Debate: Should America Adopt the Metric System?

By Glenn and Jake

The metric system was designed to be adopted by the entire world, but when’s the last time the United States of America did something because it made sense?  America has now found itself in fine company with Liberia and Burma as the only three countries to reject metricism and at the same time have a former leader sent to the International Criminal Court.  Should these “three amigos” stop holding out and convert to the metric system?  This debate will either serve as the hammer striking the last nail into the metric system’s coffin or the crowbar prying out the other nails, allowing the metric system to gasp for much needed American breaths.

Glenn: Of course we should adopt the metric system!  Anyone with severe Asperger's knows the comfort of measuring in tens.  Anyone who has ever had to walk all 1000 miles to settle a bet about the Proclaimers song would have much rather walked 1000 meters instead.  The American system, known as either United States Customary Units (USCU) or International System of Units (SI) is as bloated and disgusting as the average Midwestern diabetes II victim.  The ruler that you got hit with as a child in Catholic school was twelve inches long and the Catholic Priest who sexually abused you weighed between 175-225 pounds.  SI measurements are associated with all the worst things in our lives - Catholicism, gallons of milk, football players - while the metric system is associated with all the best - liters of soda, amounts of cocaine and the band Metric.  Why would anyone stick with SI?

Jake:  What makes America the second greatest country in the world is our ability to be completely wrong about nearly everything and act like we are completely right.  The USCU is great because a)its first two letters stand for “United States” and b)we already know it and Americans can never change their minds under any circumstance.  The only people in this country who know the metric system are scientists and drug addicts.  These are the only two groups that are universally reviled in this great nation.  A person can go to any street corner in the “big city” and purchase a gram of cocaine, but they will never be able to buy an ounce of it.  And hell, crack is measured in rocks.  That is a caveman measurement!  What this argument really comes down to is: should we do what everybody else is doing or should we stick to what we have always done?  “If everybody is jumps off of a bridge, should we?” or should we just keep sitting in our apartments streaming USA Network TV programs through Netflix?  We all know what the answer to this question.

Glenn:  The answer is no, spoken from experience.  I’ve spent entire Friday evenings watching Silk Stalkings and I’ve spent my entire life on SI.  I have nothing to show for it and neither does the United States of America.  There’s nothing wrong with adopting a popular trend - why do you think I got on Twitter in 2009 and Facebook in 2010?  America should indeed “join the crowd” and bring the metric system to our shores.  Measurements are something that need to be uniform otherwise you end up with one group of scientists saying neutrinos move .032 inches/second and another group of shamans saying they move .016 mm/second.  We can’t tell the difference between those two measurements but if even one of them is right, everything physics has rested on for the past 6,000 years is out the window and so am I.

Jake:  Maybe you belong out the window if you’re going to use that kind of logic.  Jumping on trends is why a television program like “The Big Bang Theory” pulls in nearly 15 million viewers per new episode, while programs of quality like “In Plain Sight” and “Royal Pains” can only manage a fraction of that rating.  The metric system is as confusing to the US as the Nielson ratings.  It is impossible to understand when you have been dealing with inches and ounces your entire life and it is impossible to understand why the fate of TV programs is rested upon the shoulders of a very small fraction of TV viewers.  The metric system and the Nielson ratings differ in one major area: America has adopted the Nielson ratings system.  This is why we can never change to a system that makes sense and is more accurate.  Maybe the metric system is more accurate than USCU, but I will never know, for I am an American.

Glenn:  The Big Bang Theory deals with intelligent scientists and how they navigate the “regular” world populated by people like you, me and Kaley Cuoco.  That odd negotiation of life must be how all scientists and foreigners feel when they come to this country and have to ask for things in ounces and pounds.  Think of a world where women didn’t fret any time their weight broke 100 pounds but instead when it broke 45.3 kilograms.  When you think of it like that, worrying about our weight as women seems a bit silly.  Fuck the patriarchy that creates it and by extension fuck SI.  The same argument you make about the metric system being too “confusing” is the same argument segregationists made about integration and bigots now make about transgender bathrooms.  Is it a coincidence that they measure our dosage of estrogen in grams?  I think not.

Jake:  If a human person decides to live in America, whether they enter legally or by other means, they must adjust to the measurement system.  If I took a trip to Paris, France, or Cairo, Egypt, I would hardly expect signs that said “55 MPH” and “20 oz McCafe $1” posted everywhere.  No, I would accept the measurement difference and try to fake my way through, much like I do with my orgasms.  In America we use a different system.  To us, our system makes more sense.  It probably has to do with the soil or maybe it’s just something in the air.  Switching to kilograms is not going to get rid of a woman’s body image problem.  You can point fingers at our “patriarchal system,” but you better not point your finger at the USCU, and if I catch you doing so, I am going to put you in the crawl space in my basement and like some of the bodies that Gacy put into his crawl space, you will never be found..


  1. Every debates ends with you threatening to put me into a crawl space! If only Gacy was alive, or his ghost was around, to read this.

  2. hey I'm a ghost around to read this and I love it! and please don't put me into a crawl space lol gacy and I share a first name but that's IT

  3. I have to side with Glenn on this. If yer on a long road trip, kilometers go by much faster than miles.
    Plus Jake didn't mention what measurement his crawl space was in - it's all in the details.