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Friday, February 02, 2007

Investigative Journalism In The Curly Zone

Okay – the beginning of this might sound like it's about periods, but I promise it's not. It's about the fact that a well-known manufacturer of feminine hygiene products is lying to me by way of my… um… well, my girly parts.

This manufacturer, at some point, decided that a clever marketing ploy would be to print interesting trivial "facts", whimsically illustrated, on the underside of some of their products, on the peel-away bit. I won't go into detail, so as not to scare off any squeamish male readers, although I will tell anyone who's already grimacing to grow the hell up. This is all for a good cause – the uncovering of a LITANY OF LIES.

More than once I've read one of these trivial "facts" and raised a skeptical eyebrow in doubt of its authenticity. "Pigs might fly", I thought,"if they had wings like this thing". I see no reason why, just because these "facts" are designed to be read in a toilet cubicle, they should be just printed off with little regard for the truth. We might have just been cranky for the last week, but we're not stupid. I've decided, therefore, to put some of these potentially spurious claims to the test.

Claim #1:
Longest recorded female legs are 126cm – as tall as an average 10-year-old.

Assessment: Generalise much?
This might be true, but I think I have a problem with wording and generalisation. What about a female giraffe? And as tall as an average 10-year-old what? Bottle of Scotch?

Claim #2:
A cat has 32 muscles in each ear.

Assessment: Define "ear".
A quick spot of research on this one revealed a range of different claims about the number of muscles in a cat's ear – from "about 20" to "sixty-two individual muscles". There seems to be around 30-ish muscles which actually make the ear move, but possibly more are involved with other catty hearing stuff. My old mate Sharon's cat had the flappy-skinny part of her ears removed after they became cancerous, and we used to make noises behind her on purpose so we could watch her head-craters swivel. Feels relevant here.

Claim #3:
Vintage port takes 40 years to reach maturity
Assessment: Bollocks.
After bottling, which happens within three years of grape-harvest, vintage port is aged for anything between ten to fifty years before it's ready to drink, although most are considered adequately mature after twenty years. Do not lie to me about fermented liquids. I'll know.

Claim #4:
On average, people fear spiders more than death
Let's take the next logical step, professor…
Why do you reckon people are afraid of spiders, then? Is it because they're tangible representatives of the otherwise intangible concept of death? Or is it all them legs?

Claim #5:
The bloodhound is the only animal whose evidence is admissible in an American court
Let's just call a tomato a vegetable too, then.
Er… human beings?

Claim #6:
Only female ducks can quack

Assessment: Out-and-out bullshit
Male and female duck quacks are different, and the male's quack is usually much quieter than the female's, but they still quack. Basically if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it's a fucking duck.

I'm not finished with this mess of hygienic half-truths.
More updates to come.
Probably monthly.


shellity said...

I'm SO glad you're tackling this. It's about time someone got to the underside of one's underside.
I am giggling at the concept of a bloodhound submitting evidence in an American court. I'm sure bloodhounds are just as intelligent, if not more so, than Collies, and could answer questions on a 'one bark for yes, two for no' basis. But how does even the cleverest dog say, "Could you repeat the question please?" or, "Well it all depends on the context, doesn't it...".

adventure boy said...

I'm completely amazed. Great public service! But I must say I feel left out as a man. Why can't we have snippets of provoking incorrect cocktail knowledge on some products of our own?

Jo said...

AB - maybe next time you're at the doctor, he can say "Okay, adventure boy - turn your head, cough, and let me tell you the average rainfall in Guatemala..."