A friend sent me the amazing video posted below. It’s a Penn & Teller film in which an interviewer goes around asking people to sign a petition banning water with hilarious results. The petitioner, of course, doesn’t say the word ‘water’ but says its chemical name instead: dihydrogen monoxide.
It’s stunning to me to see how many people simply signed the petition without even asking what the chemical was. The petitioner spoke in the same whiny, nasal, sing-song voice that all these save-the-world types speak in, so I guess the petition signers all figured she was speaking their language, and since they all spoke the same language, they must all have the same worthy goals.
I’m sure that most of the people in this video are fairly bright, but a big part of their world view is that chemicals are bad. So when someone comes along asking them to sign a petition to ban a chemical, there first response is: where do I sign? Not what is the chemical? Is there another name for it? I’m quite sure that most of them–if they stopped to think about it even for a minute–could figure out that dihydrogen monoxide is water, but they were thrown into non-think mode when they heard the name of a chemical.
I suspect it’s this same non-thinking mindset that drives people to low-fat diets–even those (some physicians, for example) who should know better. Many people, for no good reason (certainly no biochemical reason), have got it in their heads that fat in general is bad and that saturated fat is positively evil. When these people hear the word ‘steak’ or ‘prime rib,’ they experience the same knee-jerk response as the folks who signed this petition. Unfortunately, they don’t have the same reaction when they hear the words ‘organic, pure cane sugar.’ So much the pity.
Let's ban water