If necessity is the mother of all invention, then the concept of annoyance is probably like its weird second cousin or something. We say this because a surprisingly eclectic range of inventions and media exist today almost purely because the person who came up with the idea first really wanted to annoy someone they didn’t like. For example, did you know that…
10. Hans Moleman was added to The Simpsons to spite aggrieved fans
According to the DVD commentary track for an early Simpsons episode, Hans Moleman – everyone’s favorite peanut-flavored Springfield resident – was a character nobody working on The Simpsons really thought all that much about when writing episodes. In fact, Moleman initially had no given name, and was simply a background character referred to as “Kindly Old Gent” in storyboards.
This all changed, though, when fans, who took exception to Moleman’s unusual, mole-like appearance (a factor that supposedly led to the coining of his name) began writing to the show simply to complain about how ugly the character was. Said letters, in addition to making fun of Moleman’s design, called for writers to completely remove the character from the show’s canon. Something the writers didn’t want to do, presumably because they, like many, were all kinds of gay for Moleman.
In the aforementioned commentary track Matt Groening explains the petulant whining of these entitled fans had the exact opposite intended effect on the show’s writers, who began including Moleman in more episodes just to spite them.
9. Potato chips were invented to annoy an unruly customer (maybe)
Experts on snacks of the salty variety note that the origins of the humble potato chip have likely been lost to the winds of time. As such, it’s impossible to say for sure who first thought of the idea of frying slices of potato thin enough to read a newspaper through and drenching them in salt. This being said, one of the most popular origin stories for potato chips is that they were invented by a chef entirely to annoy a finicky customer.
The story goes that potato chips were invented by a New York based chef named George Crum in the 1850s after he got into a heated argument with a customer. According to most versions of the tale, the customer repeatedly complained that Crum’s french fries were cut too thickly, with some versions positing that the customer also complained that they were neither cooked nor salted enough. An annoyed Crum is said to have responded to this by slicing some potatoes as thinly as he could and frying the ever-loving crap out of them.
To Crum’s astonishment, the customer ended up enjoying the “fries” and other customers, intrigued by what the hell they were eating, got their When Harry Met Sally on and ordered what he was having. Or so the story goes, because it’s alternatively alleged that potato chips were invented by accident when someone dropped a bunch of potato slices into a deep fat fryer.
8. “I Am The Walrus” was written by John Lennon to be as obtuse as possible to annoy fans
“I Am The Walrus” is widely considered to be one of the more… shall we say… unusual Beatles songs ever written, and fans have spent years trying to discern what, if anything, the lyrics actually mean. A fact that is said to have endlessly amused John Lennon, who wrote the song purely to annoy the kind of people who wasted their time dissecting Beatles songs
You see, it’s reported that shortly prior to penning the song Lennon read an article detailing how English teachers across the UK were studying Beatles lyrics. Lennon found this idea hilarious and set about writing a song crammed with as many nonsense phrases as possible.
Amazingly, despite Lennon openly admitting that the song was supposed to poke fun at and frustrate people who analyzed the lyrics to Beatles songs and that the lyrics were a combination of a Lewis Carroll poem and a bunch of stuff he pulled straight out of his anus, some fans contend that there is a deeper meaning to them nobody has yet discovered.
7. There’s a parcel of land in New York the city doesn’t own because it annoyed exactly one guy
Tucked away in New York’s West Village is a small, triangular-shaped parcel of land marked with a simple, unassuming plaque. The purpose of this plaque (beyond looking cool, we guess) is that it marks the final piece of New York property once owned by a guy named David Hess.
In the early 1900s the city of New York used the powers of eminent domain to bulldoze a hotel belonging to Hess, in addition to a bunch of other buildings. The city, however, wasn’t as thorough as it thought and it eventually emerged that a small piece of land that technically belonged to Hess had been overlooked. Wanting to get back at the city, and to spite everyone involved with the destruction of his beloved hotel, Hess absolutely refused to sell this final patch of land to the city and resisted every attempt to take control of it via the courts.
Hess was so insistent about this that he went as far to instruct his estate to continue sticking it to the city after he died and his lawyers spent thousands of dollars fighting to keep control of the land, which is now colloquially known as the Hess Triangle. After successfully defending the matter in court, Hess’ estate decided to annoy the city just a little more by placing a plaque upon that reads:
“Property of the Hess Estate which has never been dedicated for public purposes.”
6. Spongebob’s opening theme was written just to annoy parents
The opening to Spongebob Squarepants is a veritable assault on the senses. It’s loud, it’s obnoxious, and the lyrics are so infectiously catchy that running your fingers along the back of a person with smallpox reveals them in Morse code. Something, it turns out, was the intention of the show’s creators all along.
Apparently the idea was to make the opening of Spongebob Squarepants so annoying that kids couldn’t possibly ignore it, and the whole thing was crafted specifically to make kids want to jump around like a bunch of jackasses. Why? Well the show originally aired in the morning and the creators wanted any kids watching it to get so worked up and excited that they’d yell and scream enough to wake up their parents.
5. There’s a song out there that was written just to make you angry and upset
“The Most Unwanted Song” is perhaps one of the most ambitious pieces of music ever composed. Representing the findings of a poll to determine the kinds of music people liked the least, literally every aspect of the song was crafted with a singular purpose in mind: annoying as many people listening as possible.
Containing practically every element of music the general public agreed sounded offensive to the ear, “The Most Unwanted Song” is a horrifying amalgamation of styles and instruments that never lets up. Featuring everything from opera rapping to a blistering bagpipe solo, the song, if you can even call it that, is an unending battering ram of sound designed to grind away at your sanity.
The abomination of the song is the brainchild of three men – Vitaly Komar, Alex Melamid, and David Soldier – who clearly never took Jeff Goldblum’s warnings about stopping to think about doing things during Jurassic Park to heart.
4. Warren Buffett bought Berkshire Hathaway to spite the previous owners
Considering most every sentence ever written about Warren Buffett uses the modifier “billionaire” right before his name, it’s safe to say he’s doing okay financially. However, according to Buffett there’s at least one of his many business holdings that he intensely regrets investing in: Berkshire Hathaway. A company that has its finger in nearly every corporate pie in America, including Apple, Coca-Cola, Southwest Airlines, and Dairy Queen. Under Buffett’s leadership, it has become one of the most successful conglomerates on Earth.
Despite all of the success Berkshire Hathaway has enjoyed with Buffett as owner, the man himself has claimed that buying the company was a “monumentally stupid decision.” He says this because he bought it not because it was a sound business decision, but to annoy exactly one man: a manager for the company who slighted him.
Specifically, Buffett claims to have bought the company after a former manager reneged on an oral agreement to buy the stock he already had in the company for “an eighth of a point lower than agreed upon.” In response Buffett, rather than selling the stock he had for this new, lower price, hate-bought more stock until he owned the company, then fired the manager who made the offer. Despite Berkshire Hathaway being regarded as one of the Buffett’s soundest investments today, back then the deal was seen as a huge mistake, something Buffett himself has openly acknowledged multiple times.
3. Lamborghini only exists because of a petty argument
According to Ferruccio Lamborghini, the namesake of world famous hyper-car manufacturer that now bears his name, the only reason he started his company was because of an argument over a Ferrari. You see, prior to making the kind of cars that Doctor Strange drives, Lamborghini ran a very successful tractor business that also sold air conditioners. So successful, in fact, that he was able to buy himself a number of Ferraris, all of which he claims were plagued by a single, persistent problem with the clutch. Lamborghini eventually got so frustrated by this that he decided to complain about the issue to Enzo Ferrari himself.
In a 1991 interview with Thoroughbred & Classic Cars, an elderly Lamborghini recalled that this meeting went incredibly poorly and resulted in Ferrari angrily ejecting Lamborghini from his office. Ferrari was apparently incensed by Lamborghini’s gall and laughed off his comments, quipping as he slammed the door “you may be able to drive a tractor but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari Properly.” According to Lamborghini, this singular comment is pretty much the only reason he decided to start making super cars, meaning the only reason Lamborghini even exists is because the owner wanted to spite Ferrari. Isn’t business a fun and whimsical adventure?
2. Tubular Bells II was basically Mike Oldfield sticking it to Virgin Records
Tubular Bells (the album with that song from The Exorcist on it) is noted as being the record that helped launch Virgin Records and established Mike Oldfield as a bell-playing musical god. Virgin Records was apparently very pleased with the success of the album and reportedly spent years hassling Oldfield to record a sequel. A request the musician actively resisted, because nobody tells Mike Oldfield what to do.
After years of being harassed by Virgin executives, Oldfield eventually slipped the grasp of the company and struck out on his own and signed with Warner Music. So what did Mike Oldfield do upon being given complete and utter autonomy and the freedom to do whatever he pleased? Well he Record Tubular Bells II, of course.
Yes, the moment Virgin Records got off his back about recording a sequel to his most famous album, Oldfield went right ahead and did just that, partly to annoy Virgin. The lesson here being nobody tells Mike Oldfield what to do!
1. The right for women to vote (in New Zealand) passed because everyone hated one guy
Prior to women gaining the ability to vote throughout New Zealand, one of the staunchest opponents to the bill was a Kiwi Premier named Richard Seddon. As an idea of the kind of man Seddon was, just consider for a moment that his nickname amongst his peers was simply King Dick. Moving swiftly on, it’s noted that Seddon’s opposition to the bill and the fact nobody really liked him is probably the only reason it eventually ended up becoming enshrined in law.
You see, Seddon was so annoyed at the prospect of those pesky women getting their vaginas all up in his politics that he actively sought to sabotage the bill at every turn. To accomplish this, Seddon framed the suffragettes as kill-joy spoilsports who wanted to ban alcohol, in order to demonize them in the minds of the common man. Following this, Seddon turned his attention to actual politicians, using his influence to coerce and manipulate people into voting the way he wanted. Which totally worked. At first.
However, Seddon got just a little too greedy and after learning that he needed only a single vote to kill the bill in the Upper House, harangued a newly minted councillor who supported women’s rights into changing his vote. This act so infuriated a pair of councillors who, up until this point, had supported Seddon, that they changed their vote out of spite to make him look like an idiot. In the process the two men also just so happened to make New Zealand one of the first countries on Earth to give women the ability to vote.