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question of the weekend: What widely accepted practice, custom, or societal norm do you regard as irrational, absurd, offensive, silly, nonsensical, counterproductive, or morally wrong?

The Atlantic’s Daily Dish recently asked:

What widely accepted practice, custom, or societal norm do you regard as irrational, absurd, offensive, silly, nonsensical, counterproductive, or morally wrong?

Which is so excellent a question that I’m going to steal it.

Daily Dish gathered responses by email and reported on the results:

Perhaps 200 people responded, and the most frequent answer was that it makes no sense to say “God bless you” after someone sneezes. Lots of readers also lodged complaints against eating meat, mistreating animals, believing in God, practicing organized religion, driving SUVs, and the societal practice of pairing off in monogamous relationships.

Less expected responses will make up the bulk of what I post. Let’s start with a common answer that I didn’t anticipate:

Carol objected most concisely: “Pumping dead bodies full of embalming fluid and burying them in a sealed casket, instead of wrapped in fabric in a pine box so they can decay as quickly as possible.”

I, too, would probably pick our bizarre funeral practices as the thing that annoys me most, and seems wrong in lots of ways. From the environment horror of embalming to the absurd expense that is incurred by grieving families at a vulnerable moment — what the hell is the purpose of spending thousands of dollars on a box only to bury it a couple of days later? — how we bury our dead is ridiculous.

Your turn…

(If you have a suggestion for a QOTD/QOTW, feel free to email me. Responses to this QOTW sent by email will be ignored; please post your responses here.)

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