Watch 'Last Week Tonight' Explore Absurdity of Daylight Saving - Rolling Stone
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‘Last Week Tonight’ Explores Absurdity of Daylight Saving Time

John Oliver’s HBO show asks why this fuel-saving measure from WWI is “still a thing”

Another year, another day of moving our clocks forward one hour for antiquated reasons that few seem to understand. Thanks to HBO’s Last Week Tonight, at least we can laugh at our own confusion. “If you’re like most Americans, you’ve been groggy all day after losing an hour of sleep to Daylight Savings,” says a narrator in the above clip, the latest installment of “How Is That Still a Thing?” “And as you struggle to remember how to change the clock on your fucking microwave, you may have wondered, ‘Why is this happening?'”

Many people think Daylight Savings is related to farmers, but this isn’t the case. “[There’s] really no farmer I’m aware of that actually benefits from farm activities on Daylight Savings Time,” says a real-life farmer interviewed for the segment. “Of course daylight savings time doesn’t benefit farmers,” the narrator continues. “Cows don’t know what time is it. Because they’re cows. And cows are idiots.”

The practice was first introduced by the Germans during World War I as a fuel-saving measure. But as Last Week Tonight observes, “in the modern era, energy consumption is a little more complicated.” One news report notes that Indiana, after adopting Daylight Savings in 2006, saw a 1 percent increase in residential electricity. “Switching on a lamp an hour later in the summer doesn’t really matter when you’re blasting an air conditioner and staying up all night psychotically scrolling through Instagrams of your ex’s honeymoon to Morocco,” says the narrator.

Another report references an increase of “car accidents and work-related injuries the week after the time change.” Seventy countries – including Italy, Germany and Australia – still use Daylight Savings, and the segment demonstrates through interview clips that many of those countries’ citizens are equally frustrated.

“So if it doesn’t benefit our energy bill, our health or our stupid, stupid cows, it has to make you wonder, ‘Daylight Savings Time: how is this still a thing?'” our narrator asks. The world awaits an answer. 

In This Article: John Oliver


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