5 Complaints About Modern Life (That Are Secretly Total BS)

Our ancestors were more or less the same people we are, just with slightly fewer iPhones and slightly more plagues. That’s why societies throughout history have wrestled with problems that seem surprisingly modern to our eyes, but have apparently been around forever. For example …

#5. Bullshit Celebrity Diets Go All The Way Back To Lord Byron

Every celebrity worth their open-sourced non-iodized bay salt follows some crazy-ass diet plan in a futile attempt to stave off the ravages of age and gravity. But that’s not an exclusively Hollywood trend. Lord Byron indulged the fad diet as we know it all the way back in the 19th century. As a rich, handsome, and angsty romantic poet, Byron was the closest thing to a rock star in his era.


Here he is, striking his most Bieber-esque pose.

Deathly concerned about keeping up that thin, pale, tuberculosis-lookin’ Victorian figure, he came up with a diet all his own. And it was no less insane than the ancient grains paleo crap Angelina Jolie abides by. Byron started off living on biscuits, soda water, and vinegar-drenched potatoes, with the occasional cheat binge washed down with copious amounts of magnesia. By 1816, he was subsisting solely on thin slices of bread, tiny amounts of vegetables, seltzer water, tea, and magnesium supplements. To calm the hunger pangs, he smoked cigars.


Then, to beat the nicotine cravings, he’d snort a little cyanide.

This diet worked great, in that it gave him that authentic “maybe he’s born with it, maybe it’s a malady” look. He dropped from 194 lbs in university to a sickly 125 lbs in the span of five years. That he was only 36 when he died was probably a coincidence.

#4. Ancient Athenians Sued At The Slightest Provocation

Everybody makes fun of the USA for being so lawsuit-happy — “Those guys will sue if the coffee is too hot!” But we didn’t start this fire; ancient Athenians were similarly infamous all around Greece for their tendency to phone (or … falcon, we guess?) their lawyers at the slightest provocation.

“People walking around with no pants? Falcon us!
People forcing you to wear pants? Falcon us! We’ll fight for YOU!”

The Athenians were so inundated with lawsuits that they had a special term, sukophantai (the origin of the English word “sycophant”), for the sort of person who litigates if you look at them funny. Like in the US today, they were widely mocked in popular culture, and people would often publicly accuse their opponents in court of being sycophants in order to sway the juries. Technically, Athenians could even sue someone for being a sycophant, though to our knowledge, no one ever did, possibly because the condensed irony would have formed a black hole and devoured them all.

The tide of ludicrous lawsuits was partially due to Athens not having any designated public prosecutors. As a result, any citizen could sue someone on behalf of the city. Luckily, Athenian juries probably didn’t mind all this rampant legal douchebaggery too much. After all, they were paid for each case they voted on.

#3. Pandering Beer Advertisements Are Almost As Old As Writing

We’ve already told you that Roman gladiators were a bunch of corporate spokesmen cheerily peddling the era’s version of Air Jordans. But even that far removed and ancient time isn’t where advertising started. Consider your humble beer slogan. According to anthropologist Alan D. Eames — a man gloriously nicknamed “the Indiana Jones of beer” — the world’s oldest beer advertisement hails from a Mesopotamian tablet from 4000 BC. It reads: “Drink Elba, the beer with the heart of a lion.”


It led to 6,000 years of misguided drunken lion poaching.

Naturally, the tablet also depicts a headless woman with gigantic boobs holding two jugs of beer, because sex has always sold, even back when people thought “STD” stood for “Sexually Transmitted Demon.” Moving forward in the annals of history, a wine jar found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun bears the slogan: “Life, Prosperity, Health”


Tutankhamun, who died at 18.

It’s no “the champagne of beers,” but it’s pretty catchy.

Our ancestors were more or less the same people we are, just with slightly fewer iPhones and slightly more plagues. That’s why societies throughout history have wrestled with problems that seem surprisingly modern to our eyes, but have apparently been around forever. For example …

#5. Bullshit Celebrity Diets Go All The Way Back To Lord Byron

Every celebrity worth their open-sourced non-iodized bay salt follows some crazy-ass diet plan in a futile attempt to stave off the ravages of age and gravity. But that’s not an exclusively Hollywood trend. Lord Byron indulged the fad diet as we know it all the way back in the 19th century. As a rich, handsome, and angsty romantic poet, Byron was the closest thing to a rock star in his era.


Here he is, striking his most Bieber-esque pose.

Deathly concerned about keeping up that thin, pale, tuberculosis-lookin’ Victorian figure, he came up with a diet all his own. And it was no less insane than the ancient grains paleo crap Angelina Jolie abides by. Byron started off living on biscuits, soda water, and vinegar-drenched potatoes, with the occasional cheat binge washed down with copious amounts of magnesia. By 1816, he was subsisting solely on thin slices of bread, tiny amounts of vegetables, seltzer water, tea, and magnesium supplements. To calm the hunger pangs, he smoked cigars.


Then, to beat the nicotine cravings, he’d snort a little cyanide.

This diet worked great, in that it gave him that authentic “maybe he’s born with it, maybe it’s a malady” look. He dropped from 194 lbs in university to a sickly 125 lbs in the span of five years. That he was only 36 when he died was probably a coincidence.

#4. Ancient Athenians Sued At The Slightest Provocation

Everybody makes fun of the USA for being so lawsuit-happy — “Those guys will sue if the coffee is too hot!” But we didn’t start this fire; ancient Athenians were similarly infamous all around Greece for their tendency to phone (or … falcon, we guess?) their lawyers at the slightest provocation.

“People walking around with no pants? Falcon us!
People forcing you to wear pants? Falcon us! We’ll fight for YOU!”

The Athenians were so inundated with lawsuits that they had a special term, sukophantai (the origin of the English word “sycophant”), for the sort of person who litigates if you look at them funny. Like in the US today, they were widely mocked in popular culture, and people would often publicly accuse their opponents in court of being sycophants in order to sway the juries. Technically, Athenians could even sue someone for being a sycophant, though to our knowledge, no one ever did, possibly because the condensed irony would have formed a black hole and devoured them all.

The tide of ludicrous lawsuits was partially due to Athens not having any designated public prosecutors. As a result, any citizen could sue someone on behalf of the city. Luckily, Athenian juries probably didn’t mind all this rampant legal douchebaggery too much. After all, they were paid for each case they voted on.

#3. Pandering Beer Advertisements Are Almost As Old As Writing

We’ve already told you that Roman gladiators were a bunch of corporate spokesmen cheerily peddling the era’s version of Air Jordans. But even that far removed and ancient time isn’t where advertising started. Consider your humble beer slogan. According to anthropologist Alan D. Eames — a man gloriously nicknamed “the Indiana Jones of beer” — the world’s oldest beer advertisement hails from a Mesopotamian tablet from 4000 BC. It reads: “Drink Elba, the beer with the heart of a lion.”


It led to 6,000 years of misguided drunken lion poaching.

Naturally, the tablet also depicts a headless woman with gigantic boobs holding two jugs of beer, because sex has always sold, even back when people thought “STD” stood for “Sexually Transmitted Demon.” Moving forward in the annals of history, a wine jar found in the tomb of the pharaoh Tutankhamun bears the slogan: “Life, Prosperity, Health”


Tutankhamun, who died at 18.

It’s no “the champagne of beers,” but it’s pretty catchy.

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