Recently, there has been a lot of talk about NBC news correspondents who innocently misremember facts, even if their definition of “misremember” is equal to the traditional definition of “totally lying about stuff.” Most people, though, don’t just lie about stuff; they just misremember. And honestly, society has misremembered so many things the misremembered issues become mainstream and threaten the actual, concrete facts. Here are six instances of things people misremembered, and their extraordinarily easy to clarify truths.
Hollywood has a way of affecting how people see the world; giant explosions only a couple feet away aren’t a big deal and falling from a sixth story apartment building ain’t no thang. Crime dramas are great because the perpetuate the stereotypes of the police officer-criminal relationship that doesn’t involve shooting or beating each other (usually). In most police movies, there’s always a young, spry new guy on the force employed to be the police department’s mole; he will go undercover to infiltrate a crime ring and attempt to bring it down from the inside. The problem is, once the young cop is in with the gangsters, the mob boss always asks, “You ain’t a cop, are ya?”Unfortunately, the police code states an officer must reveal himself, even if undercover, if someone asks him for his identity. The cop is then forced to disclose his identity, prompting the crime boss to swiftly “dispose of the rat”.
Could you imagine if Jack Nicholson did this to Leo DiCaprio in The Departed? A two and a half hour masterpiece would’ve turned into a 20 minute snuff film because the always insane Nicholson would showered the entire set with Leo D’s brain matter. Fortunately for the brave folks in the police department this “entrapment law” is nonsense. Typically, the “entrapment” law is invoked by criminals who feel they were unfairly deceived into committing a crime. And entrapment certainly is deceptive because that’s the entire point of entrapment. Example: a cheated business man attempts to hire a contract killer to eliminate his scummy partner. He solicits the services of a contract killer (who is actually an undercover police officer), but before he actually crosses the line into illegal territory he stops to ask, “Hey, you aren’t a cop, right?” If the cop is legally required to say “yes, I’m a cop, idiot” then that kind of defeats the purpose of conducting police work, since bad guys can always ask first before doing bad guy stuff. Giving the cop the ability to lie allows the business partner to exchange the necessary incriminating evidence before the undercover police officer quickly acquaints the perp’s head with his fist.
George Washington had wooden teeth
George Washington was a lot of things; a relatively unsuccessful military general, a mildly successful harbinger of morality, and a profoundly successful leader. Unfortunately, he was also the victim of pretty terrible hygienic practices and 18th century density, meaning his teeth were all sorts of wrecked, to put it eloquently. By the time he was 24, he was already paying doctors to rip the offending molars from his horrible mouth. When he became president, he literally had a single tooth left in his mouth, and since bare-toothed grin is less “presidential” and more “nightmare fuel”, the first leader of the United States opted for a glowing set of wooden dentures which would become his famous trademark.
Except he didn’t. In fact, of all the terrifying materials he did use to make his dentures, wood was starkly absent. Washington’s dentures were made of gold, ivory, donkey teeth, metal and teeth from dead slaves. Basically, the contents of his mouth went from Marshawn Lynch to Jeffery Dahmer in the span of a singular sentence. No one is really sure where the myth involving Washington’s wooden teeth began, but some speculate it’s because later in his life his donkey slave teeth took on a brown, grainy appearance that looked like wood. As visually disgusting as that description is, it kind of hides the fact wooden dentures would’ve been a ridiculous accessory in the first place. Even by the lofty standards of the late 1700’s, wood wasn’t the best material to put in your mouth, especially when superior material existed that wouldn’t break down and turn into pulp. And anyone who owns a deck can attest to the woody, earthy tones the deck gives off after a rainstorm. Now, imagine the stench that would’ve eluded from the mouth of an aging, 18th century man whose dental hygiene was on par with the most meth-riddled hill person in all of West Virginia if he had wooden teeth. Yeah.
Catherine O’Leary’s cow destroys Chicago
A cautionary tale which truly allows people to appreciate eating beef. On October 8th, 1871, Catherine O’Leary’s cow managed to kick over a lantern in her downtown Chicago barn (a description which may need context) and burn down half the city. The Great Chicago Fire killed nearly 300 people, destroyed 17,000 buildings, and causes $222 million in 1871 damages, which is like, $450 trillion in current day damages (might be exaggerating). Nearly a third of the city was destroyed, and all because of a stupid cow.
Interestingly, and apparently not suspicious to 1871 fire marshals, there were apparently several other fires across the Midwest the day, several of which occurred in Chicago alone. Additionally, several other suspicious activities occurred in the hours leading up to the fire, such as several burly, unsavory characters enjoying a surly, unsavory poker game in O’Leary’s barn, and a man named Pegleg Sullivan apparently stole milk from the barn. So while a group of drunk, angry poker players knocking over a lantern and setting the barn on fire or a vagrant torching the barn after stealing milk are both plausible and believable theories, the city of Chicago needed a scapegoat. Do you know what the city of Chicago hated more than anything back in 1871? It wasn’t the Packers; it was the Irish. Irish immigrants were seen as a particularly unsightly bunch in Chicago, especially since they were actually beginning to gain legs in the city’s political parties. And if the name “Catherine O’Leary” sounded any more Irish-Catholic it would be eating potatoes and chasing a pot of gold. So Chicago had its scapegoat (scapecow?) — an aging, poor, Irish Catholic woman, with each word of that description becoming increasingly offensive to the population of Chicago back then. Fortunately, O’Leary and her cow were later exonerated of blame with Michael Adhern, the heroic reporter who first reported the story (and blamed O’Leary) admitting he lied…23 years later.
Really, in the grand scheme of things, no one could party quite like the Romans. The hate-murdered each other in the Coliseum, the orchestrated complicated and incestuous treaties with Northern African empires, and they loved eating, drinking, and being merry. A typical Roman feast involved several enormous courses of some of the finest foods and wines imaginable; a feast truly fit for a king. However, all the purging was difficult, and you certainly didn’t want to skip on dessert because you were too full from the fourth course. Thankfully, Roman buildings had built-in Vomitoriums where people could go between courses, talks about sports, make future plans, exchange business cards, and expel copious amounts of their stomach contents all over the place. Of course they had to vomit everywhere! It’s called a Vomitorium.
A vomitorium is not a predetermined locale for rambunctious Roman peoples to blast puke wherever the want. This is disgusting even by their standards. Vomitoriums do exist, but they are infinitely more boring than the implied meaning. In Italian vomo means “to spew forth”, kind of like what Julius Caesar did between meals so he could still eat cake for dessert. However, in the Roman Coliseum, the Vomitorium was an arch-like entrance into the grand stage inside of the actual theatre. This entrance would “spew forth” the entrainment, so to speak. In fact, vomitoriums exist in every major sports stadium in the world, allowing the home team the opportunity to run onto the field and knock over a few cheerleaders in the process. This is now known, less hilariously, as running out of the tunnel.
Bulls charge when they see the color red
In one of the most pointless acts of grotesque violence on the planet, bull fighting is an extremely popular sport in Spain. Matadors in Spain are revered to a level like One Direction or Creed here in the United States, and they enjoy all the perks of being professional athletes without any of the upkeep (more people on earth would probably recognize Cayetano Rivera Ordonez than Patrick Willis, who can hold a plank for 8 minutes and bench press 500 pounds). It’s not really as much of a bull “fight” as it is “wave a red flag at a bull until it charges and I stab it in the heart and kill it”. The bulls can’t really help it though; the color red infuriates them to the point where they charge the matador. They simply hate the color red.
Bulls don’t see color. While they would make for an excellent civil rights leader, they make for pretty awful decipherers of refracted lights. In fact, you could be in the crowd wearing a horrible red shirt, and the bull will charge you — but only to tell you that you have awful taste in fashion. However, if you start waving the shirt, the bull will gore you with his horns and break your entire face. This is because bulls couldn’t care less what color something is; they don’t like stuff being waved in their faces. Let’s say you are born and bred to be the best linebacker in school history. You are such a great linebacker, you retire to a place where your only job is to impregnate women to produce more amazing linebackers like yourself. One day, some guys in pink pants come and take you away your comfortable life and takes you to a stadium full of people there to see you fail. You are agitated beyond belief and then released into the center of the stadium where you see a young, well-dressed quarterback, roses at his feet, and he’s holding onto a football. Sure, you’re annoyed, seeing everyone cheer for him, women scream his name, and the country just generally lose their minds over him but whatever; he’s not really bothering you. But then, he faces you and puts a big stupid grin on his face. He begins waving the football around as if to say, “Come sack me, bro.” This infuriates you, and every instinct in your body is telling you to go sack the quarterback, so you charge him. Congratulations, you now understand why a bull instinctively attempts to shed a few years off of that smug, womanly matador.
Vaccines make your kids autistic
Clearly, Jenny McCarthy knows what she’s talking about, which is an introductory sentence I’m almost afraid to write even ironically for the fear it will destroy all of my credibility as a writer. As a champion for the anti-vaccination cause, McCarthy and many others point to a study conducted by Andrew Wakefield back in 1997 which stated he found a link between autism and the MMR vaccine. Well, there you have it. A respected researcher published an article in a medical journal and reported his findings. Case closed.
If Andrew Wakefield’s ego grew every time he told a lie, like Pinocchio’s nose, he would be Kanye West. You see, Wakefield straight up lied about the link between vaccines and autism, falsified the bogus data even further, and did all of this for financial gain. In fact, Wakefield has been found guilty of doing this and is no longer allowed to practice medicine anymore, with his hoax being categorized as one of the most damaging medical frauds in the history of history. Just to make sure Wakefield wasn’t on to something, though, actual, real, non-financially motivated scientists went back to test this link and found….not a thing. No scientific evidences exists which supports vaccines cause autism in children. So for anyone blindly following the ramblings of Jenny McCarthy just try to remember that not vaccinating your children because you think it will give them autism is as stupid as following the ramblings of Jenny McCarthy.