I have always been amused by disclaimers in advertisements. Well, sometimes horrified and sometimes amused...
We have all see the drug ads on TV. They advertise an anti-depressant and then tell you to call a doctor if you have thoughts of suicide. Um...huh?
Zoloft, an anti-depressant can cause a whole slew of problems, including insomnia and impotence. Neither (and I am not psychiatrist) is going to make someone feel a whole lot less depressed. I won't list the other things [vomit, like coffee grounds] because they are too many and too [seizure] horrible to [hallucinations] mention [dry mouth and constipation].
This morning, however, I heard a series of commercials on the radio. Within one commercial break from the radio show, I heard three disclaimers -- disclaimers that convince me that we spend far too much time mirco-analyzing our world and, truth be told, far too much time in litigation; for, after, all what are these disclaimers but arse-coverers?
First, a car company bragged about the "reliability" of its trucks. Lots of deep, gravelly men's voices and some choice crunch-guitar chords in the background hyped up the testosterocity of the trucks. Which is fine. At the end, though, an announcer quietly explains: "'reliability' based on longevity." This, I imagine, is there in case some bean-counter questions the advertisers for making baseless claims and takes them to court...
I guess they don't want to be sued by a guy whose electrolyte balance wasn't optimized by his soft drink.
Then there was a car commercial -- Toyota, I think, but don't quote me on that -- that boasted "NASA-inspired zero-gravity seats." At the end, a bashful announcer admits, in a whisper, that the seats "were not designed by NASA."
This annoys me on two levels. First, the redundancy of it. "NASA-inspired" and "NASA-designed" are two distinctly different things. Isn't that enough? Second -- is it that important? Well, yes, if you live in fear of some bonehead suing you because he bought a car that he thought, based on your "misleading" commercial, had space ship seats.
Such micro-analysis. Such paranoia of litigation. Such minimal personal responsibility... And no area is exempt. Even in education. The school I help run has 24-hour grade posting. Parents can check grades around the clock. Still, we send home report cards; still, we send home "interim" reports; still we send home warning letters; still we send home failure notices that we pay to have send certified mail, so no one can say we didn't keep them informed. And, yet, they still do.
I once had a parent complain that he "didn't know" his kid was in academic trouble -- this is after 24-hour grade posting and two letters, one from the end of the first semester; the other, during the middle of the second semester. His complaint? We should have called him on the phone.
I wonder if his car has rocket boosters.