...this trend, on the web at least, has resulted a glut of
graphics heavy, worthless pages,
the concept - simply put, HTML e-mail is evil. There's a time and a place for everything, and the time and place for graphics, animation, and fancy fonts is the web (although Gabriel Helman would disagree with me on that score!). E-mail is -- and should remain -- a plaintext medium. Why? Because e-mail is a communication medium, and a good one. In order for a communication medium to work effectively, it has to be understood. All e-mail programs can display plaintext in a readable fashion, but they can't all display HTML meaningfully. Chances are at least 50/50 that any HTML e-mail I receive gets deleted before it's opened, so, if you really want to get my attention, send me plaintext.
what's more - some people extend this to the Web and to vCards. I don't. The Web can do what it likes, and I find vCards useful.
signatures - if you agree, feel free to join the movement and show this by adding an ASCII ribbon to your signature, or come up with your own.
oops - Some poplar e-mail programs seem to be shipped with html set to be the default mailing method. This means that some people don't even realize they're participating in this heinous act (which, by the way, makes you look like an Internet newbie!) You can easily turn off that annoying feature. Here is a tutorial for Outlook and Netscape.