Misconceptions people have

I don’t think the vet should charge nothing to fix little Muffin, but I do hate to pay the vet to whack my little Muffin. I think the “put-em-to-sleep” visit should be free. They can jack up the costs on all my other shit, but when the day comes, I don’t want to have to fuck around with paying the bill. “Oh, great. Here’s $75 for killing my dog.” :frowning:

In re: the OP, I’ll go.

All pole dancers are strippers. All strippers pole dance. Neither is true.

That one’s very prevalent among some Dopers who would never make sweeping generalizations about a racial group or religion but will totally do so for “red staters”.

The most common misconception a person holds is that he or she has no misconceptions.

The two most common misconceptions I see all the time:

The red juice in meat is blood. It’s not - it’s myoglobin.
**Pineapples grow in trees. **Nope - they grow on the ground.
**Gary Oldman just “disappears” into his roles. **Nope - he plays the same character over and over and over and over again.

All rivers flow south.

Except in Australia, where water circles the drain the opposite direction of above the equator.

Young black guys in nice cars = drug dealers.

I often want to ask people who make this leap “Have you ever known any actual drug dealers?” I have, and most would be doing well to drive a 1999 Escort. Forget the notions of multimillionaire crime bosses, for every one of them there are 10,000 drug dealers who still live with their parents or crash on friend’s sofas; it’s really not as lucrative as you might think. The reason most people STOP selling drugs is to make more money.
The young black guys in nice cars probably drive them the way other people do: either they have a family that helps them with the payment or they pay too much of their income on said payment.

I’m always surprised to find out that people don’t know that peanuts grow in the ground. (Well, that and the pineapple thing.)

Quoth tdn:

Amazingly, this one is even common in Cleveland, a city whose geography is dominated by the Cuyahoga River. Which flows north.

The whole McDonald’s coffee lawsuit thing. People still say “I’ll just spill coffee on myself and get a bajillion dollars!” as though that’s what happened.

Me too! That one drives me bananas because no one wants to hear the real story. They love the outrage too much.

I was surprised the first time I saw bananas on the tree. The bunches grow up instead of down from the branch- looks kind of odd.

A misconception about cattle that several people have:

Cows can have horns, and it isn’t a freak occurrence. Not all cows have horns but neither do all bulls, it’s mostly a breed thing (most farmers preferring breeds without horns thus they got bred down or off for dairies in particular). Many seem to think that only bulls have horns.

The same is true for goats- males and females can have them, though usually the billy has bigger, more antler like horns than the nanny.

That’s one I started a thread about years and years ago because I was so surprised to learn the truth of it. It was totally portrayed on TV and in water-cooler discussion as “hot coffee burns, duh!”. For those not aware, the woman didn’t accidentally spill the coffee- it was given to her unsecured, she wasn’t driving but parked, it wasn’t an “ouch that’s hot!” but very serious- she had to have skin grafting and the only reason she sued was because McD’s wouldn’t pay for her medical bills, which were in the thousands and which is what she sued for; it was the jury who awarded her more than a million dollars due to McD’s negligence all around.

There have been frivolous bajillion dollar verdicts (most of them appealed or settled out of court), but that wasn’t one.

When I was a kid I lived on military bases, I could tell an F4 Phantom by sound but knew nothing about rural life. Relocated to rural IL at age 13 I asked another kid in school if the cows in the field were girl cows or boy cows. It took a while to live that one down.

Come on, everybody knows that! :slight_smile:

On a similar note - I used to work at a theatre that mostly put on plays for children and hosted touring shows of popular childrens acts. There was a very prevalent misconception among some parents that entertainment for children should be free. Particularly if the show was considered at all educational. We got lots of “education is meant to be free in this country!”, “but children are our future!”, “I thought that people who worked here would love kids!”, etc. Very annoying.

Try getting that to fly at Disneyworld.

A couple of historical ones:

“The Civil War was fought to free slaves.”

It’s a lot more accurate to say the South fought it to ‘keep’ slaves than the north fought it to free slaves, at least until the ending of the war. The north fought mainly to preserve the Union. Both sides of course had many other reasons as well, but keeping slavery legal and the Union preserved were the two biggies.

One you hear a lot down here:

“The whole Rosa Parks arrest was a set up.”

It’s true that the NAACP was looking for a test case and that Rosa Parks, their secretary, knew this. It’s true there was already a sort of war game plan for what to do/who to call/etc. when somebody got arrested who was of good moral character and unimpeachable background. (There had been two people they considered using- most famously Claudette Colvin, a 15 year old who before her trial became pregnant by a married boyfriend and thus they knew she’d be torn to ribbons on the stand, an a black professor who it turned out had been a member of the Communist Party and they knew that too would go bad for the movement.)
What was not set up: the busdriver, who was notoriously racist even by 1950s standards (Rosa and other black people knew him and had had run-ins with him before) ordering her to get up when it was completely within his discretion not to do so, and of course the whole law itself. Rosa Parks was not looking to get arrested that day (she wasn’t as tired as she’s sometimes portrayed- she was only 42 and in good shape).
A connection that isn’t as well known to the Rosa Parks case was Emmett Till. The Sunday before Parks had attended a meeting with some of Emmett Till’s Mississippi family, they saw the pictures of his body, and the murderers had already been tried, released, and profited from the murder by selling the LOOK magazine article in which they bragged about it, and this infuriated her and most other black people not just for the acts of two white trash murderers but for the inaction of decent white people who might say “That’s a shame” but wouldn’t do anything more than that. There had also been a cold blooded murder of a black man trying to vote in Mississippi the previous week- in front of witnesses, no indictments. She was understandably pissed.
She did use an existing battle plan for challenging the law. She really didn’t set up 80 years of Jim Crow laws and slip the busdriver a C-note to call the cops. She also paid dearly for rocking the boat: death threats, harassment, being fired, having to move in with her brother and his 13 kids in Detroit, etc., so it’s not like she profited from it or got off on the fame of it all.

McDonald’s also had a proven history of serving coffee far hotter than safety standards dictated and too hot to safely consume. This case wasn’t based on some one-off mistake but a history of intentional negligence by McDonald’s.

For the sake of fighting ignorance…

It’s an interesting case. The woman’s original claim was for $20K, which McDonald’s refused; and while larger (but not outrageous) settlements were proposed, including during mediation, McDonald’s refused them all. The jury did award $2.86 million, but the judge reduced this to $640K. Then, the parties appealed; and in the end, they would settle for less than $600K. With its background of events leading to the jury award, it is not quite so cut-and-dried as many think. Wikipedia gives a nice summary here.

There’s a whole chapter in the book Freakonomics talking about the economics of the drug trade that says pretty much what you just said.