euphemism of the day

Victor Steinbok aardvark66 at GMAIL.COM
Sat Oct 29 04:23:26 UTC 2011

While watching one of Arnold Zwicky's favorite TV shows on a local
channel (cable, but local nonetheless), I heard an Activia ad. You know
all about Activia--that liquid product that Dannon (or "Danone") has
been bamboozling us with for the past five years or so. It's
"probiotic"--which supposedly implies promotion of growth of "intestinal
flora". Of course, any product with "active cultures", such as some
brands of sour cream, almost every brand of yogurt and "Kefir", will do
the trick--but it's much more beneficial... er ... profitable to dilute
it to liquid form and sell it in smaller containers at higher prices.
[Anyone had a grandparent telling them to eat yogurt after a cycle of
antibiotics should realize this.] Those 1970s Dannon commercials with
Georgians [ ] were almost honest, by comparison.
(Except the nano- and octogenarian Georgians--the mystery of Georgian
longevity was uncovered in the 1980s when it was revealed that most of
the geezers were actually much younger and had faked their ages decades
earlier in order to avoid conscription.)

But I digress. The new Activia commercial reveals yet another direct
benefit of concentrated probiotics--help with "slow intestinal transit".
Whatever it actually means (and it does mean something), here it was
meant to convey one idea--it relieves constipation. [ ] But you just don't say such things in polite TV
company (actually, many other brands do, but that's irrelevant). The
trouble is, "slow intestinal transit" is a real term
describing--duh!--slow intestinal transit (end-to-end, so to speak, not
corking), not merely euphemism for constipation. [Or so the woodchucks
tell us: ] I suspect, the
Dannon marketing people simply took something that sounded medical in
nature (because it is) and applied it to their own ends.

In the process of checking out the story, I discovered more fun with
slow intestinal transit.
"Activia" -- Dancing and Slow Intestinal Transit
> On the "Activia" Web Site I read these words... quote...
> /"Activia® is a yogurt with a probiotic culture, now available for the
> first time in Canada from Danone. Activia® contains a exclusive strain
> of bifidobacteria, called Bifidobacterium (animalis) lactis, or BL
> RegularisTM./
> /All yogurts typically contain two bacterial cultures: Lactobacillus
> bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilis. These friendly bacteria
> have been demonstrated to help digest lactose in lactose-intolerant
> people. In addition to these cultures, Activia® also contains
> Bifidobacterium (animalis) lactis - BL RegularisTM./
> /Danone's researchers added the BL RegularisTM strain to Activia®
> owing to its beneficial effects on colonic digestion."/ End quote.

More like "BS Regulais"! But the old Canadian is having some fun with it:

> "Bifidobacterium (animalis)"? You've got to be kidding me! Doesn't Bi
> -- mean two... fido -- now meaning dog... and bacterium... all in one
> word!!??? Then bracket in Animalis! Good Lord! This is not something
> that makes me want to open my mouth wide, swallow and then shake like
> I have a grass skirt on!
> "Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilis"!!!! -- the
> two ingredients that Yogurt typically contains they say. No wonder it
> used to taste like YUK!
> Doesn't Streptococcus kill people? And making it "thermophilis" sounds
> as if I could get real hot taking this stuff. BUT I would be able to
> Dance better! And every day I could "feel the Rhythm"!

Then he discovers the second Activia ad:

> Then yesterday "Activia" did it again! They truly tried to help an old
> guy really understand... but it was more riddle language... and ideas.
> But it was BRILLIANT -- ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT just the same!!!
> Here goes... are you ready?
> If I eat "Activia" it will help me with my "slow intestinal transit"!
> Now there is a brand new creation by Ad People. "Slow intestinal transit"!
> In the good old days of the Hippy Life we simply called it for what it
> was, Constipation... or "all bunged up"... having a great need for
> laxative...
> But to say one might have "slow intestinal transit" that is hilarious!
> The people I know think of "Transit" as...
> ... [dictionary definitions of "transit"]
> Nowhere have I ever heard a good bowel movement called a "transit"!
> Maybe it is a nice medical term for not being able to Poop. Maybe it
> is not nice for me to say to my doctor, "Hey Doc, I haven't pooped in
> over a week." It is better to say I haven't "transited".

In any case, have a great intestinal transit!


The American Dialect Society -

More information about the Ads-l mailing list