lost in the words

i’ve been thinking alot about my job, my current research job in comparison to my real job as a critical care nurse. if you’ve been reading my blog over the past few months or have had “the pleasure” of listening to me moaning about it in person, you may have noticed a theme. the theme would be something along the lines of how i thought research would be  all minute details, numbers, graphs and technical stuff but the study project i am involved in has taken wide turn away from science and towards social marketing.

it has now become apparent not only to me but also to my boss that politics (£2 million pubic funds) has superseded ethics. we discussed this week how the “project” will “suceed” , no matter what. in 12 months they will be able to say that they (whoever feels like participating)  decreased their infection rates nationally from 3.5 to (i predict) 0.8. ….exactly who participated, specifically how they did it and most importantly why some didn’t participate or decrease their rates will all be kept under wraps. 

having sat through meetings  where the comunications and creativity consultants have taken over the reins of the study project, i truly, first hand, with my own eyes and ears~ understand the term “spin doctor”.

now everything i see on tv (talk shows, commercials, news) and printed material (newspapers. magazines, adverts) fascinates me. it’s not so much what they say but what they don’t say…how the ads/documents/video are laid out, the big print and the little print. i suppose i naively thought that this was all put together kind of slap dash to fill a required space…now i know that hours and hours and hours of tedious work that goes into making it look a certain way. speakers get prepped, they are told  given feedback on what “works”, it  has to have consistency(ever wonder why they repeat the same slogan over and over?), the font has to be pleasing to the eye and approved, it goes to designers to be spruced up but sometimes comes back with typographical errors and incorrect content…because basically that’s not their job.

i was watching a show where a printer was saying exactly that…he was printing signs/flyers for houses for rent/sale. he said unless the customer specifically asks him to check for spelling, he doesn’t do it…he charges extra to hit spellcheck. so despite documents being “checked” by numerous paid professionals, they still come out with errors.  

now i know where all those broad sweeping statistical statments come from…x detergent gets rid of 30% more stains….50% of drivers prefer x car insurance.

we have/had one of those on this project….60% of units submitted data by the 15th of the month.

 what it doesn’t say is that only about 60% of units submitted any data! sooooo, 40% submitted NO data…even my simple grasp of math tells me that if there are about 200 units registered and say, 120 submitted datal…and only 60% submitted by the 15th of the month…that’s only 72 out of the total 200…not exactly something you can present in glowing terms to a room full of peers and collegues who might ask questions~~~ the slide was wisely removed….

lately, i have been wondering what to do with a box of tampons i bought at the the height of what may eventually be labeled “my last period”. it sits on the the window sill staring at me (wonder if it stares at my male roomates) everytime i sit on the toilet. the box has the same weird and cryptic messages that have become the thorn in my professional side. here’s a few examples:

so what eactly does that mean?? notice all the vague, non specific words?? unique? it doesn’t say in what way it is  unique?

top quality? i’m not buying a car here…designed with me in mind?? me??? tracya?? i doubt it…

a secure string for removal?? ummmm, i sure hope so…i would think that would be included in the basic tampon

this is what first caught my eye on this box..

the only tampon with a skirt for extra protection

i think the intention of the authors of that little piece of nonsense wisdom is that women will read that and think “wow, fantastic a tampon with a skirt!!! gotta stock up on these!!”

without spending that extra second to wonder….”does my tampon need a skirt?…and how does that give me extra protection?”

let’s face it..anyone buying a box of super tampons has used them before, i would bet a large sum of money on the fact that they (she) couldn’t care less about all these polite but manipulative words and like me would even prefer to buy her tampons in a plain brown box that simply says

48 super size tampons

sorry to use such an embarrassing but relevent analogy to my job but deep down i think that making something look bright and colorful, sweet and palatable just is not necessary and some of us just find it offensive.

4 thoughts on “lost in the words

  1. Never mind Rose! 🙂

    I just wanted to add something that I learned in my sociology courses that I never, ever really thought about before…we were talking about doing research and how it can be skewed and how there is no such thing as ‘unbiased’ – the key idea I came away with is that all results depend on just where you’re standing when the study is done.

    I don’t know if that makes sense, but the lecturer used an interesting analogy – a photo from a news story showing the police beating up on rioters. It was taken, of course, from behind the lines of the rioters. Another photo showed it from the police point of view – they were SO out numbered, but that’s not what you see on the news.

    Probably not all that germaine to what you’re talking about, but it’s one of those things that has stuck with me…

  2. Man woman…you do crack me up. Leave it to you to throw a tampon analogy into the mix…(tongue in cheek perhaps like your spelling of public as ‘pubic’…i think perhaps…?) I am the hippy of the group and all the ‘skirting’ in the world will only lead me back to the basics. The power of marketing is beyond ridiculous and it is difficult not to get sucked into it.
    Aside from that…it is hard to continue to do something that is completely against your grain and you can see the blatant ridiculousness of it all. Like being the only sober one in a room full of drunks.

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