Archive for the ‘lie-to-word ratio’ category

Lie-to-word ratios: Moschino Cheap & Chic

May 14, 2013

Moschino Cheap & Chic is a fashion line from the Italian designer Moschino. So that’s the first word taken care of very quickly: it’s definitely not a lie.

But cheap? I’ve just taken a look at the recent collection online. Looks like a belt will set you back around £209.00, a blouse is retailing at £446.00 and a pair of fucking red trousers is £203.00.

Obviously we all have different ideas about what “cheap” means, depending on whether we’re buying, say, an aircraft carrier or a loaf of bread. But I think most people would probably baulk at spending hundreds of pounds on a single item of clothing for everyday wear. Personally, I wouldn’t spend £700 on a blazer unless it had a jetpack attached. So cheap? No.

And chic? Again, this is subjective. You can tell it’s high fashion because the women’s sizes only go up to a 12, thereby excluding the majority of the UK’s female population (the ones who weren’t already excluded by the damn prices, that is). And the men’s range features lots of clothes that would be laughed at in most of the social situations I encounter. But chic? My subjective opinion is no. These clothes are what I’d describe as boggin’. Some are unwearable because they’re transparent; others are super-frumpy yet sleeveless; there are plenty of hideous patterns to make you look like the office joker.

I’m sure there are some people who are capable of looking good in Moschino clothes. But that’s not the test of chic. To me, the test of chic is: do these clothes make you look better than you would otherwise? For example, would you actually look better in a Moschino T-shirt than you would in a completely plain white Primark T-shirt? I’d say the answer, pretty much across the board, is no. I challenge the reader to find three items in the entire spring/summer 2013 collection that they would actually like to wear. I bet it takes you a while. Now remember that you have no idea whether or not it’ll fit you anyway, because you can’t find the size guide. And you don’t know if you can wash it or if you’ll have to shell out for dry cleaning, because they don’t bother to give you that information; surely anyone who can afford it has servants. Oh, and that reminds me: you can’t afford it anyway, can you?

Ignoring the ampersand, Moschino Cheap & Chic comes out as three words, two lies. A lie-to-word ratio of 2:3.

Lie-to-word ratios: Men with Pens

February 1, 2013

As well as collecting crap acronyms, I also collect examples of phrases with a high lie-to-word ratio.

I’ve been interested in the idea since reading a New Yorker profile of George Meyer many years ago (full article only available to subscribers, sorry). He gave the example of Country Crock:

“It’s not from the country; there is no crock. Two words, two lies.”

(Obviously, if you’re ploughing the rich linguistic seam of oddly-named butter substitutes, the UK’s I Can’t Believe It’s Not Butter is practically a PhD thesis in a tub, but let’s not go there.)

Since I collect them in real life, I might as well start putting examples on this blog. Today’s example is Men with Pens. For many years, this copywriting agency bigged up its macho, no-nonsense credentials and became very successful indeed. Business owner James Chartrand attracted criticism for sexist comments, but basically all was well. Until December 2009, when Chartrand outed herself as a woman.

In this example, the word “men” is actually two lies. She’s not male and she’s not plural (although she gave a very convincing impression of being a whole agency with several staff members). So the first word is two lies.

I assume there’s debate in the world of lie-to-word collectors about whether prepositions count. Should the “with” count as a word when you’re working out the ratio? I’m still not sure about this one myself.

As for the “pens” bit… well, it’s a metaphor, innit? Nobody literally expects them to do their work with pens rather than keyboards. And anyway, James Chartrand probably does own multiple pens. She can afford it. So I think she gets a pass on that one.

So Men with Pens comes out as three words, two lies. A lie-to-word ratio of 2:3.