Tuesday, December 13, 2011

"Unstopable" nonsense

As Joe Jackson would say, "You can read it in the Sunday paper ..." Yes, I'm dating myself by both quoting Joe Jackson and admitting that I still read the newspaper, but look at the fodder I get.

The coupon inserts from a couple of weeks ago (the only part of the ads I look at) included this gem:

OK, so where do I begin? The oxymoron? The assignment of a new part of speech? The missing -- no, wait, it's there in one place, so let's make that inconsistent -- hyphenation?

Well, let's start at the beginning. The name of the product: "Unstopables." No, not Unstoppables, which itself isn't even a word but at least makes more sense in the spelling department. (Unstoppable is a word, yes -- an adjective. By adding an "s" it becomes a made-up noun. See more on this below.)

I read "Unstopables" as un-STOPE-ah-bulls, because, as we all know, the double consonant following the vowel makes the vowel short (the AH sound), whereas just the one consonant makes the vowel long (the OH sound). What? You didn't know that? Well, shame on your English teacher.

Anyway, not only does the spelling not make sense, but also the name doesn't make sense. To me, anyway. This is a product that you add to your wash to "boost scent." In other words, to stop odor. But wait — this is called Unstopables. What is it unstoppable at? Boosting scent? Meaning it doesn't stop even after you remove the clothes from the washer? Is that even possible? (Or desirable?)

Whatever. Let's move on. "New & improved." Well, which is it? Is it new? Or is it just the original with some improvements? Can't be both. This is called an oxymoron. Like "controlled chaos" or "rap music."

Next: "Get a fresh too feisty to quit." A fresh. So now fresh is a noun? Oka-a-y...  But a feisty fresh? Come on.

Underneath that: "An in wash scent booster ..." That should be "in-wash" -- and it is hyphenated on the actual product. Inconsistency. Real turn-off.

And to top it off ... why the French? At least this product also includes Spanish, which makes sense since probably the majority of Americans speak Spanish at this point. But French? So many products (especially in the personal-care category) include only the French translation, as if that makes them more desirable. "Oh, so the French use this moisturizer ... it must be really good!" And one of these days, when I learn French, it'll be fun to see how accurate the translation is.

Just what you wanted: A copy editor of multiple languages!

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