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John McCain says he doesn't use e-mail, afraid of what he'll say

Technically Incorrect: The Republican stalwart says he has other people doing his e-mailing for him.

Technically Incorrect offers a slightly twisted take on the tech that's taken over our lives.

He would never call anyone "low-life scum" in writing. RT America; YouTube screenshot by Chris Matyszczyk/CNET

John McCain has always struck me as a very nice and engaging man, his only apparent drawback being that he's a politician. He also strikes me as not without wisdom.

In recent days, there's been scrutiny after it emerged that former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton used her own private e-mail account and server while she was in office.

Opinion seems to vary as to whether this was unusual, suspicious, normal or even sensible.

How, indeed, do other politicians use their e-mail service? The National Journal tried to see if and how this debate was affecting Clinton's image and standing.

One voice, though, wondered what she was doing using e-mail at all. This was McCain. He told the National Journal: "I don't email at all."

Some might find this odd, given that he is a known iPhone user who once complained to Apple CEO Tim Cook that he's always having to update his apps.

McCain, though, offered a sternly intelligent and self-aware reasoning behind shunning e-mail. He explained: "I have other people and I tell them to email because I am just always worried I might say something. I am not the most calm and reserved person, you know? I am afraid I might email something that in retrospect I wish I hadn't."

There's a beautiful wisdom in this. Every communication technology seems to be set up for an instant response. It's hard when you get an e-mail not to reply -- which, for some people, means to react without necessarily thinking.

McCain is known for his reactive nature. In a recent Senate hearing, when some protested the presence of former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, McCain offered observations such as "Shut up or I'll have you arrested" and "low-life scum."

It's one thing to hear those things said, but when they're written down they take on a certain gravity and permanence.

A tendency toward instant fiery expression surely isn't the only reason some shun e-mail. A couple of years ago, Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan admitted that some of her fellow Supremes don't use e-mail either.

Her suggestion was that they weren't terribly sophisticated. Technologically speaking, you understand.

I wonder if the truth is that they're a little wiser about the potential consequences -- especially the legal ones -- than the majority of us.