The Universe of Discourse

Thu, 13 Apr 2023

Two words, two lies

A New Yorker magazine profile of The Simpsons writer George Meyer says:

He is especially interested in examples of ad copy in which the word-to-falsehood ratio approaches one. He once showed me a magazine advertisement for a butter substitute called Country Crock. “It’s not from the country; there is no crock,” he said. “Two words, two lies.”

I think of this every time I am in the supermarket and see the Country Crock. I have always felt it was a weak example.

A lie is intended to deceive, and I believe the marketing people at Country Crock never expected anyone to think that it was actually from the country or actually in a crock. Most adults understand that brand names are not literally descriptive and are only intended to be fanciful and evocative. Meyer is being kind of a putz here.

I was going to include a list of non-descriptive brand names, but I don't think it would persuade anyone who disagrees with me. If you would like one anyway, consider Log Cabin pancake syrup. If you want to claim this is a ‘lie’, what is the lie? If not, what is the practical difference between Log Cabin pancake syrup and Country Crock margarine?

I would like to help out George Meyer by proposing a genuinely dishonest example.

How about “Moral Majority”?

[ Addendum 20230509: A followup. ]

[ Addendum 20230805: Three lies in one. ]

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