Saturday, March 05, 2011

Look who's crawling up my wall

Quick, what's your first reaction to this USA Today lede, reproduced in Saturday's Freep?

If you completed the annoying Walter Scott couplet -- or tried to, noting that "When first we practice to deceive" doesn't fit as well with "Mazda wove" as you wanted it to -- you should be pretty well primed for a tale of automotive skulduggery and sleight of hand. And you will have been grossly misled. It's the same story you first heard Thursday, if you keep up with such things closely, or first read on page 8A Friday (the second image here) if you wait for the dead-tree edition to arrive, and there isn't a trace of the promised deception.

So absent the benefit of novelty, it looks as if we have two possible outcomes here:
1) Readers miss the allusion entirely and wonder why the newspaper is wasting their time, or

2) Readers get the allusion perfectly and forthwith discover that the newspaper is more or less lying to them

Why would you want either outcome? Especially since this (as the Chrysler ad* so charmingly notes) is the Motor City, not the suburbs of the capital, and the writer is never going to see his little masterpiece slip quietly beneath the waves?

* How cool was it to have the Rivera murals on national TV in the middle of a football game?

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Blogger The Ridger, FCD said...

There are a largish number of people in the media - particularly but not exclusively in advertising - who either do not themselves or believe their readers do not know more than the first line of anything.

Either that, or they don't care if the rest of the quote/song/proverb doesn't fit.

Why else would they think "spiderwebs" was the key here? Or that buying a car run by the computer in Major Tom was a good idea?

12:49 PM, March 06, 2011  

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