9 Things We Live With That Are Too Stupid for ‘Idiocracy’
Since Mike Judge released the 2006 cult classic Idiocracy, it’s called upon nearly as often as The Simpsons as a sort of prophetic work. Honestly, I think it’s not particularly how surprising how accurate it’s turned out to be, because I’d argue it was never really set as far in the future as people assumed. The skeleton was already there for most of the things lampooned in the movie, which isn’t to say it’s not still pretty brilliant. There’s plenty of products around today that would slot easily in, and some that existed before the movie was ever released.
Here are nine of them…
Canned Oxygen/Oxygen Bars
Not quite as popular nowadays, maybe because they strained credulity and wallets a little too much even for the dullards among us, was the fad of canned oxygen and oxygen bars. It was a perfect mixture of pseudo-medical horse pucky and fear as a sales pitch. No one can live without oxygen, right? RIGHT? Well, then piping concentrated bits of it up your nose must make you double alive! But unless you’re gassed on an NFL sideline or at extreme altitude, the medical opinion is pretty clear: It doesn't do shit.
Similarly, the idea of healing magnets is such intriguing nonsense that modern snake-oil salesman must have been straining in their slacks the moment they thought it up. Magnets are perfect for bamboozling because the vast majority of the population still doesn’t really understand how they work (kinda like with the Insane Clown Posse). So all they had to do was toss them on a bracelet and add a pamphlet about energy fields and voila. As Healthline mentions, the idea of medicinal magnets comes from the Renaissance period, which is a good indication they’re total shit.
Blue Light Glasses
This one is going to hurt, especially if you’re decked out in some computer goggles at the moment. Know this: I’m with you. I paid top dollar for an optician to put what I now know is a useless coating on my eyeglasses. The fact is, outside of maybe disrupting your circadian rhythm if you’re staring at a screen late at night, there’s really no evidence that blue light is harmful. My theory? Stand-alone, non-corrective blue light glasses made their money because people want to look smarter at work.
Deluxe HDMI Cables
Ooh boy, an absolute classic that’s perfectly crafted to lasso people who want the best tech available, but have little to no actual tech knowledge. They’re basically coiled bits of voodoo magic meant to harvest money from those who don’t know a female HDMI connector from a cow’s asshole. Now, are there different HDMI speed standards? Yes. But that’s not what we’re talking about, and they’re not something you generally need to be too worried about. What we’re talking about is someone smooth-talking you into the fact that only a cable crafted of pure, unadulterated palladium will be able to perfectly carry the digital signal of a Criminal Minds episode to your television correctly. Which is bullshit.
Vitamin C Supplements
At some point, science revealed a link between vitamin C and immune strength. And so, if vitamin C keeps you from getting sick, swallowing a horse pill of pure pressed vitaminery must mean you’ll never sneeze again, correct? Not really. Vitamin C supplements are helpful if you have a bad diet and aren’t getting what you need, but it’s also a water-soluble vitamin, which means once your body has the amount it asked for, it literally pisses the rest down the drain.
Speaking of the obsession with vitamins, drink giant Coca-Cola saw potential there, and invented a product that was such a marketing masterstroke that it ended up getting them sued. The product in question is Vitaminwater. Vitamins are good for you, and water is good for you, so to knock them both out in one dragonfruit-flavored quaff? Who wouldn't spend two dollars and change on that? Well, they might have contained vitamins, but it turned out that the purple drink? Actually, mostly just sugar, which is very much not a vitamin. Coca-Cola settled out of court and had to stop covering their labels with claims like the Brawndo-esque “vitamins + water = all you need.”
Now, I see and read arguments for child leashes on the internet by parents who are fans. But they mostly boil down to, “My child is a feral and powerful menace who obeys no law of man.” Still, I have to think there’s a better way. “Impulse control” seems like a better lesson to impart on a young child than “five feet away from mommy is where the invisible wall lives.” It all just seems to be teetering on the edge of something unpleasant. To have the leash is to eventually yank the leash, and, yeesh, this seems like unpleasant waters to ford.
The Health-care System
I’ve had someone who crashed a scooter beg for me not to call 911, even with teeth recently evacuated, because they didn’t want to pay for the ambulance. That’ll give you a shot of dystopia strong enough to steel the spine. If you’re unlucky enough to get grievously injured off of hospital grounds, the ambulance that takes you there is going to cost an average of $1,300. Somehow, they act like this isn’t literal ghoulish behavior because they wait until later to send you the bill, instead of fishing your AmEx out of the jeans they cut off and swiping it on an iPad in the back.
Non-Alcoholic White Claw
Non-alcoholic hard seltzer. What is this, a fucking lateral thinking puzzle?