Tiny Numbers of People Responsible for Huge Amounts of Bullshit
Anyone who’s ever been trapped in an elevator with a guy on his way home from the Cabbage and Bean Festival knows it only takes one asshole to stink up the whole place. Most statistics require slightly higher numbers, but many of the ills plaguing our society are the work of a shockingly small group of people. For example…
Eleven People File 60 Percent of Library Book Bans Requests
Considering how few people even seem to know how to read anymore, a surprising number of modern censorship campaigns target books and libraries. If you’ve been following the news, you know it’s not just any old obscenity crusade, either. Drag queens have to strap on bulletproof vests under their bras just to read to some kids, and the number of library book ban requests specifically citing gay or transgender content is up from less than 3 percent in the 2000s to more than 45 percent in 2022.
Before you start researching which countries are the best to declare asylum, however, that doesn’t mean homophobia has risen 40 percent in 20 years. About two-thirds of those requests — which totaled just over 1,000 across 153 school districts and 37 states during the 2021-2022 school year — came from just 11 people. One guy alone filed almost 10 percent of them. He wasn’t identified, but a few were, including one mom who amassed a network of 20 volunteers to spend countless hours reading potentially filthy books. Around these parts, we just call that a book club.
The Wealthiest 10 Percent Cause More Than Half of All Air Pollution
Unless you’re the kind of person who goes around knocking children’s ice cream cones out of their hands for fun, you’re presumably doing what you can to combat climate change. You’re sucking your paper straw, driving as little as possible and you always remember your cloth tote. Let’s leave aside how effective any of those actions really are, because we’re going to assume you’re not rich. No offense; you just have that look about you.
That means that any action you take is basically a fart in the wind, because 52 percent of emissions added to the atmosphere between 1990 and 2015 were put there by the world’s richest 10 percent of people. The richest 10 percent of Americans alone account for 40 percent of that, and the top 1 percent globally are responsible for about 15 percent, which doesn’t seem like a lot but it’s more than double that of the poorest 50 percent. The wealthiest .1 percent, called “super-emitters” by people who don’t care about giving bad people cool nicknames, produce 3,000 tons of carbon pollution per year, compared to the average person’s four-ish. You don’t need that much money to break into the American top 10 percent, though, just $178,000 per year, so, you know. Side-eye amongst yourselves.
65 Percent of COVID Vaccine Hoaxes Came From 12 People
Logging onto your social media platform of choice can feel like a minefield made of racism and conspiracy theories these days. It was possibly at the height of hellfire during the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine in 2021, when it seemed like every other day, someone from the side of the family you don’t talk to was discovering new side effects of ivermectin and the health minister of Trinidad had to make an official statement on Nicki Minaj’s cousin’s friend’s balls.
But it turns out, bootylicious rappers notwithstanding, almost two-thirds of COVID-19 misinformation could be traced back to only 12 people. They were labeled the “Disinformation Dozen” by the Center for Countering Digital Hate, whose research provided the data, and they included Joseph Mercola, an alternative medicine tycoon who was banned from selling tanning beds for saying they were good for you; Ty Bollinger, who sells books to cancer patients claiming chemotherapy doesn’t work and thus is maybe the worst person alive; and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., who is, you know. Robert F. Kennedy, Jr.
It’s honestly surprising that the recognizability of the names drops off sharply from there. The other nine on the list are Sherri Tenpenny, Rizza Islam, Rashid Buttar, Erin Elizabeth, Sayer Ji, Kelly Brogan, Christiane Northrup, Ben Tapper and Kevin Jenkins. So if you see any of those names, throw your phone into the ocean and walk at a leisurely pace in the opposite direction until you remember how nice life was before Twitter. Speaking of which…
10 Percent of Users Make 80 Percent of Twitter Posts
There’s a sociological theory that in any given online community, 90 percent of users are pure lurkers, 9 percent speak up occasionally and 1 percent do almost everything. It’s a concept called “participation inequality,” but it was first elaborated in 2006, a time when most people’s “online communities” consisted of niche message boards for debating the merits of The Da Vinci Code and the best pop punk bands. Modern social media is less about public text-based discussion and more for messaging your friends, taking gym selfies and learning silly dances, but Twitter is still for thoughts. That means it’s the dumbest, a place where, as one of the most popular tweets explains, you can say “I like pancakes” and someone will respond, “So you hate waffles?”
The good news is that “someone” is almost no one. In 2019, Pew Research Center found that just 10 percent of tweeters made 80 percent of the tweets, and two years later, they updated their findings that 25 percent made a whopping 97 percent. Only 14 percent of those are original tweets, too, so the platform is essentially just an endless republication of, like, three guys. Only 22 percent of American adults even use Twitter at all, so relax. If our math is correct, only 2.2 percent of people will chase someone with pitchforks for having coffee with her husband.