Tuesday, December 02, 2008

DDYK 12/2 - Dumb Fads

Back in action after the Thanksgiving Holiday. Been a lovely hiatus, but let's get back to business...

Stupid Fads From the Last 100 Years

1920s - Raccoon Coats - These were worn mostly by college males in latter portion of the century. We're talking full-length coon-pelt coats here, apparently made popular tales of Davy Crockett, who killed him a bar when he was only three.

1924 - Flagpole Sitting - Stunt actor Alvin "Shipwreck" Kelly is responsible for this fad when someone dared him to sit on top of a flagpole for as long as he could. He lasted over 13 hours and was followed by new idiot record setters, culminating in Kelly re-claming the title by staying aloft for 49 days. Moron. The new record, as far as I could find, is held by an Iowan named Bill Penfield, who lasted 51 days and 20 hours.

1939 - Goldfish Swallowing - Some goofball at Harvard swallowed a fish as a publicity stunt, sparking a nation of followers who read about it in the papers. I don't get it.

1950s - Bomb Shelters - Everyone was afraid of the Commies during the Cold War, so people were building these things in their back yards, stocked with canned foods and gallons of water and whatnot. The fad sort of made a comeback with all the Y2K nonsense in 1999.

1950s - Poodle Skirts - Women in postwar America wanted a modern, unique feminine fashion statement to do stuff like sing and dance and star in "Grease."

1959 - Phone Booth Stuffing - Apparently this one started in South Africa of all places, but it of course spread to America, where idiotic fads go to die. College kids literally crammed themselves into a phone booth until it couldn't hold any more people. The record is somewhere around 25, but no one cared enough to write down anything official anywhere.

1960s - Tie-Dye - Earliest examples of this originate in Peru around 500 A.D., but Janis Joplin made it mainstream in the '60s. It's still okay to wear these shirts, but only in moderation. Don't be a nerd about it, okay?

1970s - Platform Shoes - While the simplest explanation is that these raised shoes were invented just to be groovy, the real reason they were invented was that Ancient Grecians needed to literally elevate people of higher social standing. Hence, the platform shoe. Greece had nothing to do with the ones that have the goldfish in the heel, though.

1974 - Streaking - The first incident of a college kid stripping down and going streaking through the quad to the gymnasium was in 1804 at Washington and Lee University in Virginia. The '70s took it to new levels in America, though. It's apparently still very popular at soccer contests. "And he's off like a bull with gas."

1975 - Pet Rocks - An advertising exec named Gary Dahl made a fortune putting rocks in boxes and selling them to the moronic millions. They sold for $4 a pop and made Dahl a millionaire in six months. God bless America!

1980 - Rubik's Cube - This is considered the world's all-time best selling toy, having sold an estimated 300 million units by 2005. Some call it impossible, but it absoultely can be done. It was invented by a Hungarian professor of architecture named Erno Rubik, who now sleeps on a bed of money.

1983 - Cabbage Patch Kids - One of the craziest toy fads of all time, these cute little buggers started as all-cloth dolls based off the idea of quilts and sold only at craft shows. Now they're one of the best-selling toys of all time, even if it's not quite as impossible to find one at Christmas time as it used to be in the mid-80s.

1993 - Macarena - Huh patawella manasena macarena! Oom patwella cosifena madiyeda macarena! Heeeeyyyy macarena! Aight!

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