Dividing by zero. Even on our own wiki, at one point.
Handwriting is such serious business that some people actually consider it an art to make words on paper. Never mind what words they actually wrote, whether they used printing or cursive is Everything.
It's pretty serious business in Japan as well, to the point where a Japanese teacher, without seeing the actual action of writing taking place, knew the stroke order for a character was wrong.
Although western alphabets aren't phonetic, but yeah, closer than the Chinese alphabet anyway. As you can see, Phonetics is Serious Business to all of the 26 people in the world whose field it is.
Due to the importance of legibility, the first task required of anyone who wants to be a draftsman is to unlearn the "printing" form of handwriting that's been pounded into you since day one of K-12 and re-learning a handwriting form designedengineered for maximum legibility with minimum effort required of the reader. Given that this is the job description of people who draw up detailed engineering plans for EVERYTHING we use, including things our lives depend on, in this field it's justified.
The importance of "printing" handwriting (in fact Caroline minuscule) is mostly an American trope, as it's not used in Europe beyond the very first years of schooling where children get accustomed to letters in general. Hence the diverse news from the US regarding letting cursive go were often received as reinforcing the Eagleland stereotype. This being said, it's especially ironic as the Caroline minuscule was invented under king Charlemagne as a way to counter the Merovingian cursive (in fact a variation of the Roman cursive) that became absolutely unreadable. It degenerated with time into the various Gothic handwritings (the Caroline being brought back to life during the Renaissance by typographers, who were thinking quite wrongfully that it was the authentic Roman handwriting, to become and modern printing characters).
More generally, there are people in any workplace for whom the work itself is Serious Business. This tends to go with regarding one's career as a deeply serious matter too and is a prime source of humour on The Apprentice (the British version at least) - contestants who make out that their unremarkable junior management positions were the equivalent of founding Google or Microsoft.
Of course there are also (possible) cases of justified aversions/downplays: ie heart surgeon, firefighter, police officer, member of an elite military unit, child protection worker, and any other job that involves protecting people's lives.
Grade (i.e. Middle/High) school math(ematics).
On the subject of Grade school, some have yearly climactic tests that are hyped up as THE defining assignment you will ever take. It's taken so seriously that whole weeks are dedicated to those tests, often with a month or more of preparation alone beforehand and drastic measures are taken to prevent the slightest bit of cheating. And God help you if you get caught doing so. Then, you leave grade school and go out into the real world and find out that all those tests wound up meaning nothing.
The equivalent would be the hyping of the TER (Tertiary Entrance Rank) in Australia for Year 12s, even though all universities offer alternatives to TER entry for people (seeing as the record of the score is only kept for a few years).
If you go to a community college instead of transferring straight to a four-year university, your High School GPA doesn't even matter in the slightest as long as you at least have your diploma. And for that matter...neither do your SAT scores. You don't even have to take it.
In the workplace, however, 3.0 is usually the cut-off GPA for the highest level of schooling attended (ditto to just about every half-way credible grad school). If you're looking to go to Med School, you'll probably need at the bare minimum a 3.5. Meanwhile, where you complete your PhD actually does matter if you plan on going into high-level academia.
Acting. The "craft" of the actor's profession. Especially if you talk to a method actor. You'll be hard pressed to find something being taken more seriously than that. Although to the actors following "the Method", this is justified by the intense, demanding and emotionally exhausting training required, YMMV as an ordinary member of the public. Exemplified by a story about Sir Lawrence Olivier and Dustin Hoffman on the set of Marathon Man. Hoffman told Olivier that, in order to "become" his character's exhausted-after-being-tortured mindset, he went without sleep for three days, Olivier responded, bemusedly, "Dear boy, why don't you try acting?"
Being in the military is serious business enough, but in some nation-states like Turkey, even that is cranked up to 11. The country is very proud of their military heritage, and when someone joins, their whole village will throw a celebration in their honor. Corporal and capital punishment is still used, even for things most non-Turkish would consider unwarranted: anything from having the colors stolen to failing a specialized class.
Colors were for centuries a unit's totem in several nations (or in other words they have been Serious Business so long that it is less weird then it seems). So one can almost get that. As for specialized classes, some might be classes that have people's lives depending on them. Not justifying, just saying one can sort of see how it might be Serious Business.
Business cards are a very, very serious...well, business, in Japan. According to Wikipedia: "Business cards should be given and accepted with both hands. It is expected that the cards will immediately be inspected and admired, then placed on the table in front of the receiver for the duration of the meeting. After the meeting, cards should be stored respectfully and should never be placed in a back pocket. You should not write on a business card. If you want to be taken seriously at a business meeting, you must have business cards. When you get them out, they should be in a card holder - not just taken out of your pocket."
From Memetic Mutation infamy, we have the man known to western audiences as the "Card Crusher". Ever see that video of the Japanese guy who crushes a business card with a really weird expression on his face? (Or its Lucky Star parody?) That guy's stage persona is a total Jerkass, and one of the ways he shows it is by how horribly he treats other people's business cards. (Part of the reason they're so important: there are multiple ways to spell any given Japanese name, so unless you see how someone's name is written, you can't assume anything.)
For lawyers, the law is Serious Business. Also, the truth. These are two separate things. Also, the law about the law. They get meta up in. Finally, the nonlaw rules that lawyers have to follow, made and enforced by other lawyers. Get this: She-Hulk, horrified by visions of crimes her client committed punches him out of a building and tells passers by that he committed those crimes, and real life lawyers make blog posts defending her disbarment. But not her assault, because extreme emotional disturbance and shit.
Further, prosecutors are more or less required, by law, to defend wrongful convictions. Because the "people" don't "know" that the guy didn't do it. That's why they're required to prosecute the ... "wrongful"? ... conviction in the first place. In the end, truth is a matter for the jury to decide. For better or worse.
This is because a case can't be considered validly tried unless it's prosecuted and defended to the full extent of the lawyer's abilities. Further, challenging the legality and validity of evidence keeps police procedure honest; if police were encouraged to perform wrongful and unwarranted search, seizure and arrests with successful convictions, the civil rights abuses would quickly get out of hand.
As mentioned, metalaw and metametalaw; what if a lawyer lawfully lies while pursuing business? That lawyer might get a sanction or even disbarred. For lawyers, truth is Serious Business. Do not violate the relevant Code of Ethics or you will get a boatload of retribution. Lawyers value rules, especially their own.
Entirely justified, as some form of formal or informal law is required to let society function. Also, anything that could be construed as misconduct can and usually will result in a malpractice suit, which can put entire firms out of business and destroy the reputations of the other lawyers in the firm who got caught in the crossfire, so there's a hell of a lot of incentive for them to religiously adhere to the rules.
Dream of the Red Chamber is such serious business among some Chinese academics that a field of study, Redology, has been developed around the analysis of the book and the life of its author, Cao Xueqin. Scholars' reputations have been made and broken based on the discourse surrounding this one novel.
In the USA, SAT scores. A four-digit number given to each student who graduates from that country's highschools, the number determines the student's chances of getting a job and/or into higher education. They are the most important 4 digits of its citizens' lives.
Assuming one gets four digits. note Getting less than 4 digits was more likely to happen before 2005, when there were only two sections, and a composite score of 1000 was considered average. After the Writing section was added in 2005, the average composite score rose to 1500. In other words, before 2005, a sub-1000 score was merely below-average; since then, a sub-1000 composite score is considered very poor performance.
Wikipedia gives us Sayre's Law, which is about academic politics.
The Oxford Comma. Is it necessary, pointless, or to be avoided at all costs?
See also the singular 'they'. If someone wants to use it, they can, unless they get caught up in the war.
The pronoun game.
A Grammar Nazi is, in essence, someone who takes up grammar as Serious Business. Enthusiasm for your brand of grammar is more important than being correct in any way. Sometimes inverted by people who treat NOT being a Grammar Nazi as serious business; e.g. if you call them out for posting a giant paragraph without punctuation, they'll respond with another unpunctuated paragraph about how you shouldn't be a Grammar Nazi.
Grammar and spelling is taken very seriously in almost every college and university. Professors expect students to at least know the basics of writing and spelling and will dock points off students' papers if there's numerous grammar and spelling errors since making rookie mistakes at a college level makes that person look incompetent.
Technical Colleges and Universities note Any place of higher education is often just called 'uni' (yew-ni) in Australia or 'college' in the USA are such a serious business that many people will think you are throwing your life away if you don't get a college education. If you are applying to attend to college after high school, expect people to give you shit if you aren't attending the best college there is in your area.
This is justified, given the rapidly decreasing value of a high school diploma in today's world. But, when people give you heat just for choosing Stanford instead of Harvard...
The viewpoint of college education being the only way of landing a high paying job has been slowly turning on its head (for the United States at least) due to sluggish economy and many businesses hiring less people (or no one at all). Many others have even started to consider that college, which was once a necessity to get ahead in life, may now be a waste of time unless you major in very specific fields of study.
French Canadian magazine L'Actualite publishes a yearly ranking of Canadian universities. That is to say, they toss a gasoline tanker truck onto the ongoing flame war every year.
For that matter, in Canada, saying you're going to college instead of university. For Americans, there's a significant difference up here: universities are harder and are for more high-level/academic jobs. You go to university to become a teacher, and to college to become a teacher's aide; you go to university to become a doctor or a nurse and college to become an ultrasound technician. Naturally, an association has developed between attending university and intelligence, regardless of how true it is.
Because of how old the profession is, Veterinary Medicine is this. Sure, at seminars and other social events, they put on a polite face, but behind closed doors there is a lot of animosity over even the weirdest or most inconsequential of things. Such things include how surgical instruments are sterilized: Hot or cold? Is your hospital AAHA accredited? Do you allow walk-ins? How about emergency calls? Do you use isoflurane or sevoflurae as a maintenance anesthetic? Do you listen to music during surgery or is it just a distraction? And that's not even getting into the animosity between colleges or the long-standing feud between vets and human doctors.
In school, review games the teacher decides to have the class play before a test can quickly turn into a fight to the death. Goes double if the winning team/player is rewarded with extra points on said test.
This is justified, as it is motivation in getting students to learn better. Though this can really bring out the Rules Lawyer in some people when the teacher tries to decide a tough call.
If the Texas school system hasto update the text books due to a change in society or time, keep in mind that the entire United States is also paying attention because those books tend to be adapted by other states. The other state to try to get to adopt your books is California.
Student fraternities in Germany and Austria. Besides being serious business by themselves, some of them require their members to undergo the practice of Mensur, which is basically a duel with sharp blades. It's not possible to inflict lethal injuries, but can leave one or both participants permanently scarred. Also, a poor performance can get you expelled from your fraternity.
Drinking is also treated as serious business, as it is by frats worldwide, but in the German-language area, this is taken UpToEleven, when minor conflicts are resolved in a drinking contest, or when someone is forced to down a huge quantity of beer as a form of punishment.
Animals & Nature
Weather. Complain that the weather is not right, by your standards? People from other regions will give you so much shit for it.
Americans spend $40 billion on their lawns annually.
Many city laws regulate property maintenance, so someone can be fined for either a lawn too dry or, where applicable, too lush.
On top of this, many (if not most) new housing developments built in the U.S. today are communities with a homeowner's association. This association will have rules that go far beyond the city ordinances regarding lawn care. It's not uncommon to specify minimum and maximum grass heights, often within less than an inch of each other.
Gladys Sharp: Regulations say the grass is to be no longer than two inches, and yours is 2.5.
Orchids are Serious Business. These flowers are apparently so appealing that wealthy orchidophiles will travel around the world searching for new and rare species, since they Gotta Catch 'Em All. Back in the day, expeditions were so dangerous, people died for the orchids. Thankfully, people don't seem to do that anymore and have turned to selective breeding for fancier flowers. And everyone had an Orchid discovery tale!
Rose cultivation in the UK. So many varieties, so much effort put into producing new ones. All for a prickly plant that can't even produce its own roots, let alone self-propagate.
The quest for a "true" black rose is also serious business. So called black roses are either artificially dyed, fake or a very deep red that can look black under certain lighting - anyone who manages to breed a true black rose will be set for life. Ditto a "true" blue rose - current varieties are cyan and usually have patches or shadings of yellow. Anyone who can breed a reliable royal blue cultivar will also be set for life, and probably knighted as well.
This pals to how tulips were once regarded in Holland. These flowers were so popular that rare tulip breeds were sold for a small fortune, which was then often sold again for a slightly larger fortune. Eventually the economy of the country collapsed because no one could afford the rare tulip breeds everyone had invested in.
Bird-watching is Serious Business. Actually, to be more accurate, filling a Life List is Serious Business. (Heaven forbid you observe the rare bird and learn more about it and get a better appreciation for the planet's biodiversity; all you really have to do is mark it off the checklist.)
Partly as a reaction, sports and nature writer Simon Barnes wrote a book titled How To Be A Bad Birdwatcher - briefly "See a bird, enjoy it." Don't obsess over ticking off a list of them, just appreciate the world.
Species concepts are serious business among biologists. This is justified, in that deciding what constitutes a species frames one's entire view of basic evolutionary processes like speciation, considering that species are the fundamental units of evolution. Many vicious debates have been fought over which species concepts (e.g. biological, phylogenetic, morphological, ecological) best represent what a species actually is.
This also has political aspects since the specific taxonomy can determine whether an animal will receive protection under endangered species legislation.
Board Games, Video Games, and Games in General
Chess has long been Serious Business for serious players (or people who like to think of themselves as such).
"It's easy to get obsessed with chess." —Magnus Carlsen
The tournament rules for chess can be longer than the game rules themselves.
The touched piece rule. Should you be forced to play a piece you merely brushed with your fingertip? Is moving your hand in a piece's direction sufficient to invoke this rule based on intent to move?!?
Video Games. Seriously. Just try telling people you don't give a shit about your stats and are just there to have fun. Immediately watch as everyone calls you a "Scrub", and try pointing out that once again, video games exist for you to have fun, not compete in something. Watch yourself get flamed out.
Word of advice: You know that genre, MOBA? If you want to have fun, it's a pretty safe bet to just only play vs. bots and never look back. Every single MOBA is verySerious Business.
Franchises in video games are also serious business. Yes, people will dedicate their time to keep harping about the direction of Sonic the Hedgehog is going in and what has to be done to fix it. Don't say you don't care what direction the franchises go in as long as you have fun playing it. You will have your sexuality questioned.
World of Warcraft. Just try to tell a hardcore player that having a gear score of less than 270 isn't the end of the world. Just try telling a group that you're only playing for fun and don't care if you top the damage charts.
There's not enough kindling in this world to approximate the amount of flames seen across the board on the official World of Warcraft forums, from classes, class specs, gear, PvE vs PvP, class changes, nerfs, upcoming nerfs, which classes deserve to be nerfed, and so on and so forth. And that's just the official forums...
Go became so popular in Edo period Japan that the state appointed a Godokoro or Minster of Go. He then founded the Honinbo Go house which specialized in teaching and training Go players. Soon after three other state controlled houses sprung up. The houses would compete in official games that took place in the shogun's castle, sometimes even in the presence of the shogun himself. Because each house's and individual's prestige was on the line, these games were often intense. The most famous example is the Blood-vomiting game, which lasted four days and ended with the losing player vomiting blood (and dying months later). Serious Business indeed.
It even provides the trope image for Rage Quit. Yeah, it's taken that seriously.
Poker. OK, so the people who make a decent living from it are perhaps justified in viewing it as Serious Business, but the game abounds with "Stop Having Fun" Guys at all levels of play. Especially on the Internet, where you can almost guarantee that someone will throw the toys out of the pram after being knocked out of a freeroll by someone playing in a hand in a way with which they disagree.
Any type of gambling can become this. Slot machines, for example—despite the fact that nearly all slot machines operate via a random number generator and therefore have no pattern for the spins, some people will still move heaven and hell to get or keep a specific machine that they know is "just about to pay off!"
Bingo actually can be very serious business. A game that is based by the luck of the draw...very serious business!
On the first Saturday in May, the USA stops for the Kentucky Derby (a horse-race held in the USA's state of Kentucky). Or at least 'The South' and anywhere with significant equestrian activities and/or a gambling culture. Y'all know whut ahm talkin' 'bout.
The FREAKING HATS!!
The second Tuesday in November, Australia stops for the Melbourne Cup (also a horse race. And hats).
In a similar vein the UK stops every year for the Grand National steeplechase at Aintree, a race on which people place bets who never gamble otherwise. Freaking hats are less in evidence, however - Ladies' Day at Ascot's where you go for those.
Apparently in the regional tournament for Chicago in Cardfight Vanguard some people rulesharked regarding placement of a cost for a perfect guard. The cost for a perfect guard is to discard a card however some people placed the cost next to the perfect guard in the guardian circle in order to make it clear what was being discarded. Some people rulesharked about this and said that since the cost wasn't paid the perfect guard didn't work.
Microphone use for online video games is major serious business for many. People that don't have a microphone or refuse to use theirs are seen as social outcasts at best and are mocked for it or at worst, they are kicked out of many games for not conforming to microphone use.
Cars are very serious business. Since a car is one of the two most-expensive things most people will ever buy (a house being the other) it's not unreasonable to spend time making sure it's comfortable and reliable, but some people go well beyond that. You have to listen to everything your car is trying to tell you and you can't just get a car and ride it from Point A to Point B. Oh no! you have to get a car that says good things about you, has a high maintenance record, has a high safety record, is made in * Insert country here* ...
Just wait until you meet someone who is into competitive design and build. Spending tens if not hundreds of thousands of dollars on a custom designed body, frame, parts, etc only to have a car that will be driven a handful of times if not only once before it sits in a collection to be polished daily.
And speaking of collections there are entire groups of people and celebrities who have spend millions upon millions on cars that they have only driven once if that.
To be fair, listening to what your car is trying to tell you is generally a very good idea unless you want to blow thousands of dollars at a garage or dealership fixing an issue that could have been resolved far less painfully if only you had picked up on that curious little noise a while back and gotten it checked out before shit got real.
In The Fifties, it was not uncommon for Americans to belong to either a "Ford family" or a "Chevy family". The make of car you owned, or even borrowed, was as important as your religion or your political party affiliation, and said just as much about your family background. Fistfights could and did break out between the two rival camps. Friendships ended, and families disowned their children, if someone broke ranks and crossed over to the Other Side.
A similar rivalry — perhaps even more intense — still exists today in Australia, between Ford and Holden owners. Since Holden is owned by General Motors (and has been since 1931), and GM is Chevy, it's basically Ford-vs.-Chevy all over again.
That actually has an earlier analogue in the Australian V8 racing championship. For a few years back in the late 80's and early '90s, Nissan tried to break into the Ford vs Holden dynamic, to huge backlash. It eventually got so bad they had to ban anyone but Ford and Holden from competing.
Pick a driver, any driver. The number of fans that worship him is directly proportional to the number of fans that that think he's the epitome of evil.
Countries & Customs
In Spain and other Catholic countries, First Communion can be very Serious Business with the parents of a 7 year old dressing him or her up (if it's a girl, usually as a little bride with an expensive white dress) and throwing a party with catering and flowers, inviting every single relative and wasting money on expensive presents for the child. However, your local priest will be happy if the child has learned the basics of Catholicism in the preparation classes and they only actually need to take Communion for it to "succeed."
And since most people already do First Communion, many families will go one step beyond and make their children confirmnote Basically, when children are baptised, they are "against their will". Confirmation is that now that the child has grown up, he or she must confirm they are indeed Catholic their faith so they gan be granted permission to marrynote This means that you must be confirmed in order for the Church to grant you permission to marry..
If you live in Spanish-speaking Latin America and happen to be a girl, get to know that turning 15 is VERY. SERIOUS. BUSINESS. Your parents will (no, not "might"; they will) throw a big, ridiculously expensive party, invite every single person you've ever known (even those classmates you don't speak to since forever), hire professional singers, pay for a gaudy dress etc., because that will be the most important moment in your life. And may God have mercy upon your soul if you say you "don't want it". It's called a fiesta quinceañera, and sometimes people spend more money on a quinceañera than on a wedding.
Nowadays in Mexico girls have three options: a) Have their quinceañera party, b) have a trip to Europe or something, or c) have no party at all (this is obviously the rarest of the three)
It was justified in that there was a time in which turning 15 years old was important because it meant the young woman was introduced to society, and more importantly she was ready to start searching for a husband. Of course, as time went on this practice lost its meaning and now it is only done for the sake of tradition, fitting this trope.
This is also applicable if you're of Latino descent and live in the United States; in fact, if you are so and live in a border state (California, Arizona, New Mexico, or Texas), the chances are very good that if you do decide to go with the quinceañera (since Chicano households give their daughters the same kind of choice as the Mexican households donote The troper editing this bullet point into the article had already been confirmed when she was 13 years old, so she felt no need for a quinceañera; she and her parents used the money to tour through Vancouver, Seattle, and San Francisco instead.) your family will also spend ridiculous sums of money on the ceremony.
In Europe, collecting the toys inside a Kinder Surprise egg is serious business. They can retail for a bit on eBay and it is very important you know what series they are from. It is in fact a very complex process to identify what series they are from.
In Los Angeles, the entertainment industry is very serious business. Don't be surprised if a high school in Los Angeles offers classes in set design for movies/T.V. shows, screenwriting, film history/filmography, or anything else having to do with the film/T.V. industry. Hell, even film history is drilled into our brains a bit more here in L.A.
The majority of Japanese fine arts. It can be the smallest thing – making udon, making sushi, arranging flowers, making pottery – but people spend decades studying as apprentices before they are considered ready to become professionals in these arts. Take becoming a tokoyama: a person that styles sumo wrestlers' hair. Most tokoyama start out between 15-18 years of age at the very bottom of the hierarchy, the fifth rank. It usually takes twenty years before they are considered ready to move up to the fourth rank. The minimum age for retirement for a tokoyama is 65, and most don't reach the first or "supreme" rank until they're about that age, and only tokoyama of that level of seniority are considered capable of styling an oicho-mage, an incredibly complicated topknot in the shape of a gingko leaf that only the highest-ranked sumo wrestlers may wear. Details here.
To the British throughout history, the Royal Navy. The capital punishment for "through fire or explosion hindering work at Her Majesty's dockyards" was abolished in 1973. Capital punishment for murder was abolished in '71. To be fair, when your warships and jetties are all made of wood and your fire suppression system consists of buckets and handpumps, your naval capacity (especially important for an island nation) could easily be crippled by a bit of fifth column arson. Admittedly, that law hung around long after it had become redundant (and the one requiring longbow practice on Sundays is still on the books - that was equally Serious Business at the time).
You wanna know why Asian kids are considered nerdy?It's because our parents treat school as horribly serious business. You got a bad grade on that math test? You better be studying until midnight! You're getting decent grades in English? Perfect, only you need to study more, because an A is not enough, you need an A+! You don't like school? Too bad, because school is THE SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT THING IN YOUR LIFE! (Asian cultures value education and smarts to a high degree. The problem is that modern society has cranked this Up to Eleven.)
Ditto if you're of Indian or close to Indian descent.
This is all going to pay off very soon. Pax Sinica, mwahahahah!
For those who care about this kind of stuff, this is largely because Oriental culture was influenced heavily by Confucianism, where education is very Serious Business (as well as following your parents).
It also helps that Imperial China's bureaucracy was quite meritocratic - people got positions based on exam results rather than connections or just being aristocratic. Further, bureaucrats were highly respected and were paid well. For many, many poor families, having a son pass the exams and become a public servant was probably the only way for the family to get rich and respect.
Go to Hong Kong. Take a bus ride on Hong Kong side. Look around. Those well-made-up people on the massive posters plastered everywhere? The ones being sold to you like popstars? Those are extracurricular school tutors. In HK, tutoring isSerious Business.
Also, Valborg, for some. For most Swedes it may just be an excuse to get drunk and burn stuff, but the few people who take it seriously do take it very seriously, and can be counted on to be devastated if the fire department bans the bonfires (which can happen when it hasn't rained enough in the weeks or days leading up to Valbog, and they decide that the lack of water in the air and ground makes the risk of the fires spreading too big).
The Norwegian Language Struggle is probably one of the most serious questions in Norway. Using the "nynorsk" mode in a Carl Barks story made great headlines in 1963 (it was Lost In the Andes, and the language mode was used on the "square indians". Hilarity ensued). Trying to radicalize the school Norwegian in the fifties led almost to book burning, and when the "Norwegian Theatre" opened for business in 1913, labeling all their performances in "nynorsk", people rioted for days. Only a year before that, the government had to resign over the question. No, really: Endorsing the nynorsk cause led to withdrawal of support from a crucial party, and a government crisis.
Anyone who has been involved in high school music in Texas in some capacity (be it band, choir, or orchestra) know just how serious a business it is. Your program isn't considered "good" unless it has competed at the state level, and/or there are a sizable number of all-state students.
In many older countries, maps and the labeling thereof are a source of nationalistic pride. For example, the Iranian government threw a fit when an atlas labeled the Persian Gulf as the "Arabian Gulf"
In ancient Mayan civilizations (Maya is the language they speak) they played a sort of soccer game. The winner was the one who was sacrificed because only the best deserved to be offered to the gods. Would you dare to serve the gods losers as food? Now that we're going as far as including ceremonies, you might as well encompass every single religious festival/day/ceremony/bullshit that one culture might find weird the others take too seriously, like getting a bunch of water and oil poured on your head.
One of the more interesting results of conservative conspiracy theories regarding the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics October 2012 jobs report is that the response to them has brought into the light of day just how seriously the BLS regards the monthly employment reports. Encrypted computers, new confidentiality agreements every morning for eight days in a row, locking the data up in a safe every time they use the bathroom... it's like something out of Mission: Impossible. Last time they erred in releasing data was November 2008, which led to a series of internal investigations and a thorough review to make sure the data had not been compromised. The mishap? Releasing the report twenty-five seconds early. You think I'm making this up?
Inverted in the first World War in Christmas 1914, when the opposing British and German soldiers had an unofficial ceasefire, crossed into No Man's Land to sing, meet and greet, and play a game of football, showing that war is not Serious Business... Or maybe that Christmas is Serious Business...
Troops were ordered to fire upon enemy soldiers trying to get this sort of thing going. They didn't always disobey.
What about humanity being Serious Business in this?
World War I generally: Once the war was over with, many countries asked themselves "Umm... what was the point of this loss of life, and utter destruction of our lands?" Oh right, nationalism (and a few other things). Even right after the war, people kind of realized that for what it was fought over, it was WAY overblown and WAY out of proportion.
World War II: although it is already Serious Business, Germans take it Up to Eleven because it was their country that started (and lost) not one, but two major international conflicts. It is not unusual for Germans to be easily offended when the person has no idea what they're talking about (like, say, the typical American conservative/liberal/member of any political camp with his head up his ass that equates everything he disagrees withto Hitler). When the person then says contradictory things ("Obama is a Nazi communist"), Europeans (and especially Germans) will either laugh their asses off or post a Wall of Text that proves that guy is an idiot. Do not mess with Nazism.
It was probably not a feeling shared unanimously across countries. In France the feeling of a well done job prevailed (it was our own Great Patriotic War after all), even though it pushed Pacifism forward and there was much land to rehabilitate (to this day the forest of Verdun is still a place tourists shouldn't venture under circumstances). At no point of the war the rationale behind it was questioned (the various mutinies of 1917 showing discontent against leadership, not the war itself). Veterans remained extremely nationalistic and anti-German (as such associations of patriots such as the Croix-de-Feu tend to prove) and the treaty of Versailles was more than once considered too soft (as it merely put Germany into chaos instead of destroying it). Attempts of reconciliation with Germany were essentially fringe movements lead by some left-wing intellectuals.
Every state in the union has a Department of Weights and Measures or some equivalent. If you are a shop owner, and you use a scale for trade, like a butcher or a hardware store that sells nails or bolts for X dollars per pound, you need to have your scale certified and inspected by said Department. God help you if they come and do a random inspection, which they do, on something you are selling by weight, length, or volume, and it is not the correct measurement, because they will come for you, they will find you, and they will levy a hefty fine on you. Or just give you a warning. Think its cool to claim that the rubber hose you're selling is a length of twenty-five feet when you know full well its 24 feet and six inches? Think again, buddy. Manufacturers of your bathroom scale are sure to print "Not legal for trade" on it for fear of their wrath. Do not mess with the Department of Weights and Measures.
While over in England, there was a huge public outcry in the 90s leading to questions being asked in the House of Commons over the possibility that people would be forced to start selling in metric weights and measures instead of Imperial. A compromise was eventually reached allowing shopkeepers to sell in imperial measures so long as they also posted the metric conversion alongside it... Which, a couple of decades later, almost nobody bothers to do. The pint has hung on in British Pubs, but that's got too much history behind it to do away with.
The Italian city of Cremona is apparently obsessed by violins and the local great violinmakers of the past. One road entering the town has a giant silhouette of a violin exposed for everyone to see, and the local violin museum has armed guards (justified by the violins being extremely valuable, but they still went overboard with their numbers). Oh, and the square titled to the Count of Cavour (first prime minister of unified Italy and the major responsible for Italy being unified at all) was renamed to honour local violinmaker Antonio Stradivari.
In Italy, selling food as something of higher quality or not respecting the strict laws about production and quality controls are crimes of jurisdiction of a special branch of the Carabinieri. In case you don't know who the Carabinieri do, they are the Italian gendarmerie, and were part of the Italian Army until 2000, when they became their own branch of the armed forces, and they still double as military police. That's right: food crimes in Italy mean dealing with military-trained police officers that may show up with assault rifles and machine guns.
The eternal battle between Helvetica and Arial: the two popular fonts are nigh indistinguishable to civilians, intolerably different to font snobs. It has inspired its own pro-Helvetica game at http://www.mimeartist.com/helvetica/.
And some type designers/snobs hate Helvetica too, due to being overused and, as they see it, badly used. They even have a nickname for it, "Helveeta".
Oh, and most designers hate Papyrus. Its creator, Chris Costello, had dedicated a Blogger page (now deleted) to comments about the typeface, as he feels it is the only way he can "clear his name".
There was controversy over Ikea changing its typeface from a variation of Futura to Verdana. Here's a Time Magazine article about the change and resulting backlash. You could search "Verdanagate" if you wanted to know more.
For the curious: Serif and Sans-Serif are both for print, with the latter being the more modern (and in some circles, cruder), and both predate screens by several decades at the least. Monospace was invented for Typewriters, as the mechanism can't handle kerning/letter spacing in the same way as movable type. Colloquially, serif is thought to be for print, sans-serif for the internet, and monospace for code, but that viewpoint is arguably obselete in the age of hi-res screens that can depict serif type rather well.
Computer hardware and software. Tell a Mac user that PCs are better, a PC user that Macs are better, or a Linux user that Macs or Windows are better. Watch the ensuing rant.
Or even try people that A Macintosh IS a PC, seeing as "PC" is just an abbreviation for "Personal Computer" (and Macs can be made to run Linux and, with a little extra software, Windows).
Computer guys are infamous for this, although for many it has become something of a joke. While Emacs vs. vi (text editors) is the most notable, other rivalries include Intel vs. AMD (CPU manufacturers), big-endian versus little-endian (how numbers are encoded as bits, now somewhat archaic), every programming language versus every other programming language...
Graphics cards fall into this trope as well. If there is a minute difference between how many pixels two video cards can pump out, you can bet your butt that there will be people taking part in a flame war over which card is better.
Not to mention "Nvidia vs. ATI" debates.
HTML5 video codecs: H.264 vs Theora. Patent issues abound.
Google dropped a bomb on this one by freeing VP8 (Theora is based on VP3). Now it is bound to be H.264 vs VP8. The H.264 camp struck on the very day VP8 was freed.
iOS and Android stuff. The Apple fanboys wait for hours or days for new phones every time one comes out, and Android users are serious about not liking Apple. App development is serious as well, for both sides. Neither side takes the Windows Phone very seriously.
Web page coding. Many people hold nothing but contempt towards "easy-to-use" programs like Dreamweaver, preferring to code using nothing but a raw text editor like Wordpad. Meanwhile, the contemptibility of all other families of text editors is roughly the only point on which Emacs aficionados and vi partisans agree, in much the same fashion as one might imagine both Yahweh and Lucifer despise atheists, and everyone hates Sublime Text 2 users for the precious little snivelers they are.
Linguistics. Although there are othertropes to cover that.
Programming languages. Coding hipsters (or, if you prefer, "real programmers") generally consider harder-to-use and/or obscure languages "better" for vaguely-defined reasons. Many harbor flamewar-sparking prejudices against the likes of Python and Visual Basic. And heaven forbid you write your code in an IDE or Notepad.note Readers of the linked comic should note that the key binding mentioned in the last panel is erroneous; the default key binding for that command is M-x butterfly.
If you're ever in the presence of those hipsters, do NOT mention to them that you like BASIC, or even that you consider it a programming language at all.
It's almost generally accepted even in professional circles that BASIC should not be mentioned unless it was for an academic curiosity. Few, if any, care about it.
Saying that you know how to program in HTML/CSS amongst software developers is a good way to get yourself mocked.
The most common aspect that's very serious business amongst programmers: coding grammar. These go into things such as font choices (God forbid you didn't choose a monospace font), if indentation is done with or without spaces and of what length, where a curly brace goes if used, naming conventions, etc...
Entertainment, Arts, & The Media
Stage Magic is pretty serious business for the practitioners, but both they and the (anti-)fans tend to take this way too far. Fans go beyond Flame Wars over who is the best magician and into vitriol mud-slinging (while the Fan Haters just try to ruin everyone's fun), while magicians themselves write out hit contracts on any fellow prestidigitator who breaks their vow of silence and reveals the secret to their illusions. Although you would think that they could just make them disappear...
Celebrity entertainers in general. There are major news networks that are explicitly dedicated to covering celebrity news. Then there's all the other major American news networks who spend too much time covering this kind of news because it gets ratings. People clamber over each other to get pictures, endangering the lives of the celebrities and others. When they aren't being worshiped, their lives are being picked apart and destroyed and they in turn wield influence that far outstrips their insight, particularly in the arena of politics.
American children's animated cartoons. This actually comes from how just raising your kid is Serious Business. Since the advent of cable television in the 1950's, they have supported and grown more networks, companies, and industries in the United States than any other kind of animated form, and have circulated (or spent indiscriminately) billions of dollars in merchandise, all because of your precious 2-year-old who hasn't formed a sense of artistic taste yet. Whole changes to shows, companies folding or shifting management, happen because one soccer mom writes an angry letter to the network. It's essentially the reason the Animation Age Ghetto still exists in the United States.
Online art thievery, especially within the Furry Fandom. Full stop. Okay, obvious copying of another's work as your own is in very poor taste, and if you actually claim it to be your original work when it isn't or make money off of it then that is indeed copyright infringement and illegal. But all artists begin their craft by copying other artists—it's how you get better, it's how you develop your own unique individual style, so to attack others for doing precisely that, especially when they don't try and sell the pictures or claim ownership of them, is utterly ridiculous. But many online artists do precisely that. If it isn't Furaffinity, Deviant Art, or TLKFAA turning into a Pit of Vipers and giving so many fandoms a bad name, it's turning the WangstUp to Eleven like big, melodramatic, Purple Prose drama queens: "True Art Is Angsty, and sacred, you are raping my psyche, insensitively assaulting my Muse. Having my art stolen is an affront to my soul." (That last sentence is an actual quote.)
Most websites do have a good reason to take art theft seriously; if they have too much on their website, they can be slammed with legal action and disrupted or shut down. As such, art theft generally violates the binding legal agreement the users acceded to when joining the site. deviantART once said this explicitly, and they still get tons of people submitting work they found online somewhere, or which doesn't meet dA's rules for derivative works.
The William Shakespeare Authorship Question. Don't believe it was the Stratford Man? You elitist snob! Believe it was the Stratford Man? You romantic fool! (What's especially amusing about this is reading the diatribes of esteemed academics and watching them fling snarktastic insults at each other like trolls in a Flame War.)
Music. Inter-genre discussions aside, may the gods help you if you mix your genres up. Woe betide he who makes the mistake of getting hardstyle confused with hard trance, or death metal and black metal mixed up. Doubly so if you do it in the presence of hipsters.
God help you if you bring up Deathcore.
(Marching) Band, to the students. No, really. It damn near requires a Hive Mind to work right, because in some cases one wrong step destroys the whole thing and can make a mess, and stepping off the wrong foot (the right) is seriously bad, and God help you if you are in the section that does NOT want to work. Those that take it as SRSBSNS will be after your blood. Getting all ones in a contest is a huge cause for celebration, and screwing up and being the reason you lose a one will cost you. Marching band students, during concert season, are just as serious there. Insult the band? Well, it may be your last. Damage an instrument? Feel our wrath (those things are pricey!).
Marching band in high school-serious business. Marching band in college- very serious business. Marching band at a Historically Black University- LIFE AND DEATH!
Art was serious biz to Friedrich Nietzsche. As in, "Our art is inferior to ancient Greek art, and unless we do something about it, we're going to see the complete stupidification of Western society in... oh... 200 years." Given that many bygone societies are frequently judged by their artistic and cultural achievements, one can understand his fixation.
Artwork in general. If you draw something with a flaw in it, such as using the shading technique wrong, you can expect many other artists to mercilessly slam you for not getting every detail correct. Don't ever say you are drawing art as a hobby or are drawing for fun since you will be labeled as someone who can't handle critique, even if the people aren't giving genuine advice. Art is serious to the point of having everything be perfect.
People that draw art from commissions also take their work seriously; since they have people paying them to draw something, they have to meet the customer's demands in the details for the artwork so the artist can get paid.
Paleoart, that is, the artistic and often speculative reconstruction of prehistoric fauna/flora. You go and draw one dinosaur, one side will berate you for giving it too flamboyant feathers/a dewlap/spikes/wild colors/etc, while others will simultaneously slam you for not being "daring" enough. Some will even forbid you from using other paleoart for reference, because that's theft, and claim you should personally go to museums and measure every fossil, reconstruct the entire skeleton and cover it in muscles yourself, all the while consulting with the scientists (preferably a lot of them, since they often disagree on things), otherwise you're half-assing it. And be vary of even calling dinosaur paintings paleoart, because art apparently has no place in science. But most important of all: know that incorrectly feathered or non-feathered raptors are the Berserk Button of dinosaur geeks.
Or MS Paint in general. Apparently, no one is supposed to use it unless it's for sprite comics because there's so many other art programs that are ten times better.
The classic Danish version of the Belgian comic Tintin is very popular, and the outrage reached far beyond the hardcore fans, when it became known that the Danish publishers intended to put out a new translation of the albums. And when people found out that the annoying insurance agent Max Bjævermose (Joylon Wagg in English, Seraphim Lampion in the original French) would be given a new name due to copyright issues, a "People's Movement for Max Bjævermose" was formed and forced the publishers to pony up the extra cash, so they could use the name Max Bjævermose in the new edition as well.
Speaking of Tintin, a Swedish librarian moved the Tintin books to the "Comics" section from the "Kids books" section in 2012. The reason being the fact that Tintin in Kongo might have been Fair for Its Day, but is now seen as quite racist. It wasn't long until "Tintingate" bloomed, and people all over the country were certain that it wasn't long until Swedes would start burning Tintin books in the street.
George Bernard Shaw, author of Pygmalion, a play about a phonetics expert, at one point interviewed a noted phonetics expert, a Mr. Sweet. This Sweet could not comprehend how not everyone was completely into phonetics as he was, and Shaw wrote in the prologue of Pygmalion that he the phoneticist did not respect any scholar who was not a scholar of phonetics. Also, Shaw himself had the idea that class distinctions were largely caused by phonetics, and this was obviously a big plot point. Phonetics is Serious Business.
Choir. Be the one person in your voice section to screw up or be lazy and just watch the judging looks accumulate.
Also choir competitions. Choir kids take it very, very seriously, especially high school seniors.
Events, Holidays, & Parties
Weddings are serious business. On average, Americans spend about the price of a decent car to throw an extravaganza including catered meals, professional music, flowers, champagne, photographs, limos, and clothing that will be worn only once (if it's not going right back to the rental store) to celebrate nuptials that could have been completed with a fifteen dollar fee and maybe a blood test. Even if you're religious, most weddings at their core don't require so much. The standard Catholic service, for example, needs only the publishing of marriage banns, two witnesses and a priest. At most it should cost you about $200. But Heaven help you if Bridezilla (or Groomzilla, Mother-of-the-Bride-zilla, etc.) rears its ugly head.
One of the anecdotes of the life of a world-altering religious figure make this Serious BusinessOlder Than Feudalism. Jesus attends a wedding at Cana and helpfully turns water into wine when the supply runs out, leading to one guest praising the groom for not serving inferior wine once everyone's too drunk to notice the difference, like they do at all those other weddings...
If you think an American style wedding extravaganza is serious business, you should see Weddings in Japan. Many Japanese today opt for an American-style wedding, not because they think it's more romantic or anything, but to save money when compared with throwing a traditional Japanese-style wedding ceremony.
Few people realize why weddings are such Serious Business these days. It all began as a pissing contest among the middle-class. In the old days the formality of the wedding was dependent only on what the bride's parents could afford, and the wedding was completely the bride's parents' affair - traditionally the bride didn't even choose her own dress, let alone plan the wedding. This meant that most couples didn't have big fancy weddings. But the economic upheavals of the Fifties and Sixties and the quickly growing middle classes meant that more and more families were able to afford big weddings. What better way for wedding vendors to ensure that every family extends itself to the maximum possible than to "teach" young girls that their wedding would be the most important day - possibly the only important day - of their lives? And what better way to "teach" them than to imply (through tens of millions of dollars of advertising) that a big wedding is a sign of true love, and conversely that only pathetic social misfits who didn't take marriage seriously "settled" for small weddings? Eventually the huge, ridiculously expensive wedding became a social norm - which, paradoxically, is why couples can avert the trope now without being tarred with the brush of "social misfit". In 1985 the couple who had a small wedding would be laughed at behind their backs; in 2010, they're often applauded. All the expense can actually lead to an example of Tropes Are Not Bad, as one of the justifications for same-sex marriage is the economic benefits of letting even more couples get married. This depends on your views on same-sex marriage.
Many of the conventions and customs of the church wedding are rooted in serious historical business, arising from the often violent politics of the major families in medieval Italy. Marriages among these families were generally political, often used to cement alliances, and quite often used to patch over differences. So it tended to be a good idea to insist that the bride's and groom's families sat on either side of the aisle - there were often unresolved personal disputes between the families, and there was less chance of someone trying to stab someone else that way. The "ushers" were men-at-arms - trusted family members, retainers or mercenaries. And the "best man" was just that - the best, most trustworthy fighter that the groom knew, who would guard the groom's back while the service was in progress.
In 2006, a cease-fire was called in war-torn Ivory Coast when that country qualified for the World Cup, in interesting case of Serious Business being a good thing.
Contrastingly, in 1969 Honduras and El Salvador fought a brief war after a controversial soccer game between their national teams caused riots in both nations directed at citizens of the other: La guerra del fútbol.
And going back to the good examples, there is the day Iraq won the 2007 Asian football cup, which was reportedly the calmest day there since 2003.
Junior/senior prom, or any type of formal, high school dance. High schoolers are willing to spend upwards of thousands of dollars for fancy clothing, dance tickets, limos, corsages, a nice dinner, etc.
Much of the reason for this, like many of the other "events in life that can be inexpensive but people spend ridiculous amounts of money on", has to do with historical basis. While junior proms have traditionally been about emulating senior ones, senior proms used to be of greater cultural significance because in many places in the western world people didn't go to college and didn't regard anything higher then a high school education as needed to get a job able to support a family. Because of this, senior prom was not just a last hurrah for the students before going into the workforce but also a chance for soon-to-be contributing working men to propose to their sweethearts (who, again, wouldn't be seeking a job because of the time period).
Black Friday, people have been trampled and stores have had their doors destroyed so thoroughly the metal frame on the slider is bent out of shape. Hope that five dollar coffee machine was worth killing someone for.
In 2008 a Wal-Mart employee was killed during a Black Friday stampede - see .
Fireworks are such serious business in Chinese culture that control of illegal firework sales started San Francisco's Chinatown Triad gang wars.
Territorial disputes. One of the reasons wars still happen today.
A United Airlines flight from Washington Dulles to Accra, Ghana had to be escorted back to the airport by fighter pilots because of a fistfight that broke out between two passengers because one of them reclined his seat back.
That one does have a certain amount of justification to it on closer inspection, however. Unemployment in Europe, particularly youth unemployment, is currently at levels not seen since the Great Depression. Suddenly finding out that a lot of people who were due to retire and thus hopefully free up some more job vacancies are going to have to stay on an extra two years... didn't go over well. (This, by the way, is a prime example of an economic Morton's Fork: France's extensive and generous benefits for pensioners create highly justifiable fears about the country's long-term fiscal health as the share of French people over 60 skyrockets, making raising the retirement age a policy priority for whoever wants to keep the looming fiscal crisis manageable. On the other hand, youth unemployment is a huge problem for France in the short run, the solution to which is almost a necessary precondition to any kind of meaningful recovery, and thus raising the retirement age is a huge setback that could cost years of growth. Whatever you pick, it's bad.)
The Serious Business of making sure every Christmas is "The Best Christmas Ever" is the reason it has become, as Lewis Black called it, "a beast." The rush to grab that hot new toy (people have been trampled to death in these sorts of rushes), having the most ostentatious display of decorations in your neighborhood, picking out the perfect tree...and that's not getting into the "War on Christmas," with religious groups throwing a tantrum over the phrases "Happy Holidays" and "Season's Greetings," which people have been saying for decades without complaint.
For that matter, birthday parties in general. Because your three-year-old cares whether or not everyone you know is invited, who baked the cake, how big said cake is, whether you have a moonwalk (which very small children can't even use), pony rides, clowns, magicians, hundreds of expensive presents — after a while it clearly becomes more about the parents. And don't even mention "My Super Sweet 16" for girls in the U.S., which in some cases could be described as a quinceañera one year late. For insanely rich people, the big birthdays for parties usually are 1, 5, maybe 10, 13, 16 and probably 18 and 21.
Fandom has so much serious business it filled up its own wiki.
If you parody Barney & Friends, don't be surprised if you receive an email from Lyon's Partnership demanding that you take down said parody. If you don't take it down, it's off to court with you.
Also, Barbie. Mattel drops lawsuits at the drop of a hat. Fortunately, they tend to lose more often than they win.
Sadly, modern U.S. copyright and trademark law is mostly to blame here. If the owner does not make a big deal out of each and every infringement, even if it's just some fan art website, he can lose the rights to his copyrighted and/or trademarked characters for lack of enforcement.
This is true for trademarks, but certainly not copyright. A trademark is a mark or sign reserved for use by a company in a specific industry to help prevent imitators from imitating the brand for their own gain, or destroying their competitors good name with shoddy products. It has nothing to do with copyright. Indeed, you can name your own company "Mattel", if there is no risk of confusion between yours and the toymaker.
In the late '90s, Warner Bros. went on a copyright-fueled rampage to take down anyBuffy fansite. Few managed to come out of it unscathed... and ironically, the tvtropes website started as a page describing tropes from that very show.
Arguably it is even worse now between the SonyPlayStation brand and the Microsoft Xbox brand. In the Genesis and SNES generation, console wars took the form of debates children had on the playground during lunch, which admittedly could sometimes result in altercations. However, with the advent of online communication and the low barrier to entry for people who should really know better, the GIFT has reared its ugly head.
How to pronounce Cthulhu. This contention is rendered pretty redundant however, as Lovecraft explicitly states that it is IMPOSSIBLE for human vocal cords to pronounce correctly.
How to spell Cthulhu is serious business. Probably even more than how to pronounce it!
Especially hilarious when you consider that "The Call of Cthulhu" states that the spelling given was the guy's best approximation of what the cultists were chanting. There is no "correct" way to spell it in English.
Fanfiction. It's fun if you just stay in the safe-zone and just read it, but when you really get down to it, there are numerous points where a fun hobby can turn into a rage-forming flame war of the century. Shipping is particularly flame-igniting subject; If you happen to like the "wrong pairing", you will be eaten alive.
Also, Slash Fic. People will say they're just writing it for fun. Other people will say they're writing it as an examination of the issues and struggles homosexuals face. note Given that the average fic is about as realistic as Doctor Who is about time travel, some find this laughable.
Harry Potter and Twilight. God help you if you insult either. The latter even has a religion surrounding the main "good" vampire family. Also, you are doomed if you like both, and/or prefer one over the other. You will receive a verbal lashing via the Internets by one or the other, denounced as a fan of both, and shunned in the wrong areas. Curiously, if you find one "okay" and are a huge fan of the other, "okay" will be interpreted as viciously hating it by the fan community of that series. Best to not say how you feel about the other.
Sadly, this actually started because of the news. When the first Twilight movie came out, they hyped up a rivalry between the two franchises and basically called it the Harry Potter killer.
There are people out there who make a big deal over which English dub of Dragon Ball Z is the best. God help you if you disagree with them.
Any Fan Dumb will treat their favourite thing as Serious Business. Anyone who's talked to a rabid fan of anything will know this. The same goes for Hate Dumb as well.
And then you have all the various interpretations and amount of Fanon that can cause someone to feel like they're suffering Continuity Lockouteven when they saw every episode of the series.
This one is a massive YMMV for both ends of the spectrum. Most bronies you meet prefer to use the "Love and Tolerate" M.O. when dealing with non-bronies, and at the same time, most non-bronies are usually very level-headed about it when there are bronies on their forum/server/etc. That's not to say that all are like that, because there are always going to be bronies who take it to the point that whenever they're not talking about ponies, the conversation is wasted, and non-bronies who feel that a single mention of ponies (even as small a one like in the movie The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey) ruins their entire day.
Pumpkin Chunking, AKA Punkin' Chunkin'. Just watch an episode of Punkin' Chunkin' on the Science Channel and it'll be clear.
Several types of model hobbies can get this way. Rockets, trains and airplanes seem to be the biggest three.
Dungeons & Dragons. Just state your preference for a specific edition (ANY edition, it doesn't matter) and watch the fans of the OTHER editions launch into "ours is better for such and such reason" rants. God help you if state yours to be the BASIC edition pre-dating the advanced ones.
Power Rangers vs Super Sentai. Discussions on which is better devolve into racist insults and cultural posturing. Suggesting that they are anything but completely distinct, independent entities (they're not) is a good way to get yelled at by angry nerds.
Do not make fun of FarmVille around people who play it.
There is precedent for this argument, considering that The Great Video Game Crash of 1983 was largely precipitated by non-gaming companies greedily moving in on a market they did not understand. Sensing that there was a quick buck to make, they began flooding the game market with badly designed games whose sole purpose was meant to act as commercial for their products (like the infamous Chuck the Chase Wagon). Without gaming media or the internet to help them pick the wheat from the kudzu-like chaff, many game buyers became quickly disillusioned about the entire medium. With fewer buyers and increasing amounts of crap cluttering store shelves, the saturation-invoked collapse took out the video games industry entirely until Nintendo revived it years later with a certain mustachioed plumber.
Anyone who wonders what the "Stop Having Fun" Guys did before the Internet was invented should go along to any local hobby group, society or club, where there will invariably be someone for whom it is all Serious Business. Even worse, they tend to end up running the club.
If you are a devoted fan of practically anything, you will be regarded as a weirdo and/or a pathetic loser who needs to get laid. Sports gets a free pass. In fact, in some places you are seen as a weirdo for not being fanatically devoted to sports.
The Furry Fandom is serious business over anything. Are you a furry artist that doesn't draw furry porn or like furry porn? You're a freak. Do you like a certain furry fetish? Loser! Is your persona a wolf, a dragon, or any other popular species? You're a Mary Sue! Do you think the fandom itself are nothing but morons who take things too seriously? Then why are you taking the fandom so seriously?
Fashion, Beauty, & Fads
Hair is serious business towards women and men. Some people will make a huge deal out of women wearing their hair short or natural, or wearing hair extensions. There have been health pills invented to aid in hair growth and maintenance. There's also expensive hair products that people are willing to buy.
Elegant Gothic Lolita. Woe befall you if your coordinate lacks a petticoat, has a skirt that's too short, or uses the wrong kind of lace. And don't even think about mentioning that you're wearing a replica of a brand dress unless you're prepared for the flames...
Child beauty pageants are serious business, to often scary levels. Parents spent money on their girls' pageant dresses, dance and singing rehearsals, body waxing and tanning salons in the weeks before the event and some even go far to spend money on giving them plastic surgery and botox treatments (in one woman's case), some of them are under 8 years old. And some of the beauty pageant contestants are even a few days old! Yikes.
Beauty pageants in general are serious business, especially the above mentioned.
Fashion. Seems meaningless to a lot of people, but others treat it like the beginnings of a caste system. Understandable from the heads of the fashion industry - selling new clothes is their job, after all - but when it's ordinary people on the street enforcing the 'It's Thursday, you must give all your money to Fashion House Du Jour or you're worthless!' rule, it gets a bit silly.
Diamonds. Diamonds, like Gold, Platinum and several other precious metals used in jewellery, only have inherent value for people looking to use them for industrial applications, who are typically not likely to treat them as Serious Business, perhaps because industrial diamonds are usually the smaller, impure ones. It's a different story with those used in jewellery. Although the ones usually sold are nigh indistinguishable from cheaper stones due to their size, thanks to De Beers, every woman wants a real diamond ring.
An inclusion that appears to be the a tiny dot under a microscope, requires an expert Gemologist to spend hours looking for it, and is completely invisible to the naked eye, can reduce a diamond's value by over 50%. A faintly green spot on the stone that reflects off it's culet can change the value by an order of magnitude or more.
The same people who own the diamond mines also own the process of making Synthetics, buying a synthetic diamond basically gives your money to DeBeers anyway. If you actually want to get a diamond you know was mined ethically, ask for a Canadian diamond from Ekati or Diavik, the Canadian Government keeps a very close eye on those mines to ensure that both human life is protected and that the environment isn't damaged in the mining.
400 tons of rock have to be mined for every half-carat of diamond. It's not surprising that it's so expensive, and that miners are paid so little given that most miners will work for days without producing a single stone.
African miners have had their hands chopped off for trying to take a tiny scrap away.
Or merely being suspected of such.
Which seems like a reason to warrant feeling proud for buying lab-grown diamonds.
Clothing a celebrity (usually female) wears to an awards show, especially the Oscars or Grammys. What fashion you're wearing, what designer(s) you're loyal to, whether or not what you're wearing is similar to that of ny celebrity that year/decade/century/whatever. An eccentric, poorly thought-out or unconventional look (or deciding not to make much of an effort to look glamorous that year in the first place) can damage a celebrity's reputation almost permanently. Often the decisions an entertainer make with red carpet fashions can lead to scandals, especially over loyalty to designing houses.
Hats. Modern or vintage? Everyone knows all vintage hats are better. Well then, fur felt or wool? Fur felt. Beaver? Absolutely: Mortgage your house, sell your wife, hire out your kids, but only wear beaver! While most people in the hat community are friendly, welcoming people, there are a few "Stop Having Fun" Guys who refuse to discuss hats with anyone who wears wool felt. And this isn't even getting into the question of what differentiates a fedora from a trilby. SEAS of ink have been spilled over this issue, with the general consensus almost always coming down to "I know a goddamned trilby when I goddamned see one, goddammit!"
Most (if not all) fads could definitely qualify for this trope. Some more specific examples:
The Beanie Babies craze of the late '90s. Long lines formed at gift shops nationwide whenever a new shipment came in. Magazines were devoted to the craze. Countless collectors were adults, since they were the only ones who could afford the more expensive ones (would you believe some of these toys got into four figures?). Even a minor manufacturing glitch or design change (e.g. felt antennae vs. yarn antennae, almost imperceptibly different coloration, swing tag in the wrong ear, etc.) could fetch a pretty penny. The craze got compounded by the Teenie Beanies available at McDonald's — people were buying Happy Meals and throwing them away just to get the Teenie Beanies.
Furbies. There were a number of auctions on eBay that amounted to 'You pay me a lot of money and when they're available in the store I'll go buy you one and mail it to you'. The ones that happened to have their eyes closed in the box went for a lot more as 'mystery eyes' because you couldn't tell what color they were.
Pokémon. In-universe, the world revolved around them, but in real life, America seemed to revolve around them for a few years. There were people who paid thousands of dollars to get their cars done up like Pikachu. The card game was banned in schools because people were being assaulted for their valuable cards.
Food & Beverages
To some, chocolate is definitely serious business. If it has too much sugar, or if it is white chocolate (which doesn't actually contain chocolate liquornote "Chocolate liquor" contains no alcohol; it is a roughly 50-50 mixture of cocoa solids and cocoa butter, obtained after grinding cocoa beans.), then it isn't really chocolate.
In German, the closest analog to "Serious Business" roughly translates as "Beer Serious".
The Norwegian Church Abroad has for years been naming the "World's Best Waffles". Last year, the results were hacked, with the NCA in New York being the prime suspect.
Coffeeis very serious business. Not only is there a lot of steps required into making the correct beverages the right way, but there are also extremely varied ways to grow it, as well as how much people will pay for the right coffee beans to make their own way. Coffee is in such high demand and such serious business that people actually collect civet crap to harvest coffee beans out of their excrement. VERY serious business.
The (not-so) minor war that the Eastern Mediterranean has been having over what to call the dang stuff. Oh, everybody agrees that it's "coffee," alright. But the name of the particular variety that they all make is possibly the greatest Serious Business in a region that has seen the world's oldest empires, the founding of three major religions, and the Arab-Israeli Conflict. Is it Turkish coffee? Or Greek? Or Cypriot coffee? Or Arab coffee? Or Armenian? Or Bosnian? Or what? Be prepared to get kicked out of the restaurant (or worse) if you screw up this one.
Actually the aforementioned coffee harvested from civet crap is a major point of contention among coffee lovers, not surprising as civet coffee is one of the most valuable types in the world. Some view civet coffee as the best in the world and worth the price, others think that it tastes like the crap its made from.
Another point of contention is how you prefer to fix your coffee. Do you prefer the French press? Good old fashioned American brew-style? Instant coffee crystals? Heaven forbid you just like coffee that tastes nice to you; if it's brewed, you'll catch hell from the pro-French pressers (who consider you inferior scum) and the pro-instant people (who think you must have mud in your tastebuds for preferring something so strong). If you prefer French press, you'll catch hell from the pro-brewers (who consider you elitist scum). If you prefer instant crystals, you'll catch hell from the French pressers (who'll regard you as nothing more than the scum off the bottom of their toilets) and the brewers (who scoff at the inferior quality of your favored coffee). Nobody just lets you drink the coffee you prefer to drink and let things be. And we're not even starting on whether you prefer coffee with cream in it, with sugar, both, or none at all (i.e. "black"). Those arguments are lengthy enough for its own page.
Pisco Sour is a Peruvian (or Chilean) alcoholic drink that Chileans (or Peruvians) wrongfully claim is theirs, to the point that they actually require people to declare whether they have it on their customs forms, and confiscate the wrong stuff at the airport. Both versions are heavily promoted to tourists and locals, especially at airports, and they will ask tourists eagerly which version they prefer. The correct answer is "this one". They are equally sensitive about ceviche, a fish-based dish that they prepare as if it mattered, with slightly different recipes.
They are actually funded by PETA, so it's no surprise.
Palm oil? That stuff's loaded with saturated fat. (Not as much as palm kernel oil or coconut oil, but still.)Not to mention the fact that growing it often involves cutting down acres of tropical rainforest.
Maple syrup is very serious to people in Vermont. The state is the leading producer of maple syrup in America and have passed strict laws forbidding companies in the state for using the word maple unless their product contains 100% maple syrup. So when McDonald's fruit and maple oatmeal debuted in Vermont, residents weren't happy to find out that it contained no maple whatsoever. Needless to say, they filed charges.
A woman in the US called the police because McDonald's was out of fries.
Beer. Oh, Lord, beer. Microbrews, in particular - folks will write dissertations upon ales, stouts, lagers; about additives, yeasts, water and hops. Stone Brewery is known for this in particular, as they put Wall of Text statements of this sort upon their bottles... and ghod help you if you say you like Budweiser, or Miller, Coors, or especially Pabst Blue Ribbon...
Well, almost especially. In some circles, PBR is considered sufficiently terrible that the comedy value of it outweighs its bad flavor. Not irony—comedy. If you drink PBR, you're drinking a joke. (Unless you're in China, which is an entirely different ballgame...)
God help you if you think beer is disgusting and don't drink it.
In some places there are even laws that forbid the bartender from serving you beer without foam.
Few laws saw such widespread civil disobedience as the 1919 Volstead Act, better known as the prohibition.
Belgium. Tourist guides say "Belgians do not usually care for politics because it's too complex. But try to serve a beer on the wrong glass and you might start a revolution".
Steak. Woe betide you if you're one of the few folks who prefers his steak well done. This is considered a mortal sin among the rare-steak aficionados, on par with blowing up an orphanage or putting ketchup on Filet Mignon.
Putting ketchup on steak is liable to get a pretty explosive reaction too. Heck, for some people, putting any sauce on a steak will at least elicit a shocked cry of "What what the hell are you doing to that cow?!"
The US government brings us MIL-C-44072C, a 26-page military specification for oatmeal cookies and chocolate-covered brownies, complete with percent-by-weight requirements for the ingredients. There's a point to such specifications—because the military has to make hundreds of thousands if not millions of cookies-and-brownies meals, and each one has to be exactly the same. These recipes are so that they can be made perfectly identical in mass quantities very quickly.
Ice cream is serious business. And worthy of plenty of backlash.
Clam chowder, specifically the debate is between chowders thickened with cream ("New England" or "White" chowder) and chowders thickened with pureed tomatoes ("Manhattan" or "Red" chowder). New Englanders take this very seriously. It can get ugly.
A major reason it can get ugly is the regional rivalry (see also Yankees vs. Red Sox). But apparently they're both actually from New England—red chowder is just the Portuguese way of doing it.
The superiority of New York style or deep-dish pizza over the other.
Donald Trump was born in New York City. And nobody in the U.S. ever eats pizza with a fork and knife. (Exceptions: Small children and the extremely elderly are permitted to use a fork, and anyone may eat Chicago deep dish—and only Chicago deep dish, not Detroit or any other deep dish—with utensils, so long as the pie is messy enough to warrant it.)
Holland. 1630s. Tulips were serious business. A single bulb of one of the rarest varieties cost as much as a nice house. Speculation in tulip futures drove the prices to insane levels. When the market finally collapsed in 1637, accounts of how stupid the whole thing had been became bestsellers.
One man got imprisoned for cutting up and eating a tulip that he mistook for an onion.
During the Dot Com Boom of the late 1990s, one of the organizations sounding the warning bells called itself, simply, "Tulip Bulbs".
In the UK, tea is such Serious Business that the British Standards Institute brought out a 5,000 word document on how to prepare a standardized cuppa for tasting during quality assurance and blending (BS 6008), lest such important processes go wrong and the British Government once worried about how to maintain tea supplies in the wake of a nuclear conflict. In the 1800s, the UK got a significant portion of China hooked on opium in order to raise enough money to buy all the tea they wanted from the country. The two nations fought a couple of wars over the UK's attempts to keep China hooked (the Opium Wars) and Hong Kong became a British colony as a result. At the time it's estimated that the average British household spent 10% of its income on tea. To this day, it's very unwise to tell a British person complaining that there's no tea left, to re-use a tea-bag.
Ever tried to reuse tea-bag? Its disgustingly...bland. It's made for one-use and it shows.
Tea supplies after a nuclear attack have a more practical application: along with the obvious 'boiling the water' step involved, apparently the weak acidity of hot tea and polyphenols it provides are a preventative for typhoid and other diseases, which would be a serious issue for water supplies after a nuclear attack.
Couple that with the fact that morale of citizens and troops alike will be degraded down to nothing due to disease, radiation poisoning, and, well, the apocalypse. Fire and warm, tasty drinks would go a LONG way to keep people from eating theirguns.
The phrase, "What does that have to do with the price of tea in China?" comes from the era of the Opium Wars. The price of tea in Britain had everything to do with who got back from China first; how much they paid for tea while they were in China had virtually no effect on how much they could be paid for it in Britain.
To be more precise, it was increasing taxes on imported tea from suppliers other than the East India Company. The Sons of Liberty were protesting against a sweetheart deal.
Tea remained a Serious Business in the post-independence USA, with the federal government creating a Tea-Tasters Board to protect the American people from inferior brews. The Board was eventually abolished during the Clinton administration when it was realized that nobody could remember exactly what its members were supposed to be doing.
The International Organization for Standardization was created ISO 3103 to standardize the method of brewing tea for the purposes of taste testing.
ISO has standards on EVERYTHING; brewing tea is one of less crazy ones. 18500 different things, with 1100 being added every year. One wonders where they are even taking ideas for for what to work on next.
Tea has been very, very serious business in Japan for a very long time. The arts of poetry and the incredibly formalised Tea Ceremony were every bit as important to Bushido as combat prowess. Schools dedicated to the tea ceremony have existed for generations and every possible aspect of the ritual, both the physical performance of it and the symbolic aspect, has been carefully studied and mapped out. The ceremony is loaded with social, philosophical and spiritual meaning and is one of the greatest traditions of Japanese culture.
Wine, particularly in Western countries such as Europe and America. Oenophiles will spend thousands on the right glasses, the right storage facilities, and all the little doodads for serving, and that's not even counting the wines themselves. Serving, tasting and pairing are as formal and ritualised as some of the stricter religions. And then you get people who are REALLY serious about it.
Cocktails ARE Serious Business. The Martini in particular is a revered cocktail with a storied past, and those who favor it have been known to get a bit put out at chain restaurants touting their "Martini Menus." A Martini is a very specific drink: gin, vermouth, and a green olive (GREEN, not BLACK; otherwise that's a Buckeye, not a Martini). If you substitute vodka for the gin, it's not a true martini any more, it's a vodka martini or vodkatini. (The true martini should be stirred, never shaken, lest you bruise the gin; only a vodka martini is allowed to be "shaken, not stirred.") Anything else is just a mixed drink in a Martini glass.
Then there's the battle between those who think a martini should have vermouth in it, those who think the vermouth should only be used to coat the glass with the rest discarded, and those who prefer to wave the bottle of vermouth over the glass and drink a shot of gin. There are also variants that ask for some of the brine from the jar of olives as part of the recipe (a dirty martini), there's the argument over olives versus those tiny onions (which would make the drink a Gibson anyway) . . . How about talking about the rage induced by, among many others, the appletini? Or the cosmo. Or any other drink served in the "martini"note It's a cocktail glass, as opposed to a highball glass that isn't a martini. Face it. The martini is a religion, drinking it is an act of worship, and followers of a variant sect will contemplate murdering you.
In the Bartending world championship, Martini is its own event.
Wine now has its own "to be a master" type manga in Japan, sealing its status as Serious Business. "Decanting from such a height!!!"
One of the earliest pieces of writing ever found is a clay fragment from Mesopotamia containing a recipe for beer. However, this makes perfect sense: in pre-modern times, nobody knew what germs were, let alone that you could kill them by heating up the water to boiling point. Brewing beer, on the other hand, requires malted barley or what have you to be mixed with hot water, making it as close to germ-free as you could get for millennia.
On the topic of wine, the legendary wine competition, The Judgment of Paris, resulted in all of the French wines defeated by at least one American wine in each category. The man who organized the event was in support of French wines but had to admit the Americans had won. He was rewarded for his honesty through banishment from French wine tasting and Fanon Discontinuity among French newspapers and magazines, appalled at the mere thought that the land of fast foods and TV dinners could beat France at its own game.
I've often come across Americans referencing this. The fact is you won't ever find any American (or foreign wine) in France shops. Drinking foreign wines would be at least perceived as peculiar, at worst insulting.
It's basically the mother of all serious business in France, closely followed by cheese and food. Nothing even comes close. Wine is both an ancient common commodity and a subject of intellectual dissertation, countries that adopted it recently by way of sophistication (as opposed to France or Italy that have been at it for 2600 years) can't understand its importance, whatever the objective qualities of the wines might be.
It is to be noted that those competitions only go so far as to put exceptional wines in competitions. Affordable wines (which is what wine is for most people, coming down to it) aren't factored.
Bar-B-Q competitions are practically a sport in America. However, because of severe regionalism there are plenty who can claim "world's best" or some other title due to the sheer number of Serious Business competitions. Possibly outdone by South Africa, where "braai" has a national holiday in its honor, complete with a theme song and endorsement by Desmond Tutu.
Also note the aforementioned flame war respecting the coffee made by decocting fine grounds.
The origin of the dessert Pavlova. The marshmallow-centered meringue cake topped with whipped cream and fresh fruit is claimed to be invented in both Australia and New Zealand. Mention that one country invented it to citizens of the other country...
Since people need to eat it to stay alive, it's not surprising that food is serious business, if you haven't noticed already.
Human Health & Sexuality
On the subject of Mickey D's, their rules involving using the restroom afterhours is very serious business. An assistant manager working the late shift drive-thru noticed that the man that came to the drive-thru and asked if he could come inside to use their restroom was NFL running back Adrian Peterson of all people. How could she say no? Well, violating that rule cost this mother of three and seven-year employee her job.
Or make it rather unpleasant, ala ST Ds like Syphilis . Or even cut it short, if you get (or transmit) HIV-AIDS.
'Unpleasantness' can also result if one sleeps with someone beloved by someone violent.
For people with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, just about anything that seems trivial and unimportant to "normal" people might be serious business. Adhering to ritual is often treated as a matter of life and death. What's worse, most OCD sufferers know on an intellectual level that their obsessions are illogical or inconsequential, but the compulsion is just too strong to overcome. In serious cases, this can ruin lives.
Virginity. Rumors that you are(n't) a virgin it can destroy lives.
The USA's citizens take an inordinate amount of interest in each other's personal lives. In that country same-sex marriages, the use or not of contraceptives, and abortion are topics of hot debate and the status of all three is not universally clear.
Some argues that same-sex marriage should not be regarded and referred to as "marriage" under the law, they are "civil unions". "Marriage" is between a man and a woman. This argument about simple word usage has been taken to ridiculous level.
The ideal body weight and appearance is serious business to many. Some people cannot stand the fact that there can be other people in the world who are not at a healthy weight and will gladly remind them of that fact everyday, even if the victim isn't at fault for being overweight. Likewise, industries that rely on a good body image will force people to maintain their bodies to be perfect or they will fire them.
Diets are also serious business. There are always debates over which diet is the best one and which diet can help people quickly lose weight. There's also flame wars over what people eat or what some foods contain.
The impact nutrition has on health is vastly overrated in general. But if you dare point out that the paleo diet, low-carbs, or any other current diet fad is not the solution to all our diseases of civilization, then you're a heathen, and you will die soon.
Any sexuality- or gender-related subject that you can complain about on the internet. Many people who aren't even activists in real life consider it gravely important that they complain about or simply point out sex & gender issues on message boards.
The Internet, Websites, and Social Network Sites
Spoilers. Any kind of spoilers. The end of a book or movie, the score of a sporting event, who or what is going to be in the upcoming episodes of a TV series... these are very serious things. Accidentally (or deliberately) reveal any of these things to the wrong people and prepare for a torrent of invective and the possibility of physical violence. People will go to incredible (and in some cases utterly insane) extremes to avoid them. There are complicated rules about what can or cannot be considered a spoiler in some places. The producers of these media can have strict rules about revealing them, with termination of employment being a possible consequence, and there are cases of various scripts, novels, etc being transported under armed guard to prevent this. All over something you're eventually going to find out anyway as a natural process of reading the text in question. Having this revealed in advance can ruin your enjoyment (they're called 'spoilers' for a reason) and people who go around intentionally spoiling people's enjoyment are considered a particularly heinous form of troll for a reason, but the way some people act you'd think they were literally radioactive and carcinogenic.
In 1997, some complaints were filed against a radio station after a host revealed that in Titanic, the boat sinks.
GameFAQs also have extremely strict rules regarding unmarked spoilers. Even if the spoiler is extremely old like the Titanic example, you can still get in trouble for not marking your post for spoilers.
Internet humor. Reactions to attempts at them range wildly from laughter to "Get the fuck out."
Research, for fairly obvious reasons, is intricately serious business. A detailed work has a paper trail back to reputable sources. All is well, unless, god forbid, a researcher uses Wikipedia to get a general overview of the subject before delving deeper. Despite Wikipedia being quite possibly the greatest research tool available to mankind (the wiki format in general, actually), many peers will Accentuate the Negative, pointing out that anybody with access to the Internet can vandalize a page. (Conversely, anybody can fix vandalism or mistakes, but this is rarely mentioned.) Jumping to the conclusion that no further research was done, peers will ridicule you for not using books or paywalled journals to familiarize yourself with the topic. Don't tell researchers you use Wikipedia.
Problem with Wikipedia (and other sources which are free to change by anyone, to be fair) generally is that no matter what you do, its at best a secondary source (usually tertiary or even higher; being a secondary source is actually very rare) which can change between time of writing your work and time of releasing it (so you can't prove you took your data from there and it becomes black hole in argumentation, where you can write anything you want and say "I have a source") and very often doesn't link to primary (or secondary) sources. Wikipedia is generally a good source for getting basic grasp of a theme and often to find links to more reliable places, but it is just too often victim of popularity of wrong data and unreliable in meaning and stability: you need to be able to refer back to sources years after the work is finished.
The other problem with it is that, as mentioned, it's not a primary source. Science advances through the sharing of research with other researchers; if you missed a bit of research that seriously impacts your paper, you're in serious trouble. The general population (i.e., those who contribute to Wikipedia) are often unaware of the latest research, and if they were, just knowing what the research says isn't enough; you need to know the details of how the study was conducted and their exact findings for your own paper so you know if it's a valid source or not, or if there are any problems with it. Wikipedia doesn't give you 1/10 of what you need for a real academic paper.
Memes. Heaven forbid you don't get what some of them mean or think the meme sucks. Just try telling a Portal fan that The Cake Is a Lie wasn't that funny.
Facebook. Life blood to so, so many people. It has become the way to socialize in the modern world. It is considered physically impossible for a human being to not have a Facebook. Reactions to this range anywhere from stunned disbelief to something akin to conservative Christian parents finding out their kid is gay. Worst case scenario, you'll be considered a potential serial killer or psychopath, because Loners Are Freaks. Best case, they just think you're lying. Even potential employers will just assume you have something incriminating on your Facebook you don't want them to see, and they won't hire you. Deactivating/deleting your Facebook will inevitably get a few of the people on your friends list to call you, either breaking down in tears or angry enough to yell your whole head off, for "cutting them out of your life", because of course there is no way you actually got rid of your whole Facebook, you must have just de-friended them. There have even been cases of people whose friends have made Facebook accounts for them, without giving them the password so they can't delete it, because everyone MUST have a Facebook, goddammit!
And if you do have a Facebook profile, there's a lot of Serious Business going on about how many "friends" you have in that if you're not over 65 years of age but you have under 100 "friends", you're regarded as a societal outcast akin to the medieval hermit with his prototypical hair shirt and long, dirty beard. Then there's the question of what you decide to share with your "friends" and how you do it. Do you pass along a lot of memes? Dare to get heated over politics or religion? Don't cover yourself up under the guise of a happy-go-lucky, eternally sunshiney person and ignore the fact that your life is in fact a constant struggle? Might as well have never signed up for Facebook in the first place. And all of the intra-Facebook sniping is enough for some to deactivate their accounts, step away from Facebook, and wonder whatever made them want to sign up in the first place.
South Park parodies the mentality everyone has about Facebook by having Stan being declared as a social outcast for refusing to use Facebook and when he does give in and make an account, he encounters new problems like his family wondering why he hasn't friended them yet and his girlfriend misinterprets everything he posts on his account.
Facebook has gotten to the point to where the entire event organization takes place for some events. One notable example includes a wedding organized entirely on the site by the bride's parents. Due to the bride and groom not having Facebook accounts, they had no idea that the wedding was planned and missed their own wedding.
LiveJournal held an election among its userbase for a post on their advisory board. Cut to people complaining about the voting system, having fights over the candidates, and one candidate dropping out of the race because of an alleged death threat. For other great moments in Live Journal history, see Strikethrough.
Cracked.com articles are usually free of this, but the comments. For example, one article was about "Movie plots made possible by understaffing." Two of the items on the list (the destruction of the Death Star and Frodo entering Mordor) were written in a way that suggested that the author was imperfectly familiar with the films in question. A number of readers posted, very politely, explaining how those weren't good examples. These were instantly buried in "OMFG it's a comedy site don't be such an asshole!" and "Fucking loser! Anyone who actually thinks about these things that much obviously has never had any pussy!" type comments.
Cracked.Com posted another called When Badasses Go Soft: The 10 Weakest Songs by Badass Bands. Some of the initial responses took issue with the inclusion Led Zeppelin's "All Of My Love," since the song was written as a tribute to Robert Plant's late son. After the writers edited the post to include a sort-of apology, quite a few of the resulting comments came from indignant fans of the other bands profiled, who thought that their respective band's songs were also written about sensitive subject matter and shouldn't have been on the list.
It gets much worse when politics or video games or articles that are "truths you should know about X" are shown. Because Cracked is mostly a humor site but can shed some truths (even when grossly exaggerated), expect the comments to be filled with people bashing the writers for being stupid, agreeing with the writers and flaming anyone who disagrees, or others making fun of people who take a comedy web site so seriously.
For all that many of them claim that or act like they're just doing it For The Lulz or For the Evulz, many Trolls seem to be incredibly devoted to their respective brands of jerkassery, at times to degrees beyond all reason or sense. Since a lot of Troll behaviour is generally believed (accurately or otherwise) or at least dismissed as stemming from a deep-seated desperation for any kind of attention or validation whatsoever on the part of the Troll, this is perhaps to be expected.
Forums or any other online discussion boards take the age of their users very seriously. Most forums require that the user be at least 13 years old to sign up for an account and their accounts are deleted quickly if the user is discovered to be underaged. Why is it a big deal? Because many cities and countries in the world have laws in place that is supposed to protect children from questionable content and the people running the web site can be held responsible if something happens to a child that signed up on the site.
GameFAQs is a heavily known example of enforcing the age restriction on their site. If someone admits to being under 13, even if they later admit to joking about it, their accounts are promptly banned and they have to show physical proof of their age (if they are over 13) to the administrators if they wish to regain their account. It also got to the point where people who joked that they were a fetus were banned as well, though that doesn't happen as much now.
Considering that money is the primary means for us civilized people to obtain most of our basic needs such as food and shelter (along with other things that are not needs, but are just nice to have), this is justified. Money has a way of turning quite a lot of things (including many of the things on this list) into verySerious Business.
Few gods have ever seen such universal worship as Mammon, god of money.
Speaking of Tonka Tough, according to the Tonka company, there are currently seven people around the world who, because of the Tonka guarantee, receive a lifetime supply of free merchandise because they somehow managed to destroy a Tonka toy through the normal course of play. Whenever a claim is made on the guarantee, Tonka sends out a team of investigators to make sure the toy in question wasn't destroyed intentionally, or by extraordinary means (running it through a machine press, for example). For Tonka, the Tonka Tough guarantee is Serious Business indeed.
Several companies have had to hide or eat the cost of smaller charges like copy fees. For some reason people get really mad about being charged 25 extra for some reason on a 700 dollar bill.
Library book fines. Just you try and keep a book past its return date if you don't believe us!
And in Stephen King's book Four Past Midnight, the novella "The Library Policeman" turns libraries and fines into Nightmare Fuel. Because Stephen King.
Credit cards and by proxy, credit scores. While some people can get by without any credit at all, you'll be seen as wierdo if you don't own at least one credit card. Having no credit or a low credit score will also mean businesses that involve dealing with large purchases (homes, cars, etc.) will be less likely to make a deal with you because you're considered an "at risk" buyer or someone who may not have the means to keep up with payments.
Allegedly, the physical location of a White House staffer's office is very Serious Business, indeed. They are said to measure the number of footsteps from their office to the Oval Office, and consider proximity to the President's desk a status symbol almost on par with official rank. While literally measuring footsteps might be taking it a shade too seriously, there is a practical principle for this example however, since the closer you are to the person in charge, the easier it is to have access to him / her and consequently the easier it is to exert influence on any decisions he / she makes.
Religion. That is all. Whilst "the meaning, nature, and purpose of existence and morality" is serious business, but obviously some aspects of it are less serious than others. Or ought to be. However, schisms and outright holy wars (real ones, with people killing each other) have been waged because of differing interpretations of minor passages in the believers' respective holy books.
Closely related - Politics - it is serious business as well but some people take it a little bit too far (hence Ban on Politics in many media)
The Muslim riots that broke out over the Danish comics featuring caricatures of Muhammad in 2006. Say what you will about the fairness of the comics' contents, we're still talking about a group of protesters who were driven to acts of mortal violence over the contents of THE FUNNIES. And they weren't so bothered that it portrayed Muhammad as a terrorist, just that it portrayed Muhammad.
This is actually a side effect of Religion being one of the oldest Serious Business out there. One of the big major sticky points of Islam is that one should never portray Allah (God) or their prophets or saints in a worship context (so that you don't accidentally worship an image, see)note Also note that the idea of Muslim saints is itself a subject of flame wars between pro-saint Sufis, Shias, and others and anti-saint puritanical Salafis or in a mocking manner (because mocking religion—including other religions from the same tradition, e.g. Christianity and Judaismnote Although for political reasons, Judaism is often forgotten—is just offensive) (see UsefulNotes.Islam). As Muhammad is THE big number 1 in Islam, the response that was seen is hardly surprising. (Although as usual with anything religious there's bound to be someone doing things which are a bit too much)
The topic of "Thou shalt not worship false idols" also caused the schism in the Christian church between Catholicism and Eastern Orthodox over the use of stained-glass windows. And that's not even mentioning the whole Protestant Reformation thing...
Hummus is definitely serious business. The axis of the debate used to center on whether hummus is of Jewish or Arab origin. Even many Jews now acknowledge that it was created by Levantine Arabs, so many arguments now focus on methods of preparation. In addition, there is an ongoing fight between chefs in an Israeli and a Lebanese village to create the world's largest hummus. This conflict is more national than ethnic, since Abu Ghosh, the Israeli village, has both Jews and Arabs.
Similarly, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs. By Jewish law, a child attains "adult" status (for religious obligations and privileges) automatically simply by turning 13 (for boys) or 12 (for girls), no commemoration required (no, not even reading from the Torah). Nevertheless, many parents will spend as much—or more—on a Bar/Bat Mitzvah party as they would on a wedding or, as in the above example, a "decent car." They may even have two or three for the same kid, if there are, for example, relatives living overseas who need to be accommodated.
Society & Norms
On weddings and childbirth, we should include Marital Status. In some communities to be married means instant promotion in profession, living quarters, pay, and/or general level of respect. Often even more so if said couple has a child or children. Curiously, in some of these communities, at least one party to the marriage can be looked down upon for actively pursuing a partner for marriage, with hilarious results. Yet in others, not being married will bring the aforementioned promotions, and marriage itself is socially and/or economically detrimental.
When there was a corruption scandal potentially affecting the election for the presidency of FIFA (the international football federation) in May 2011, it made headline news in the UK and elsewhere, partly because the huge sums earned by FIFA for the television rights to the World Cup have made the organisation serious business in a very literal sense.
Winning or failing to win major international competitions is often treated as a huge deal by fans in the successful or unsuccessful countries. In 1996 and again in 1998, England's campaigns for the European Championship and World Cup respectively were heralded by a song referring to "thirty years of hurt" since England's last World Cup success in 1966, as if the whole country had been in floods of tears ever since. For the record, it's now forty-five years of hurt and counting. Oh, and winning the World Cup means a national holiday.
In parts of Scotland, there's historically been a link between football and sectarian rivalries (Protestant v. Catholic) which has sometimes turned nasty. Neil Lennon, the Northern Irish and Catholic manager of Celtic FC was sent a parcel bomb and later, bullets, through the post. Although it's unclear whether football fans were involved at all this was widely condemned as anti-Catholic terrorism.
Spain has also seen football and politics intertwine in the rivalry between Barcelona and Real Madrid, regarded by some of their more fervent supporters as representing Catalan and Castilian nationalism respectively.
Italians care more of football than politics. And when referee Byron Moreno made several controversial calls in a 2002 World Cup match between South Korea and Italy, Korean players playing in Italy got fired to save them from being lynched if they returned in Italy, and, at the moment of this writing in 2013, the referee is still getting death threats from Italians.
Socializing. When people in real life hold Sex Is Cool and Loners Are Freaks as gospel truth, it becomes serious business. For instance, referring to one's social life as simply their "life" should tell you how important it is to people. It sometimes reaches levels of Opinion Myopia akin to religious fundamentalism, where people believe that enjoying any hobby more than social interaction is impossible and that introverted loners are just in denial and unable/unwilling to face the truth of how miserable, lonely, and unfulfilled they are.
This also applies to people that are shy. People who are very sociable will try to get a shy person to open up to a large crowd of people, which just makes them even more uncomfortable.
People will often label loners and introverts as very bad people. If a person really is content and happy in their solitude, expect others to, at best, dismiss this claim and accuse them of being rude, selfish, or arrogant individuals who doesn't care for anyone around them, or, at worst, outright sociopaths or serial killers. Even sympathetic extroverted people who may respect the loners' space will nevertheless insist that they should socialize and meet other people at some point in their lives since because "humans are social beings". Needless to say, introverts/loners won't enjoy this at all.
Similarly, not actively engaging in sexual activities will get you branded as either gay (if you're straight) or a massive freak that doesn't enjoy having sex and therefore, you are totally miserable due to lack of sex. Expect similar responses if you admit you don't like to look at pornography.
Likewise, dating is serious business. If you're not dating someone, you'll be pushed to find a date ASAP. If you refuse to seek a date, you'll most likely be called gay or be questioned on why you don't want to meet new people.
Going out to bars or night clubs to meet women/men and/or to have alcoholic drinks are also treated as serious business. You'll be branded as a loner and a freak if you don't like going out to clubs to get drunk or to pick up women/men for a one night stand.
While we're at it, drinking. Alcohol, that is. You're pretty much destined to become a loner if you don't drink. Even if you drink, but do not enjoy getting wasted, people will get suspicious, because it's associated with hiding something horrible about yourself (like being murderer, rapist, arsonist, nerd, homosexual, MLP fan, otaku, virgin, left-wing, atheist etc.). It's significantly harder to socialize with drinking folks without drinking yourself. Furthermore, your demeanor while drunk will be used to judge you, and a lot of people will treat it as your "true self"; if you have no clue what you're like, you better hope beyond all hope that you're not a mean drunk, as the word will get around and people will treat you like you're an asshole even when you're sober.
A more limited thing: In Washington, DC, don't stand on the left side of the escalator. Especially not on the Washington Metro. Stand on the right, walk on the left. Else you'll get dirty looks like you wouldn't believe. Especially at rush hour.
In an office setting, keeping the kitchenette or breakroom clean is extremely serious business. Woe betide you if you should leave an unwashed dish in the sink...
Driving is a huge deal for many people in the United States. You'll be pressured to start learning how to drive and get a driver's permit by your teenage years and you'll also get funny looks if you never learn to drive or own a car.
This is a serious business derived of necessity, as so much more of the US population (compared to other industralized countries) lives in suburbs or rural areas where public transportation options simply don't exist (this even extends to major cities themselves, especially those in the South and West that rose rapidly after the 1950's like Houston and Atlanta which have a less developed mass transit infrastructure compared to, say, New York and Chicago). When you live at least five miles from anything of interest like a shopping mall, if you can't drive you have no way of meeting friends outside of school or working a part-time job.
Competition is more or less a synonym or one-word description of Serious Business and "Stop Having Fun" Guys rolled into one. Take anything. Make it competitive. Watch it immediately turn into Serious Business as the "Stop Having Fun" Guys kick out all the people who actually want to have fun with it. Competition can be good...Except that over 90% of it is absolutely ruined by "Stop Having Fun" Guys who just take it way too seriously for it to be reminiscent of any kind of fun, because then they will take on the "Win to live" mentality and treat a simple game as though it is the most important thing in the world.
If there is a multiplayer game that is updated regularly to fix exploits and other bug problems, expect the players that take the game seriously to be the first ones that complain about how broken something is or how unbalanced a character/level/set up is unless it gets fixed. Casual players won't give a damn unless the problem is that extreme.
Anybody who has seen the documentary Spellbound or Akeelah and the Bee knows that, to a small portion of students, the National Spelling Bee is the epitome of Serious Business.
It's been pointed out that the people who have the most fun playing games are those who just play to have fun and don't give three shits about their stats, trophies, whatever. Those are the "casual" gamers, believe it or not.
Racial identity, mostly concerning people of color in the United States.
The act of Loading the Dishwasher is Serious Business. It destroys marriages. Just ask Bill Engvall. On average, 4 Americans every year die due to improperly loaded dishwashers. There's also the consideration that getting it really badly wrong can damage the machine, leading to expensive repair bills. Actually becomes a minor plot point in Johnathan Demme's Rachel Getting Married, leading to the father and groom having a dishwasher-loading competition.
Along that line, there's The Toilet Seat. Whether that's left up or down is of earth-shattering import.
Fun trivia: One of the most important rules in the US Air Force's Basic Training program is that the toilet seat is left up when you are done. Never leave the toilet seat down, even in the female flights. This was an arbitrary rule to help break trainees out of two decades' worth of socially ingrained behavior. That, or an excuse by the Drill Sergeant Nasties to get the trainees in trouble and make them do more pushups. Whichever.
Actually, there is a sanitary reason that is lost to many. A down seat can prevent the complete evaporation of humidity from the seat, giving germs a place to live. Honestly, is mostly harmless anyway.
Related: Wiping your ass standing up or sitting down. Those against standing say you just end up smearing it. Those against sitting say you put your hand in poo water. The sheer about of e-bile spat over this debate is astounding.
Also related: round vs. elongated toilets. Women hate elongated toilets because they think having the elongated hump sticking out between their legs reminds them of disgusting gas station restrooms, men hate having to stuff their junk between their legs when they sit on a round seat. Relationships have ended over men refusing to buy round toilets, and they usually give in. But as truck drivers and such frequent gas station restrooms, they usually have elongated toilets for male comfort - and since Guys are Slobs, gas stations are often filthy, reinforcing the standard and resulting in men having to fondle themselves when they poo at home.
Spill something on the rug? Fine, go put it in the washer or put aleo vera on it. Throw up before reaching the bathroom? Fine, go clean yourself up and get some rest. ...clog the toilet? Oh my God, you heartless, seething demon spawn!!! Society makes it near impossible to report a clogged toilet, or your own biological problems, without receiving embarrassment and humiliation. And even if no one delivers either of those to you, it's you who feels that way yourself, so how you go about solving them depends on your confidence and willingness to defy the standards from others. Nevermind that these problems as just as natural as zit breakouts. It also doesn't help that modern water-saving toilets make this problem more likely.
On that note: toilet paper. There's a full-on war over whether the roll is in front or behind the dowel.
Celebrity trials. Consider how many people seriously believed the LAPD was out to get OJ for racial reasons. None of them would bother if it was a random black man.
The "Deutsche Organisation nichtkommerzieller Anhänger des lauteren Donaldismus" (short: D.O.N.A.L.D.)note Translation "German organisation [of] non-commerical followers of the pure Donaldism", a German club of Donaldists - that is, people treating the universe of Donald Duck (mostly based on the works by Carl Barks) in a decidedly academic way. Some of them even got jobs at the serious German newspaper "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" and use this to make Shout Outs.
Your siblings are often soulless monsters who edge out Stalin or Hitler for the position of "worst human being on the planet". Sure, Hitler and Stalin were both responsible for the deaths of millions, but that little shit broke my Tonka truck when I was eight.
Railfans/Trainspotters/Railway Modelers. There are those who are really as obsessed with trains as media makes them out to be. Most larger cities have model railroading clubs, and there are many dedicated enthusiasts to restoring and preserving old locomotives and rolling stock. Be very wary of bringing up any sort of steam vs. diesel conversation, lest you find yourself in a massive flame war.
One nationally known rail magazine reviewing a mystery novel set on a passenger train that gently mocked the more obsessed rail enthusiasts. The cover of the book had a locomotive on it, and half the review discussed how the locomotive pictured wasn't used by the railroad described in the book, and that it was drawn with improper equipment, etc...therefore missing the point.
Here we see that Comic Book characters can be serious business. A legal dispute on copyright between Neil Gaiman and Todd McFarlane gets a judge arguing on continuity on its ruling.
The "Nika" riots which rocked the Byzantine Empire to its foundations was started... by warring factions of chariot racing fans.
The Balkans and who should own what piece of land there, based on 1000-year old claims.
Ron Paul supporters. Ron Paul himself is probably a reasonable man, but pick a Ron Paul cultist supporter at random. Perhaps it's an overgeneralization to say all Ron Paul supporters are overzealous lunatics out of touch with realityvery enthusiastic, but...oh, who are we kidding?
Rick Perry too. One troll will say how much they love him and all of a sudden the whole internet is on that guys ass.
The size and position of your office can be a big deal in law firms, especially among people high up the ladder who sometimes get "promoted" to an office with a better view. More generally, any status symbol will become Serious Business when members of an organization lack other means to establish who has more power that good office means that you have more power in the company then others who are supposed to be your 'equals'. This is doubly true since it's considered poor form (and usually against company policy) to disclose your compensation.
You like irony? You'll love that not taking things seriously is Serious Business. You show the slightest bit of emotion on anything, people will tell you to "calm down, it's just X". It gets weird when it's applied to things that are, in fact, serious business, such as the Internet. A good portion of the population spends a lot of time on it, it's a major part of the world economy, and people have been murdered and committed suicide over things that have happened online. The people who mock others with "Internet. Serious business." have a tendency to be hypocrites; say something that hits their Berserk Button, and they'll call down fire and brimstone on your head.
Understanding and using the English language, or any language at all, in speech and writing is serious business. Many job firms won't bother hiring you if you can't spell simple words, pronounce certain words, or not bothering to spellcheck your work. Having sloppy spelling, grammar, and writing during school is expected since you're still learning, but you'll be criticized heavily by teachers later on if you still make simple mistakes when you're in your teen years. Even college professors not teaching English courses have been known to deduct points for spelling and grammar errors on student papers and tests if the problem is that extreme.
The internet will make sure to let you know that your writing is terrible while also making the same mistakes themselves. Even if you post a great argument with backed up sources, no one will take you seriously if you type like someone who can't spell or form complete sentences, which is pointed out even further due to most web browsers today having built in spellcheckers.
Do you know the correct use of "your" and "you're?" Better hope so, because the Internet will definitely remind you of you're mistake, often resulting in long-winded Flame Wars.
Anything that children or teenagers are doing is serious business to adults. Adults believe that children can do no wrong and are innocent to the core, and any bad deed they are committing (which would commonly be engaging in adult activities such as doing drugs) destroys their innocence and it must be swiftly discouraged, and dealt with, even minor misdemeanors. It's no wonder that parents are trying their hardest to keep their children on the straight and narrow.
Children respecting adults. A lot of children, most especially teenagers, are always told to always respect their elders and not doing so will garner them heavy criticism and berating.
Children respecting their parents. They gave birth to them, clothed them, feed them, taught them the things them need to know in life, and are willing to protect themfrom those who would do them harm. Children would pretty much be in hot water if they take them for granted, not live up to their strict expectations, or, at worst, show little to no respect for their authority. In other words, children would be seen as Ungrateful Bastards because of these things.
Morality in general. The knowledge between good and evil, right and wrong, and white and black. Whether it's telling a lie to avoid hurting someone, fighting someone out of self-defense, or refusing to saving a life because you're afraid of getting hurt, you will get a LOT of heat for making these kinds of decisions. People would even go as far as mark you as an "irredeemable" person just because of said decisions, no matter how remorseful you are.
Because of the whole black and white scale, people will criticize you for not choosing the "right" side and they will see that as choosing the "wrong" side. In other words, there's no such thing as a middle side!
Fake guns. Most forces of the police are authorized to use lethal force against suspects that are presenting themselves as a clear and present danger to themselves or innocent bystanders. Many toy guns were (and some still are to this day) made in the shape and colors that were very close to an actual gun. Criminals may use a fake gun to rob a bank while other people or even children may wave a fake gun around as a prop. Terrible accidents occur whenever cops have to shoot someone holding a gun and don't know whether or not the gun is fake.
For that matter, laser pointers. Some bright sparks saw fit to use them on police, as though they were laser sights on real guns. Police have now responded with treating someone using a laser sight as a gun the same as if they actually had a gun, and react accordingly.
Criticism is serious business because anyone will never improve in every aspect in life because they choose not to take heed in a critic's words. If one is expecting to be praised for what they do or at least expects leniency of their criticism, then that person is arrogant and self-entitled and needs to get their head out of the clouds and just listen to Brutal Honesty.
Reading. Have you ever told people that you're not interested in reading a book if they ask you? If so, then know that any force from heaven won't protect you from them branding you as shallow and uneducated because you spend all of your time doing whatever you were doing instead of picking up a book from a shelf inside a library.