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December 12, 2015 11:14 AM   Subscribe

Why Engagement Rings Are a Scam (NSFW language)
The Real Reason You're Circumcised
The Bizarre Truth About Purebred Dogs (and Why Mutts Are Better)
Why Tipping Should Be Banned

Created by comedian and writer Adam Conover as a series of four videos for CollegeHumor, Adam Ruins Everything features a (somewhat) exaggerated version of Conover debunking common beliefs.

This year the series made the leap to cable on the Tru TV channel. The original videos were reshot (except, so far, the dogs one) with better production and guest experts and folded into episodes where "Adam Ruins" everything from Giving to Sex.

Some TV episode segments and excerpts are also uploaded to YouTube, so you can watch Conover take on things like the TSA and Wine Snobs.

Bonus: co-star Emily Axford turns the table and explains Hymens and Sex.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker (106 comments total) 42 users marked this as a favorite
 
He comes by it honestly: Conover's parents and younger sister are all Ph.D's. His dad (who was a guest expert in episode five) is a former Director of the National Science Foundation's Ocean Sciences Division. Here he is answering questions on ocean acidification.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:15 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The hymen one is awesome. Should be required viewing in sex ed classes.
posted by emjaybee at 11:25 AM on December 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


The one on why we shouldn't donate canned food is excellent (spoiler-give your food bank money-it goes a LOOOONG way more.)
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 11:39 AM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm pretty embarrassed to be an adult woman who learned quite a bit from the hymen video.
posted by gladly at 11:48 AM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


You know we're fucked when College Humor, Cracked, Buzzfeed and Rolling Stone are bastions of liberal intellectual journalism.
posted by Talez at 11:51 AM on December 12, 2015 [87 favorites]


Thanks John Kellogg for ruining my orgasm.
posted by thebotanyofsouls at 11:54 AM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Welp, the dog one and circumcision one had enough lazy bullshit in them for me not to trust him at all, no matter how confidently he speaks. No, mutts are not the "natural form" of the dog; that's like talking about the natural form of stainless steel. And no, Victorians didn't hate sex.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:11 PM on December 12, 2015 [12 favorites]


I was watching the sex episode last night, it was delightful. I really like this show. Adam is charming and funny and smart, so dreamy *hearts for eyes*
posted by bleep at 12:11 PM on December 12, 2015


You can reattach my foreskin over my dead body!
posted by Foci for Analysis at 12:12 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Also I really liked that they switched over to Emily for the hymen segment. That was also very smart, and respectful.
posted by bleep at 12:12 PM on December 12, 2015 [9 favorites]


(wait, what's the natural form of stainless steel?)
posted by mittens at 12:17 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Adam is charming and funny and smart, so dreamy *hearts for eyes*

I would say the same about Emily [swoon].
posted by neon meat dream of an octofish at 12:20 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Adam ruins? herpes
posted by humanfont at 12:21 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


No, mutts are not the "natural form" of the dog; that's like talking about the natural form of stainless steel.

Except we wouldn't get any more stainless steel if people stopped making it. If people stopped making pure bred dogs...I reckon we'd somehow still end up with plenty of mongrels. "Natural form", in the context of this four-and-a-half minute video, seems like a pretty reasonable shorthand for that.
posted by howfar at 12:26 PM on December 12, 2015 [27 favorites]


The dog one bugged me a little bit, too, but then I couldn't even figure out how to fix it. Nobody actually knows for sure exactly how domestic dogs evolved, but it's true that 'purebred' dogs are an artificial and frequently extremely fucked up construct, and the conclusion is mostly OK.
posted by ernielundquist at 12:35 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I feel like I should support Adam Conover out of thickish dudes with shovel shaped faces soildairty. Like that's pretty much exactly how I would look/sound if someone gave me a TV show.
posted by The Whelk at 12:37 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


And no, Victorians didn't hate sex.

But Kellogg sure as hell hated masturbation, which was the thing that was claimed.
posted by Sys Rq at 12:46 PM on December 12, 2015 [24 favorites]


Mutt episode needed fewer "please kill me" gags (like, zero, please). But I'm glad the breeding industry is getting the call-out it deserves. Mostly good snark.
posted by ducky l'orange at 12:49 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


(wait, what's the natural form of stainless steel?)

There isn't one. Like stainless steel, domestic dogs are entirely a human creation. The closest thing to a natural form of domestic dogs is wolves, which you don't want to live with.

But Kellogg sure as hell hated masturbation, which was the thing that was claimed.

He actually said "Victorian prudes hated sex." Like, those were the words that came out of his mouth. I stopped watching then.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 12:51 PM on December 12, 2015


"Victorian prudes hated sex" does not equal "Victorians hated sex."
posted by Sys Rq at 12:56 PM on December 12, 2015 [28 favorites]


He actually said "Victorian prudes hated sex."

Wouldn't this be a true statement no matter the time period though?

but it's true that 'purebred' dogs are an artificial ... construct,

But, so are mutts, hence the comparison to stainless steel, a variety of a substance that is entirely man made.
posted by LionIndex at 12:59 PM on December 12, 2015


I'm not going to get into it. Suffice to say that the two I watched, at least as much as I could stand, had enough inaccuracies that my opinion is that these are basically "truthy" just-so stories with a loose connection to facts. If you enjoyed them, fine; I enjoyed Death Race 2000 so I can hardly criticize your enjoyment of them.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 1:04 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


And no, Victorians didn't hate sex.

Although wealthy Victorians seemed to often think that poorer Victorians shouldn't have sex.

Of course, to be fair, wealthy modern people seem to think that poor modern people (especially poor young women) shouldn't have sex, either, so there's no point in feeling all superior to the Victorians.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:14 PM on December 12, 2015 [23 favorites]


For anyone else who was curious on this point, there does appear to be a mineral called ferrochrome that contains the same metals as many stainless steel alloys do. Maybe if a metallurgist or geologist wanders into the thread they can tell us whether a pure enough deposit of ferrochrome with the right proportions and the right carbon content would qualify as natural stainless steel.
posted by XMLicious at 1:21 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


The real question is whether beans taste better when you eat them off a stainless steel plate.
posted by howfar at 1:24 PM on December 12, 2015 [27 favorites]


The engagement one is so frustrating!

Weddings don't have resale value, either!

The whole point is to spend lots of money on something that you can't resell!

That's how you indicate you're serious! Wasting a (relative) ton of money!

As divorce gets easier, you need more than just a marriage to indicate your seriousness!

There's no consideration at all of why this advertising campaign may have been so successful!
"Many American lawyers and judges objected to the legal fictions used to satisfy the requirements for divorce, which were effectively rendering oaths meaningless and threatening to wreck the integrity of the American justice system by making perjury into a commonplace occurrence. As early as the 1930s, a treatise on American family law complained:

In divorce litigation it is well known that the parties often seek to evade the statutory limitations [on divorce] and thus there is great danger of perjury, collusion, and fraud . . . . In many cases no defense is interposed, and often when the case is contested the contest is not waged with vigor or good faith. Wikipedia
GRARGHAGHGHGHGH
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:27 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I've seen a couple of these, and have to say I'm not impressed. His supposed-debunking frequently seems to elide other facts in service of some pseudo-impressive takeaway, as others have noted.
posted by uberchet at 1:29 PM on December 12, 2015


I mean back in the day a dude promising to marry you might mean you waiting a few years while he went off to war or whatever, and those were valuable years to young women who would soon be too old to marry. Heck yes he should provide some assurance of seriousness.

(It would be better for the woman if she could sell the ring for cash money, of course, but then you have a moral hazard--she can get engaged in bad faith and sell the ring. Or the guy in question might be able to demand the ring back from her and recoup the entire value of the ring--while she has no way of recouping the time she wasted waiting for the marriage to happen.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:32 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know we're fucked when College Humor, Cracked, Buzzfeed and Rolling Stone are bastions of liberal intellectual journalism.

Cracked has had me thinking and laughing for a few years. Their podcasts are entertaining and insightful and I'm a big fan of the After Hours series.
posted by Fizz at 1:32 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Weddings don't have resale value, either!

The whole point is to spend lots of money on something that you can't resell!

That's how you indicate you're serious! Wasting a (relative) ton of money!


Weddings are crowdfunding a household by throwing a giant party. It's like how casinos ply you with drinks so you think betting on the hard ways in craps seems like a good deal except instead of millions of dollars you end up with a new $700 coffeemaker from rich Aunty Doris.
posted by Talez at 1:33 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


So if you think about it, the diamond ring is perfectly created for people who want to get engaged. It's not a stupid product for idiots. It's a surprisingly useful product.

(It also has the highly useful effect of showing off to other people how much money you + your husband can afford to waste.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:33 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The whole point is to spend lots of money on something that you can't resell!

Love marriages themselves are a relatively new thing. Marriage in a broader and wider context across many cultures involved giving something expensive to the bride / bride family, and that practice has a whole range of cultural connotations to benefit the bride / bride family that do not engage with giving something that cannot later become useful (ie: an expensive but essentially valueless ring).
posted by Thella at 1:34 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Sorry for the poor grammar above. What I mean is that the diamond ring marketing pitch has turned a cultural practice of exchanging something of actual value, with something of perceived value. Whereas the bride/bride family benefited previously, now the stone sellers and jewellers do.
posted by Thella at 1:39 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


His supposed-debunking frequently seems to elide other facts in service of some pseudo-impressive takeaway, as others have noted.

I think they're fine if you take them as comedy polemic, sort of like David Mitchell's Soapbox used to do. Because (for example) "De Beers are evil fucking bastards whose very existence is a shitstain on the face of the globe" is a pretty useful pseudo-impressive takeaway, from my perspective.
posted by howfar at 1:40 PM on December 12, 2015 [11 favorites]


Weddings are crowdfunding a household by throwing a giant party.

They have many functions, which is probably why people like them!

Sorry for the poor grammar above. What I mean is that the diamond ring marketing pitch has turned a cultural practice of exchanging something of actual value, with something of perceived value. Whereas the bride/bride family benefited previously, now the stone sellers and jewellers do.

No worries, I understood you! I would consider dowry/bride price practices to have actually transformed into the 20th century wedding, which is a complex transfer of wealth from both families to the couple about to be married, and which is in the form of items that are "useful" to the bride (i.e. household items). I would say it's more similar to a dowry than a bride price, though, because the bride's family traditionally funds it.

"Traditional" bride prices and dowries actually bring with them all kinds of danger. The major benefit of the diamond ring being useless is that the groom or the groom's family won't harm the (would-be) bride in order to wring more money out of the bride's family.
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:47 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


(Also I guess I should say this because people might assume otherwise: I think the diamond industry is fucked and exploitative. But I also think that's a separate issue from saying the practice of giving a diamond ring is stupid and obviously dumb, and wow everyone who cares about it [read: women] is just such a big dummy.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 1:53 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


Re: DeBeers, I quote Occam's Razor – entities must not multiply beyond necessity. Whilst what he says is true, about diamonds being inherently worthless and artificial constraints on supply driving up prices, there's assuredly much more going on there.

That the diamond is still relevant, despite the widespread knowledge that rings themselves have largely symbolic value, means that the diamond ring does, in fact, serve a purpose. I considered this some time ago, and will share my generally uninformed answer here.

The rise of the diamond engagement ring coincides with the rise of another ritual – which is that of American dating culture. Apparently, even in progressive European societies, American dating culture remains relatively unique. In that it's meant to lead to best outcomes through maximum random assortment. A number of other American social mores and innovations sit alongside that, however, I will investigate one.

Which is the inherent application of the diamond ring as a device of social signalling. My explanation may be uncouth, however, it makes intuitive sense.

With the rise of dating culture came the need to signal availability status. That is, as society shifted toward an increasing number of casual encounters, potential suitors needed a way to separate those who were available versus those who were not available. The ring makes sense for this.

If we take the random population of a pub or bar on an average Saturday night, there will be two categories of people. Those who are available for romantic encounters, and those who are off the market, for they betrothed to another. Without some manner of signalling device, the result would not only be potentially messy, but also, potential approachers would be inhibited, for there was no obvious designation of availability. The mode of the ring is genius from a reproductive maximisation point of view, for it is not opt-in, but rather opt-out. Thus, single individuals are considered to be open to approaches, unless they have opted out of the system. A fine social mechanism for sure.

That explains the wedding band, but then the engagement ring. How do we get to the engagement ring. First of all, it's a form of inverse dowry, from a time when men often controlled the dating ritual. A diamond engagement ring had a substantial financial cost, and was a pre-marriage transfer of property from the man to the women, therefore signifying his intentions. If he were to abandon the engagement, then he would be in the position to suffer a financial loss.

That is relevant, for in an emergent dating culture where promiscuity blossomed by design, a man suffered no financial loss from promising to marry a woman. Thus, as women agreed to enter into the dating culture, they needed a symbol of male intention, which "two months salary" is an effective measure. To be clear, this is not an indication of prostitution, but rather of a male bearing the cost of the female taking herself off the dating market. For, if the dating market itself was to maximise best potential matches, there is an opportunity cost to choosing a match. To make sure that males meant what they said, so to speak, such a financial value transfer has several indications. First, intent. Second, trust.

That explains the essence of the diamond exchange, but then what about the variability in the diamond itself? Why linked to a relative measure of value – two months salary – as opposed to some absolute or binary measure. Why does size of diamond come into play, over the binary presence of diamond or no diamond?

This is the most contentious point in this view, and I will lay it out for you here. Basically, by linking the size of the symbol to the income of the male, the diamond then becomes a proxy for the financial capability of the man to which the woman is engaged. As a man was meant to maximise his spend on the diamond – within reason – it represents a proxy for his overall financial wherewithal.

The considering the time dimension, the diamond is provided 1) at the time of engagement, which is 2) an unknown time before the wedding. Thus, there is a period where the commitment has been made, but it has not yet been legally enshrined.

That's an interesting period, for it's a pre-signal that the woman is going to be off the market, to a man of a specified means (through the proxy of the financial value of the diamond). Hence, there's a subtle signal there which is to say that there can be a challenge to the engagement. If a different suitor thinks that he can be a more capable provider of resources, whilst the woman has already committed, she has not reached the point of being legally attached.

Any many other subtle signals fall out from that. Specifically, the definition of an engagement period, which represents an emotional/financial commitment, but not a legal contract. There is a signal present if a woman wears an engagement ring in perpetuity, without also acquiring the wedding band.

Now, much has changed over the years. A marriage contract used to be much more difficult to break than now. Women's ability to enter the labour force has changed, breaking their dependancy on the financial status of the man. So on and so forth. Thus, the diamond engagement ring may not be as relevant today as it once was.

However, that being said, in the emerging dating culture of post WWI America, we have to keep in mind that daring broke not only the mores, but also the protections that had previously existed in coupling. There are many social structures that exist around coupling, for it is an essential activity for the stability and perpetuation of a society. There must be coupling for a society to continue, however at the same time, there are many advantages to maximising assortment. The greater the potential number of matches, the better potential matches are available. So in embracing dating culture, whilst people had much to gain from the result, it also broke certain features. The diamond engagement ring was one such innovation that arose, accompanying the social change. There were probably many others.

Back to Ockam, I doubt the engagement ring myth would have persisted simply as a well-structured ad campaign. Like most marketing campaigns, it worked because it resonated with a very fundamental need in the society, and continued to resonate for a long time. And this is the ability to provide subtle signalling in a situation that required traditional signalling to be dismantled.
posted by nickrussell at 2:00 PM on December 12, 2015 [16 favorites]


Diamond engagement rings seem based on pretty regressive gender norms. I'm not surprised they remain popular in general, but I'm surprised they remain popular among my progressive friend cohort. Of course, these same women tend to do most of the emotional labor and cooking because we all still have such a long way to go.
posted by Mavri at 2:06 PM on December 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


So what we should actually say is that diamond engagement rings used to make sense but our views of marriage have changed so that we mostly think that any couple who needs a diamond to seal the engagement deal doesn't actually know each other well enough to be getting engaged yet.
posted by straight at 2:07 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


But, so are mutts, hence the comparison to stainless steel, a variety of a substance that is entirely man made.

Domestic dogs evolved long enough ago (in the tens of thousands of years range) that we don't really know for sure how it happened, but it's certainly plausible that it was a symbiotic thing rather than being completely human-controlled.

I would also like to fight about the concept of artificiality. Domestic dogs are a unique species that's been around for a very long time. They're not just bespoke wolves.
posted by ernielundquist at 2:09 PM on December 12, 2015 [14 favorites]


They're not just bespoke wolves.

But 'Bespoke Wolves' is my new digital hardcore band.
posted by howfar at 2:14 PM on December 12, 2015 [34 favorites]


Women have adorned themselves with expensive jewelry paid for by men as a sign for the marital and social status of both giver and wearer throughout history and cultures. Engagements rings are in no essential sense novel or even objectionable (unless you model for objection is hatred of tradition.)
posted by MattD at 2:29 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


My wife was commenting last night on how much she loves her engagement ring, which features a ruby rather than a diamond and a band design which is in keeping with her tastes. It is not blingy at all and went almost unnoticed by her coworkers, unlike the giant diamond ring of another coworker which got oohs and ahhs.

Suffice it to say "resale value" was not one of the contributing factors to its purchase. The idea that its purchase is indicative of our disqualification for engagement is, how do I put this, and extremely ignorant and insulting sentiment.
posted by grumpybear69 at 2:33 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


The real question is whether beans taste better when you eat them off a stainless steel plate.


Hm, I will need to think about that awhile.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 2:36 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


You know we're fucked when College Humor, Cracked, Buzzfeed and Rolling Stone are bastions of liberal intellectual journalism.

I think this is really interesting. It's the evolution of journalism in ways that no one would've predicted. But it does make sense--online entities that have a steady, even large, cash flow will hire smart, talented folks. That is, if the people doing the hiring are smart, talented folks themselves. Mainstream channels--both figurative and literal--are too skittish to offend and settle towards safe, toothless middle ground.

There's an FPP in this somewhere.
posted by zardoz at 2:38 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


"Bespoke Wolves" sounds to me like the poor things have wheels, like those dachshunds in carts.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:40 PM on December 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


A transactional analysis of marriage and a diamond ring as a dowry and the justifications of resonating ad campaigns aren't the only issues: Not a few humans have greatly suffered (and some fraction summarily executed) in the "business" of extraction of diamonds and "precious" gems. DeBeers is a grotesque phenomenon and fairly extraordinary example of what's fucked up about capitalism and public relations. Diffraction is really nifty and accumulated wealth can be comforting, but recognize for crying out loud.
posted by lazycomputerkids at 2:49 PM on December 12, 2015 [8 favorites]


what always bugs me about the whole "debunking the engagement ring" thing is that it only seems to be traditions that burden men that get "debunked"

like, let's debunk the fucking stripper-heavy bachelor party already. wait? what? that is a great tradition that totally has a point? oic
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:53 PM on December 12, 2015 [15 favorites]


Is that even a thing anymore?
posted by Justinian at 2:59 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


also I would be totally fine with replacing the engagement ring with a guy just burning a huge wad of cash. And then the bride-to-be (or groom-to-be!) can include a link to the video on their wedding invitations. And forever after she can tell everyone how much money he burned. He can even burn more money if their financial status improves later on!
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 2:59 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Wow those are some serious justifications for the inevitable necessity of diamond rings in engagements upthread.

Don't think I buy them, guys, sorry. I think it's much more likely that it was about class striving and upward mobility, and wrapped into the idea of "perfect weddings" that are the lifeblood of the wedding industry, which is in itself almost entirely a scam from start to finish. You don't need a white dress or flowergirls or something blue. They're nice things, but have nothing to do with a good marriage.

By the 30s, dowries were not a thing for most Americans. Women did not lose value by having an engagement break off (yay progress). They did not need a diamond to prove a man could provide for them, though of course if he gave her that and had other wealth markers, that was certainly something she might care about.

Nope. It was and is a fairytale scam. Diamonds prove nothing other than "I am willing to spend a lot on a piece of jewelry" which isn't a bad thing. It just doesn't really have anything to do with whether you're good marriage material.

like, let's debunk the fucking stripper-heavy bachelor party already. wait? what? that is a great tradition that totally has a point? oic

I've heard more than one guy here and elsewhere mention that he didn't do that and didn't want to.
posted by emjaybee at 3:00 PM on December 12, 2015 [19 favorites]


Is that even a thing anymore?

ha ha ha yes

like, every single wedding forum/board is full of women crying their eyes out because of some horrible stripper-related incident

I know mefites are too U to ever consider such a thing, of course
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:02 PM on December 12, 2015 [5 favorites]


like, let's debunk the fucking stripper-heavy bachelor party already. wait? what? that is a great tradition that totally has a point? oic

Which in my experience are actually not that common, more so in movies. Diamond engagement rings are very common.
posted by bongo_x at 3:02 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I've heard more than one guy here and elsewhere mention that he didn't do that and didn't want to.

plenty of women don't have engagement rings or big weddings so by that measure they're no longer a thing

anyway, anecdata although it's from 2010 (and related metatalk)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:04 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


(too U?)
posted by nom de poop at 3:05 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


Indicating that these don't debunk *any* things in a way that would upset men indicates having had the luck to avoid Metafilter's circumcision threads. I'm so glad we're arguing about something other prepuces today.
posted by howfar at 3:06 PM on December 12, 2015


(too U?)

It's an extension of Nancy Mitford's notion of 'U and non-U' English. With 'U' indicating 'upper class'.
posted by howfar at 3:08 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


(unless you model for objection is hatred of tradition.)

I don't know if it rises to the level of hatred, but I think series like these do a good job of revisiting things we seem to blindly accept as tradition with a more critical view. There's tremendous utility in that, given humanity's fallible nature. All of the linked examples make a case for the traditions covered to have harmful outcomes, which we could avoid by becoming aware of their arbitrary nature. Whether the cases were proven adequately is perhaps another matter, but I think it's good work regardless.
posted by sammann at 3:09 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


plenty of women don't have engagement rings or big weddings so by that measure they're no longer a thing

But...you're saying they should be? Yes? Or am I getting the wrong end of the stick? I'm actually a bit confused about what you're arguing here. Sorry.
posted by howfar at 3:10 PM on December 12, 2015


I love that a thread about debunking somehow morphed into rebunking!

It's so hard to stake out distinct intellectual turf here.
posted by srboisvert at 3:10 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


No one would even be talking about strippers at bachelor parties if not for the assumption that there would be a defense of the "useful tradition" if someone were to bring it up. And then when everyone says it's gross, it's waved away as anecdata, because other people, elsewhere still do it.
posted by teponaztli at 3:13 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I would call a lot of these one-ply contrarianism.
posted by nom de poop at 3:16 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


Well, yeah. They're short comedy videos, so not a lot of room for depth.
posted by sammann at 3:19 PM on December 12, 2015


But...you're saying they should be? Yes? Or am I getting the wrong end of the stick? I'm actually a bit confused about what you're arguing here. Sorry.

No, I don't really care about whether they're a thing or not. I do kinda care about the way that some cultural practices are held up to this kind of "debunking" scrutiny, whereas some other cultural practices are just taken as a given, although all cultural practices are partly arbitrary and partly functional.

I'm also just kinda pedantic and dislike it when people say things that I think are wrong. (This is partially a flaw.)

When I mention people not "debunking" the stripper-bachelor party thing, I'm not talking about whether or not men are interested in having stripper bachelor parties (although they often are). I'm talking about the fact that we don't seem to consider whether or not stripper bachelor parties are "logical" or "rational" cultural practices at nearly the rate that we consider whether brides "really" need to look good on their wedding day or "really" need a diamond engagement ring.

As a result, women have the special privilege of getting shit on if we don't fulfill these kinds of cultural norms/traditions, AND getting shit on like we're big stupids if we do fulfill these cultural traditions. (And yeah, men buy into the engagement ring thing too, but women bear most of the brunt of the tradition.) Oh, he didn't buy you a ring? Oh...hmm. *pitying look* Oh, he bought you a diamond ring? Didn't you know that you don't need one of those to make a marriage work? How silly and naivë!

Well yeah, dude. You also technically don't need to go out for one last night of freedom, either, and you can probably hang with all of your guy friends on a regular basis even after you get married. MYTH DEBUNKED! WHAT A DUMMY! DOESN'T HE KNOW THAT YOU CAN HAVE FRIENDS!

(Before someone says that I hate bachelor parties, I don't. But they're just as arbitrary/functional as all the wedding traditions that women get into.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 3:22 PM on December 12, 2015 [26 favorites]


Solution: show your status and commitment to your male friends by paying a stripper hundreds of dollars to stay home.
posted by idiopath at 3:33 PM on December 12, 2015 [13 favorites]


That's how you indicate you're serious! Wasting a (relative) ton of money!

Not serious. Rich.

The bride-to-be would seem a lot more serious herself if she accepted the gesture but refused the shiny expensive trinket, instead opting to invest the money on the couple's life together.

But maybe refusing to marry anyone unless they pay you off in a manner prescribed by marketing is just too romantic a 'tradition' to give up.
posted by Sys Rq at 3:36 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


I got mrs graymouser a sapphire engagement ring. It was a lovely ring and cost me ... well, not in the realm of two months' salary. She was happy, though I repeatedly made her promise she didn't want a diamond ring. She doesn't like diamonds and was happy with the sapphire ring (same reason I get her floral arrangements with gerbera daisies and wildflowers rather than roses). It was lovely and distinctive, and a year after the wedding, similar sapphire rings gained a lot of traction because Prince William gave his mother's engagement ring to Kate Middleton. There are so many stones that look much better than diamonds that work perfectly well as engagement rings that I don't understand the concept.

The thing is, a custom that worked in the dating culture of the 1930s or 1950s doesn't make sense in the 2010s when couples will more often than not live together before marriage. When I proposed it was a given that we were going to get engaged, and we had discussed it. The idea that a major life decision should be sprung on a woman by surprise is ... well, weird. A couple often has a complicated, entangled life before getting married, and the woman is no more "free" to be hit on despite not wearing the ring. (Which makes it even more regressive since only the woman wears the ring until the wedding.)

Given that American dating culture isn't going away soon, I think using non-diamond precious stones is a positive if small shift in the right direction.
posted by graymouser at 3:39 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Never saw it as weakness or strength, regarding gender. It's about the function of the exchange, not necessarily how an individual person feels about it. While those feelings are important, they do not necessarily add value at all levels of a system.

Looking at war only from a moral place denies access to the fundamental drivers of war, which are often practical. Looking at marriage from the view of how it feels in a specific instance, denies the capability to look systemically at the function of pair-bond relationships and a sum total value to society as a whole.

Generally, marriage represents a shift in prioritisation of social time, from friends to the couple. If friends are proxy for tribe, the marriage moment enhances one aspect of the tribe, at the expense of other (generally male) bonds. Men bond over the pursuit of women. Strippers represent a potlach moment of excess and indulgence, meant to bond the group. It's not that the men are looking for a sexual moment with strippers as much as they're looking for a bonding moment with the tribe before they leave a role in the tribe, for another role.

It's not a last night of freedom, for that is determining that the bachelor party is about sexual freedom. It's more likely about freedom of association and freedom from familial responsibilities. A celebration of what has been. A time when men use their resources together to create a peak shared experience that demarcates the journey between a man and a couple -- a husband and a father.

That's rather important for there is ample evidence to suggest that maturity occurs when triggered by ritual. The marriage moment is taking up a different obligation and responsibility, and therefore the final potlach is saying goodbye to the virtues of being a single man. From that lens, rather than saying it's an exploitive night of freedom, it could be equally couched as a necessary transitional ritual between an unattached man and an attached man. That the bachelor party itself is a symbol that the man's time of selection has come to end, and he is to now take up a different role.
posted by nickrussell at 3:43 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Well, less people are getting married so technically both diamond rings and bachelor parties are in decline.
posted by FJT at 3:44 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


I do kinda care about the way that some cultural practices are held up to this kind of "debunking" scrutiny, whereas some other cultural practices are just taken as a given, although all cultural practices are partly arbitrary and partly functional.

I think it's absolutely true that there is a distinct thread in modern popular "rationalism" that often forms a weird sort of passive-aggressive advocacy of the rights of white straight cis men as if we're an oppressed group suffering due to society's irrational prejudices, rather than being the sole beneficiaries of them. I'm not sure whether I'd put this into that category, because it seems to be primarily humorous, more consciously polemical and less blithely smug, but I can definitely see where you're coming from.

As a result, women have the special privilege of getting shit on if we don't fulfill these kinds of cultural norms/traditions, AND getting shit on like we're big stupids if we do fulfill these cultural traditions. (And yeah, men buy into the engagement ring thing too, but women bear most of the brunt of the tradition.)

That women bear the brunt of criticism for both accepting and rejecting cultural norms is undeniably true. I guess it's sometimes complicated on occasions where it might be appropriate to criticise the norm itself, even where it would clearly be inappropriate to criticise people for (not) conforming to it. For example, it seems acceptable to criticise the way that people (primarily women) are deemed worthless if not thin, even though it's disgusting to criticise people for (for whatever reason) conforming to that norm.

The way you describe it suggests that you think we'd be better off without the engagement ring norm, although I'm not entirely sure whether that's what you do think. I do feel like any social coercion towards consumption is probably a bad thing, but yeah, it's still abundantly clear that weddings and clothing and other notionally female-coded things come in for far more criticism as pointless and wasteful than fast cars and sports tickets or what-have-you.
posted by howfar at 3:58 PM on December 12, 2015 [4 favorites]


The dog thing made me a little suspicious, because of the dingo - a dog that was probably descended from a mixture of domesticated, kinda domesticated and wild dogs, but became its own distinct breed somehow. Likewise circumcision, which rose to prominence for a variety of reasons, but in 20th century America anyway had more to do with perhaps misguided strategies about wartime hygiene than moralistic Victorian masturbation haters.

There's kernels of truths in these videos but I feel like he distils a particular topic to one neat, clean, simple answer rather than the messy truth. Which is a shame, because the messy truth has plenty of comedy potential, even if you only have like 4:30 to make your point.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:00 PM on December 12, 2015


the dingo - a dog that was probably descended from a mixture of domesticated, kinda domesticated and wild dogs, but became its own distinct breed somehow.

Isn't it accepted that there is a population bottleneck at some point in the dingo's ancestry? So that all extant dingos have only a very few common ancestors?
posted by howfar at 4:07 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I really have no idea. I just think that letting dogs mate with each other willy-nilly does not necessarily lead to a world of mutts; that distinct breeds still demonstrably arise.

Probably a nitpick, sure. And I have no strong feelings on the subject of dogs. Was just an example of how the truth of a thing can be more complicated than we might immediately assume, and I think a lot of comedy gold was missed in the simplification.
posted by Aya Hirano on the Astral Plane at 4:13 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Came in to add my piece about mutts being the natural form of the dog. I believe he's speaking of the pariah dogs, the form that most dogs will revert to when allowed to mate without direct human intervention. We don't understand everything about dog evolution, but there is a lot to suggest that they came up along side humans this way. And the more Heinz 57 the dog, the closer to this form they seem to revert. Maybe mutt wasn't the best choice of words to describe the process, but it's not exactly wrong either. Echoing ernielundquist, "wild" dogs aren't wolves, they're dogs. Domestication is baked into the species, and we likely only had a direct hand during later stages of their evolution.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 4:17 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I just think that letting dogs mate with each other willy-nilly does not necessarily lead to a world of mutts; that distinct breeds still demonstrably arise.

On the one hand, without purebreds you have no need for 'mutt.' They're just dogs.

On the other hand, Evolution still happens. The dingo is a different subspecies than dogs. (Canis lupus dingo vs. Canis lupus familiaris.)
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 4:18 PM on December 12, 2015 [3 favorites]


MeFi's own!
posted by asperity at 4:20 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


I think a lot of comedy gold was missed in the simplification.

Yes, the tricky part for the writers would be dealing with the fact that the character is explicitly framed as an annoying know-it-all, which makes admitting to complexity and doubt more difficult. However, I think you're right, if they could write it well enough to do that (so that he's the high-status character who makes the polemic point, but then is undermined by the more intelligent but less vocal low-status character) then it would be brilliant. As it is, I think they're pretty good. I didn't laugh, but I did smile a few times, which definitely indicates that they're above average for me (I'm not a big laugher).
posted by howfar at 4:20 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


Oh my god the herpes one. I am so sick of explaining herpes to stressed out college students that come to see me, sick of trying to explain that those red bumps don't mean anyone was unfaithful, sick of people demanding to get a pointless herpes antibody test, or worse, demanding a second test "to make sure it wasn't a mistake." I'm just going to show this video to my patients. Make sure you pay your copay on the way out.

PS. Condoms don't protect you!

PPS. Herpes does appear to make it more likely to contract HIV, so wear a condom anyway.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 4:21 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


I for one have been taught that engagement rings and pure-bred dogs (excepting German Shepherds and Border Collies), are not in good taste.
Yes, we know that some royals indulge in interaction with commoners, flashy jewelry and fancy dogs, but we also know that some royal families have very short lineages.
[irony may be applied, but with a hint of history]
posted by mumimor at 4:29 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


I enjoyed Death Race 2000 so I can hardly criticize your enjoyment of them.



I love the shit out of Deathrace 2000 and I criticize EVERYTHING.


Some of these are very good (canned food, herpes) some of them are eh, iffy. The tone can also go a little too condescending for the value of the content - yes, I know that's kind of the point, but if you're gonna be that guy you have to have your shit dazzlingly together or you will annoy me.
posted by louche mustachio at 4:52 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


While I agree that diamonds are worthless, I'm not sure about all of his 'facts'.

My grandparents on both sides of my family, married in the 1920s, both had diamond wedding rings, which got passed down through the family.

Of course he just says 'it wasn't a thing', not that it never happened, but he certainly implies as much.

And I also agree that circumcision is unnecessary, but he says "I see you're circumcized. You're not Muslim or Jewish, that kind of strange," as though it is perfectly alright for it to be part of Muslim or Jewish culture, but forget it if you are an American. "We'll give these other cultures a pass, but no pass for you!"
posted by eye of newt at 5:29 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


On the other hand having once had an inbred (purebred), extremely neurotic and unhealthy Irish Setter, and later a much more even tempered healthy mutt, I agree with his dog video.
posted by eye of newt at 5:41 PM on December 12, 2015


I really like this show and think it's depressing as hell that just talking about gender at all seems to be enough to set off another great Metafilter flamewar these days.

His character is depicted as pretty sad and lonesome in a number of episodes. It's a running joke that he's oblivious to how annoying he is, is rather desperate for friends and gets driven around by his mom. He's not without compassion, and there's usually a point where the person he's been hectoring loses hope and Adam kind of gets real and says, "Yeah, it really sucks. I'm sorry." But up until that point he's like some nattering little Mr. Peabody-esque cartoon nerd come to life.

Watch the one about jobs. He's making good points in a really funny way.

I love that his Metafilter name was Tweebiscuit. He is one twee little biscuit, and he's owning that.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 6:26 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


His character is depicted as pretty sad and lonesome in a number of episodes.

At the end of episode five, Hayley corrects him and he is smitten. It is resolved in episode six, "Adam Ruins Hygiene."
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 6:38 PM on December 12, 2015


Wait, so stripper bachelor parties are actually A Thing? Does this all trace back to that Tom Hanks film?
posted by rum-soaked space hobo at 6:45 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


The idea that its purchase is indicative of our disqualification for engagement is, how do I put this, and extremely ignorant and insulting sentiment.

If this is in response to my comment what I meant was that if the reason you gave your fiance the ring was because she wasn't sure whether you would stick around until the wedding unless you had spent a significant percentage of your savings on jewelry, people nowadays might question whether you knew each other well enough yet. In the context of the previous discussion, that's what was meant by "seal the deal." I apologize if that wasn't clear.
posted by straight at 7:01 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


Mere inbreeding is not the problem, it's inbreeding that picks out and propagates deleterious mutations such as the extremely short snouts that Bulldogs can barely breathe through and the Chihuahua skulls that are so tiny they can't contain the organs of the head.

A highly inbred, yet healthy individual is actually desirable for breeding purposes because you can be relatively confident that any offspring will not express undesirable recessive traits or recessive lethals even when mated outside of its own inbred group, since inbreeding tends to make populations with individuals which are homozygous -- that is, they tend have the same alleles at corresponding positions on their two sets of chromosomes, so what you see is what you get in the genes.

Under the assumption that it's a (possibly multiple locus) recessive, I used to wonder whether something like that could be an ultimate source of an intrinsic appeal of blond hair in human beings, but blond hair seems to be much more complicated.
posted by jamjam at 7:06 PM on December 12, 2015


I used to wonder whether something like that could be an ultimate source of an intrinsic appeal of blond hair in human beings

You know who else thought that?
posted by Sys Rq at 7:12 PM on December 12, 2015


I really like this show and think it's depressing as hell that just talking about gender at all seems to be enough to set off another great Metafilter flamewar these days.

Some slight tetchiness maybe, but it seems to me like this thread has gone well. In all honesty, Metafilter seems a better and friendly place these days than it was back in our imagined golden age. Or maybe it's just that I'm marginally less of a dick than I was a few years ago, and a bit better at not always involving myself in stupid situations.
/derail
posted by howfar at 7:25 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


i am kinda opposed to diamonds due to their horror-origins and artificial rarity/value. and engagement rings seem kinda possesive/weirdly sexist. but as a spinster, would I wear the tiny diamond-chip 1930s engagement ring that belinged to my name-sake died-young grandmother? hell yeah, it would represent a lovely connection to a woman i feel close to but never knew. however, it belongs to my uncle and has an odd talismanic quality which means i'm not getting it even if i were to be affianced at my advanced age (40s). the cultural constructions are really hanging in there.
posted by mollymillions at 8:02 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can reattach my foreskin over my dead body!

Impressive.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:03 PM on December 12, 2015 [2 favorites]


each diamond you have with you is worth 4000 points if you escape the dungeon, 8000 points if you ascend to demigod(ess)hood
posted by idiopath at 8:06 PM on December 12, 2015 [1 favorite]


You can reattach my foreskin over my dead body!

That big huh?
posted by Thella at 8:19 PM on December 12, 2015 [7 favorites]


Adam ruins? herpes

Shoes on the bed oh fuck no no no.
posted by Meatbomb at 9:18 PM on December 12, 2015


Super weird that the digression here was about engagement rings when the segment was specifically about diamonds. At the end of the first episode of the show, Emily even says, "Just get a sapphire," which has also come up here, and something I'm considering for myself now.
posted by WCWedin at 10:13 PM on December 12, 2015 [6 favorites]


Myself and a friend have been chewing through these while texting the ones we like best. I have to say, even if some things are a bit condensed for time/audience, I adore what I'm seeing. And maybe I want to believe after seeing "mefi's own" but I swear I see a touch of mefi bleeding through the edges.
posted by [insert clever name here] at 11:12 PM on December 12, 2015


My now-husband proposed to me on Alcatraz Island, sans ring. In hindsight, I really regret not getting a date-stamped "I escaped from the rock" postcard from the gift shop!
posted by Skybly at 4:57 AM on December 13, 2015 [11 favorites]


When it comes to dogs, there's a reason why dogs in populations that have gone feral all return to the same basic design, and that's that there is a root dog form that came about when humans and dogs coevolved. Lay off the fussbudgety Euro genetic parlor tricks long enough and dogs return to that state of equilibrium, which is as natural as we are.
posted by sonascope at 5:53 AM on December 13, 2015 [2 favorites]


The hymen video is very good. Adam's are more facile, perfect for College Humor. Enjoyable, more than a grain of truth, slick.
posted by theora55 at 9:05 AM on December 13, 2015


Yes. Strippers at bachelor parties are a thing.

like, every single wedding forum/board is full of women crying their eyes out because of some horrible stripper-related incident


Oh, I assure you some of the strippers are crying too, and not necessarily all the way to the bank.

Bachelor parties are notoriously awful, particularly if the entertainer is contracted through someone and it's a private party. She doesn't have the same protections that she does in a more regulated environment and that can lead to some rather poor treatment if she isn't experienced at defending her body.

She might not even be making that much money unless she is entirely independent, and chances are an experienced performer would not choose to work in that environment - a room full of drunk men with certain social expectations, egging each other on.





YMMV. I know this for I was young and I needed the money reasons.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:56 AM on December 13, 2015 [12 favorites]


I can ruin everything too.
posted by louche mustachio at 11:57 AM on December 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


Diamonds have value because they are still a material component for True Resurrection (9th level necromancy)
posted by Megafly at 12:43 PM on December 13, 2015 [3 favorites]


0/10 engaged/married friends/acquaintances had bachelor parties with strippers. Parties with much drinking and merriment, to be sure, but no strippers involved. The lady halves of those relationships did seem to have 'ette parties that were founded on sexual gag gifts, though.

8/10 went for the standard diamond engagement ring, though.

Is the stripper party a thing that happens? I expect so, even if it is not as common as media might make it seem. Diamond engagement rings, on the other hand, are to this day nearly universal among those who have (or believe they have) the means to go that route.

Both are problematic, although for almost entirely different reasons. Supporting a cartel is bad enough, but the money also supports blood diamonds the world over. Not that most other forms of mining aren't close behind on the exploitation scale where the work is taking place in the developing world.
posted by wierdo at 1:27 PM on December 13, 2015 [4 favorites]


I'm happy it got picked up! His Adam Ruins Everything series was the best thing to come out of collegehumour in years.
posted by Theta States at 10:08 AM on December 14, 2015


Mod note: A few comments deleted, let's not with the "Mefites are like this" stuff?
posted by LobsterMitten (staff) at 10:24 AM on December 14, 2015 [1 favorite]


FanFare for Season 1.
posted by Etrigan at 1:19 PM on January 5, 2016


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