Cinema and literature can change our lives in noble and profound ways. They can, but usually don't. For every Uncle Tom's Cabin that can take credit for a net benefit to the human race, you have a Jaws, which made a generation of Americans afraid to even climb into their swimming pools for fear a great white was hiding in there.
Think we're exaggerating? Trust us, some of Hollywood's effects on the world are far stupider than that. Such as....
Seen in: CSI
Impact on real life: Murderers are being set loose on the streets.
To put it simply, some experts believe that the growing popularity of the CSI franchise has created unrealistic expectations among juries, who see on TV that a single skin cell is all you need to create a 3D hologram of the suspect's face, and assume that if you don't have that, then he must not have done it, right? Therefore you have jurors who think they need to vote "not guilty" in every case that doesn't have 100 percent indisputable DNA evidence (which it turns out is pretty much all of them all of them).
Take Robert Blake, a man accused of murdering his wife: Over 70 witnesses testified against him, including a few Blake had approached and offered money to kill his wife. The only thing the prosecution didn't have was forensic evidence, but there was no way a jury would acquit a man based on such stupid reasons like "there was no black-light semen."
Poor girl: Raped by an entire circus.
But of course, because we here at Cracked don't tell you about reasonable reactions and logical responses, that is exactly what they did. Robert Blake walked free, probably ticking off a mental note: You can get away with murder as long as you don't jerk off all over it.
Similar fuckery occurred in the case of Robert Durst, whose lawyer got him acquitted by convincing the jury that Durst dismembered his neighbor in self-defense. Forensic evidence on the head would totally prove it, too. If only somebody could find it...
"Me? No, no I don't remember what I did with it. I was too busy bathing in his bl- uh... defending myself."
Seen in: Finding Nemo, 101 Dalmations, Babe, basically any movie starring an adorable animal
Impact on real life: Roving packs of neglected, occasionally furious predators.
Whenever a movie with a bunch of cute critters hits the theaters, there is an immediate, sharp spike of adoptions for that breed... because some people impulse buy Slim Jims because the display stand has titties on it, and some people impulse buy baby elephants because Operation Dumbo Drop: The Origin was freakin' awesome! Different strokes for different folks and all that.
Do not dismiss them lightly, for it takes Diff'rent Strokes to rule the world...
It happened when 101 Dalmatians premiered, it happened after Beverly Hills Chihuahua, it even happened during the Teenage Mutant Nina Turtles craze (although only one of those trends resulted in hilarious impromptu turtle-dojos).
Of course, when the realization inevitably hit that your new pup actually requires work and can neither spout cutting one-liners nor surf, they usually end up in the pound or on the streets. That's depressing and all; that adorable animals have to pay because you can't tell the difference between fiction and reality or your head and your asshole. But still, can you imagine how much more nightmarish this scenario would be if the dogs could fly and had razor sharp claws they could sink deep into the throats of their oppressors?
That seems like an oddly specific hypothetical scenario, doesn't it? Well, that's because it actually happened in England. They wound up with huge flocks of abandoned and starving snow owls after kids saw Harry Potter use one instead of e-mail. An entire wildlife sanctuary had to be built to contain these forsaken flying ninjas, allowing them to congregate and probably plot against us.
Oh, you think owls are cute too? Here's what they do when you don't have an on-set trainer and the blood of precocious English child-wizards to sate them:
Seen in: ER, Chicago Hope, Rescue 911; every single other medical show in history.
Impact on real life: Endangering the lives of hospital patients.
Multiple hospitals have been reporting that their residents and medical students are screwing up "life-saving procedures" after seeing them performed incorrectly on TV.
No dude, I saw this on Grey's Anatomy; we have to do it in sync, though, or it won't work!"
As we pointed out earlier, taking medical advice from Hollywood is like taking investment advice from the guy peeing on you on the train. Believe it or not, there's quite a bit of difference between what you do with an actual sick person versus an extra merely pretending to be one; the techniques you see them use on TV were developed purely so they can appear to wedge tubes into the orifices of an actor without actually doing it.
For instance, the procedure most interns are failing at is the insertion of breathing tubes--most often used when your airways close up and you start suffocating to death--but hey, take solace in the fact that the oxygen deprivation will most likely get you so high you won't care that the new season of House just killed you.
Like we said when the show first came on: "One day, that man will kill us all."