says, “Hey, are you sure you want to start out with ‘Jane, you $&%#ing ignorant slut’?”
BTW, the program also has a positivity checker, so when you email your editor to tell her you love the idea of killing off your hero in chapter one and you can’t wait to come up with a new hero for your heroine to fall in love with and, oh, it’s so cool that she wants you to give your heroine a complete makeover from inside out and do it all in three weeks, because Ms. Editor is just the greatest person in the whole world!!!!!!!!!!! It’ll stop that, too, to ask if you really want the prize for suck-up of the universe.
Hm. I’ve had such a program for a loooong time. It’s called Common Sense. My mama gave it to me many years ago, and it’s rarely developed a glitch at all. I have a backup program, too, called Meg And Susan. If I have to vent, I can do it to them with no consequences beyond sympathy and (usually) a good laugh.
I admit to an occasional lapse. I got an email from a reader once informing me in the smug, condescending tones of Know-It-Alls everywhere that most Georgians do not consider Georgia to be part of “the South.” Having lived in or next door to Georgia for much of my life, I zipped back a response: “Have you ever been to Georgia? Do you know where it is?? Have you ever even talked to a Georgian???” Because every native Georgian I ever met lived by the motto, American by birth, Southern by the grace of God.
Are we really, as a people, so devolved that we need a computer program to tell us when we’re being rude or about to shoot ourselves in the foot?