Friday, January 28, 2005

"A Medically Supervised Anecdotal Study"

There is a commercial on Air America Radio for a product to "improve your performance in the bedroom" that cites the results of "a medically supervised anecdotal study." Huh? Do people miss this verbal slight of hand and think they said "clinical study?" Or worse, do people think an anecdotal study is meaningful just because a doctor is watching? Now there's a job I wouldn't want! Actually, I picture a bunch of guys, one of whom happens to be a doctor, in a health club locker room bragging about their recent conquests.

This junk phrase reminds me of a woman I worked with in the JC Penney shoe department when I was in high school. She told customers that shoes were made of "genuine simulated leather." One of them asked sincerely, "Oh really? Is that good?"

I had a feeling that someone else must have commented on this advertisement before, so I googled it yesterday. I found several references on the web, including a great site called
The Church of Critical Thinking (CoCT). There was not only an entertaining analysis of the many lowbrow ads on Air America, but also a response from Air America co-founder Sheldon Drobny that agreed and promised that the ads will get better as the fledgling network's audience reaches critical mass.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

Since we're suckers, and since language is imprecise and vague, we respond to terms like "genuine" and authentic," especially when they're used by an authority. We also respond to terms like "organic" and "all-natural" without inquiring about what that means. Same goes for "terrorist," "antisocial," and "political." Language sucks.

Anonymous said...
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