Bathtubs are dangerous. Tough to believe but, apparently, true. Bathtubs are bad.
On December 29, 1917 Baltimore journalist H.L. Mencken shared his expertise by writing a short history of the bathtub in America.
Most important point? Bathtubs were meant to destroy the empire and kill people and stuff. Cause they came from Russia or something.
Alright fine, the column was a hoax and for two years journalists and editors and people who put things in encyclopedias took it as fact without checking the…you know, facts. Bad journalists!
Here’s the column called “A Neglected Anniversary” just in case you want to read for yourself.
But really, bathtubs are dangerous?
After the whole bathtub hoax thing was revealed (well, no one discovered it, Mencken just finally told everyone they were idiots) Mencken said he had written the column as a joke.
Thing is…I read it a couple times over and I didn’t really see a lot of joking going on. He wrote the column in journalistic style about a subject that isn’t controversial or important. So…why would someone feel the need to fact-check a bathtub’s history?
I don’t know, just saying I’m a trained journalist and I could care less where the bathtub came from.
So maybe I just don’t get the joke but I have no clue why anyone would bother writing a fake history about someone no one cares about. Cause he can? Writer’s block? To make a point? Feeling like his editors didn’t take him seriously?
Life Magazine in their collection of “The Greatest Hoaxes of all Time” said it was because he was making a point of how gullible Americans are (and still are since people still quote Mencken’s column as fact).
This just leaves one more question: Would Rick Mercer agree that bathtubs are dangerous?