5 Silly Ideas That Actually Solved Serious Problems
There are a few tried-and-true ways to solve a conflict: You can talk it out, hire a mediator, bring it to court, start a fight, start a fire, start a war, or just start throwing bricks in a large circular area around you until all of the things that disagree with you are either unconscious or dead or have fled. Those are the standard ways, though -- not the only ways. Some folks try a much more unconventional approach to conflict resolution.
A Decades-Long Conflict Is Solved With A Sex Strike
On the island of Mindanao in the Philippines, a tiny civil war has been raging since 1970. It's between groups loyal to the Philippines government and separatists fighting for independence. After almost half a century of violence, locals were understandably getting a little weary of the constant displacement, roadblocks, and the inconvenience of looming death. In 2011, an unconventional solution was devised in the small village of Dado, among participants in the local women's sewing club: a sex strike.
In short, while the men of Dado were waging war, the women were talking, and all of them decided that they would withhold sex from their husbands if they insisted on continuing their petty conflict.
It's the most literal interpretation of "make love, not war" we've ever heard.
The village of Dado returned to peace within two goddamn weeks. A single fortnight! We can't help but think these men weren't all that committed to the war in the first place. True, we internet comedy writers are like sexual camels -- we can go without human contact for years on end -- but you'd think a man willing to fight and die for a cause could at least go without couples time for a month or so.
She probably wouldn't even let him work for exposure.
Related: Much To James Cameron's Surprise, 'Avatar' Can Apparently Solve The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict
Two Companies Resolve A Dispute With An Arm-Wrestling Match
In 2003, two New Zealand telecommunications companies were embroiled in a legal standoff. MCS Digital had been trying for months to get access to TeamTalk's mobile radio network, but neither company could agree to terms. It looked like this dispute was going to be dragged through the courts, which would mean a lot of time and money wasted. So the CEO of TeamTalk, David Ware, came up with a more personal and cost-effective way to settle the dispute: He challenged the MCS Digital CEO, Allan Cosford, to an arm-wrestling match. Whoever won the best of three rounds would be allowed to dictate the terms of the agreement, which is simultaneously one of the most badass and most poorly conceived legal agreements in history.
"I make all my business decisions based on the teachings of Sylvester Stallone."
So, in front of a group of 60 spectators, Ware and Cosford faced off in a battle of the biceps in Auckland. And it wasn't exactly low-stakes -- Ware's company stood to lose around $200,000 NZ if Cosford won. But Ware was confident that he could easily take down the rival CEO, because Cosford was "shorter ... and an accountant."
"Come for the arm wrestling; stay for the gun show."
Ware won the first round but lost the match after Cosford came back to pin him twice. According to Ware, he accused Cosford of using steroids. Although he was only kidding ... probably.
Conflicts In A Peruvian Village Are Settled By Residents Beating The Crap Out Of Each Other
The Peruvian province of Chumbivilcas doesn't bother with such contrivances as courts or due process or really any sort of legal system. With few police and a nearly nonexistent military presence, residents of Chumbivilcas have found their own style of conflict resolution -- basically, two days a year, residents are given free rein to beat the shit out of each other until the winner is decided through brute force.
No evidence suggests they formed their government after binge-watching dozens
of Jerry Springer episodes, but no evidence suggests they didn't.
The tradition is known as Takanakuy, and it takes place twice per year, in July and again just after Christmas. The only rules of Takanakuy (besides the informal one that dictates everybody being incredibly drunk) are that you can't be wearing any rings on your hands, and that refusing a challenge means that you concede victory to your challenger. Basically, it's a bare-knuckle fist-fight between any locals who have some kind of grudge, whether that means being upset about a neighbor's constantly barking dog, a dispute over a woman, or a disagreement about the importance of wearing pants in the store.
Co-worker keeps eating your lunch? You know what to do.
Usually, participants decide to put aside their differences after a hearty few rounds of smashing each other in the face, and all is well for another six months, until you just get fed up with seeing Jorge's dong and it's time to do it all over again.
A Police Confrontation Is Resolved With A Dance-Off
In modern-day America, conflicts between minority teenagers and the police often tragically end in a hail of bullets. But last year in Washington, D.C., a situation involving some teenagers came to a much more amicable head. When police were called to a potentially violent confrontation between two groups of teenagers at Ballou High School, student Aaliyah Taylor decided that she could ward off the cops with her superior krumping skills. But a D.C. police officer who was called to the scene was, as witnesses described, all like, "Aw hell naw." She, in turn, started dancing back right in front of Taylor, thus triggering an all-out legal dance-off.
According to Taylor, the officer's ultimatum was that, if she won the dance-off, the fighting teens would have to disperse, but if she lost, they could stay and conduct some kind of stab-carnival in peace. Her tactic won the respect of all participants, and although the winner of the dance-off is inconclusive, it still vastly beats the alternative, which involves a lot of shooting and crying and lawsuits and racist posts from your uncle on Facebook.
A Corporate Conflict Is Resolved By Rock-Paper-Scissors
In 2005, Japanese millionaire Takashi Hashiyama, president of the Maspro Denkoh Corporation, decided to sell his $20 million art collection, and two auction companies, Christie's International and Sotheby's, fought to handle the lucrative contract. Takashi, an eccentric (aren't all millionaires?) whose collection included rare paintings from Cezanne, Picasso, and Van Gogh, couldn't decide which company to go with, so he decided to settle the matter in an ancient and time-honored tradition. In the Western tongue, we believe it is known as rock-paper-scissors.
It's a fitting strategy for an industry that revolves entirely around people yelling numbers
while praying other people don't yell bigger numbers.
Representatives from both companies were invited to take part in what was probably the most high-stakes rock-paper-scissors tournament of all time. Sotheby's decided to trust luck, figuring that rock-paper-scissors is basically a coin flip -- a game of chance with no strategy involved.
That proved to be a mistake, because Kanae Ishibashi, the president of Christie's, consulted a group of professionals, by which we mean her art director's 11-year-old twin daughters, who advised her, "Everyone knows you always start with scissors." They added, "Rock is way too obvious. ... Everybody expects you to choose rock."
We're sure Cezanne would've loved to hear his $12 million masterpiece got
its fate decided the same way siblings decide who rides shotgun.
The representative for Sotheby's chose paper (because remember, everybody expects you to choose rock), but the unexpected scissors sliced right through it, netting Christie's the full right to sell the collection. Word is that to this day you can find that poor Sotheby's representative drunk at his local bar, loudly lamenting to anybody who will listen about the time he blew the big game.
J. Olasz is an aspiring writer who has been patiently awaiting his overnight fame for over 40 years. He's trying to get the word out that he has an actual book that you may like. He also creates horribly difficult but enjoyable gaming modules. Since he can't draw but pretends that he can write, he published a LEGO webcomic and, of course, has a Twitter feed.
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For more times where corporations were clearly being run by neanderthals, check out The 5 Worst Marketing Ideas Ever Put Into Action and 5 Honest Mistakes That Became PR Disasters For Big Companies.
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