Two Almost Physicists With Almost Something To Say


Overly Harsh and Pedantic Takedown of This Shower Curtain Map

Doesn't look good under harsh bathroom lighting either

The World, from the same people who brought you liquid body soap

Allow me to get this out of the way right off the bat: I am not a cartographer. Sure, I may have a particular affection for the “Geography” section of Sporcle. And yes, I can spell Kyrgyzstan and know that Toronto isn’t the capital of Canada (even though it obviously should be). And I may have even drawn a map of the world from memory (along with everyone else in my class) as an end-of-year project in 7th grade. But those days are long past, and I have something significantly more important to tell you about: the bathroom users of this country are getting puzzling and inaccurate geographic information from one of the most popular shower curtains on the novelty shower curtain scene.

Sentimental views of crushing poverty have never been this geographic!

I am referring to the curtain available here which is well known enough that I had already seen it once or twice before picking it up last year. It even featured in a few episodes of the US version of Shameless alongside Emmy Rossum’s boobs (no, that link isn’t to her boobs, pervert). If they ever reboot Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiago? as some kind of edgy, morally-ambiguous, heist drama on AMC it’ll be in their bathroom as well.¹

Unlike Amazon reviewer “E. Foster” whose primary complaint was “Really Smelly!” most of my criticisms are based on the bounty of geographical oddities contained upon its rubber surface. Sure, it’s just a shower curtain, but it is one of the most massively influential shower curtains on the market right now! Here are some of the things that are strange about it:

  1. The Mercator Projection. Widely considered the wrongest of all preposterously wrong map projections. It’s a wild distortion of the relative sizes of various parts of the world that says to your typical mid-17th century colonialist “Why OF COURSE it would make sense for Norway to rule over the southern half of Africa.” Continue reading