I have been enjoying the bits of the series “Adam Ruins Everything” that I could watch online. So far, here is what he has addressed:
- Diamond engagement rings were declining in popularity but the diamond cartel De Beers made an extensive ad campaign to convince everyone that they needed expensive rings for engagements
- Circumcision has weird cultural origins and no health benefits
- Purebread dogs are not healthy
- Tipping is an unethical revenue stream uncorrelated to quality of service
- Donating shoes to poor countries (thus destroying the local shoemaker’s jobs, while missing the point, as they could already buy shoes)
- Magnetic credit cards’ poor security against fraud (compared to EMV in Europe, anyway)
- TSA security theater (you don’t know this about me, but I’ve never been to the US without finding a card in my luggage saying it had been searched. Last time I went, I waited a month to get my luggage back)
- Anti-competitive car dealership laws
- How Jaywalking became a crime when originally, streets were meant to walk on (hint, car manufacturers had lobbies)
- The error rate of lie detectors and fingerprint comparisons
- Food coloring
- Wine tasting error rate
- Listerine false advertising
- Gerrymandering in the US
- The rationality of not talking about salary
- Disney changed public domain laws to milk their old copyrights
- Hymens don’t break, virginity is a lie
That’s already a long list, but the show is fairly young!
A number of the crazy things that Adam debunks are cultural and only appear in the US, such as tipping, jaywalking or magnetic credit cards. (Also, how is your ID a driver’s license?) That made me wonder how fast I could come up with other things that are absurd in the French experience.
France tends to be considered as rational, but there is still plenty of superstition, xenophobia, nationalism, and of course, political corruption (even though much less extensively than in the US). There’s a ton of stupid things like yoghurt being advertised as a medical cure, speed detectors on roads being marked up on cars’ GPS trackers to warn drivers (forcing them to be distracted), homeopathy being sold by pharmacies, and the awful impact of christian extremism in schools leading to absurd amounts of teen pregnancies, health illiteracy and misogyny.
I didn’t even mention how wine is seen as French, but in the 19th century, an imported American disease destroyed all the French vines and they were all grafted with American ones, so they’re not really authentic anymore (well, technically, the American ones were imported from France in the first place, but the DNA got mixed up so much that the struggle for authenticity and labels such as AOC is ridiculous anyway).
What do I forget? Oh, yes, the twisted French elitism ensures that top schools (which are NOT UNIVERSITIES because Napoléon) and companies accept children of people that went there more readily. Finally, there’s a weird and all-too-common sexual mutilation performed on women called “point du mari” that reduces the diameter of their vagina, often without their consentment as a surgery after they had a baby.
On a lighter note, matadors (you know, the performers who turn animal cruelty into entertainment?) are still a thing in southern France.
But hey, at least we don’t believe in fan death!