Why drying clothes in the sun has sparked an online culture war between the US and Europe | Society

“This is the adorable thing about Europe, all these little countries that are like ‘look at me, I have pretty high GDP per capita,’ and then nobody actually owns a machine that makes clothing dry. It’s so cute!” This message on Twitter was written by Josh Barro, a provocative podcaster responding to graphics indicating that life expectancy in the United States is falling compared with Europe.

The Twitter thread was soon filled with responses from Europeans telling Barro that public health and gun control are more important than owning a clothes dryer. Others sent him photos of their clothes lines, along with reminders that they received free treatment for cancer or diabetes.

The use of clothes dryers in the US has become a recurring issue on Twitter. There are plenty of other tweets along these lines: “things America does better than Europe: dryers”; “Americans have big houses, dryers and a higher probability of early death, perhaps from gunshots. The French have immunity to heart problems through alcoholism.”

Five years ago, a Reddit user asked non-Americans what all Americans should know. One of the answers, which says “Electric dryers are nowhere near as common as in the States,” resulted in a still-active thread with more than 7,000 comments. A Canadian confessed that he had never met anyone who had a washing machine but not a dryer. One American expressed his surprise: “I don’t understand how you could not have an electric dryer. What if you want to do laundry, and it’s raining outside? What if you want to do laundry quickly? Living in other countries must suck.”

The White House laundry room. On the wall hangs a calendar for April 1909.
The White House laundry room. On the wall hangs a calendar for April 1909.Shorpy.com (SHORPY)

The Reddit thread also gave rise to several clashes, with European social media users blaming high energy spending

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