The True Danger Of Hurricane Season Is Much More Long-Term

Greetings from the apocalypse! I’m writing from the Summer of 2017, when wildfires have made Idaho and California smell like the Devil’s Vegan Barbecue, the sun is the color of a fresh period stain, and the Gulf Coast is aligned with the first teat of a four-boobied hurribeast.

whnt.com

In a moment when it feels blasphemous to send anything but prayers, goodwill, money, awareness, donations, and time to everyone suffering from Harvey and the triplets of evil following it, there’s another story that needs to be told about these hurricanes:

There is no upside, silver lining, or good news coming.

More hurricanes, floods, and fires are on their way, and no one, not even the Americans in the Middle, are immune to what future natural disasters will do to this country. Not even Texas. Actually, let’s start with Texas.

4

Texas Explains Why We’re Never Ready For Hurricanes

I’m from South Texas, where the school year doesn’t feel real until you’ve had a Meet the Teacher night and a hurricane warning, sometimes on the same day. In my fuzzy childhood memories, hurricanes were exciting moments at the end of summer when you got to fill up your bathtub with a reckless amount of water and pray for a day off from school.

Which explains why hurricane parties are a thing, and why you can find all of your hurricane party decorating needs on Pinterest. No other natural disaster comes with such a slow build and a festive atmosphere. And when hurricane season is built into your seasonal routine — my little sister was named after a hurricane that hit Texas 19 years before she was born — you just roll with them as best you can.

So I wasn’t surprised that most of my friends, family, and childhood friends’ families didn’t evacuate when they knew Harvey was coming. It is very hard to get on a bus going to a place you don’t know for a thing that may or may not ever come. And Houston? Forget it. If you thought Houston should have been 100 percent evacuated, you’ve probably never been there. During Hurricane Rita, there were 100 deaths in Texas, 60 of which were related to Houston’s disastrous attempt to evacuate three million residents all at once.

I also wasn’t surprised that Texans went nuts helping each other out once the waters started rising. Not because Texans are uniquely neighborly compared to other humans in distress, but because we’re uniquely good at self-publicity. It’s kind of our thing. That said, if you have South Texas friends on your Facebook timeline like I do, you know there were convoys of volunteers ready with food and water before Harvey was even done with its dirty business. Behind every dramatic rescue moment that went viral, there were thousands that no one saw, and for every tone-deaf Joel Osteen, there were hundreds of churches (and synagogues, and mosques!) mobilizing to provide immediate relief. I said there wasn’t a silver lining to Harvey, but that’s actually not true; after a summer of awful news, the storm reminded us that people are good.

The problem is that being good in dangerous moments isn’t going fix next season’s weather. And this season’s hurricane victims are only facing the beginning of their problems.

3

The Next Round Of Rescues Won’t Have Viral Videos

Here’s what’s coming: Ten years after Katrina, New Orleans doctors reported a three-fold increase in heart attack victims. The stress from the flooding, multiple relocations, and disruptions in medical care are still messing with the bodies of the people who survived the storm. In the next few months, we should expect to see people contracting gastrointestinal problems from wading in standing water (I mean, we won’t literally see their diarrhea, but you get it). People with chronic issues like diabetes, heart disease, and asthma will suffer from disruptions in their medical care, which will lead to more hospital visits and deaths. It’s probably worth noting that Texas and the rest of the Gulf Coast aren’t in good shape to begin with, health-wise.

Wait! It gets worse! I haven’t even talked about the mosquitoes yet! The West Nile virus was completely wiped out of the population in the immediate aftermath of Katrina. A year later, West Nile cases doubled. This map shows the Texas counties that identified cases of West Nile virus back in May, before hurricane season started:

Texas Health and Human Services

Nine counties in Texas have already started asking pregnant women to get the Zika test, because as you probably remember, Zika means joint pain, rashes, and fever for adults, but severe brain damage, microcephaly, and even death for unborn children.

Wait, it gets even worse! Texas slashed Planned Parenthood funding in 2011, and abortions have been on the rise in the state ever since. What does that mean for pregnant women wading through mosquito-infested waters or working on cleaning up the debris outside their house right now? Hopefully nothing. Hopefully we never see Zika again, and these pregnant women deliver healthy babies who have happy lives ahead of them. Hopefully Texas women who aren’t pregnant today will have plenty of access to contraceptives in the next few months, because the mosquitoes might last until Christmas this year. There’s just some more bad news from Katrina that we have to cover, though:

Katrina’s kids never quite recovered from the storm, either.

Experts say that we’ll never know how many Louisiana children lost a year or more of school after Katrina. They know that Louisiana has one of the country’s highest rates of young adults who aren’t in school and aren’t at work — not because the kids who suffered through the storm just quit school then and there and committed to the hobo lifestyle, but because the average Katrina student moved seven times after the storm. Seven moves would do a number on any student, even the rich ones who are moving because their parents are moving up the corporate ladder or the tough military kids who move because the government makes them. Combine seven moves with a traumatizing childhood event, separation from extended family and communities, economic hardship, and the struggle to rebuild a life in a place where most of your friends and family are suffering through the same problems you are, and yeah, it’s no wonder Katrina’s students didn’t have a great graduation rate.

And not finishing school a is big deal, because …

2

We Like To Help Drowning People, But We Suck At Helping Poor People

At the end of the day, bad things happen to everyone, but bad things happen extra hard to poor people. Sickness, natural disasters, layoffs, and addiction can obviously hit anyone at any financial level, but the most vulnerable among us have the hardest time recovering, if they recover at all. In other words, when you’re poor, a flood can lead to a series of setbacks that have decades of consequences. It’s called the Bad Break Test, and America is failing it.

One researcher put the Bad Break Test this way:

“In societies that function well, there are various safety nets in place to prevent a bad break from leading to a tailspin for particularly vulnerable victims. Compared to many other rich nations, the U.S. is not such a society — all too often, when vulnerable Americans encounter a bad break, there’s nothing underneath them to stop their slide. Instead, devastation follows, sometimes in the form of bankruptcy and addiction and death.”

For example, America’s opioid crisis didn’t happen in a vacuum, and it certainly didn’t happen because of Mexicans. Some economists call the increase in overdoses, alcohol poisoning, and suicides “deaths of despair.” Americans are killing themselves over their economic prospects. There comes a point at which people stop trying to break out of their hopelessness and just start numbing themselves to death.

What does the Bad Break Test have to do with hurricanes? 22 percent of Houston’s residents live under the poverty line. Yes, Texans are #TexasStrong and #TexasProud and will rebuild, but let’s not kid ourselves over who will bear the brunt of this storm and every storm to come: poor people who don’t have savings, insurance, or a Plan B or C or D to rely on when everything they own is destroyed. They’re already living in their Plan D, and Plan D is underwater or covered in mold.

How do we cope with the millions of coastal Americans who have decades of hurricane seasons to come? The ones who are forced to leave already have a name, by the way: “climate refugees.” One Louisiana town has been granted 48 million federal dollars to just get out before the Gulf swallows them. The entire town is the first community in the world to get federal money to rebuild somewhere else before their island is washed away, and they’re struggling with figuring out how to do it. Even though we’re only talking about 60 people, they haven’t figured out how to move, and aren’t totally sure they even want to go.

And that’s why we should all be worried. Humans are great at handling danger when it’s at the door, but not when it’s a hundred miles or a year away.

1

Americans Are Good Heroes But Terrible Planners

Real talk: The American states that will need the most help tackling flooding and extreme weather in the coming years also voted to keep the government out of their lives in the 2016 election. The fierce independence and self-reliance that Texas is so proud of is exactly what will doom them. Houston didn’t just flood because of a lot of rain; it flooded because it let people build neighborhoods in known flood zones. Why? Because the only reason white people live in Texas in the first place is that Anglos wanted space. Every time people try to build something in Texas, no one has the guts to tell them “No.”

Footnote: The previous statement is not true. Mexico had the guts to tell people to stop building houses in Texas.

Extra footnote: There are lots of conservationists and environmentalists in Texas. They’re just not in charge.

It’s going to take a lot of tax dollars, research, government oversight, discipline, and humility to keep the Atlantic Ocean from swallowing our coasts, and our red states aren’t up for the challenge yet. We listen to our weathermen when the storms are a few days away, but not our scientists and engineers when they tell us that planning for disasters takes years and money. The thing is, Texas has a TON of money. We don’t even have to reinvent the wheel to save lives; we can study how a little bitty country like the Netherlands tackled their own flood monster and lived to tell the tale. If it were up to me, I’d pay close attention to any country that landed on “FLOODPLAIN COUNTRY” as its official name.

You can find more from Kristi deep in the heart of Twitter.

You can help someone in need by donating to the Victoria Food Bank.

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/hurricanes-wreak-havoc-far-longer-than-you-realize/

8 Stories That Show Exactly How The Media Hates Millennials

Somebody has to stop the millennial killing spree before it’s too late and the only thing we’re left with is social media and avocados and- oh god, they’re killing those too. But wait, there doesn’t seem to be any logic to millennial behavior. How can they both be the generation with the worst manners, but also obsessed with political correctness and not offending anyone? Why, it’s almost as if these headlines directly contradict one another, because the whole thing is a crock of artisanal horseshit …

8

Millennials Are Obsessed With Drinking, But Also Drinking Way Less Than Previous Generations

Millennials are heavy drinkers. According to The Tennessean, they make up a disproportionate percentage of alcohol buyers, and they splurge on the good stuff.

And oh boy do millennials love wine. Bustle reports that millennials buy so much of it that they’re changing the industry. Humans have been drinking wine for 8,000 years, but it took women in their 20s posting about it on Facebook to take it to the next level. Why do they love wine so much? USA Today argues that it might be because it’s the healthiest of alcoholic beverages, and the increased heart health quiets the demons after three glasses.

Or wait, actually, millennials aren’t drinking as much as previous generations. This Forbes article (named “Millennials Gone Mild” *fart noise*) tells of bars and nightclubs closing en masse, as millennials prefer to go out to sober events like “juice crawls,” or stay home altogether. The author goes on to say “Over the past few years, Millennials have started identifying as ‘grandmas’ and ‘grandpas’ when they stay in for the night — a lifestyle choice revered by most members of ‘Generation Yawn.'” Somebody revoke this man’s word license.

Oh, and millennials couldn’t afford to drink, even if they wanted to. Business Insider has concluded that they’re also killing the beer industry. Even wine sales have flatlined.

So millennials are obsessed with drinking, particularly high-quality alcohol, to the point where the industry is changing to accommodate them. But at the same time, they’re not drinking as much as previous generations, because they can’t afford it and they’re all doing sober juice crawls wherein they butt-chug ginger shots, causing bars to spontaneously explode. They’re drinking less beer, but record amounts of wine, but also wine consumption hasn’t increased in the past year. Why can’t they drink exactly the right amount?

7

Millennials Don’t Vote, But They’re Voting For All The Wrong People

This Big Think article starts with “Hey, you. Yes, you. Millennials. Stop twerking for a second and listen up.” That’s a sure way to gain the respect of your reader! The piece goes on to argue that millennials don’t vote because politicians don’t represent their interests. They go on to say that millennial voter apathy is because they have “no faith in populism,” a claim so powerfully wrong that many of your eyes have just rejected it outright. But the core of what it’s saying is correct, right? Millennials don’t vote because nobody represents them. Otherwise, they’d be passionate.

The Wall Street Journal thinks millennials are passionate about voting, but that they’re misdirecting their passion. Young people gravitated toward Sanders and Trump in the last presidential election, which was against their own best interests, the paper argues. Both of their economic policies would be bad for long-term growth, which millennials would know if they’d stop asking for “free stuff” long enough to read a goddamn book. So millennials don’t vote because nobody appeals to them, but when they do, it’s because the wrong people are appealing to them. Gotcha.

6

Millennials Are Too Involved In Their Children’s Lives, But Also Not Involved Enough

Millennials are the new “helicopter parents,” hovering over their children and providing exciting aerial footage of all their most precious police chases. According to Elite Daily, millennial parents will supervise all of their children’s interactions, preventing them from developing a sense of creativity. And they’ll fix any problem their child has, depriving them of the chance to fix it themselves. Millennials are smothering their children.

Alternatively, if we check in with ABC, we find that millennials are too focused on “me time.” Their parenting style is vastly different from the helicopter parents of previous generations. Their children lack structure and supervision because they’re too busy Snapchatting their Instagrams. The article also weirdly states that “Millennial Moms are 21 percent less likely to send a thank-you note via postal mail.” And why aren’t these goddamn kids sending singing telegrams anymore?

5

Millennials Don’t Work, But Are Also Poisoning Their Companies With Their Workaholism

Millennials are more stressed out about their jobs than other generations. Glamour reported that they are too occupied with their careers, their only goals being to “get a new job with better benefits, more pay, better hours, and more work-life balance, as well as work that was more intrinsically rewarding.” Truly, this is unheard-of stuff.

Wait a minute, it turns out millennials want material things, but aren’t willing to work for them. The Miami Herald says that millennials won’t take a job that’s too hard, and they refuse to work overtime. “Stay an extra two hours at my job as a mattress nap tester? Who do you think I am, the Wolf of Wall Street?”

But The Herald also claims that millennials are “work martyrs,” the hardest-working people in the workforce. They refuse to take their allotted vacation time because they’re too goddamn addicted to working. If only these job-stressed, lazy work martyrs could take a week off, they’d learn how a real adult handles their job — by drinking schnapps in their car during lunch and writing about millennials twice a week.

4

Millennials Blow Too Much Money, But Are Killing Whole Industries By Not Spending Money

A BankRate study found that millennials are spending way too much going out to eat. They go to Starbucks too often, and have large bar tabs (except when they don’t). All these little expenses add up and eat into the money they should be saving for retirement.

This irresponsibility has spread into other areas. This Is Money reports that in addition to ordering too many meals, millennials are overspending on expensive clothes. It looks like if these millennials don’t learn to go without spending money on frivolous things, they’ll never be able to support themselves.

Or wait, millennials are in fact to blame for the severe sales slump at chain restaurants like Applebee’s and TGI Fridays. This Business Insider article states, “Millennial consumers are more attracted than their elders to cooking at home, ordering delivery from restaurants, and eating quickly, in fast-casual or quick-serve restaurants.” Those monsters!

And it doesn’t stop with dining out. Millennials are also killing the motorcycle and diamond industries. CNBC hypothesizes that the slump in sales is due to millennials’ tendency to value experiences over material goods, that they “seek out experiences, such as vacations and concerts, that they can post about on social media.” Rest assured that it’s not because they’re broke and can’t burn tens of thousands of dollars on a shiny rock and a loud bike; it’s because they’re narcissistic and need to brag about their trip to Argentina on social media. Also, no one’s ever bragged about their diamond ring online, right guys?

3

Millennials Never Leave The House, But Are Also Everywhere (And That’s Awful)

The New York Post is worried about millennials. They spend too much time at home, leading to an upswing in depression. Instead of going out to the bar with their friends or meeting a date for coffee, they stay home and binge-watch TV. The Post warns of the emotional dangers of “Netflix and chill” — which, if you recall, was a euphemism for sex before the olds got to it.

And yet the same New York Post is mad that millennials are going out too much, railing against millennial “brunch culture” — that is, that millennials will go to restaurants to eat brunch. But wait, isn’t that good? Instead of killing restaurants? Not so fast — the problem the article has is that these goddamn kids will hog tables for hours and obnoxiously take pictures of their food instead of silently, angrily nursing a hangover, as God intended.

2

Millennials Hate Capitalism, Except When They Love Capitalism

National Review came out with the hottest take their scientists could engineer, combining every millennial stereotype into a super-take capable of triggering every lib, and perhaps killing male feminists outright. They argue that millennials dislike capitalism because they are ignorant of what it truly is (and that they like socialism for the same reason). They go on to say that capitalism doesn’t care for their puny gender or racial identities, which scares millennials right into Bernie Sanders’ arms.

Meanwhile, The American Spectator is too busy dunking on progressives to buy into the myth that millennials hate capitalism. Capitalism brought them iPhones and Uber, the popularity of which proves millennials love the free market. They also go on to claim that millennials don’t know what socialism is, because that seems to be some sort of journalistic nervous tic.

1

Millennials Want Participation Trophies, But Also Youth Sports Are Way Too Intense Now

The Washington Post calls millennials the “Participation Trophy Generation,” participation trophies being the ultimate symbol of entitlement. We were so afraid of hurting any child’s feelings that we got rid of winners and losers, and now an entire generation is growing up unprepared for the competitive real world.

The Blaze
Millennials: “Glenn Beck is ruining our grandparents.”

Glenn Beck’s rag The Blaze agrees, pining for the days when there was only one trophy, handed out to the winner, and those who came in third or lower were summarily executed.

The Federalist

The Federalist claims that millennials’ lust for participation trophies has bled into the workplace. They say that millennials, especially women, want promotions the same way they want trophies: whether they earned them or not. If only they weren’t babied so much at soccer games, maybe millennials would be better human beings. A competitive football game is what made the Greatest Generation great and the Baby Boomers boom, right?

This HuffPo article starts with “Youth sports: a chance to run around, play sports with friends and have fun … At least that’s how it used to be.” But now youth sports culture is so demanding and competitive that kids are emotionally and physically drained, with most dropping out by age 13.

Washington Post
“Take it easy, kid. If you don’t get a trophy for losing, then we won’t get to spend a lifetime berating you for it.”

The consequences run even deeper, though. Sports are so intense now that kids are getting injured like never before. That comes from The Washington Post, the same people who coined the term “Participation Trophy Generation.”

Man, it’s almost like these writers just hate the younger generation because they’re trapped in old, failing bodies and growing increasingly irrelevant to society by the day. But that couldn’t be it. That’s too far-fetched. No, it is the avocado’s fault, surely …

David Klesh was born in 1980, but refuses to call himself a millennial. His writing has also appeared on the Faith Hope and Fiction blog. Dan Hopper is an editor for Cracked, previously for CollegeHumor and BestWeekEver.tv. He fires off consistent A-tweets at @DanHopp. Adam Schwallie has a Twitter, where he tweets in between destroying all of the industries that Baby Boomers hold near and dear to their hearts.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_25041_8-stories-that-show-exactly-how-media-hates-millennials.html

6 Reasons Good People Turn Into Monsters

I want this phrase added to the American flag:

Hating a bad thing does not make you good.

Put it in place of some of the stars or something. It’s important. It’s one of those things everyone knows, right up until it’s convenient to not know it. Hell, hating bad people doesn’t even necessarily get you closer to being a better person. The Klan hates ISIS, but we don’t count that as a point in their favor. Yet I’m pretty sure that most of what we consider being good in this culture is just having disdain for the right things.

What does this have to do with police shootings, Nazis, immigration, and most of the headlines you’ll see this year? And how does it tie into the best Keanu Reeves action franchise? Well, it comes down to how …

6

We Hate Giving People Second Chances

This subject will be about five outrages old by the time this article goes up, but as I type this, the Trump administration just ended a government program for children whose parents entered America illegally. “DACA” basically allowed these young people to get jobs, pay taxes, go to school, and get driver licenses despite not being citizens. Ending the program means destroying the lives of about 800,000 people for a crime their parents committed. As one Republican congressman put it, “justice” means these people deserve to “live in the shadows.” After all, he said, they entered the country illegally. Not even years of productive, law-abiding living absolves them of that original sin.

Experts call it “John Wick morality” (or at least they should), named after the film series in which Keanu Reeves’ dog is killed by Russian mobsters, and in response he shoots 738 of them in the head. You wouldn’t think any real person considers that a reasonable moral code to live their life by, until you look at the comments under any article about a police shooting and see …

… or see entire comment sections full of people rooting for a guy who shot a car thief to death. The logic almost makes sense if you squint — if the victim hadn’t resisted (or suddenly moved their hands, or smoked weed, or failed to signal, or illegally crossed the border), they’d still be alive, therefore they have no one to blame but themselves.

That “no one to blame” phrasing is key. It implies that once someone breaks a rule, you can do whatever you want to them and you cannot be blamed. Listen for it, and you’ll hear somebody using this reasoning once a day, even if it’s just over stupid shit. Do you have some poor bastard in your social circle who’s gotten stuck with a demeaning nickname based on something they did when they were 13? If you want a famous example, try to find a single discussion about Richard Gere, anywhere, that doesn’t bring up the urban legend about him shoving a gerbil up his ass (a rumor that got started during the freaking Reagan administration).

We need that one mortal sin which will let us revoke a person’s status as a human worthy of dignity, respect, empathy or anything else. It’s the proverbial John Wick’s Dog, the moral trump card. We cannot be accused of prejudice or pettiness as long as we’ve got a bloody JWD carcass to jiggle in response to critics.

How does this apply to you, a good person fighting the good fight? I’m getting to that.

5

We Use “Justice” As Cover For All Manner Of Awfulness

“Hold on,” says the hypothetical skeptical reader who’s been following me from article to article for the last ten years, “you’re using immigration hardliners and police shootings as an example of this shit in action? Those are just the result of racism, dude.”

I don’t think that’s the complete truth. I think the reason so many racists could pass an “Are you a racist?” polygraph test is that they don’t think minorities are inhuman due to their color, but rather their supposed criminality. The officer who shot Philando Castille as he sat in a car with his girlfriend and four-year-old daughter said that he thought he smelled marijuana. In his mind, this single hint of a single minor crime meant absolutely anything done in response was justified.

That he would not have done this if the driver were a whimsical white stoner dude never occurs to him — prejudice almost always hides behind a supposed zeal for justice. Internet hate mobs never flood a woman’s inbox with death threats without a JWD to justify it. (“She wouldn’t be getting these calls in the middle of the night if she hadn’t made fun of us on Twitter!”) And where a crime doesn’t exist, we’ll extrapolate one. “Of course I thought my family was in mortal danger when that Mexican man approached the car! After all, if a guy will cross the border illegally, he’ll rape a woman. He’s already proven he doesn’t care about the law!”

It’s an utterly insane double standard, of course — our own mistakes are singular instances and in no way should affect others’ overall opinion of us. (“Just because I lied doesn’t make me a liar!”) Yet it’s so seductive that virtually every hateful asshole you’ve met in your life has built their fetid nightmare of a personality upon this very foundation. They all think their daily cruelty is in response to some extreme provocation.

But this article isn’t just about piling scorn on those people; virtually everyone reading this already thinks of them as monsters. My point is that none of them were born monsters, so we should be having the same conversation people do in the second act of every zombie movie. “How do we stop them and, more importantly, how do we keep ourselves from getting turned?” If cruelty wears justice as a disguise, then anyone who believes in justice is at risk. In fact, the more strongly you believe in justice, the more at risk you are.

Once, as a well-meaning child, I asked my Sunday School teacher how it was okay for God to send people to Hell for eternity based on fairly minor infractions, while if an earthly ruler punished rulebreakers with indefinite torture, they’d be considered cruel despots. The answer made sense to me at the time, and went like this:

Because God is infinitely righteous, He has infinite loathing for unrighteousness. His very purity is what makes any tolerance of impurity impossible.

Therefore, our modern pansy-ass attitude toward lawbreakers (insisting on reform and humane treatment) is actually evidence of our corruption. If we were more righteous, we would be more cruel toward the unrighteous. Therefore, not only is that cruelty justified, but it is in fact a key barometer of our own goodness. Petty meanness toward atheists and homosexuals is exactly what God wants. If you’re reading this and sure that this kind of medieval thinking only applies to Christians … well, keep reading.

4

We Start Hating People For All The Wrong Reasons

A critic of any female politician/pundit/activist can’t resist pointing out how ugly/fat she is (if she’s pretty, then the insult is that she’s a slut or that she only got her position based on looks). Racists will start with high crime rates and unemployment, but will quickly move on to how rap music is shitty, how ghetto women wear trashy clothes, how blacks can’t speak proper English. Never mind that it’s impossible to justify music, fashion, and dialect as examples of moral failure. For some reason, it’s not enough for their enemies to be merely wrong; they have to be disgusting on a visceral level.

It’s crazy how those racists do that, isn’t it? Those dirty, toothless, inbred hillbillies. They’re almost as bad as the gamergaters. You know, those fat virgin neckbeards in their mothers’ basements? They all probably voted for Trump — that guy with the gross weird hair and fake tan and tiny hands. Disgusting, right?

“Well, but that’s different! In those cases, the targets deserve it!” Oh, I get it. It feels great to poke our enemies in their sensitive spots. We know Trump is insecure about his hair, that Chris Christie is probably sensitive about being fat, that social outcasts are so ashamed of their virginity that some of them will blow their brains out rather than live with it. So why not use those weapons? This is total war, after all — everything about the enemy is fair game. And remember, the more cruel we are to bad guys, the better we are as people. God himself said it.

But what about all of the good people out there with weird hair, those insecure guys shyly trying to hide bald spots? Or your allies who are unattractive, nervous, and unsuccessful at sex? How are they not supposed to take home the message that personal appearance apparently matters just as much as their moral choices, and that sexual failure is something to be deeply ashamed of? That it doesn’t matter if you’re one of the good guys if you also have poor grooming and social skills?

Well fuck, now look what’s happened. We’ve not only justified cruelty toward our enemies based on their past sins, but justified cruelty to totally unrelated people. Just throwing out collateral damage like John Wick’s stray bullets, mowing down passing tourists with gun-fu until the whole city is brought to a panicked standstill. We certainly don’t stop to ask if the dog would even have wanted this.

3

We Wind Up Radicalizing Ourselves

One genre of angry message I’ve gotten over the years goes something like “I’ve been a daily reader since 2010 and thought you were the good guys, but after seeing [joke/article they found offensive], I’m realizing how wrong I was! Goodbye forever.” Think about that for a moment. They are claiming to have read and enjoyed literally thousands of articles and videos before encountering one single offensive idea, at which point they declared the whole enterprise a loss. That’s super weird.

Well, it’s weird until you consider what particular bubble they spend their time in. I’ve never been around an activist group that didn’t turn into an endless series of petty purity tests. I was raised in a church where everyone was looking for more and more inconsequential things to judge each other by. R-rated movies were of course forbidden, but which prime-time network TV shows were permissible? Any of them? Of course rock music was of the devil, but what about country? Aren’t those songs about faith, kind of?

The natural evolution is toward tighter and tighter criteria for what behavior gets you shunned from the group. The end result is that the central cause, the group’s JWD, can be as pure as the driven snow, and yet the tone will get more and more toxic over time, the members becoming less and less charitable with each other. Here, for example, is what my Twitter timeline looks like:

“Nazis are bad and must be opposed.”

Agree!

“People who enable or defend Nazis must also be opposed.”

Makes sense!

“Unlawful violence is perfectly acceptable when opposing Nazis and their enablers.”

Wait, I’m not sure I’m on board with that …

“Anyone who opposes the use of unlawful violence against Nazis is also a Nazi enabler.”

What? No! I’m one of the good guys!

“Also, if you think about it, all American institutions and capitalism itself help support white supremacy, therefore all are Nazi enablers and eligible for violent retribution.”

Hey, I think you just declared war on literally everyone who isn’t currently in the room with you.

You hear experts talk about how extremists get “radicalized” — how a guy went from a mild-mannered food inspector in San Bernardino to a brainwashed suicide attacker in the course of a year or so. But it really isn’t a mystery, and we all form less-murderous versions of this. All it takes is a closed like-minded social circle in which it’s considered unacceptable to disagree with the group, and then devote that group to hating something. It doesn’t even matter if the thing truly deserves hating — it still turns toxic. In fact, it works better if it does. “How can you criticize any flaw in our group’s behavior when the other side is Nazis! That’s literally saying that both sides are the same! The mere existence of pure evil on the other side mathematically means our side is pure good!”

At that point, no criticism is possible and there is nothing to moderate the rage. The rhetoric ratchets higher and higher as each member tries to top each other (to prove their own righteousness by demonstrating they hate the target most), and there is no method for reining it in. Moderate voices from outside the group are excluded completely, anyone from the inside who takes a moderate tone can be shouted down with accusations of being an enemy sympathizer. Soon, everything from objectively grotesque insults to elaborate torture fantasies are tossed around without a second thought.

2

… Until You Reach A Point Of No Return

At some point, an action will be suggested that you would normally consider immoral. It doesn’t have to involve armed mobs or building bombs. Depending on the time, place, and cause, it might be as minor as agreeing to spread a lie. (“I mean, even if they didn’t really do it, they probably did something just as bad! It’s not like they never lie about us!”) Or maybe someone will suggest digging up a member of the opposition’s address, maybe find out where they work, show them how serious we are.

In every case, some members will be nervous. There can be consequences to this kind of thing, right? But will they risk their status in the group by objecting? Will they have their commitment to the cause questioned?

airdone/iStock
“I can’t lose face in front of my fellow cyber-warriors. Wait … wasn’t this group about repairing the potholes on Main St. at some point?”

It is right about here that you realize the cause was never what was important. The group was what was important — having a bunch of like-minded people standing and fighting alongside you. After all, was it ever about the dog, or was it about what the dog symbolized? So maybe you wouldn’t sacrifice yourself for the cause — you can always get another dog — but would you sacrifice yourself for your friends, these people who you know would damned well do the same for you? Absolutely!

And now, without realizing it, you have the answer to the question you’ve been asking your whole life: “How can evil people live with themselves? How can a Hitler or Osama bin Laden or Charles Manson look themselves in the mirror every day?” Here you go. This is how. Inside every truly destructive person is the JWD, the broken and bleeding puppy driving them mindlessly forward, and outside of them is a group of people reinforcing their rage until the rage is all they are.

It is a fact of human nature that living purely in opposition to something, rather than for something, hollows you out inside. To be a whole human being, you have to spend your life building something good. It’s easy to find yourself withholding time and energy from friends, family, career, and hobbies, because damn it, one of those assholes on the other side has said something outrageous and I must respond, because this is war and this is all that matters.

1

And The Whole Time, You’ll Tell Yourself It Was The Only Way

Around 70% of readers never make it to the end of an internet article, so it’ll be interesting to see how many rebut this with, “Oh, great, another article saying Antifa and Nazis are the same! As if one of them ISN’T ACTIVELY DEMANDING GENOCIDE.” It’s the same mental dodge I’ve been pointing out — as long as the other side is worse, you can’t criticize me. But I’m personally telling you, as an individual human being, that you need to ask yourself one crucial question: Are you in it for the cause, or are you in it for the fight? There’s an easy way to tell: Do you get involved with the boring parts?

Donald Trump’s entire agenda could be obliterated a little more than a year from now with a new congress, but statistically the vast majority of you won’t vote at all (and I’d say the vast majority who show up to anti-Nazi rallies also won’t cast a vote). Smacking Nazis with clubs is fun. Voting in midterms is not. Only one results in real change. Hell, in the 2016 election that supposedly determined the future of humanity “Did Not Vote” won 44 of 50 states. Why are some of you willing to put yourself in physical danger at a protest but won’t suffer the tedium of real-world policy change? Deep down inside, you know the answer.

“But voting doesn’t change anything!” Okay, the outcome of exactly one senate race just prevented Obamacare from being repealed. Twenty million people will have health insurance next year because just a small group of voters — enough to fit in a stadium — showed up instead of staying home. You think Hillary would be talking about repealing DACA? “Sometimes violence is the only way!” Are you saying that based on evidence, or because you want it to be true? For every nationalist/authoritarian movement that got turned back by war, literally thousands quietly died due to losing elections or just failing to drum up popular support. How many elections has David Duke won? Goddamnit, you’re playing their game. Don’t let the devils drag you into Hell.

Because god help you if one day you find your enemy has finally been defeated or, even worse, that your tactics only made them stronger (would an armed mob on the other side hurt or help recruitment for yours?). You are left with a personality built entirely on fighting a misguided war, a bottle of poison that didn’t kill the cockroaches and is now just collecting dust in the garage. At that point, will you give up the rage and rebuild your personality around loving something? Or will you just turn that hatred on yourself? I want you to at least think about it. Here’s a GIF of an otter having a snack.

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The Best ‘Bachelor In Paradise’ Finale Recap You’ll Ever Read: The Last Day Of Amanda’s Childless Vacation

Well fam, we did it. We made it to the finale of and all it took was one sex ed class from Chris Harrison, a crudely mishandled sexual assault allegation, the downfall of Dean, and more scallop jokes than were really necessary. BUT WE FUCKING DID IT. I feel like I’ve aged 20 years in the process and my liver has definitely taken a hit here, but I guess I’ll do anything for cause to watch reality TV rejects fornicate on a Mexican beach, even if it jeopardizes my health and wellness. It’s important to know yourself.

Side note: I have now convinced my roommate—and her German friends from out of town staying with us this week—to watch this show. I’m really making strides with US-German relations here. Just call me a fucking ambassador.

Anyway, the episode starts with Chris Harrison emulating my mother when she inquires about my love life at massive family gatherings asking the remaining cast members to define their relationships. He’s really taking his responsibility as host to the next fucking level.

^^Actual footage of Chris Harrison in Paradise rn

Dean looks legitimately terrified at the thought of marriage even though barely three months ago he was going to PROPOSE to Rachel. Whatever.

Lol I love how Chris just dips after dropping this truth bomb. Like, if you want to stay in Mexico and have semi-decent accommodations with free WiFi and actual walls for your room then you’ll need to 100 percent commit to this person you’ve been dry-humping all summer. Can’t wait to watch these people implode under that kind of pressure.

So let me get this straight. Basically their choices are: go on a date to figure out what they are, leave as a couple, or get engaged? That’s what you’re telling me rn? ABC, have you SEEN the men you forced these dime pieces to socialize with? Have you?!

Jesus Christ. I rest my fucking case.

Lacey is the first one on the chopping block to be vulnerable. She asks Daniel if he’ll go on this date with her so they can continue to see where this blight upon humanity relationship goes. I’m watching this whole interaction and all I can think is, Daniel has all the makings of someone that should be attractive but yet instead makes me want to rip my fingernails off and claw my eyes out with the bloody stumps. Ya know?

LACEY: I’m really, really, REALLY desperate enjoying my time with you. Will you go on this date with me?

DANIEL: I’m not done with you yet. You still haven’t seen the fireworks in my pants.

ME: 

Jack Stone goes next. He pulls Christen aside and asks her to be his girlfriend because apparently this is the eighth fucking grade. Seriously though, am I watching or an episode of ? It’s honestly hard to tell.

JACK STONE: I want to leave Mexico holding hands with you.

CHRISTEN: lol

Wow this conversation is not going well at all. Jack Stone keeps bringing up the hand holding thing and Christen looks genuinely alarmed that he thinks he can even breathe the same air as her once they get back to the States.

“Does he think we have a love story?” — Christen for the fucking win right here.

*slow claps* That’s it, I’m team #ScallopFingers forever. Honestly, I’ve never been more proud of a virgin who can’t drive.

My German friend after sitting through barely 15 minutes of this show: I thought there’d be more nudity.

Honestly, you’re not wrong. Same.

Adam and Raven decide to also go on the date. Adam looks shook that anyone would want to sleep with him. Aw, Adam, give yourself some more credit! All Raven’s got to compare you to is Nick!

It’s Dean and D-Lo’s turn to DTR and I don’t know if emotionally I can handle watching these two life ruiners ride off into the fucking sunset for a happy ending. I just don’t know if I can stomach it—WAIT. Did he just dump D-Lo?? FOR KRISTINA?? 

I. AM. SHOOK.

Dean keeps talking about how he fucked up and he misses Kristina and all I can think is:

Side note: Does Danielle L have butterflies tattooed on her the backs of her ankles? She does, right? And it’s all starting to make sense now.

Last but certainly least, we have Amanda and Robby, a couple I do not give one single shit about. They have their talk and Amanda completely breaks down at the thought of having to spend the rest of her life with Robby and his Instagram followers. And, like, same girl. That sounds terrifying.

ROBBY: I just don’t understand. Why would you do this?

AMANDA: Honestly, this was just a paid vacation away from my kids. Don’t push it.

THE FANTASY SUITE DATE

The three remaining couples sit down with Chris Harrison and are told that this isn’t just any date they’ll be going on, but a fantasy suite date. So no more dressing in drag or hot tamale eating contests, the cast members will actually have to, like, connect with one another tonight. Wow. This show is wild.

Everyone pretends to be shocked by this news but, like, let’s not pretend that y’all haven’t been screwing on sand dunes all summer long. Please.

Lacey professes her love for Daniel and he’s like, “yes let’s make this Facebook official.” And they say romance is dead. Tbh this is the first time I haven’t been completely disturbed by Daniel’s presence. You’ve really changed him, Lacey.

Next we get to see Derek and Taylor’s date even though I completely forgot that these two were on the show. They’re really making lasting impressions here. Taylor says something about needing to emotionally and spiritually connect with Derek bang him before they can pursue something more serious.

GERMAN FRIEND: Did I get the language right? Did she just say if the sex is good they can officially date?

Yes, yes you did.

Adam and Raven have their date and Adam pops the fantasy suite question. You can literally see Nick and his sexless turtleneck flash before Raven’s eyes. She’s v nervous about saying yes to the fantasy suite because she can’t fake an orgasm be vulnerable one more time.

AFTER THE FINAL TEQUILA SHOT ROSE

Okay this segue from Raven and Adam’s date to the tell-all portion is really throwing me off. I’m feeling v confused rn. Did  Raven sleep with Adam? Why is this a cliff hanger? Who is responsible for cutting the footage of this episode?? ANSWER ME, ABC.

Of course the sexual assault scandal is STILL being talked about. Like we get it, ABC. You don’t want us to morally blame you for ruining two people’s lives for TV ratings. Your message is loud and clear.

Chris brings out DeMario and Corinne for the world’s most awkward reunion.

CHRIS HARRISON: So where do you go from here?

DEMARIO: Well I’m going to therapy.

CORINNE: I am also in therapy.

Thanks, ABC! I feel SO much better about these two now!! It’s good to know they’re doing so well!

Tbh I could give a shit about the rest of these losers but this whole Kristina-Dean-DLo thing?

They put Dean in the “hot seat” and he looks low-key terrified. Like he knows that every woman in the audience wants to castrate him rn. Side note: can Chris Harrison put other people’s exes in the hot seat? Asking for a friend…

They show the whole Kristina-Dean-DLo love triangle footage and it’s still super hard to watch. Hard to watch in the sense that if I continue to watching it I cannot be held responsible for my actions. Just saying.

DEAN: *sobs watching the montage*

GERMAN FRIEND: He is an actor, yes?

YES.

Kristina keeps talking about how she will always love Dean and blah, blah, blah. She will 100 percent still bang him after this.

Dean gives a very heartfelt speech about how he still loves Kristina. He’s tearing up, I’m tearing up. The more wine I chug, the more I’m willing to forgive Dean and give him another chance. Kristina is one lucky bitch. Dean is reformed. Dean is beautiful. Dean is perfect, no man will ever measure up to how amazingly Dean has proven himself toda—WAIT. Danielle L says the FIRST interesting thing she has ever said on this show when she calls out Dean for calling her an hour after leaving the show. One. Fucking. Hour. AND HE’S STILL TRYING TO GET WITH KRISTINA. 

That’s it. You’re done. Cancelled. See you in hell, Deanie Babies.

And because ABC likes to waste my time, they also bring out Robby and Amanda. They were supposedly dating outside of the show for Instagram likes but broke up because they “wanted different things.” Like, Robby wanted to respond to thots’ comments on Instagram and Amanda wanted to have a father figure free babysitter for her kids. 

Meanwhile Satan’s spawn the twins are desperately trying to stay relevant by butting in every three fucking seconds into Amanda’s breakup story. Robby apparently cheated on Amanda after the show and we know this because the twins kept the receipts and are ready to blow up his spot on national television. The twins are like that friend who will key your ex’s car even though you’re the one that got cheated on, not them.

Wait. The twins are me. I am the twins.

Now we get to move on to the actual couples. Daniel and Lacey did not make it past the fantasy suites. Apparently Daniel couldn’t pretend to like Lacey for more than five seconds after hooking up. In other news, the sky is blue.

CHRIS HARRISON: Why would you say you loved Lacey if you didn’t mean it?

DANIEL: *looks at Lacey* I said I loved you? When?

And just like that, I’m repulsed again. Goddamnit, Daniel.

So I guess Raven and Adam slept together? She looks like she actually had an orgasm too. Good for you, girl. I guess all it takes to find true love is a boob job an open mind and an open heart. 

Derek and Taylor prove that they are the strongest couple on this show. Derek. And Taylor. Let that sink in for a minute, k?

Whatever. I guess Derek has a big enough dick connected with her on a deeper level in that fantasy suite because they’re still in love and making it work long distance.

Taylor keeps talking about how “naked” and “vulnerable” Derek was that night and I 100 percent believe Taylor has a crying fetish. She clearly gets off on the tears of her lovers. Don’t try and tell me different.

The season ends with Derek proposing to Taylor. It’s all very staged sweet but honestly all I can think is “I really hope a twin comes out and says she slept with him.” Where’s a twin when you need one.

 
 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/bachelor-in-paradise-season-4-finale-recap

4 Dark Truths Behind The Suicide Epidemic In Med Schools

Get intimate with our new podcast Cracked Gets Personal. Subscribe for great episodes like The Most Insane Things We Saw In Emergency Medicine and 3 Wild Stories from Inside the Opiate Epidemic, available wherever you get your podcasts.

A doctor’s life involves swimming in pools of money, basking in society’s approval, and partying with nurses dressed like strippers and strippers dressed like nurses, right? Maybe for Dr. Agracer, but for many, it’s one of the most depressing jobs out there. The suicide risk for a doctor is much higher than for the average person (twice as high in the case of female doctors). We lose 300-400 doctors a year in this country to suicide, the equivalent of an entire medical school being killed annually. One doctor we talked to told us that the troubles begin early …

4

Residents Suffer From Serious Depression

The first suicide attempt was a third-year resident. One day, she just didn’t show up to work. I asked a mutual friend what happened, and was told she tried to kill herself. She ended up in a different hospital in town (for obvious reasons, she didn’t want to come to ours). She basically vanished from the residency. There was no attempt to explain what happened, to tell people why she vanished, or to offer counseling. And yet everyone still had to cover for her, so it generated a significant amount of ill will among us. We were extremely resentful, having to cut short, easy rotations to take over her spot on the difficult ones, and that’s about the only emotion we had about the situation.

29 percent of physicians in training show signs of depression, but we doctors don’t show each other much sympathy in this area. One resident left after suffering what was basically the normal, expected amount of abuse. He became a laughingstock, and his name became a verb that we used to make fun of each other. 80 percent of residents report receiving mistreatment at the hands of their superiors. 10 percent this past year admitted to having suicidal thoughts.

There was a running joke in the surgery residency about how “weak” the anesthesiology residents are, because if a patient died on the table, they were given the rest of the day off. We surgery residents? We got just enough of a break to get a bite to eat, or to round on patients, or to pee (but definitely not all three) before the next case started. In my fourth year of residency, I had three of my patients die in the same day. Next day, back to work.

3

You Train So Long To Be A Doctor That You Don’t Think There’s Any Escape

A couple of weeks before I nearly jumped out a window, the patient who had been torturing me for over two months finally died. He was the second patient I operated on in my fellowship. He’d been my patient for eight weeks, and did terribly in post-op — by that point, he’d had a tracheotomy, a tube in his stomach, a dialysis catheter, mechanical circulatory support, got shocked a few times, was never off vasopressors. Now I didn’t have to get any more phone calls about him from the intern in the ICU, and I was going to maybe be able to sleep through the night. I was overjoyed at the death of another person, I suddenly realized, and I had to sit down and evaluate my life.

Not a week after he died, another patient in the same ICU room nearly bled to death post-op. Thankfully, we were able to get him back to the operating room and stop the bleeding. I’m pretty sure my heart rate didn’t go below 110 until he woke up two days later. Once again, I felt a rush — joy? relief? — and that frightened me, because I wasn’t relieved that he was alive. I was relieved that he was up, which meant he was not going to torture me the way the previous patient had.

Then came the night of my suicide attempt. I hadn’t slept more than two hours in a row, or six hours in a night, for about three months. I’d been pretty much delirious 24/7. My wife worked more than 100 miles away, so she only spent a day or two a week with me, and this was one of them. I could have gone home at 8:30 p.m., after I’d stabilized my patients, to see my wife for an hour and a half before coming back to the hospital, but I didn’t have the energy. Instead I was trying to get a couple of minutes of sleep before my 10:30 p.m. rounds. But a stubborn little blue light from a computer was boring into the back of my skull, keeping me awake, and leaving me with my thoughts — of how the only satisfaction I ever felt nowadays was when the work stopped.

I had spent my entire life getting to this point. I’d decided I wanted to be a doctor after my grandfather had surgery when I was nine. Literally everything I had done for the past 22 years was to get here — every extracurricular activity, every research project, every class in college, every rotation in medical school — and I reached what should have been the light at the end of the tunnel. Instead it felt like a fucking black hole. I couldn’t fathom switching careers. There was nothing else I’d even considered wanting to do for all these years. I had a sudden realization that instead of building a mountain for the past 22 years, I had been digging a hole, and when I finally looked up, I could no longer see the sky.

2

You Start To View Your Own Death With Clinical Detachment

I looked at the window and remembered that after a couple of undergrads in the university where I went to medical school had jumped from the dorm windows, there had been talk about sealing them. Incidentally, one of the medical students in my class killed himself after failing to match where he wanted to. Then I wondered if that was the reason all the call rooms at the hospital were on the first, second, and third floors. This window right here, though, was on the sixth. So I figured, let’s put our hands on that window and slide it open.

It was six stories straight down to the asphalt parking lot. I climbed up on the windowsill and put my head and my shoulders out. Then I stopped.

I knew the LD50 — the height at which 50 percent of people will die — is four stories. But since I was on the sixth floor and the ground floor was numbered “one,” I was really only five stories up. That meant I had probably a 30-40 percent chance of surviving the fall, which was unacceptable. Because that would mean severe trauma, lots of broken bones, probably severe internal injuries, multiple operations — I did not want to put some other poor surgical resident through all that, and I really didn’t want to torture my wife. So I stepped back down off the windowsill — not because I didn’t want to kill myself anymore, but because I was just as likely to survive and wind up stuck in the hospital … and I really wanted out.

1

The Culture Of Acceptance Contributes To Severe PTSD

The third suicide attempt I heard about was a resident jumping out of the call room windows. Fortunately she was in a hospital and she survived, though I don’t know what happened to her afterward. The response from the program was to bring in a psychiatrist who held one meeting with the whole department and basically said, “You know why I’m here, and if you need anything, call.”

That was it.

After you become a doctor, you’re in for life — that’s what the hospital thinks. There’s a mandatory retirement age for, say, airline pilots, but we let surgeons operate into their 80s. Two of the surgeons in my residency had cardiac arrests (fortunately, people were close enough to start CPR) and then went back to work after getting heart surgery themselves. Two attending surgeons had cardiac arrests, and one had a heart attack (but not an arrest), and every one of them just went back to work as if nothing happened.

When I was a junior resident, I had pneumonia with a fever of 103. I was told that the policy said I was supposed to go home for 48 hours, so as not to infect anyone, but I was on call 36 hours later. I’ve been stuck with needles — from an HIV-positive patient, from a Hep-C patient before there was a cure — and showered in blood, and the biggest concern was figuring out who was going to pay for my own subsequent ER visit. Turns out my health insurance did not.

That’s not to establish pity. It’s to illustrate the biggest problem doctors face: pure burnout.

The symptoms of burnout are changes in appetite, anger, anxiety, guilt, worthless feelings, isolation, loss of enjoyment, detachment, irritability, and apathy. But “burnout” is not a clinical entity. It’s just our word for it. There is a clinical entity that encompasses the same subset of symptoms: PTSD.

When I was a third-year resident, I removed the gallbladder (this procedure is called a “lap chole”) of a woman who had a young child. The case went fine, she went home the same day, and three days later she came back with a major complication. For months afterwards, I was afraid to do lap choles.

After every patient complication or death, a resident has to create an M&M (“morbidity and mortality”) presentation which they’ll broadcast to the whole department of surgery during a weekly session. While writing this, I took a look through all my old M&Ms. There were a couple strokes, pulmonary embolisms, big complications. But I didn’t even remember them until I read through the slides. Are there soldiers who have personally killed so many people that they can’t even remember them all, or is that just in movies?

Ryan Menezes is an editor and interviewer here at Cracked. Follow him on Twitter for bits cut from this article and other stuff no one should see.

For more insider perspectives, check out 4 Shocking Reasons Veterinarians Have A Huge Risk Of Suicide and 5 Terrifying Things I Learned as a Drug-Addicted Nurse.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-2511-4-dark-truths-behind-suicide-epidemic-in-med-schools.html

5 Things That Will Actually Cure Your Hangover

As a soon-to-be 26-year-old, definitely the worst part about being on the wrong side of 25 has got to be that I’m about to lose my health insurance my hangovers are debilitating. I’m talking about a full 72-hour affair. First, there’s the general hangover that comes with all the nausea, headaches, fatigue, and praying for the sweet release of death. Then the next day I’m still congested af and sneezing up what I assume are the remnants of my terrible life choices, and on top of that I’m still tired. THEN, I’m still tired for a good day after that, just in time for the weekend to roll around and for me to start drinking again. What’s a borderline alcoholic girl to do? Thankfully, science and frat bros with their parents’ money entrepreneurs have got our back. I’ve tried just about every hangover cure there is, aside from abstaining from alcohol, so I’m going to tell you about the best ones.

1. Morning Recovery

This stuff comes in a tiny bottle that’s only a little bigger than your average container of 5-Hour Energy, which is good for people like me who don’t enjoy swallowing massive amounts of liquid. (And I wonder why I’m single.) It’s basically got a bunch of chemical compounds that are supposed to boost your body’s natural response to alcohol—shit like milk thistle, prickly pear, and something called DHM that sounds like the main ingredients of a capsule I ingested this weekend at EZoo. You’re supposed to go out and do what you normally would do, come home and drink Morning Recovery, and then enjoy your next day hangover-free. However, because I’m a delinquent, I drank this shit while I was pregaming (which they say you can also do), and I think the effects were still the same. I went to EZoo, drank copious amounts of Heineken and tequila, and still woke up hangover-free, even without the initial headache and residual nausea I usually get from my typical two glasses of wine at happy hour. As an extra bonus, Morning Recovery is giving Betches readers a discount if you use the code BETCHES10 at checkout!

2. Mentis

I ordered this shit off GoFundMe because I’m forever chasing a way to avoid consequences for my actions. Sue me. Mentis is similar to Morning Recovery in that it contains a bunch of ingredients I can’t pronounce and don’t care to understand, and it basically has a lot of supplements and shit to help your body repair itself. It comes in a little packet much like your regular Emergen-C and you pour it into water and drink the water. The main difference here is, you NEED to take it BEFORE you start drinking. Seems easy enough unless you’re me and start drinking at 3pm most days and don’t bring your Mentis to brunch. Oh well. I tried this, and I also felt like I avoided a hangover which was pretty impressive considering I mixed a lot of types of alcohol and had a tequila soda at like, 1:30am because I’m a psychopath with no regard for my own life. The only downside to this stuff is that while the peach flavor is good, this shit is chalky as hell. It was v hard to choke down the whole glass. But I’d take that over being immobile and marathoning five straight hours of on a gorgeous 80-degree Sunday any day. 

3. Eat A Burger

I’ve only recently discovered that eating a burger before I go out drinking will save me from a debilitating hangover the next day. And science backs me up on this, so stay with me here. The protein from the meat has amino acids and B vitamins that help you process the undesirable byproducts of alcohol, and eating a meal that consists of carbs, fat, and protein helps you metabolize the alcohol. You might feel bloated and disgusting, but science didn’t tell you to order the side of fries over the salad, so it sounds like this is a personal problem.

4. Take An Advil

Even if you don’t have a headache, it’s not a bad idea to take an ibuprofen before bed to reduce inflammation caused by alcohol. Plus, that extra sip of water required for you to swallow the pill probably doesn’t hurt either. However, you need to make sure that you’re taking ibuprofen and NOT acetaminophen. I always get the two confused and used to take them interchangeably until my friend yelled at me, because it’s a TERRIBLE idea. Drinking on acetaminophen (and even taking it the day after drinking) can lead to liver damage, which is precisely the organ you want to protect if you want alcohol to remain a part of your life. Just so you remember, acetaminophen is Tylenol and ibuprofen is Advil. Bookmark this page for later; you’re welcome.

5. Don’t Black Out

Apologies for sounding like a MADD presentation, but in my (very extensive) experience the only way to guarantee I don’t have a terrible hangover is to not black out. Once I experience memory loss, I’m fucked. Obviously there’s no science to speak to this because scientists are lame and can’t hang, but like, this would be my personal recommendation to you. Get wasted, just don’t black out, and maybe there’s a shred of hope for you and all the errands you have to run tomorrow.

 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/5-things-to-prevent-a-hangover

Coconut Water Isn’t Nearly As Good For You As You Think

In the overwhelmingly WASPy world of trendy superfoods, coconut water has risen to the top, promising every hungover and electrolyte-depleted betch that it would solve all of our problems. Today, that promise is being broken, and TBH we were just starting to get used to its (v mediocre) taste.

In a new study that just came out, a group of researchers and dietitians took another look at coconut waters properties, and concluded that its really not that healthy for us. I mean, they didnt say its UNHEALTHY or anything, but the research basically showed that coconut water is literally sugar water from a coconut, and isnt doing that much for us in the health department.

For the past couple years, coconut water has been placed on the same shelf as green juice and kombucha, promising white girls everywhere that it would give them clear skin, nails, tons of energy, and an amazing body. I dont know about you guys, but I kinda want a refund. Like, if I wouldve known that coconut water is essentially a more caloric version of water, I never wouldve bought an entire case to keep by my bedside for Sunday mornings. I also wouldnt have spent $14 on a coconut in Mexico just for the Instagram (but then again that picture got like, 200 likes so dont hold me to that).

If youre wondering what the study concluded exactly, heres a summary of the science behind coconut water:

While coconut water does have some potassium and vitamins in it, it doesnt have any specific hydrating or weight loss benefits that go along with it. So, people who think of coconut water as a healthy Gatorade are just wrong. In fact, coconut water isnt as filling as real foods that have the same calories and vitamins in them, so youre better off just eating healthy foods.

Were obviously just as outraged as you are, and wed like to know who started spreading these healthy coconut water rumors in the first place. Seriously, we want names. I dont think my father, the inventor of Toaster Strudel, would be too pleased to hear about this. 

Read more: http://www.betches.com/coconut-water-isnt-nearly-as-good-for-you-as-you-think

8 Original Boy Scout Badges Modern Adults Couldn’t Earn

I was a Boy Scout, and though I could never muster the energy to get involved in my community enough to make Eagle rank, I definitely remember the Merit Badges. The best scouts had a sash full of ’em. The more you had, the more likely your Dad was the Scoutmaster. It was a cool idea, but some of them were too easy to get. For example, the one for Engineering asks you to list ten electrical appliances in your house. It’s not much of a challenge when one of the requirements is literally “write down the contents of your kitchen.”

In 1911, though, things were a little different. I accidentally stumbled upon the original Boy Scout handbook, and the requirements for some of the William Taft-era merit badges vary from mundane insanity to the regular kind of insanity. We’ve already discussed how badass the Scouts used to be, but after reading this list, I understand that you had to be a major badass to simply survive getting your merit badges. Badges like..

8

Agriculture – Grow A Fucking Acre Of Corn

A common staple among 1911 badges is bullshit requirements, asking you to “be able” to do something without actually proving you can do it. The first Merit Badge for Agriculture is a good example:

3. Be able to identify and describe common weeds of the community and tell how best to eliminate them.

4. Be able to identify the common insects and tell how best to handle them.

5. Have a practical knowledge of plowing, cultivating, drilling, hedging, and draining.

6. Have a working knowledge of farm machinery, haymaking, reaping, loading, and stacking.

It asks Scouts to know some basics about crop husbandry, and that’s about it. There’s not even any quantitative guides given. I’m sure I could name a handful of insects and weeds and the ways to handle them (mosquitoes, ants, daffodils; BURN THEM ALL!). I don’t know dick about haymaking and reaping, which, at first glance, sound less like farming terms and more like the Mass Effect: Andromeda quests that I always ignore.

Oops, I skipped steps 1 and 2. Let’s me just scroll up and see-

1. State different tests with grains.

2. Grow at least an acre of corn which produces 25 per cent. better than the general average.

Holy shit. The first Boy Scouts had to grow a fucking acre of corn to get this badge? I’m not even a hundred percent sure how much that is, but unless you already own a working farm, that’s like … impossible right? I just looked it up. An acre is 16 tennis courts. 16 tennis courts of corn. And if your Dad was a farmer, everyone would know you just cheated. I mean, how would you grow any cornfield bigger than a garden without that infrastructure already in place? “At least an acre.” That’s the bare minimum, boys. Sorry about any other activities that you wanted to take part in this year.

I didn’t even mention that apparently this child would have to produce a yield 25 percent better than the general average. So what if little Jimmy produces corn at 24 percent better than the general average? Guess what, you just wasted 60 to 100 days planting and harvesting 40 bushels of corn. Fuck you, Jimmy. No merit badge for you. Try again next crop.

7

Angling – Catch 10 Fish With Homemade Rods

Now, I have some country in me. I’ve been to Maine. I’ve fished before. But my fishing rods had cartoon sharks on them. I have no idea how to do any of this.

To obtain a merit badge for Angling a scout must

1. Catch and name ten different species of fish: salmon or trout to be taken with flies; bass, pickerel, or pike to be caught with rod or reel, muskallonge to be caught by trolling.

2. Make a bait rod of three joints, straight and sound, 14 oz. or less in weight, 10 feet or less in length, to stand a strain of 1-1/2 lbs. at the tip, 13 lbs. at the grip.

3. Make a jointed fly-rod 8-10 feet long, 4-8 ozs. in weight, capable of casting a fly sixty feet.

Look, at it’s most basic a fishing rod is just a spooled line attached to a stick, but it seems like you need some pretty specific materials to make rods to these specifications. At least when we had to build Pinewood Derby cars, the Boy Scouts conveniently had building kits (rectangular blocks of wood and some plastic wheels) ready-to-buy. Can’t give these kids a stack of prepared wood to work from, or, well, anything, for that matter?

Oh, and you need to go catch ten different fish, and only in certain ways. God help you if you catch a trout with a reel, or a muskallonge without posting Internet comments.

4. Name and describe twenty-five different species of fish found in North American waters and give a complete list of the fishes ascertained by himself to inhabit a given body of water.

Next time you are near a body of water, please peer down into the depths and give me a complete list of every fish hiding in there. Don’t cheat, or we’ll knock you back down to Cub level.

6

Archery – Recreate The “Blot Out The Sun” Scene From 300

Archery has always been a staple of Boy Scout camps and the most boring portions of the Olympics. Today, there is a surprising amount of technology involved, much more than there was in 1911. So it’s puzzling that one of the steps to get this badge back then (after making your own bow, of course!) was to practically recreate that scene from 300 where the Persians blot out the sun with their arrows.

To obtain a merit badge for Archery a scout must

1. Make a bow and arrow which will shoot a distance of one hundred feet with fair precision.

2. Make a total score of 350 with 60 shots in one or {25} two meets, using standard four-foot target at forty yards or three-foot target at thirty yards.

3. Make a total score of 300 with 72 arrows, using standard target at a distance of fifty yards.

4. Shoot so far and fast as to have six arrows in the air at once.

Here’s Lars Andersen, a master archer from Denmark claiming to break the world record for having the most arrows in the air at once before one comes down. He gets 11 up there before the first one hits the grass, in about seven seconds. That’s with a modern bow and arrow from what I assume is at least a mid-grade bow and arrow store. The Boy Scout Manual wants these kids to get to half of the world record from 100 years in the future with a goddamn homemade bow. The first time traveler will be a Boy Scout from the early 1900s, desperate to meet the ludicrous standards of a mad book that is trying to kill him.

5

Architecture – Design A House To The Standards Of A Contractor

Scouting requires a lot of hands-on training. You’ll learn how to tie knots, whittle sticks, and … design a two-story house, apparently.

To obtain a merit badge for Architecture a scout must

1. Present a satisfactory free-hand drawing.

2. Write an essay on the history of Architecture and describe the five orders.

3. Submit an original design for a two-story house and tell what material is necessary for its construction, giving detailed specifications.

1911 wasn’t exactly devoid of two-story houses, so good luck creating an original design that isn’t some kind of Frank Lloyd Wright monstrosity. What kinda house would an eleven-year-old boy build anyway? The staircases would be made out of roller coasters. It wouldn’t be “right.” But don’t forget to detail every single material that you plan on using, even if it’s fucking Gingerbread.

While you have all those building materials handy, you can probably grab Pioneering while you’re at it, which only requires you to construct a whatever-the-fuck three-person shack next to your two story house and then build a modern bridge between ’em.

4. Build a modern bridge or derrick.

5. Make a camp kitchen.

6. Build a shack of one kind or another suitable for three occupants.

Or a derrick if that’s too hard. Do you guys know what a derrick is? It’s this thing:

Egeswender/Wiki Commons

At this point, I’m pretty sure the Eiffel Tower was knocked out by a boy scout over the weekened, so he could get started on his “discover perpetual motion” badge.

4

Civics – Harder Than The U.S. Citizenship Test

When it comes to local politics, the most advanced information you have to know for your modern Citizenship badges is who your Congressmen are. And depending on how much Fox News your Dad watches, you probably already know their nicknames. Back in the day though? You better be able to rattle off every elected official that represents you and draw a map to all their offices, probably so you could find them and apologize for your sudden, rampant corn planting and for decimating the local fish population.

6. Know how the governor, lieutenant-governor, senators, representatives, or assemblymen of his state are elected, and their terms of office.

7. Know whether the judges of the principal courts in his state are appointed or elected, and the length of their terms.

8. Know how the principal officers in his town or city are elected and for what terms.

9. Know the duties of the various city departments, such as fire, police, board of health, etc.

10. Draw a map of the town or city in which he lives, giving location of the principal public buildings and points of special interest.

I could probably stumble through step 6 with some hints, but then you’ve lost me. If I’ve ever voted for a judge in my life, it was by accident. I’m pretty sure my town is run by a board of selectmen, but I have no idea what that even means and wouldn’t recognize them if I hit one with my car. Unless you are insanely politically active (you know the ones by their Facebook feeds) there is simply no way the average American adult would know this stuff. The only reason I know where the town hall is is because of my yearly dog license fee.

To obtain a merit badge for Civics a scout must

1. State the principal citizenship requirements of an elector in his state.

2. Know the principal features of the naturalization laws of the United States.

3. Know how President, Vice-President, senators, and congressmen of the United States are elected and their terms of office.

4. Know the number of judges of the Supreme Court of the United States, how appointed, and their term of office.

5. Know the various administrative departments of government, as represented in the President’s Cabinet.

Even the top-level info is pretty tricky. Who are the electors? Are they elected or chosen? (Am … am I an elector??). Don’t get me wrong, all of this stuff is actually really important to know, and the fact that little boys were expected to know this 100 years ago explains a lot about our current predicament. But it’s hard to condemn our citizens’ ignorance when I’m not convinced our own President knows the various administrative departments of government.

3

First Aid – Treat Actual Horrific Injuries

This can’t be too bad. You make a sling, and you go home, right …

2. Carry a person down a ladder.

Hold on. This doesn’t say “demonstrate” or “explain how to.” You actually have to do it. A preteen boy has to carry a person (things that typically weigh as much as an average person) down a freakin’ ladder? The Hell does that even have to do with First Aid? I feel like just this is enough to warrant its own “Break Your Own Spine” merit badge.

3. Bandage head and ankle.

4. Demonstrate treatment of wound of the neck with severe arterial hemorrhage.

5. Treat mangling injury of the leg without severe hemorrhage.

6. Demonstrate treatment for rupture of varicose veins of the leg with severe hemorrhage.

What the … are they are all like this? Unless they add “10. Call 911, before passing out at the sight of blood” right now, I am not going to be able to check off a single one of these.

2

Ornithology – Find Every Goddamn Bird In Your Neighborhood

It’s birdwatching. How fucking hard could that be?

To obtain a merit badge for Ornithology a scout must

1. Have a list of one hundred different kinds of birds personally observed on exploration in the field.

2. Have identified beyond question, by appearance or by note, forty-five different kinds of birds in one day.

Oh OK. You just have to sit around waiting for every species of bird in your neighborhood to come strolling on by like it’s Pokemon Snap. There aren’t 100 different birds at the zoo, let alone in my damn backyard. The badges for Forestry, Mining, and Stalking require an equally ridiculous observation of trees, minerals, and shrubs, respectively. You know, just in case the meandering obsession of Birdwatching wasn’t enough and you’re in the market for more bullshit counting.

And don’t even think about mis-characterizing a white-throated sparrow as a tufted titmouse. This shit needs to be beyond question, folks. Forty-five birds in one day. 100 percent accuracy. The rest of this list comes off like it’s a script that eventually reveals the Scoutmaster to be the bad guy .

3. Have made a good clear photograph of some wild bird, the bird image to be over one half inch in length on the negative.

“What?! You found 45 birds? FINE! Try taking a perfect picture of one!”

4. Have secured at least two tenants in bird boxes-

“Damn! Oh ya? Good luck capturing … TWO birds in boxes! AHAHA!”

4. Have secured at least two tenants in bird boxes erected by himself.

“-AND BUILD THE BOXES YOURSELF!”

5. Have daily notes on the nesting of a pair of wild birds from the time the first egg is laid until the young have left the nest.

“Nooo! Bet you can’t catch some bird parents in the act of giving birth and then stalk them every day until all the kids have moved out of the house!”

6. Have attracted at least three kinds of birds, exclusive of the English sparrow, to a “lunch counter” which he has supplied.

“That’s … that’s impossible … Here … take the damn badge. If … you convince three of them to have lunch with you. And NO SPARROWS OR IT’S BACK TO START!”

1

Pathfinding – Become a Walking GPS

A badge like Pathfinding is a great example of something that is both essential to what Scouting is all about and has unfortunately been made completely obsolete by today’s technology. It has since been merged into the more couch-friendly Exploration badge, but the original version asked Scouts to become a walking GPS.

To obtain a merit badge for Pathfinding a scout must

1. Know every lane, by-path, and short cut for a distance of at least two miles in every direction around the local scouts’ headquarters in the country.

2. Have a general knowledge of the district within a five mile radius of his local headquarters, so as to be able to guide people at any time, by day or night.

3. Know the general direction and population of the five principal neighboring towns and be able to give strangers correct directions how to reach them.

I’d be impressed if someone knew all of the shortcuts in Mario Kart. I’d be really impressed if someone knew the location of every Target within five miles. And I’d be fucking floored if I mused aloud in my driveway where the nearest damn Wendy’s was while fumbling with my phone, and a little boy in a uniform came out of the bushes, gave me the exact street directions complete with shortcuts, and walked away into the shadows.

In addition, this Merit Badge requires Scouts to somehow count the number of cattle and horses at all the nearby farms, know the history of every public building in his town, and then put all of the above on a map. So yeah, walking GPS, library, and local farm trespasser.

Well, there you have it. The eight hardest OG Merit Badges. I’d bet my WEBELOS neckerchief that no modern Boy Scout could get any of these. If you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go try and finish up my Personal Health badge, the only way God intended:

4. Describe the effect of alcohol and tobacco on the growing boy.

Chris has a brand new party game that you can download for free right here. Look for it on Facebook, too!

Read more: http://www.cracked.com/blog/8-badges-that-prove-original-boy-scouts-were-badasses/

5 Flat-Out Wrong Things About Religions You Probably Believe

We’re not sure if you’ve noticed, but people get pretty uptight about religious beliefs. As a comedy site, that is beyond our purview. All we can really do is point out some of the ridiculous things some folks think they know about other religions. And we’re not just talking about the stuff your bigoted uncle all-caps on Facebook: There are some “facts” about religion that even entirely normal and balanced people who do not believe chemtrails are made by Jewish dragons think are true.

5

The Sikhs Don’t Have Anything To Do With Islam

Take a quick look at this man.

CNN
“I get ‘randomly selected’ quite a bit.”

This is Waris Ahluwalia, who was not allowed on an airplane to New York because he refused to remove his turban. Now, while that sounds like a pretty stupid reason to deny a Muslim on a flight, it becomes even stupider when you realize he isn’t a Muslim, but a Sikh.

They sort of look like they could be Muslims or whatever, which unfortunately is all the excuse the rest of the world needs: In the first month after 9/11, there were more than 300 documented cases of violence against Sikhs. An utterly unprovoked shooting rampage at a Sikh temple in 2012 left six people dead, and was in all likelihood driven by anti-Muslim sentiment. In Fresno, a few weeks after the San Bernardino attack, Sikh Amrik Singh Bal was beaten and hit with a truck. One completely innocent Canadian Sikh was blamed for three separate terrorist attacks, when a Photoshopped photo of him went viral after the Paris massacres:

via VICE
So just a heads up when you see this inevitability pop up next time.

60 percent of Americans admit that they know nothing at all about the Sikh religion, which just so happens to be the fifth largest in the world. The Sikh are generally considered some odd offshoot of Islam (or Hindu religion, seeing as the overwhelming majority of Sikhs are from India), when they’re considered at all.

But the Sikh are their own thing entirely: Guru Nanak, the founder of the religion, was born Hindu, but created his own religious belief system in the late 1490s, after reportedly drowning in a river and reappearing three days later. Nanak’s new tenets involved some pretty wild and crazy things, such as equality between sexes, and an overall belief that the caste system is completely ridiculous. Guru Nanak envisioned the Sikh as a proud group of saint-soldier types, meaning that right away, they were assigned the Paladin class while the rest of the world’s religions were stuck with monks and clerics.

In 1699, the tenth Guru of the Sikh, Gobind Singh, refined the Sikh look by introducing the religion’s physical symbols, the 5 K’s. A Sikh wears these five symbols at all times to show off the positive aspects of their faith: They never cut their hair to symbolize holiness and strength. They always carry a wooden comb for the cleanliness of mind and body (and for, you know, the hair), a steel bracelet to show restraint, a badass ceremonial blade to symbolize their status as spiritual warriors, and a special cotton underwear for chastity (and to make fighting easier. Yes. They have fightin’ underwear).

The turban was the Guru’s way of thumbing his nose at the aristocracy (who were traditionally the only ones allowed to wear it), and because it happened to be part of the military uniform at the time, it was a fantastic way to keep the long hair in check. It’s considered the most visible symbol of the religion, and a fully anointed (Amrithdhari) Sikh can never uncover their head in public, which, incidentally, explains why Ahluwalia could not remove his headwear in the first place.

4

Pacifist Buddhists Can And Will Kick Your Ass

Buddhist monks are all old pacifists, so at peace with themselves and the world that they won’t even sit on a blade of grass if they think it’ll hurt the grass’ feelings. But the idea of Buddhists as a bunch of non-violent non-offenders is a tad wrong: there is a very distinct difference between non-violence and total pacifism, and the Buddha’s teachings don’t really bother with the latter. The first of the Buddhist teachings is “Avoid killing, or harming any living thing,” the imperative word being “avoid.” Although there are Buddhists who embrace pacifism, the idea of complete non-violence is a wistful projection by Westerners. Buddhism doesn’t allow lashing out in anger, and requires exhausting all options for negotiation before doing so, but if they think no other options are available, a Buddhist can and absolutely will kick your ass.

20th century Asian history is rife with examples of exactly that: Buddhists interpreting their religious texts for combat purposes, more or less as liberally as any other major religion. Bono made you incessantly aware of the Chinese-Tibet conflict that’s been going on since 1950, but you may not realize that the Tibetan army that attempted to fight the Chinese was actually created by the 13th Dalai Lama himself, in 1913. Although the current Lama takes a Gandhi-esque approach, his predecessor was pushing to get Tibet a modern military. When Japan invaded parts of China on the eve of WWII, Japanese Buddhists were there because it was necessary to implement the correct version of their beliefs in Asia. Various groups of Sri Lankan Buddhists have been trying to remove those of other faiths from their country for decades, going so far as to assassinate the prime minister in 1959, for failing to ensure their rights. In recent years, Thailand has experienced a wave of anti-Muslim sentiment and outright violence, fanned on by … Buddhist monks.

Everybody can be jerks. Even in a colorful robe.

3

You Can Be Buried In A Jewish Cemetery Even If You Have Tattoos

Do you have a tattoo? Sorry, God hates you. At least, that’s what the Torah says in Leviticus 19:28:

You shall not make any cuts in your body for the dead nor make any tattoo marks on yourselves: I am the LORD.

Did anybody else read that in a Macho Man Randy Savage voice? No, that’s our unique blasphemy? Okay.

But you’re getting a seat in hell with us, thanks to that Sonic The Hedgehog tattoo on your ass. Getting tattoos is such a big deal that you can’t even be buried in a Jewish cemetery if you have one. Well, on paper, at least: no Jewish cemetery actually has this policy in place, to the point where the spokesman for the Jewish Funeral Directors Of America has dismissed the idea as a “load of rubbish.” When you ask scholars about it, they’ll tell you that Judaism is not in the habit of leaving dead bodies just lying around because someone “was so totally a Pisces” that they needed a cute little fish on their ankle.

Tattoos themselves are a hotly contested issue within Judaism: While they’re technically forbidden by Jewish law, there are no actual repercussions for having one, unless the tattoo is actively idolatrous. Some Jews have started fighting the tattoo taboo, but no one really claimed that a tattoo keeps you away from your designated burial spot.

As for that passage from Leviticus: It’s true that God specifically calls out tattoos in it. However, you’ll notice that it says precisely jack shit about burial ground bans, and as Biblical scholar Nili S. Fox points out, context is everything. The Bible is actually rife with positive mentions of tattoos. The Leviticus passage is literally the only negative one, which is probably because Leviticus be crazy, y’all.

2

Mormons Can Totally Drink Caffeine

On the list of odd things Mormons believe, one of the strangest is the ban on caffeine, which makes their perpetual pep all the more infuriating. Imagine how that feels: No coffee, no soda, no energy drinks followed by three fistfuls of NoDoz just to make it to lunch. It’s beyond belief … and it should be, because Mormons are totally allowed to drink caffeine.

There’s a section of the Mormon Doctrine and Covenants known as the Words Of Wisdom. These words serve as a kind of Mormon health and wellness guide, laying out what they should eat or drink. If you take a look at that text, there’s no mention of caffeine anywhere. Instead, Mormons are restricted from imbibing “hot drinks,” which is generally considered to mean coffee and tea, but emphatically not caffeinated in general. Other people saw them turn down coffee, and made that leap. The idea of Mormons having to avoid soda became so widespread that, in 2012, the Church Of The Latter Day Saints actually put out an official statement to clarify their policy. Which was basically: “Hey, they’re all right by us, but try not to drink, like, 17 bottles of Pepsi a day.”

If only because caffeine pills are so much more convenient.

1

Everything In The Book Of Revelations Probably Already Happened Thousands Of Years Ago

You know the Book Of Revelations from the Bible, and every fourth Nicolas Cage movie. The seven seals are opened, unleashing the four horsemen; a seven-headed beast rises from the sea, and a final battle commences on the fields of Armageddon. Religious nuts consider it our future, but that’s probably because they don’t realize it was actually in the past.

The Book Of Revelations is also known as the Revelation To John, who most people don’t realize is not the same guy that wrote the Book Of John, from the Gospels. In fact, most Biblical scholars think the Book Of Revelations was written at some point after the year 70 A.D., which actually makes a ton of sense: See, around 70 A.D., the Romans sacked the shit out of Jerusalem, driving out the Jews and destroying their temples. From the Jewish point of view, you could almost call these events … apocalyptic.

Yep, experts are saying that the Book Of Revelations was likely religious war propaganda, written to rally the Jewish people under the comforting belief that God was going to come back and lay the smack down on those Romans. Scholars have found plenty of evidence to support the view that the Book Of Revelations actually describes an incident from the writer’s lifetime, instead of some terrifying ecclesiastical future war. The seven-headed monster points to Rome and its famous seven hills. The mark of the beast, 666, is thought to be a numerological reference to Emperor Nero, who had a storied history of oppressing early Christians. Why, you could almost say the man was anti-Christ. The fields of Armageddon were probably referring to al-Megiddo, a famous battlefield of the time that had already been the site of various conflicts with Pagan armies. In all likelihood, John wasn’t prophesying some awful future event in the Book Of Revelations: He was angrily blogging about the world he was living in, whipping it all up with fantastical drama and elaborate slurs, like a slightly less influential Breitbart.com.

James is on Twitter, and has recently tried his hand at blogging.

Now that you don’t need to fear for your afterlife, instead of slapping on temporary tattoos, you can get a real tattoo machine for the low, low price of $40 and clumsily emblazon your skin with a mistake forever!

For more ways we’re totally clueless about religions, check out 5 Insane Facts That Will Change How You View Christianity and 5 Myths You Probably Believe About Major Religions.

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Read more: http://www.cracked.com/article_24919_5-flat-out-wrong-things-about-religions-you-probably-believe.html

5 Things To Understand About Modern Hate Groups

Here’s a popular right-wing meme that got spread around before the attack in Charlottesville:

So, here’s what I want to ask anyone sharing that (or wearing it on a t-shirt — yes, they sell them): When we replace the stick figures with actual bleeding humans, does that change how you feel about it at all? (WARNING: Graphic fucking video):

It’s not a rhetorical question. I think the answer to that will decide what happens next.

5

The Internet Could Have Been The Greatest Anti-Bigotry Tool In History

Bigotry is never about hating a real person. The target is always a perfectly hateable caricature we invent to avoid glimpsing the true enemy staring back at us from the mirror. It’s a punching bag, a shape drawn around a bull’s-eye. This is why so many racists have a real Black Friend they can hide behind — when they actually get to know one, a whole different part of their brain lights up (“I mean, he’s not even black to me! He’s just Steve!”). Do I have to point out the obvious, that their entire worldview would change if they could somehow get to know every minority the way they know their buddy? How many times have anti-immigration politicians and pundits gotten caught hiring “illegals” themselves? “Well you see, my illegals are honest and do great work. Not like the rapey stick-figures on those T-shirts.”

Lutz Bachmann/Twitter

I had secretly been hoping that the internet, social media, and smartphones would make it impossible to not put a real human face on those groups. In a connected world in which I can tell you what my cousin’s coworkers considered eating for lunch yesterday, minorities can’t remain abstractions. I was hoping that over time, smartphones would do to racism what they did to UFOs.

You remember UFOs, right? For a generation leading up to the 1990s, some fuzzy flying saucer turned up in the news every month. Now, when there are a thousand times more cameras around, the flying saucers have evaporated like smoke — belief in alien visitors plummeted by the mid-2000s. The myth became impossible to preserve in the face of evidence (or lack of it).

Racism, likewise, is based on a myth — that these people aren’t people at all, that they don’t cry or bleed or want the same things we want, that fixing our discomfort is as simple as making them … go away, somehow. Now we have the technology to see an event like Charlottesville in real-time from half a dozen angles; we can hear the screams, see first-responders desperately trying to resuscitate victims. We can get a mental image of what an ethnic cleansing would really look like — that same chaos, repeated millions of times. That’s the truth behind the edgy frog memes and red-arm bands. Take it in, assholes.

It would be a wake-up call. That was the dream, anyway.

4

Yes, Cameras Do Change Minds

I’m known as a hopeful optimist, possibly having to do with being a white person who accidentally made a lot of money off of a story he originally wrote as a prank. But it’s not like I just pulled this dream out of my ass — there’s precedent for it.

The presence of cameras all but eliminated the American public’s tolerance for military casualties, for example — we’ve completely built our foreign policy around it. America lost 100,000 troops in WWI, 400,000 in WWII, and almost 60,000 in Vietnam. That last one was the turning point — a flood of full-color footage of maimed soldiers and screaming civilians turned public opinion against the war overnight. The reality of war didn’t change, but you can bet your ass that seeing it made all of the difference. We haven’t had a comparable war since; Afghanistan saw a tiny fraction of those losses (2,400) and so did Iraq (4,500). Suddenly, soldiers’ lives mattered — the myth of the consequence-free war went the way of the UFO.

“Why in the hell did you think a horde of screaming Actual Nazis would have their hearts melted by the sight of dying protesters?” you ask. “If anything, they probably get off on it. After all, Americans don’t seem to care about hundreds of thousands of bombed Iraqis.”

But I’m not talking about the raging Nazis here — it’s only the extreme fringe who’ll walk around in public doing that shit, and some of them try to sheepishly talk their way out of it later. The systemic racism that exists in the world doesn’t emanate from them, it flows from the comfortable indifference of the majority. The most incurable form of bigotry persists specifically because it doesn’t feel like heat coursing through the veins — it feels like nothing at all. I was born in Trump Country and I only met a couple of people who openly called for black genocide, but knew dozens if not hundreds who simply thought society didn’t need changing (and I agreed, at the time). We didn’t want the stick figures to die, we just didn’t think they needed help. What does a stick figure need food stamps for?

The latter are the ones I thought would be turned in this age of pervasive cameras and personal connections. It’s easy for the comfortable casual racist (who, by the way, hates Nazis) to ignore a headline or pie charts about income inequality. It’s harder to ignore a man bleeding in the driver’s seat of his car while his young daughter and her mother sit helplessly next to him, wailing in anguish. I didn’t think it would change overnight, but over the decades I thought these attitudes would be chiseled away one gut-wrenching video at a time. “Do you see? He’s not a fucking statistic. He bleeds. His family loved him just as much as your family loves you. Look.”

3

But The Sword Swings Both Ways

Hey, did I mention that after years of decline, belief in UFOs has shot back up to its previous highs? The need to believe was always there, so others looking to fill that void simply adapted to the marketplace (“If you think about it, the aliens would have cloaking technology that makes them invisible to cell phones!”).

Now consider the fact that the Confederate statues the protesters were rallying around in Charlottesville aren’t all 150-year-old relics. New ones are being built all the time (35 Confederate monuments have been added since 2000 in North Carolina alone — lots of them were built in the 1960s as backlash to the civil rights movement). They are, in other words, modern symbols erected by groups looking to change policy today. That’s why there’s a movement to take them down, and a bitter counter-movement to preserve them. It is only about preserving the past to the extent that it’s about making current law conform to it.

The point is, if racism is a dying relic, it sure as hell doesn’t feel like it. Oh, I’m not surprised that hate groups thrive in this era — a few charismatic sociopaths have always been able to cast a wide umbrella of influence and mass media has just amplified their reach. I mean, you’ve seen their memes. What I had hoped, though, was that society would be better at spotting them, quicker to see through their tricks. I often wonder how average German citizens would have reacted if camera phones had existed back then and somebody had leaked video from inside a concentration camp. “But lots of German citizens did know about the concentration camps!” Sure, but it’s one thing to have a vague concept of “eliminating” Jews, another to actually see a wheelbarrow full of dead children. It would be meaningless to the true zealots, but most people aren’t that.

And yet …

2

Modern Society May Have Cultivated A Population Ripe For Hate

It’s too easy to think of Nazis as a different species, like they were aliens who invaded from another planet. If you tell me we shouldn’t humanize them, I say that humanizing them actually makes them scarier: They are not only human, but they are your motherfucking neighbors. After the war, German soldiers and officers went back home and got jobs — it’s not like you blow up the mothership and the foot soldiers topple over. Likewise, your brother or uncle or daughter could join a hate group tomorrow and they would still be family. Some of the people reading this have had this exact thing happen.

Think about it: Even if the worst happens and 20 years from now we’re in an actual shooting war with a new round of Nazis, it’s not like we’ll kill them all. No war ends that way; there’ll be some kind of resolution and the combatants will take off their uniforms and the very next day they’ll be next to you on the subway. If you want to stop that future, you have to start with understanding how Nazis are made, and how regular everyday folks get sucked in. Hate is a prickly shell humans grow around fear, a defense mechanism to replace the terror of the unknown with the cold certainty of rage. You don’t have to feel sorry for them, but hate is like cancer — it’s all about knowing the warning signs and catching it early.

So, let’s start here: What a human needs, above all else, is to matter. And mattering in 2017 is hard as shit. There are 100 million Americans who neither have jobs nor are looking for one. Of those who do work, only 36 percent say their job has “meaning and significance” (did you know that a low-paying, unstable job is actually more stressful than unemployment?). I guess there used to be pride in building a house or a car, or growing crops — creating something tangible — but now, the machines have those jobs and we’re stuck serving coffee or moving numbers around a spreadsheet, counting down the days until the machines take those jobs, too.

Our generation has fewer close friends than previous generations and are less likely to have a sexual partner or children of our own. We trust each other less than we ever have. We need to matter, but we don’t have people in our lives reminding us of that, so we compensate. “I matter because I’m not [insert hateable stick figure here].”

And I can’t emphasize enough how much it doesn’t actually make a difference what goes in those brackets. Reddit’s Trump community The_Donald overlaps strongly with their now-banned “Fat People Hate” community and the anti-woman subreddit TheRedPill. Where you find articles railing on blacks, you’ll find articles demonizing Jews, homosexuals, trans people … hell, go to any right-wing site and notice their bitter loathing of vegans.

It’s hard for most people to grasp how hate can be both arbitrary and murderous, but that’s how the human mind works. Once you switch into that primitive Us vs. Them survival mode, the rationale becomes totally irrelevant. Remember that one of the world’s oldest and most pervasive prejudices is against left-handed people. Skilled manipulators could pull out endless examples of how inherently dishonest and filthy those lefties were, and they always found an audience. That only sounds ridiculous until you realize how great it must have been to wake up every day and congratulate yourself for using your right hand, a.k.a. the hand you automatically used anyway.

If you haven’t built anything you can be proud of — be it a house, career, family, or loving circle of friends — then you need to draw your pride from somewhere. Hate groups let you set the pride bar so low that you can swell with pride over the fact that you woke up this morning with a certain color skin and heterosexual urges, as if both were the result of diligent effort on your part. Imagine eating a delicious cheeseburger and congratulating yourself for having accomplished your noble goal of not being vegan.

1

But I Still Think The Good Guys Will Win

If you’ve come to the conclusion that the internet really didn’t change anything because people are people and set in their beliefs, the facts say you’re wrong. For instance, the internet era has been devastating for religion in the U.S.A., with the ranks of nonbelievers more than doubling just since 1990. In that same span, support for gay marriage went from 13 percent to 58 percent. Support for marijuana legalization, from 12 percent to 53 percent. I absolutely believe those abrupt changes happened because many Americans were coming in contact with their first atheists, uncloseted gay people, and admitted pot smokers and finding they weren’t monsters. You can strap somebody to a chair and make them watch a thousand hours of PSAs about how this group or that is “just like us,” but it won’t have the same impact as a single positive encounter with one of them. Dogma dies in the face of such experiences.

It’s easy to think of the internet as a cesspool of anonymous harassers but it is mostly a constellation of tight-knit communities that overlap with others, bringing them together in unexpected ways. You’ve heard a lot of talk about online “bubbles” of like-minded people getting more and more extreme in the absence of opposition, but the reason we became so much more open-minded on some issues in the first place is that online communities forced us to mingle across demographics. We may all have joined a forum based on our Babylon 5 fandom, but we quickly realized some of the cool people we were talking to were the type we’d never have run into in our real-life neighborhoods (“Wait, you’re posting from Brazil? What time is it there?!?”). When I was a kid, you’d hear about a deadly earthquake in Taiwan and briefly raise an eyebrow over your coffee. “So sad.” Today, you jump online and say, “Wait, did they say Jiji? That’s where Ironheart69 is from! Has anybody heard from her?”

What I’m hoping is that what we’re seeing now is the reaction to that, the loud rage of a racist realizing his sister is dating a damned Muslim, that his old college roommate turned out to be a trans woman, and that there are black people in horror movies who don’t die. An ideology kicking and screaming as it is dragged out the door, the equivalent of segregationists blocking black children from their schools, knowing full well that theirs was a lost cause.

Over time, lots of those segregationists realized they were wrong, that their rage and the fear at its core were based on nothing. That will happen again. I think. I hope.

David Wong is the Executive Editor at Cracked. His new book, WHAT THE HELL DID I JUST READ, is available for preorder now at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Indiebound, iBooks, and Kobo.

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