Friday, May 19, 2017

6 Activities That Shouldn't Still Exist in 2017

I recently talked about the inherent absurdity (and danger) in eating competitions, and since then, I learned about another person who died trying to shove as much food in his face as quickly as possible for a meager award. A 42 year old man in Colorado choked to death when he tried to eat a half pound donut in less than 80 seconds during a bakery's eating challenge. The ridiculous yet harmful nature of these contests led me to ponder on some other types of activities that have remained in existence long past the time they should have been extinguished for the greater good or out of sheer common sense.

It's 2017. We all should know better than to let these activities continue....

Child Beauty Pageants

Seriously? We're still doing these? Yeah.

The worst thing about child beauty pageants is...well, everything. The best thing I can say about child beauty pageants is that at least their list of attendees provides the FBI with the names of all the leading suspects in any area child abduction cases.

Honestly, how do these things persist? It's not even just the creepy factor, although that alone should have left these things in 1920s Atlantic City where they originated. The modern day incarnation started in the 60s, and granted, the world needed a distraction at that time, but the same could be said for any decade (or right now?!?) so that's no excuse. You'd think maybe a child getting murdered would have lessened their popularity instead of increasing it. You'd think that a major expose on HBO might negatively affect the billion dollar industry. You'd hope for the sake of humanity that seeing the absolute disaster that is a family who participates in beauty pageants would make people realize the true horror of this event, but as always, humanity proves worse than possibly imagined.

If we don't stop these for the sake of good taste, we should stop them in the name of the child's future mental health.

But America doesn't care about children, or mental health, so I don't see anything changing any time soon.

Many countries have child pageants, but most other countries don't focus so much on the child's appearance, which perversely sexualizes them. For example, in Australia, their pageants are based on skills like singing and dancing, instead of looks. In fact, the American pageants are so different and so much more perverse, many Australian pageant parents have boycotted Universal Royalty, the main US pageant company.

Not that it has affected the business in the US. Over 250,000 children participate in child beauty pageants per year. Shows like Toddlers and Tiaras and the aforementioned catastrophe Honey Boo Boo, have helped the industry take in over 5 billion dollars a year. That's cocaine money. And the product is even more harmful for kids. At least cocaine makes you feel good about yourself; kids in pageants consistently show increased body dissatisfaction over time, among other issues.

These pageants teach kids that appearances are more important than anything else. People who don't look good don't deserve to win. And you should do whatever it takes to look good. I don't know the appropriate age for a child to wear makeup, but I'm pretty sure 6 years old is too young to be wearing fake teeth and getting botox injections.

Why are we sexualizing young children? For a little bit of money? A small amount of fame?

Yes. Yes, that's exactly why we are doing it. And it's fucking gross. Although it did make for a great movie and a hilarious episode of It's Always Sunny, so I guess we owe these pageants some gratitude.

"Do not diddle kids, it's no good diddling kids!"

The Circus

Abused animals! Poorly paid acrobats! Overpriced soda (and beer, if you're lucky)! Disgusting cotton candy and dry popcorn! The permeating aroma of warm horseshit! Fucking clowns! Welcome to...the circus!

We may not have to wait too long for the demise of this relic of the 19th century. Earlier this year, Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus, the largest circus in town and the Greatest Show on Earth, announced it will be closing. In 2011, Feld Entertainment (owners of Ringling Bros) had to pay over a quarter of a million dollars in fines for violating the Animal Welfare Act, an incident that undoubtedly led to their eventual decision to shut down.

It's ok, we have Gucci to take its place.

No more animal abuse. No more stupid clowns. Good riddance.

The biggest attraction of many traveling circuses were their elephants, and once public opinion turned against the use of elephants, the end of the circus was inevitable. When Ringling Bros phased out the use of elephants in 2015, many circuses followed suit, and they all saw a drastic reduction in sales. And that's ok. It's a remnant of a different era that just doesn't make much sense anymore. Take the best elements of it, the acrobats for instance, and adapt to the times. Cirque du Soleil, for example, is great, and it only rarely smells like horse dung.

Due to natural selection, and large fines, circuses seem to be slowly dying out, but there are many around the US and the globe that still use (and inevitably abuse) animals. The performers aren't exactly living the life of luxury, either, but at least they have some choice in the matter. Some circuses in Great Britain still tour with camels and reindeer. These animals face cramped, temporary housing, dangerous transport, forced performances, and loud obnoxious crowds. Think living in a college dorm room, but without the perks of keggers and Playstation tournaments.

No living creature deserves that.


I learned about bullfighting as a naive young kid in middle school Spanish class. I thought the running of the bulls was insane but also awesome. Bullfighting looked cool as hell. Then I learned the ugly truth behind it all. Those bulls aren't enjoying the spectacle nearly as much as the other participants.

While bullfighting has fallen out of favor in many countries, it is deeply ingrained in Spanish culture and therefore difficult to let go for a good portion of their population. Many places have continued the practice with less lethality, allowing the bulls to live. In 2011, the region of Catalonia, where bullfighting essentially began, lawmakers banned the practice of bullfighting altogether. However, earlier this year, the courts in Spain overturned the ban.

Much like guns in America, bullfighting is considered integral to Spanish culture and any moves to ban it are severely divisive. Whenever momentum swings against it, it eventually swings back the other way. Bulls just don't have good lobbyists.

Image result for bull goring fighter
Their former lobbyist didn't last too long.

Most bullfighters don't mind the inherent danger, and most of the fans crave it, so bullfighting is probably here to stay. This year, a rookie bullfighter was gored twice in the neck and twice in the jaw. This happened in front of 10,000 people. And it's not an uncommon sight to see. In fact, a fighter was gored in the ass just days before that event. In 2013 alone, 31 fighters were gored, and 16 of their assistants were injured; many had life-threatening injuries. And yes, some do get killed, like this young man in 2016.

Yet, Instead of calls to end the practice, much like other dumb sports (see next entry) where catastrophes are the real underlying reason people watch these events, the inevitable death and destruction only encourages more spectators. Bullfighting in Spain is a roughly $2.5 billion industry; it's not going anywhere soon.

Unfortunately, the same can be said of...


I may be (definitely) biased, but Nascar is dumb. Really dumb. "Turning left for 500 miles" yada yada, but see also: wasting precious natural resources, adding to pollution, causing injuries and death. Even if it was enjoyable, at what cost? I can make the assumption most Nascar fans don't believe in global warming, but do they really like being advertised to that much? There's no where else they can go to drink and hear loud noises? I mean, a Toby Keith concert has to be going on somewhere nearby. That is way better for the environment, not counting the discarded condoms and empty beer cans in the back of pickup trucks.

Maybe "wasting natural resources" is a bit overstated, considering the amount of fuel and rubber used for one race compared to the resources used for travel in most sports. But it does add up, and I still think it's a valid complaint.

However, let's take a look at some figures we can more easily verify and compare to other sports. Side note: it pains me to call Nascar a "sport," but that's what society has determined, and I'm nothing if not aware of socially accepted terms and definitions.

Did you know that more than 520 people have died in 25 years of U.S. auto racing? That's wayyy more than I thought. It's like history has already made my point for me!

We all probably heard of Tony Stewart killing Kevin Ward on a racetrack. But apparently, most deaths are not intentionally caused by absolute shitheads: most are just accidents. Accidents that could probably be avoided, but still, most drivers aren't steering towards unprotected people in an effort to kill them.

Most die like Dale Earnhardt; victims of a system that prioritizes speed and danger over driver safety.
To be fair, after Earnhardt's very public death, Nascar mandated some more safety features. However, that does not apply to most "short-track" races, where the majority of Nascar races take place. It's no coincidence that most deaths occur at these short-tracks. And they don't want proper safety. The former president of Charlotte Motor Speedway explains: "Short track racing is usually mayhem, hopefully controlled. That's what people want. It's like ice hockey with cars."

Image result for ice hockey with cars
To be honest...I would watch that. 

Far be it from me to defend ice hockey, but I don't think more than 500 people have died playing hockey since Mario Lemieux won back to back titles in Pittsburgh. I could be wrong, though, I haven't really followed the sport since then.


Airshows are similar to Nascar, except instead of racing around a circle wasting natural resources, this is just some guys doing loop de loops and avoiding death (or not) while wasting natural resources. Accidents are rare (so, not too similar to Nascar after all) but they do occur and they're often tragic for the participants and spectators. In Reno, 11 people were killed and dozens injured when a stunt plane crashed into a grandstand.

Tell 'em, Bob.

There are only about 300 airshows in the US per year, though, so the damage is minimal.

However, military flyovers are the real financial and moral Hindenburg. These idiotic, overly macho, and incredibly short events are most popular at NFL games, but the five major sports leagues in the US all have utilized them. Teams have taken in more than $10 million in marketing deals with the military since 2012 alone; except, this is the US military, so the Department of Defense can't actually account for all of the money. In fact, they can't even account for all the contracts. Oh, and the $10 million estimate doesn't even include Nascar, which may take in as much as $100 million from military contracts.

So, US taxpayers are paying literally millions of dollars for military propaganda in the form of 4 second flyovers. Beyond the moral and financial questions that brings up, who even cares about these things? Fans hardly care, especially when they can't even see the damn thing happening. One time, the US Navy's Blue Angels did a flyover at a stadium WHEN THE ROOF WAS UP! It was so loud inside no one could even hear the jet engines.

Maybe it's more for the viewers at home? Sure, if seeing planes for 4 seconds is worth the approximately $36,000 in taxpayer money that it cost to fly the planes from their base to the stadium and back.

Defenders of this absurd practice, when completely out of other excuses, will proclaim: "Well it provides training for the pilots at the very least! Are you against the troops bro?!"

To that, I simply reply, "Baloney."

Ok, that wasn't my reply. I stole it from an analyst with the Center for Defense Information. He claims that it's "atrocious" training, and the pilots themselves call it, "converting gas to noise." That's not exactly turning pilots into the Red Baron.

There is literally no good reason for these things. I'm sure sports teams will stop taking free money from the military after reading my hard-hitting expose.


Hey did you know that water is rather important for the continued existence of life? You probably did. My readers are a smart bunch. Well, water is also rather important to keep greens and fairways green. And fair, I suppose.

Well, those two facts are crashing towards either at the speed of Tiger Woods' SUV heading towards a tree.

Yet with severe droughts across much of the country occurring for longer periods of time and with more frequency than ever, golf courses are hogging water like Immortan Joe at the Citadel.

Image result for immortan joe water
Never before seen pic of the PGA's Board of Directors. 

While watering your own lawn is bad enough (seriously, if nature wants your yard to be yellow or brown, let it be) watering golf courses to please old rich white men in ridiculous outfits should be considered an environmental crime.

On average, an American family of four uses about 400 gallons of water per day. That's a lot, and we should all do what we can to lessen that amount. Then again, it won't matter much if golf courses stay on their course (ha!) of H20 decimation: the average golf course wastes 312,000 gallons of water per day. In places next to literal deserts, like Palm Springs, golf courses use about a million gallons a day.

Meanwhile, families in Flint still can't get clean water to drink. In fact, 5,300 water systems in the US exceed acceptable levels of lead. Not sure why any level of lead is "acceptable," but that's a whole other article. In the midst of their drought, many Californians had to take showers every other day, unless you're name is Tom Selleck of course (he has to keep that mustache glistening somehow). Even in places like Connecticut, residents have been asked to limit their water intake.

But not golf courses. They don't have to play by residential rules. They can bulldoze forests and natural environments and re-route waterways and use up millions of gallons of water daily with no problem because...I'm not really sure. People with money like to golf? Yeah, that's pretty much it. People with money like to golf and as long as that remains true, the rest of us will have to get used to brushing our teeth with dry toothbrushes and bathing once a week so that shitty people can continue to cheat at a so-called sport they claim to love but really only enjoy because it gives them an excuse to get away from their wives and jobs they don't like.

So let's ban this silly hobby. At the very least it might encourage our president to get to work. Although, that might not be such a good thing either considering his policies.

Ok, nevermind. I guess golf is good for something after all. Let's keep those greens green and that Orange buffoon occupied with correcting his slice rather than completely dismantling our democracy.

I Love You All...Class Dismissed. 

No comments: