* Actual rain hardly ever looks like real rain on film. This is because rain droplets tend to be too small and too fast for the 24fps frame rate of the camera to capture. As a result, film sets tend to use hose and sprinkler systems to create larger droplets when are then backlit to make them visible to the camera. For the famous scene of ''Film/SinginInTheRain'', the water was mixed with milk to make it more visible. The smell on set afterwards can only be imagined.
* Mice don't particularly like [[StockAnimalDiet cheese]]. They like peanut butter, seeds, nuts and chocolate. They ate cheese because in an average household... what was most smelly ''and'' edible? Also, in the past it was likely to be left exposed in the larder. Creepy rat-guy The Exterminator points this fact out in the film version of ''Film/{{Wanted}}''. [[ChekhovsSkill Trapping rats using peanut butter plays a major part of the very explosive finale]].
--> "Most people think rats like cheese. Nah they're wrong. These little guys (feeds rat on his shoulder) actually go apeshit for peanut butter."
* Many animals believed to be color blind are not. Dogs are dichromatic (meaning they see two prime colors; blue and yellow), whilst humans are trichromatic (meaning we can see three prime colors: red, blue and green). [[BullSeeingRed Bulls]] are also dichromatic. Cats are actually trichromatic like humans, but have a different third or red color from humans, giving them a different range of color vision.
* Milk is not good for cats. They enjoy the taste, but like many humans, many cats become lactose intolerant as they grow into adults. Giving a cat milk in lieu of food or water can cause serious digestive problems.
* Generally speaking, gunshots don't make [[BangBangBANG thunderous sounds]]. Real gunshots are often mistaken for firecrackers. Guns will indeed give you a [[BangBangBANG big bang]]. However, the bang will be a very sudden loud noise that ends almost as abruptly as it starts, not a "rolling thunder" with several seconds of reverb like in movies. Shooting in confined spaces, however, can really affect the sound and loudness of the firearm.
* When most bullets fly past a target, they don't make a quick "zzzp!" or other whizzing sound. Instead, since most are traveling faster than the speed of sound, they make a loud "crack" similar in volume to a small firecracker. Some modern games depict this correctly, but most movies fail to do so, likely because audiences would mistake them for gunshots thanks to Hollywood supporting the trope.
* [[HollywoodSilencer Suppressors]] are more effective in most movies or television than in real life. Suppressors also have no effect on related noises, such as the bullets impact their targets, the slide's action, and the casing ejecting. Also, a conventional suppressor fitted to a firearm's barrel will have no effect on a revolver, since the noise from the firing goes out the sides. However, some weapons really are quite quiet. A suppressed [[CoolGuns Hecker & Koch MP5 submachine gun]] is not much louder than an airsoft rifle.
** Specific example for video games: ArbitraryGunPower often leads to suppressors reducing the power of the weapon for balance reasons, leading to reduced damage and long-range accuracy. In reality, sound suppressors have no effect on the velocity of rounds fired from the weapon. They only reduce the sound of the gasses coming out of the muzzle. In order for a suppressor to be fully effective, however, subsonic ammunition must be used as well, which does have a lower velocity.
* As a side effect of DawsonCasting, some people perceive actors that actually are as young as their characters as being too young for their roles.
* The same thing goes double for voice acting anywhere. This is particularly evident with voice acting for prepubescent boys, where a vast majority of executive producers find the voices of [[CrossDressingVoices 30 to 40 something year old women]] to sound closer to the mark. This is more for the purpose that there are advantages to working with an adult over a child. Producers don't have to deal with labor laws regarding children, voice changes as a boy begins puberty, and a child's immaturity.
* Coconuts in fiction are depicted as fuzzy brown things hanging from trees, sometimes with apertures in the surface. Coconuts are actually green with smooth skin until one cuts them out of the pod, then dries the second layer, which then turns brown and fuzzy. That gives extra dimension to the trope name TheCoconutEffect!
** ''[[SuperMarioBros Super Mario Sunshine]]'' has coconuts that look more realistic than most other coconuts; this led to some people believing them to be fake. The same is true of the ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' games and the film ''CastAway''.
** The same could be said about Pippi in the south seas where they have the realistic coconuts too. This did however work in reverse for some, i.e. teaching some kids that coconuts from palmtrees are green.
** ''KingdomHearts'' features both on Destiny Island. The game doesn't let you pick up brown coconuts, because you're specifically looking for the green ones - the brown ones are apparently either unripe or rotten, while the green ones are going into the supplies for the raft.
* Written (and often spoken) dialogue [[RealisticDictionIsUnrealistic seems more and more fake]] and becomes less and less comprehensible as it gets closer to how people actually speak. A good explanation for this can be found [[http://mechanicalhamster.wordpress.com/2008/05/07/realism-is-fake/ here]]. Somewhere between the two is MametSpeak, the diction used in Creator/DavidMamet's plays. Unlike most fictional speech, people stumble over words, repeat themselves, talk over each other and so forth. This gives a greater impression of realistic diction, but it's really very stylised.
* Despite what many movies would have you believe, charging a door with your shoulder in an effort to break it down is more likely to damage your shoulder than the door. More effective is to kick it right next to the lock/handle. Got right in ''Film/SpiderMan2'' when Peter Parker tries to shoulder-bash a door down and gets only a bruise for his efforts. He then kicks it open.
* Due to different building standards, it's quite difficult to kick in doors in Europe. American building codes are more lax to make it easier for firefighters to rescue people in locked buildings. The edges of the doors and door frames also have angles which make it impossible to slip anything through the cracks around the door in either direction.
* Swords in many medieval or fantasy movies are depicted with fantastically exaggerated sound effects, often making a very audible "Ssshhhhttth!" sound when drawn from a sheathe or scabbard, and making very loud "ting!" or "shing!" sounds when striking other blades. In reality, a sword being drawn from a scabbard is virtually silent since it's only metal rubbing on leather or wood, and blades striking one another tend to make a more flat "klack" sound since they don't vibrate in the hilt enough to emit a smooth, tonal ringing sound.
** The reason films started having swords make sound when drawn is because, primarily, the swords used in most early movies were authentic (or exact reproduction) military sabers. These tended to have sheaths (or sheath throats) made of brass, which would rub against the drawn blade and make the sound. And people kept wanting to hear it.
* {{Ninja}}s are already of dubious historicity. Even if they did exist, they certainly did not wear all black outfits and use exotic weapons to outfight samurai. The traditional ninja garb is taken from the dress of stagehands in kabuki theatre who, unlike western stagehands, would be on stage. They'd dress in all black and the audience would, by convention, pretend not to see them just as the characters in the play would not either. When the play called for a character to be assassinated by a ninja, one of the stagehands would suddenly produce a weapon and "kill" the character, emulating how ninjas would kill people and be unseen.
** Additionally, if ninjas did exist, they would not have had a standardized outfit. They were instead expert disguisers who would dress as a peasant (Such as a farmer or merchant), most likely someone who would indeed have a reason to get close to their target without triggering an alarm. (This also helps to play into the Kabuki theatre trope above)
* Wearing solid black is actually terrible camouflage unless the environment you're in is also solid black, which is rare. This includes nighttime because night is rarely fully black due to ambient light from the stars, the moon, and artificial lighting. The best colors for night camo are actually darker shades of blue or violet.
** This was the reason for some "UFO" sightings caused by certain stealth aircraft when they were still top secret: though the craft didn't show up on radar, the people who spotted them noted triangular shapes blacker than the surrounding night.
** Speaking of camouflage, it's not designed to make you blend into your surroundings as some kind of low-tech optic stealth, it's designed to be disruptive and make it harder to determine what said object is, even if spotted. Even if it takes a few seconds to figure it out, that gives the opposition a few seconds more to do something.
*** This is the reason for the rather bizarre paint schemes on early 20th Century naval ships. It's not designed to obscure the ship from view, but rather to break up the visual design and make it difficult to determine what kind of ship it was and what country it sailed for. And most importantly, it made it harder to accurately calculate the distance to the ship, making it harder to hit in a battle. The modern aiming systems have eliminated that problem, and thus the need for the elaborate colour schemes.
*** The one mechanism camo works is the way brain processes the "image recognition": familiar shapes (like that of a human/animal body, a vehicle or a house) are subconsciously drawn out and therefore attract attention. When a camouflage breaks that outline, it's far more likely to be glanced over the way noone really counts trees looking at the edge of a forest. Cue the "wildly magical" explanations of invisibility in some fiction as not a physical light-bending but Jedi Mind Tricks.
** Similarly, Camouflage pattersn do not actually "erase" you from the background, but makes it harder to notice something is there. The human brain can only take in so much info and a perceptive scout will probably only "eyeball" the surrounding for enemies. It's only when you know something is there and take a closer look does the pattern fail. So as long as you don't stand out and remain perfectly still, even if you are just clad in fatigues painted in blobs of green and brown, it would be extremely difficult for anyone to know you were there, even if they were searching for you.
* Spies generally don't act like Film/JamesBond, going off to exotic locations and getting into gunfights with the villains. Most intelligence agents spend a lot of their time doing paperwork and laborious scut work.
** The Bond books themselves actually reference that, Bond musing to himself that the bulk of his job is actually desk work and his globe trotting missions are actually a rarity. To put this in perspective, most Bond movies are made 2-3 years apart from each other and generally cover a timespan of a handful of days; it's not that Bond ''doesn't'' do lots of paperwork or "laborious scut work", it's that the movies ''skip'' that part of his job. ''Film/OnHerMajestysSecretService'' actually shows us his desk as well. [[FridgeBrilliance This also explains]] why Bond spends so much of his on-screen time smoking, drinking, gambling and having sex with strangers--his normal life is freakin' monotonous (might ''also'' explain why he always dumps the girl of each movie; his everyday life is no-where near as glamorous as it first appears).
* A Medieval KnightInShiningArmor wouldn't be seen until the 14th century, roughly 800 years after the start of the medieval period and 200 years before it ended. Knights up to that point wore only mail and iron helmets, with the earliest pieces of plate appearing in the mid 13th century. Plate armor, on the other hand, reached its highest development in the 16th century and didn't die out until the second half of the 17th century.
** On a related note, KingArthur, if he did exist, would be several centuries early for wearing the type of plate armor that he and his knights are commonly depicted wearing. The reason they're always depicted in plate is that this is how the medieval people who latched onto his story envisioned him: in the up-to-date armor of their own times.
* Many people of Spanish, Latin American and Italian descent have light skin tone and hair, but you'll be hard-pressed to find them in American media.
** A good example is Sofía Vergara. She's naturally blonde but dyes her hair to look more "Latin."
** Another good example is GuillermoDelToro - he's Mexican, but some people don't actually believe it when they look at him.
** Arguably, this comes into play the most when casting the role of Katherine of Aragon. The old Spanish royal families were distinguished by their very fair hair and skin, not just in contrast to the rest of the Spanish population but to Europeans as a whole. Katherine was a redhead with alabaster skin and blue eyes, yet most productions cast an actress with Mediterranean features.
** Abi-Maria from a season of ''{{Survivor}}'' in fact shows this, being Brazilian but otherwise looking "white" with blonde hair.
** Related, a lot of people assume that if you're South American (with the exception of Guyana, Surimane, and the French Guiana) then you're most likely descended from Spanish or Portuguese people and mestizos. Actually, Argentina is known as ''Crisol de Razas'', which translates to "racial melting pot" - and most Argentinians recognize at least one Italian ancestor; the stereotypical Argentine accent is heavily Italian influenced, and the world's most famous Argentine, UsefulNotes/ThePope Francis, is of Italian ancestry. Similarly, some people find it odd about a Jewish person in South America, but Argentina is home to a rather large Jewish population (anywhere between 180,000 and 300,000, although a large number have emigrated to Israel on account of some nasty antisemitic events in the country since the late 1990s-early 2000s).
*** ''Literature/ASwiftlyTiltingPlanet'' also features another odd (yet plausible) combination - a leader of a South American country who is descended from Welsh people. It may sound weird, but there ''is'' a Welsh population in Argentina.
** On the flipside there are quite a few people who are surprised to see that there Afro-Latinos, not realizing that Latin America actually received many more slaves than North America did.
* Some people are surprised at the diverse appearance of the Romani people - most people assume them to be somewhat Indo-European looking, but a good number can pass for "White". (As a matter of fact, the actress for Dorothy in ''Film/ReturnToOz''? Romani.)
* In the nonfiction book ''Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets'' (later made into the popular TV series ''Series/HomicideLifeOnTheStreet'') it's mentioned that fingerprint experts are routinely called to testify in trials where no fingerprints were found at a crime scene... in order to explain to jurors that, [[FingerprintingAir contrary to television]], fingerprints aren't found at most crime scenes. Doorknobs are also particularly useless, since they will almost invariably reveal a mottled pattern of overlaid prints from which no useful information can be gathered.
* Many people think that, as portrayed by virtually every Rome-related work of fiction ever, [[GladiatorGames gladiatorial matches]] were nearly always to the death. While most gladiators did eventually die in the arena, most would fight many times before getting killed. Unlike condemned criminals who were thrown into the arena to be killed, professional gladiators had a certain level of respect and weren't treated as mere meat. In fact, as slaves who were bought by the head of the gladiator school and trained at great expense, their owners couldn't afford for them to be killed off like flies, and the audience or guest of honor deciding to kill a gladiator was relatively rare. They were not [[NoHoldsBarredBeatdown no-holds-barred brawls]] -- fights were regulated by a very strict set of rules defining what sorts of gladiators could fight each other and what weapons and techniques they could use. You wouldn't see gladiators fighting lions either: venatores fought the animals, gladiators only fought each other. Lastly, the gladiators didn't have quite the chiseled physiques we think of. There is strong evidence to suggest that they ate carb-rich foods to cultivate a [[{{Kevlard}} protective layer of fat]] that would protect them from the shallow, slashing blows that were typical for gladiator fights. They could still be pretty hunky if surviving mosaics are to be believed, but they certainly didn't have the cut definition of bodybuilders.
** Having a gladiator with a significant fat layer also allowed for dramatic looking wounds that weren't actually that dangerous and wouldn't actually bleed that much while allowing the fight to continue.
* It's unknown whether the "thumbs up" gesture indicated that a gladiator was to be spared. We only know that the signal was given with "pressed thumb." The exact nature of the gesture has been lost in time. It might have changed over the years as well.
** According to {{Series/QI}}, the "thumbs up" gesture meant a gladiator was to be 'killed' - the symbolism being in the thumbs-up resembling a drawn sword.
** Some sources claim the actual "death" sign was neither thumbs up nor down, but a thumb drawn across the neck in a "throat-slash" gesture.
** Likewise, there has been some suggestion that the thumbs ''down'' gesture was actually the "let them live" one - the gesture being said to mimic either the sheathing of a sword or sticking it in the arena sand.
* If years of Hollywood influence has taught us one thing, it's that [[EveryCarIsAPinto cars explode after crashes]], even fairly minor ones (or occasionally, explode in mid-air ''before'' touching the ground). Reality disagrees, and modern cars don't explode readily at all. Nonetheless, the public is largely convinced that cars present a serious danger of explosion after a crash, which has resulted in many, many cases of well-meaning members of the public pulling injured victims out of cars, causing further injury to them, to get them away from the car before it explodes. It's better to not move a victim unless there are clearly visible flames burning the car, or if there is some other form of explosive involved.
** Inversion: While cars in a hard crush will usually just crumple up into hunks of metal, commercial jets frequently ''will'' explode dramatically on a direct impact, thanks to the sheer force of it guaranteeing that their heavy loads of volatile fuel won't stay safely contained - as seen in footage of the 9/11 plane crashes. This is demonstrated to be an inversion, not an '''a'''version, by the number of [[ConspiracyTheorist Conspiracy Theorists]] who contend that the effect noted above proves the towers were rigged with pyrotechnics.
*** Also, it's not uncommon (especially on short-haul flights, but with bigger jetliners it can happen even on long-haul flights) for one or more of the fuel tanks to be left empty, in order to decrease the weight of the plane by not carrying more fuel than necessary. Well, not ''quite'' empty; the fuel tank or tanks often still contain a small amount of fuel from the last fill-up, which, combined with the large amount of empty space inside the tank, translates into [[MadeOfExplodium a large amount of fuel vapours]]. These tend to explode ''very'' enthusiastically in a crash, [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TWA_Flight_800 or, if there is faulty wiring inside the fuel tank]], ''[[NightmareFuel in flight]]''.
** Another jet example: it's not possible to cause ExplosiveDecompression on a plane simply by shooting out the windows. On ''Series/MythBusters'', shooting the windows either failed to break the window, or if the window did crack, didn't lead to explosive decompression like in the movies. The effect was only replicated with plenty of explosives.
*** Likewise to the above airplane examples, you don't get "sucked out" of an airplane even if you somehow stood by the door when it suddenly opened in mid-flight.
** To "spice up" the field test on Ford Explorer rollovers, ''Dateline'' relied on this fact for cover as they rigged the trucks to explode. When they were found out, they issued an apology.
** Dateline pulled this with GM too. In both cases it went beyond RealityIsUnrealistic and was downright lying and faking the tests.
** There's also the widely-held belief that if a tire (especially a front tire) blows out the car will inevitably roll. ''Car and Driver'', investigating the rolling Explorers, ''deliberately tried'' to roll one by rigging the tires to blow out on their test track. They couldn't get it to flip. It's the driver, stupid.
** The ''actual'' Ford Pinto that formed the basis of EveryCarIsAPinto isn't nearly as ready to explode as the popular image of the car suggests, let alone cars in most visually-based fiction.
* The volatility of gasoline has been overstated by Hollywood to the point that all gas stations have warning signs regarding cigarette smoking posted at the tanks. However, there has never been any recorded instance of a cigarette or other open flame igniting any gasoline (or petrol) tanks anywhere. The Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms experts have [[http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2007/feb/27/smoking.film thoroughly debunked this]], yet the signs remain. Further, dropping a lit cigarette into gasoline does nothing more than extinguish it. In order to start a fire, an actual flame has to be held in the fumes rising above it; the ember of a smoldering cigarette will not trigger a blaze.
** At a gas station, signs only remind the people working immediately with light fuels. When a spark just somewhere around can make a fireball, it'd be an emergency already. As to the ATF "experts", it's a bad consolation: they [[http://www.jpfo.org/filegen-n-z/savage2.htm used to say ludicrous things]].
*** Most of it is because a lit cigarette can catch ''something else'' on fire, not the gasoline itself, which can then ignite the fumes. It's also why gas stations are regularly swept for litter by the staff to remove combustible materials. The pumps are also designed with redundant failsafes, including several switches to completely shut down the pumps. So yes, a lit cigarette near a gas pump can start such a fire, just not the way HollywoodScience suggests.
** The ''Series/MythBusters'' took great care to bust the myth of cellphones making gas stations explode, repeatedly calling a dozen cellphones of various make over an hour in a sealed environment filled with the 'perfect' ratio of gas fumes to oxygen. Nothing happened. When they didn't optimize the fumes they couldn't set it off even on purpose.
** ''Brainiac: Science Abuse'' not only demonstrated that a mobile phone causing a spark is virtually impossible, but also that the static electricity caused by the rubbing together of polystyrene or other similar fabrics is more likely to cause petrol explosions. You'll note that you don't see a ban on polystyrene clothing in petrol stations.
*** However, many gas stations have a warning to make sure you discharge on your car before putting the pump in and to not get back into the car while the pump is running.
*** This show is an example in and of itself. Almost everything (particularly any explosion) on the show will be accused of being faked. The microwave segment is the most common target of, "They used pyrotechnics!"
*** They get accused of this because they got caught doing it once, using pyrotechnics instead of cesium.
** One Website/DarwinAwards article involved someone who tried to douse a road flare in gasoline, after seeing a demonstration of a cigar being extinguished in butane. Then there was the guy who held his lighter near the entrance of his gas tank so he could see inside.
** Gasoline is a toxic, corrosive, flammable substance that is potentially dangerous to the environment, and there are many, many good reasons why you don't want to be distracted by a cigarette or a cell phone while handling it. Not all those signs are to prevent explosions, and anyone who's had spill kit training at an actual gas station job knows the dangers of a lot of spilled gasoline.
* Almost ''anyone'' will be able to recognise the smell of Petrol / Gasoline. It is a ''very'' distinctive odour and ''very'' noxious to smell. Actually, the fuel itself is odourless - the distinctive "Smell" is from an additive made so that people can recognise that there may have been a leak or a spill. The lack of this caused a gas explosion.
** This is also why Carbon Monoxide is dangerous - it is odourless and colourless. A lot of gases are in fact colourless and this makes them dangerous - because you can't see that they are there and cannot smell it either until it's too late. (There is a phenomenon in Africa called a "Mazuku" that was later discovered to have been Carbon Dioxide from nearby volcanic lakes.)
* Any media portrayal of any of the more shockingly extreme, sadistic, and/or brutal atrocities performed by an actual historical figure or group may get this reaction from who just can't believe that anyone would be that depraved. The portrayal of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amon_Göth Amon Göth]], the commandant of the Nazi concentration camp at Płaszów, in ''Film/SchindlersList'', was attacked by one critic as being "too unrelentingly brutal" to be believable. In reality Amon Göth's depravity was ''downplayed'' for the movie.
** For the same reason, this arguably applies to any ''fictional'' characters who are accused of being "too evil" or unrealistically monstrous. In many cases, perhaps the overwhelming majority of cases, the cruelty, brutality and sadism of these characters utterly pales in comparison to what actual people have gotten up to throughout human history, no matter how over the top audiences believe it to be.
** A variant would be extreme ideological and bigoted behavior as well. Many portrayals in films of real life actions or even just statements by the more extreme racists, supremacists, or any other highly-charged hate groups often elicit eye-rolls from many in the audience and often accusations of being {{anvilicious}}. Even the extent of how deeply things like racism were once accepted in casual society falls into this. For example, the commercials in the FauxDocumentary ''CSA: The Confederate States of America'' which featured products with over-the-top-sounding racist names (such as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Darlie Darkie Toothpaste]] and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coon_Chicken_Inn Coon Chicken Inn]]). These often get the aforementioned disbelieving eye-rolling from viewers until the end credits of the film show that such products were, in fact, ''real products'' in the past. True, the Darkie toothpaste was Asian made (Asians historically not having much of an opinion about people from Europe or Africa, being too busy hating each other), but it was introduced to some Western markets, where few whites batted an eye at its racist name at the time, decades before its Western acquisition and subsequent name change to Darlie in 1985.
** Conversely, it's difficult to explain previous generational racism accurately without being accused of being "soft" on racism at times. For instance, anti-Semitism was pervasive in Europe and for over a millennium prior to World War II, but engaging in genocide would have been considered monstrous and unthinkable. This is, sadly, exactly why Nazi Germany came so close to succeeding -- virtually nobody believed they would do it, dismissing the evidence and survivors until the advancing lines uncovered the death camps.
*** Seeing how ''pogroms'' were already a thing, this doubles up as a very real life example of what could be found a very cartoonish case of Even Evil Has Standarts: people were not averse to the idea of violent anti-Semitism. It's just the whole institutionalized "final solution" business didn't strike them as a logical next step...
*** It also should be remembered that, for most of Western history, Jews were ''not'' thought of as a separate race of people, at least insofar as they could intermix with native Europeans (and, in fact, a great many Jews were actually former Christian or pagan Europeans who converted). Jews were simply ordinary people who followed the "wrong" religion, and killing them would have unjustly deprived them of the "salvation" they could achieve by becoming Christians; indeed, this was precisely why St. Augustine wrote that non-Christians should not be slain without good reason. ''Racial'' anti-Semitism wasn't recorded until the ''limpieza de sangre'' doctrine of fifteenth-century Spain (Sephardic Jews being largely immigrants from North Africa rather than the Nordic and Slavic converts seen elsewhere in Europe), and after that Jews continued to be mistrusted and hated for religious, political, and class-based reasons as least as much as racial ones.
** You'll also get people rolling their eyes at perfectly progressive attitudes and behavior being displayed in the past, as if human equality was a concept cobbled together only about 1946 or so. Anti-racist people, anti-sexist people, and people committed to religious ecumenicism have existed at all times and in nearly all cultures: the American Civil War would never have occurred if not for the controversial anti-racism of the abolitionists, and the equality of all people is mentioned as a good thing in ''[[OlderThanTheyThink the Bible]]''.
** For another example of how popular culture often masks the progressivism of earlier eras, check out the official party platform of the Republican party from 1952 (yes, the ''Republican'' party). Not only does it condemn racism, but it also acknowledges the existence of working women and calls for equal pay for equal work! Just because an idea was not widely accepted at the time or didn't show up in the popular media, it doesn't follow that it didn't exist.
** [[http://squid314.livejournal.com/275614.html This essay]] is all about how World War II seems like a poorly-written TV show. The Nazis are way too cruel to be believable, there's no way they'd devote so much energy to the holocaust when they were already at war on two fronts, and it's ridiculous that they would form an alliance with the Japanese when their whole philosophy revolves around the supremacy of the Aryan Race. And yet, despite seeming "unrealistic", all of that actually happened!
* [[http://www.antipope.org/charlie/blog-static/2015/10/a-complaint.html The twenty-first century]], according to Creator/CharlesStross in a posting on his website, Antipope.
* BoomHeadshot isn't anything like true in real life; while people overwhelmingly believe that "[[InstantDeathBullet shot in the head = death]]", people have survived ''multiple'' headshots, and in some cases even continued fighting with severe gunshot-related head injuries with little degradation in their abilities. There are also numerous accounts of people surviving head injuries from masonry nails, large tool blades and ''scaffolding poles'' with little or no long-term effect on their mental performance.
** For that matter, neither is PrettyLittleHeadshots. Although headshots are not as lethal as they're widely portrayed, most of them are ''very messy'', since there's a comparatively large amount of fluid and soft tissue packed into a fairly small space -- you'd be hard-pressed to actually pull off the "neat little hole" you see in fiction time and time again, and depending on the range and caliber, PinkMist really ''does'' result from a headshot.
** As world-renowned forensic anthropologist Dr. William R. Maples explains in his book ''Dead Men Do Tell Tales'', it is also possible for a suicide victim to shoot themselves multiple times in the head (this is in response to many investigators assuming a particular case is a homicide because the victim has two or more bullet wounds in their head). In fact, the author tells of a case where a man had to shoot himself in the head ''five times'' before he would die.
** The assumption that headshot + no gun = homicide can also lead police astray. It's not that unusual for a thief to liberate a gun from a suicide scene.
** In ''Film/BatmanForever'' Two-Face was able to head shot Bruce, and he was able to survive it.
*** Two-Face ''grazed'' Bruce's forehead, which is why he went in for the real kill shortly thereafter.
** In ''MaxPayne2'' Mona Sax shows up alive after having been shot in the head in the first game, and Max later survives being shot in the head and then falling several stories into a pit on a construction site.
** There is a police report of a man being brought in for questioning after a large blood splatter, as well as an embedded bullet, was found on the wall of a hotel room he had rented the night before. Upon further inspection they discovered it was a failed suicide attempt; the bullet (which was quite low-caliber) had gone straight through his brain yet missed any important parts. He had reportedly walked off with no memory of the suicide attempt.
** Look no further than Gabrielle Giffords. She was shot through the head, but she is expected to eventually make a full recovery.
*** Far from a miracle, the mortality rate of gunshot wounds in general is only 20%, and only 50% for the head. Headshots only become Hollywood-Fatal if the brain stem is hit. Furthermore, if you've made it to the ER, you've more than doubled your chance of surviving.
** Also, death by lead poisoning (as a result of being shot, anyways) is exceedingly rare. The reason gunshots kill is not lead poisoning, or even necessarily internal damage caused by them; it's blood loss.
* Creator/JoWalton refers to this as "[[http://www.irosf.com/q/zine/article/10407 The Tiffany Problem]]". Tiffany is a perfectly plausible medieval name (as a diminutive for Theophania), but no fiction writer can ever spell it that way because it sounds too modern.
** Several names fall into this. In ''The Canterbury Tales,'' several of the female characters are given modern-sounding names (albeit spelled differently.) Allison and Emily for instance.
* Anatomically, the human heart is located in the ''bottom center'' of the chest cavity, yet everything from vampire flicks to firing-range targets depict it as being in the upper left quadrant, merely because the heartbeat is ''louder'' in that location. (The heart's left side is stronger than the right, and projects its sound upward with the aortic blood flow.) Even doctors get looked at funny if they try to center their hands over their actual hearts during the US national anthem, as opposed to centering the hand over the left lung as most people do and letting the heel of the hand end up closer to the actual position. The remake of ''Film/FrightNight2011'' seems to get this one right, as Jerry makes a big deal throughout of everyone "missing" his heart.
* Sonic booms are rarely ever a 'boom' sound, unless it is something absolutely huge that is traveling at the speed of sound (the bigger the object, the lower the pitch), making Concorde the only thing that made a sonic ''boom''; other objects make more of a bang, crash, crack or snap sound.
* Silver plated jewelery looks brighter and, well, more silver than the real thing. The reason is that solid silver jewelery is an alloy (for strength as well as economy), whereas plated jewelery can be pure silver where it shows.
* Nature is a particularly rough subject for this trope. Scenes of nature portrayed in film are usually backwards. Scenes showing wonder or scenery will show the characters interacting with surprisingly tame prey animals (deer, rabbits, etc.) and having lovely interactions with brightly colored plants and their fruit. Scenes showing danger will show the hero being chased by predators. Cue long lines at the first aid lodge for people who have been poisoned by brightly colored plants and attacked by prey animals and many kids wondering why bears and coyotes tend to just ignore them (predators are pretty lazy unless they're really hungry and tend to go after lone, injured animals for easy kills).
** In the case of predators losing their fear of humans (there is a very good reason you ''don't'' want to feed a wolf/bear/coyote long enough for it to get used to you), [[TearJerker some people don't even make it to first aid]].
** For that matter, scenes where the heroes are chased by noisy predators are also unrealistic. [[IfIWantedYouDead First, a healthy predator wouldn't NEED to chase you down]]. And most rely on a short dash rather than [[SuperPersistentPredator long chase]] to begin with. Second, people may have confused hunting with territorial or [[MamaBear parental]] [[PapaWolf displays]]--most hunts involve quiet and somewhat boring stalk/ambush techniques, while stumbling across an adult with babies is what would ''realistically'' trigger the angry, intimidating chase scene.
*** And in the case of stumbling across an [[MamaBear adult]] [[PapaWolf with young]], the '''realistic''' triggering of an intimidating chase scene applies with not only predatory animals, but with nearly ''any'' animal for that matter, including prey animals. Same goes with territorial displays.
** The most dangerous animal in Africa is generally considered not the lion, not the leopard, or even the Nile crocodile (though all three can be downright scary in their own right) but the hippo, which is a herbivore.
*** Hippos are actually quite terrifying. Yeah, they're goofy-looking creatures, all chubby with big eyes - but they are incredibly territorial and have been known to be cannibalistic. [[LightningBruiser They can also easily outrun a human in spite of their short legs,]] [[MadeOfIron and their skin is thick enough to deflect rifle bullets.]]
*** To put it in perspective, African park rangers and [[Series/CrocodileHunter Steve Irwin]] refer to the hippo as the most terrifying beast in Africa. Those things can snap a full-grown male Nile crocodile ''in half''.
*** And those that don't agree it's the hippo tend to plump for another herbivore--the Cape buffalo is pretty fast, has wicked horns, and is aggressively territorial. Worst thing about it? It looks almost identical to the (mostly harmless) water buffalo...
*** For that matter, herbivores are considered to be near harmless. Actually, Cape Buffalo and some antelopes (especially Oryxes) have been known to ''gore lions''. Bison are able to stand their own against wolves as well.
** Pigs. A wild boar is a small barn with sharp tusks and flinchy, irritable temper. Maybe he will run off after the first charge, whether it was miss or the victim can limp away after binding the superficial wound. Or maybe he will not stop no matter what - boar spears were made with crossbars, because when a boar wants to get you, he will go on even if this means impaling himself.
** Wild animals in fiction will virtually never appear as dirty, scarred, scruffy and/or laden with ticks and fleas as the vast majority of real-world wildlife.
*** GeraldDurrell described in one of his books how, when he was catching animals for the zoo, a girl complained that he's taking the poor beast away from their heavenly life in nature. Instead of arguing, Gerald merely asked that she help him with ridding a freshly caught monkey of its parasites. By the time he was half way done with [[{{Squick}} the job]], the girl [[INeedToGoIronMyDog remembered an urgent dinner date]].
* Because of the prevalence of the GoodGunsBadGuns trope, accurate media depictions (or even news footage) of Philippine criminals and terrorists wielding M16 variants are often declared as "inaccurate." However, in reality Philippine criminals and terrorists do favor M16 variants over the more internationally-ubiquitous Kalashnikovs since the Philippines has multiple gun manufacturers (licensed and unlicensed) creating variants and copies of the M16 and its ammunition that said rifles and ammo are actually much easier to procure[[note]]Which also include stealing them from Philippine soldiers and police officers.[[/note]] in-country than Kalashnikovs or other such weapons from gun runners. Although the latter does happen from time to time.
* Vikings never actually wore horned helmets. Protrusions on helmets would catch an opponent's weapon, allowing it to convey a considerable impact. Real helmets became more and more rounded to let weapons slide away and minimize the impact.
** Horns would have been an extra handhold for an enemy to grab in a fight. At best, they'd rip your helmet off and at worse, use it to control your movements and get their sword into a rather important bit of your anatomy.
* You know how in all the movies, spiders shriek and hiss? They don't do that in real life, although some DO make a rumbling, growling noise.
* Contrary to the popular image of the Pilgrim Fathers, the early settlers of the Plymouth Colony in present-day Plymouth, Massachusetts did not dress in black, wear buckles, or wear black steeple hats. This image was formed in the 19th century when buckles were a kind of emblem of quaintness. It's been argued, however, that they might have worn clothes similar to what is depicted, but only for special or very formal occasions. So the paintings are the equivalent of people going hunting in tuxedos and preparing food while wearing evening gowns.
* People do not [[ExplosiveDecompression explode in space]] as the human body is tough enough to withstand the pressure, but the myth is so prevalent people complain when it ''doesn't'' happen.
* ''Dilophosaurus'' did not [[Franchise/JurassicPark have a frill or spit venom]].
** And ''Brachiosaurus'' did not have nostrils on top of its head; [[ScienceMarchesOn this is because this was accepted among experts when the novel and film were created]], and the general public hasn't yet caught on.
** Also, ''Spinosaurus'' probably wasn't the ''T. rex''-killing unstoppable superpredator ''Film/JurassicParkIII'' made it out to be. And now it seems, according to recent studies in 2014, it may not have done very well on land.
** ''Stegosaurus'' is often regarded as too slow to defend itself from predators, and that's how it was portrayed in old portraits. Closer inspection of its legs show it may have been slow at running. ''Turning around'' on the other hand...
** ''TyrannosaurusRex'''s puny arms are often thought of as weak and useless. The thickened cortical bone in its arm shows this wasn't the case. Also, its vision was NOT based on movement.
** Most people cannot grasp the idea of ''Triceratops'' and its fellow ceratopsians eating meat, in spite of having a beak that can crush bone and teeth that are good for shredding meat as well as plants (and the fact herbivores today often switch to a diet of meat).
* The "ashes" from someone who has been cremated (which are really called "cremains") are depicted as being lighter than air. Cremains are in fact bits of bone too large to simply blow away in the wind or dissolve almost instantly in water.
* UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln impressions all generally use the same voice, which is deep and avuncular. In reality, Lincoln was described as having a high-pitched and nasal voice by those who actually heard him.
* [[UsefulNotes/TheodoreRoosevelt Teddy Roosevelt]] gets the same. He was famous for being tough and a rugged outdoorsman, but the one extant recording of his voice (a commencement speech) shows that he really sounded like a high-pitched upper-crust New Yorker, befitting his background.
* Because of the common wisdom that people "[[AnachronismStew of the past]]" had bad teeth, there are sometimes complaints about the well-kept teeth of actors playing medieval, etc., characters. In fact, spectacularly bad dental hygiene was mainly an issue of ''early modern'' Europeans and European-descended Americans. The teeth of hunter-gatherer peoples generally were in a very good condition (early European explorers often commented on this), and early agricultural peoples' teeth could have wear from unclean grain, but the incidence of caries was rather moderate. The big problems arose when sugar became widely available in Europe but toothbrushes didn't; most other technologically advanced societies had already developed ways to take care of their teeth at that point.
* [[Series/TheColbertReport Stephen Colbert]] coined the word "truthiness", which means that one doesn't have to say the facts because people might not believe them; you just have to say something that ''sounds'' like it would be a fact.
* In real life, GrievousBottleyHarm is well-named. If you bash someone in the head with a bottle, you will not get a neatly shattered bottle and harmlessly knocked-out person. You are far more likely to have an intact bottle, a non-intact skull, and homicide charges filed against you. Most glass bottles are tougher than a human skull, and tragically few people are aware of this thanks to TV and movies.
* This isn't as prevalent as it once was in the 1950's, but it once was that if you were a female minor you weren't supposed to have breasts - if you were an adult female they had to be big. Nowadays teens are only [[SuppressedMammaries strapped down]] if they are in a LongRunner. Reality, however, has proven that some girl's breasts grow slowly and never really get "large" while some grow large quickly and at a very young age. The fact is you can't guess a teen's age simply by looking at her breast size, but TV wishes you could.
* Remember those "Ask Dr. Z" commercials for what was then Daimler-Chrysler, with the actor with an odd-looking fake mustache and goofy German accent purporting to be the company's CEO and taking customers' questions? That was [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dieter_Zetsche the actual CEO of Daimler]], and the accent and mustache are both real.
* You know how beer commercials always have a "beauty shot" with a glass of beer with a thick, frothy head? Beer doesn't really froth that much, but the average viewer thinks it should, so the advertisers add detergent to the beer to achieve the effect. (It's more accurate that ''some'' beers do this more readily, but even then they usually need to be pulled from a barrel draught, not poured from a bottle.)
** Similarly, beer commercials are also fond of showing the head overflowing and spilling over the glass. Bartenders are told by their bar managers not to do that, as it wastes beer, and needlessly messes up the bar and the napkins. When the head overflows, you've poured too much.
** Sometimes, those mugs of beer actually ''are'' FrothyMugsOfWater. When filming, they often do this because there are issues with drinking real beer on the set. (Especially if it involves minors.)
** In cereal commercials, the "milk" they use is actually white paint with a little bit of turpentine mixed in. Apparently, it looks thicker and more real than actual milk. Real milk under studio lighting looks transparent and bluish, and less attractive than the PVA glue or white paint that usually stands in for it.
** The milk-swirling-into-coffee images were similarly mocked up, usually with white paint and treacle (or Marmite in the UK). There was at least one photographers' studio in the UK in the 1980s dedicated to this kind of phototrickery.
** Also common with most food that can melt (ice cream, cheeses etc.); they don't do well under high-temperature lighting.
** It's also unlikely you'll get a lot of steam off freshly served food, unless it's very hot, moist food in a quite cold room. The steam you see on TV? Probably a soggy microwaved tampon.
** Besides, to get that beautiful head that consumers have come to expect, many a brewer has resorted to additives (for example E405, propylene glycol alginate).
* Africa has a surprising amount of towns and cities, where only 28% of it is truly uninhabited, compared to the US, which has around 58% forest area. And no, most people there don't live in straw huts. Many Western college students who take world history are floored to learn that, even before the coming of Western traders and colonialists, parts of sub-Saharan Africa had fairly large cities and were ruled by ''kings'', instead of tribal chiefs and witch doctors.
* Although most countries in the Caribbean are majority black, there exist Chinese, East Indian, Amerindian and white minorities in most of these countries, with two of them (Trinidad and Tobago and Guyana) being majority Indian. However when depicted on TV and in media the Caribbean will always be portrayed as 100% black, or full of gorgeous mixed race women. In fact, for example, several YouTube videos have been made featuring white and Chinese Jamaicans, which are frequently decried as "fake".
** Similarly, if you hear someone speaking with a Caribbean accent, most people assume that they're black - and are surprised if they're not. This actually happens with a lot of accents in general - for example, some people find it odd whenever they see someone speaking with a Brazilian accent and they are otherwise "white" looking and have blond hair. British (and white) actress Hayley Mills has remarked that when she was researching her role for her American film debut in Disney's ''{{Pollyanna}}'', she learned that in the book version Pollyanna had been a West Indian Creole and she briefly considered cultivating the proper accent - but then realized that American audiences would find it ridiculous and went with her natural accent instead.
* The whole myth about electronic devices being capable of stalling a plane during take-off has been debunked many times over. If you leave your cellphone on when the plane takes off, the odds of your phone being the ''direct cause'' of the plane's engines and electronics malfunctioning is ''extremely'' improbable. Still, it has become almost [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JYAq-7sOzXQ a tradition to enforce this rule]]. Better to be safe than sorry.
** Nowadays, more people want cell phones to be banned on planes because ''they're annoying'' rather than because they might interfere with the plane's systems!
** Many airlines won't allow you to have your phone on even in "flight mode", which is deliberately designed not to use any form of radio transmission or anything at all that could have any chance of interfering with the flight. There appears to be a blanket rule that was enforced back in the late 90s about having phones switched off that some airlines just won't budge on despite technology having marched on.
** The real reason most airlines want electronic devices off during takeoff and landings is so that people will put them away. In the unlikely event that some accident occurs, it won't help to have dozens of small projectiles bouncing around the cabin as people lose their grips on them.
** Another reason they want the phones off/in airplane mode is because the pilots' headsets are extremely sensitive. Having hundreds of cell signals running through the plane can cause a static buzzing noise, similar to when you set your phone too close to PC speakers. When taking off or landing, the pilot needs to be listening very closely to the ATC, who could be issuing orders to several flights at once, so even a second of that buzzing could result in them missing vital information.
* Where do you think [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/71/Neige_ifrane.jpg this]] picture was taken in? Switzerland? Nope. France? Nope... it's actually in ''Morocco''. Most people tend to not associate snow with Africa, which is a mostly temperate to utterly arid continent - but Ifrane's climate is actually rather similar to the Swiss Alps, and Ifrane is full of imported plants.
** Similarly, most people believe that the middle east is almost all desert (Sans the fertile crescent area), but places like Iran and Afghanistan actually have quite a bit of snow-covered mountains.
** The Hindu Kush range in eastern Afghanistan could easily pass for the Coastal Ranges of Central and Southern California.
** And the Holy Land is not a dusty, earthy wasteland, despite what Biblical movies often depict. There are (or at least used to be) forests, groves and fields of beautiful wildflowers. (Jesus' remark about "the lilies of the field" in the Gospel of Luke was not ''entirely'' a Westernized translation.)
** Yes, the majority of Egypt is a desert, yes, ancient Egyptians lived there just as they do now... except that no, they did ''not'' live in sandy dusty wastelands.
* [[http://polymathically.wordpress.com/2014/12/11/algae-on-a-gray-sand-beach/ This macro photograph taken at Ho'okena Beach Park on Hawaii's Big Island]]. Ho'okena is one of the few ''gray'' sand beaches in the world.
* Are bats flying rodents? They may look that way, but no. Comparative DNA analysis has revealed that they are actually pegasoferids, which means that their closest relatives are perissodactylids - hoofed mammals with one toe or three toes instead of the usual two people imagine. [[Franchise/{{Batman}} Bruce Wayne]] wouldn't have thought [[AtrociousAlias "Zebra-Man" or "Rhino-Man" to be very intimidating names]].
* Many Asian countries are culturally not as "Asian" as Westerners would guess. You take Thailand (Siam), for example. Although the country is commonly thought of as "Oriental", and [[FacialProfiling its people certainly look it]], Thai culture as a whole - its religion, its art, its writing system, and (to a lesser extent) its cuisine are marked more by Indian influences than Chinese ones. (This could explain why Thais, like Indians, were more willing to adopt or co-opt Western culture, while the Chinese steadfastly resisted Westernization.) Similarly, before video games and anime became popular, Westerners were often surprised at how profoundly Japanese culture has been influenced by the West (baseball, [[TheFifties 1950s]] pop culture, etc.), expecting to see nothing but sumo wrestlers, cherry trees, and geishas.
** Similarly, a lot of people intent on maintaining the "purity" of certain cultures and who accuse others of "Cultural appropriation" are often unaware to where some of these things came from originally. [[RuleOfCautiousEditingJudgment And that is all we will say.]]
* Skinheads seemed to appear out of nowhere in the 1990s due to increased media attention on racial violence. However, the skinhead subculture (which, incidentally, is ''not'' always racist) dates all the way back to the late 1960s - and while the original skinheads had merely very short hair instead of shaved heads, that changed very quickly. Thus the astonishment of some modern-day movie lovers at seeing the Turnbull A.C.'s in the gang movie ''Film/TheWarriors'', since the film was made toward the end of the 1970s - a decade [[SeventiesHair not exactly known for baldness]]. Also, the A.C.'s are conspicuously multiracial.
* UsefulNotes/SarahPalin shocked a lot of people when she first appeared (though Alaskans had been familiar with her for quite a while). For a (then) 44-year-old woman she was quite attractive, so you'd expect [[ArousedByTheirVoice a reasonably sexy voice]] - not the [[AmericanAccents pseudo-Midwestern]], vaguely Scandinavian, down-home chirp she ended up having. And due to social prejudices, some people had trouble accepting that [[StereotypeFlip a woman who had to wear glasses was a former beauty pageant contestant]].
* Makeup of any kind often doesn't work the way people think.
** Whiteface clowns often wind up looking quite grotesque (and no, this doesn't just apply to [[MonsterClown Monster Clowns]]) due to improperly applied or cheap makeup, instead of having the "smooth" look they do in illustrations and cartoons. Part of the problem is that clown makeup has historically been - and frequently still is - lard- or cream-based, and fatty makeup tends to congeal very quickly, especially in dry climates (as any Southern Californian on Halloween could tell you) and start to crack nauseatingly, [[UncannyValleyMakeup giving the impression more of a mummy than a clown]]. As the Western world became more industrialized, theatrical makeup companies began to create petroleum-based makeup, which is naturally more slick (if a bit smudgy); however, due to rising oil prices in the past several decades, these companies have often switched to a beeswax base. (Actors who play clowns in Hollywood movies have access to special synthetic cosmetics that won't crack or smudge.)
** At the other extreme, everyday cosmetics worn by women are usually not as garish as the cartoon version, except when the woman is a hooker. [[StockObjectColors Lipstick is usually not as bright red as it tends to be portrayed in popular culture, and eyeshadow is more mauve than blue.]] But popular illustrations of sexy women - even non-hookers - will have them [[HelloNurse exaggeratedly vampy]].
** On the other hand, there are some hunter-gatherer and/or tribal peoples in the world [[SocietyMarchesOn (or at least there used to be)]] who slather on so much makeup for festivals and other ceremonies that they really do look like clowns or hookers, despite never having seen the Western versions of those characters. (''NationalGeographic'' famously did a cover story on such a people from Papua New Guinea in 1982.)
* Many animals thought of by most Americans as "exotic" [[BlackVikings often turn up in the strangest places]] - including the United States itself. Jaguars are perhaps the most "exotic" example. While not seen too much anymore, this species associated with Central and South America is not unknown to North America, even in historical times. Because jaguars, like all cats, are [[ReallyGetsAround conspicuously promiscuous]], males commonly roam for hundreds or even thousands of miles in search of as many females to impregnate as possible, the better to ensure genetic diversity and therefore increase the chances of the species' survival. Consequently, in the 1840s jaguars were seen along the Platte River in Colorado; and a family of jaguars were living in the Tehachapi (a mountain range separating Los Angeles County from the Mojave Desert) in California as late as the Civil War era. Even today, jaguars are infrequently [[StealthPun spotted]] in Southwestern states like Arizona.
* [[http://www.cracked.com/personal-experiences-1504-8-ways-legal-system-screws-rape-victims-like-me.html Cracked]] explored this trope as it applies to rape survivors. People expect rape survivors to act a certain way, like on TV and movies. [[BrokenBird (Withdrawn, depressed, easily frightened, reluctant to have sex]], [[DefiledForever self-blaming and ashamed]], etc.) And while some ''do'' respond in this way, others respond to the same trauma in completely different ways, or just want to move on with their lives. Unfortunately, other people (including law enforcement and even counselors trained to deal with survivors of sexual trauma) see these non-Hollywood responses as signs of a FalseRapeAccusation. Additionally, people expect those who have been raped to be conventionally-attractive [[AlwaysFemale women or girls]]; that isn't ''always'' the case.
** Similarly, there is also the fact of female abusers, as most tend to assume that AllAbusersAreMale, thus female abusers (and rapists, on the subject of above) don't exist and, more often than not, males are usually portrayed as abusers and having the ability to do harm, while females are not. Likewise, there's the concept that men cannot suffer abuse or be victimized sexually.
* While they are ''far'' from harmless, sharp knives are actually ''safer'' than dull knives. Not only does it take more effort to cut with a dull knife (So more force will be exerted in an accident), but a dull knife will rip through the flesh, whereas a razor knife would just cut. Cuts with a razor-sharp knife (or even a razor) actually heal pretty quickly.
* As Thomas Frank pointed out in his 2004 book ''What's the Matter With Kansas: How Conservatives Won the Heart of America'', conservatism has done such an excellent job of [[WrittenByTheWinners rewriting American history]] that if you sincerely told younger people that there was a time (about 1890 to 1920, specifically) when hundreds of thousands of working-class Americans viewed not only liberalism but socialism and [[ChummyCommies communism]] as worthwhile political doctrines, they'd dismiss this fact as a fairy tale. In the 1912 election there was a "Progressive" Candidate (UsefulNotes/TeddyRoosevelt), a Democrat, a Republican and an open socialist. And the Republican came in third. Occasionally Hollywood tries to correct this oversight with its "political" films, but even there leftists are [[CondescendingCompassion portrayed as a persecuted minority]], when in fact for a while in [[AmericanPoliticalSystem American political culture]] their ideas were almost - or practically - mainstream. Consider that left-wing authors like Upton Sinclair and John Steinbeck and politicians like Huey P. Long openly espoused Socialist beliefs and were quite respected in their heyday. It was only after the end of UsefulNotes/WorldWarII and the the rise of the Soviet Union that Communism and Socialism became anathema in mainstream American politics.
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