Adam is Still Ruining Everything

How about that, they actually gave Adam Conover a TV show. Conover is best known for his Youtube videos on the CollegeHumor channel under the same name "Adam Ruins Everything." The videos use a mix of comedy, history, and science to dispel widespread misconceptions about everything we take for granted.

The comedy part of Conover's program comes from the fact that when we really think about some of the routine parts of our lives... many of them are sort of ridiculous. Why do we still vote on Tuesdays, why has no one changed that? Why do we have car dealerships? What other consumer good has a random middleman stuffed in the middle between producer and consumer? If you've ever read Paul Keegan's 2014 article about the war between auto dealers and the website TrueCar or the on-going battle between my home state of Michigan and Tesla Motors on how Tesla can sell their product to consumers, you'd be right to think that are current system is sort of bonkers.

Or even much more basic customs of day-to-day life. To this day, I freeze in silence when someone near me sneezes because I once made the mistake of learning the history of the phrase "God bless you!" - now I'm constantly torn between not saying anything and genuinely feeling horrible because it's such an expected part of American culture.

The masterclass of this "our everyday life is ridiculous" concept are the weekly rants on John Oliver's show, which should absolutely earn Oliver a much deserved Emmy. Conover's program won't be on that level, but it should still highlight some of the odd things about everyday life. Things we might not want to think about... but we should.

Here are a couple of my favorite videos from Conover on Youtube:

Adam's earliest work about wedding rings ends with the depressing and true line "... but you'll still end up buying one." That's just how deeply this - one of the most successful marketing campaigns in history - is tied into our culture. Maybe our grandchildren will be able to evolve past this. Until then... rings for everyone!

Discuss tipping with friends and expect to get into an argument, especially if they work in the service industry. We all know why we tip, because servers get horrible pay if we don't - and that's just cruel. But how did we get here? How is it simply OK for restaurants to pay workers wages that guilt tips from customers to make up the rest? Lots has been written on this including "Tipping Is an Abomination" by Brian Palmer in Slate and another piece by Brandon Ambrosino in Vox demanding we get rid of it.

Short version: Getting rid of tipping won't be easy, and is a long-term challenge. But if we get to 2050 and we're still tipping in restaurants, it's because society was too unwilling to deal with an obvious problem right in front of us.