Here’s the Bug-Loving Weirdo to First Suggest Daylight Saving Time

I’m digging up his skeleton and demanding my hour of sleep back
Here’s the Bug-Loving Weirdo to First Suggest Daylight Saving Time

For everyone who lives in a part of the U.S. that observes daylight saving time, I feel like there was a moment when we realized that, hey, not everyone does this — that the logistical nightmare and assault on our circadian rhythms that occurs twice a year was not, in fact, just part of some calendar that we’d been using since we figured out the sun wasn’t a vengeful god. That instead, it’s a shockingly recent innovation built around, as everything is America seems to be, conserving energy for the military. It was like the president setting the country on eco mode during World War I to save electricity, turning it off afterward and then turning it on again for World War II, but this time, forgetting we hit that switch. And so, now we time-travel twice a year.

In fairness, though, those wartime ideas weren’t the first time that daylight saving time was proposed. The original idea for moving the daytime hours to more closely match sun availability arrived in 1895, from a simple, bug-loving scientist in New Zealand. His name was George Hudson, and he dealt with a struggle many of us know well: Our day job didn’t allow us enough sunny hours to capture bugs in. He was also a golfer, so his secondary motive might have been cramming in nine holes before bedtime — which is a much grosser sentence than I intended.


Some people like it, but they’re probably “morning people,” who have bad and stupid ideas and should leave everyone else alone.

To achieve this, Hudson proposed to the Kiwi government that clocks be moved two hours forward, the closest suggestion to the modern implementation of daylight savings. Though, I think if it had ended up being two hours, the world would burn twice a year. The government took a stance that a lot of us, including myself, probably agree with: It was kind of stupid and unnecessary. Hudson didn’t take this criticism of his bug-based legislation well, and unsuccessfully lobbied for it repeatedly, with an 1898 proposal including the bitchy little sentence, “I venture to hope that the matter may receive a more serious consideration by members than was accorded it on the previous occasion,” which probably moved his idea from the stack labeled “Eh, No Thanks” into a stack called “Okay, Fuck You Then.”

It seems like the Kiwi government was right in their evaluation of the practice, since daylight savings is widely despised these days. It’s a popular topic for U.S. legislators, who probably see abolishing it as a chance to build some goodwill among the simple ants they rule. Of course, the government still manages to find the worst possible version of a good thing, with them recently proposing that we get rid of daylight saving time by making it permanently daylight saving time

We are the U.S. Congress, and the sun will kneel before our expensive, but still ugly suits!

So if you’re feeling groggy after losing an hour of precious shut-eye, start pointing fingers at the right people: Some old entomologist and the military-industrial complex. Most of all, for god’s sake, stop blaming farmers for destroying the country’s schedule — after all, they hate daylight savings more than we do.


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