Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Velcro Doesn't Go


Um, okay.
I mean, I know what you mean, okay? I just don’t like it. At all.
            The good news: It's a sentence. So it deserves that period. Which is rare enough in advertising that we can spend a microsecond celebrating. But I don’t even know where to begin to make it stop hurting.
            Simply switching the words around (sometimes the easiest fix) doesn’t help:


            Um, no.
            A core problem is that Velcro is actually a company, not a thing that “goes together.” I’ll grant you that many people call hook-and-loop fasteners by the trademark name “Velcro,” but that doesn’t make it right. Nor does it change what I suspect is the fundamental problem: that the item in question is rarely perceived as being composed of constituent pieces. Which I suppose is what the “Milk Every Moment” people had in mind.
But it doesn’t work! To the innocent reader, Velcro—or, rather, a hook-and-loop fastener—really doesn’t suggest a two-halves-make-a-whole unit. Case in point: just by rendering its generic name singular rather than plural, I fear that I have put a kink into that last sentence.
So to make this ad make sense (from a language usage point of view), you almost have to do:


            And by that time, you might as well fortify yourself with that milk-and-grilled-cheese snack, because you’ve lost your ad. And let's not even address the condition of the billboard.
            But this makes me happy, anyway, and not because I have now introduced you to the option of calling this wonderful invention by its generic name. That is pleasing in its own right—even more so because it gives you all the opportunity to practice the proper deployment of your hyphens. No, it makes me happy because I did not know that “Velcro” is a portmanteau of two French words (both of which exist in English with slightly different meanings): velours (“velvet”) and crochet (“hook”). Thank you, Wikipedia. Thank you, George de Mestral. Thank you, English.


  1. Thank you Rachel. The ad made me cringe, but I find folks zooming down the street in the car with me usually do not share my need to see correct grammar when it's blazoned across half the sky like that. I too tried a few versions in my mind, by which time the billboard was happily far behind me and out of sight so I could forget all about it. And velours crochet - now I know. Now we ALL know. Thank you.

  2. I gotta lotta subliminal, outstanding words for you, dear...

    VERBUM SAT SAPIENTI: As a writer of the sassy, savvy, schizophenia we all go through in this lifelong demise, I just wanna help U.S. git past the whorizontal more!ass! we're in (Latin: words to the wise)...

    "This finite existence is only a test, son," God Almighty sed to me in my coma. "Beyond thy earthly tempest is where you'll find corpulent eloquence" (paraphrased). Lemme tella youse without d'New Joisey accent...

    I actually saw Seventh-Heaven when we died: you couldn't GET any moe curly, 3stooges, party-hardy-endorphins, extravagantly-surplus-lush Upstairs when my beautifull, brilliant, bombastic girl passed-away due to those wry, sardonic satires.

    "Those who are wise will shine as brightly as the expanse of the Heavens, and those who have instructed many in uprightousness as bright as stars for all eternity" -Daniel 12:3

    Here's also what the prolific, exquisite GODy sed: 'the more you shall honor Me, the more I shall bless you' -the Infant Jesus of Prague.

    Go git'm, girl. You're incredible. See you Upstairs. I won't be joining'm in the nasty Abyss where Isis prowls

    PS Need some uncommon, unique, uncivilized names? Lemme gonna gitcha started:

    Oak Woods, Franky Sparks, Athena Noble, Autumn Rose, Faith Bishop, Dolly Martin, Willow Rhodes, Cocoa Major, Roman Stone, Bullwark Burnhart, Magnus Wilde, Kardiak Arrest, Will Wright, Goldy Silvers, Penelope Summers, Sophie Sharp, Violet Snow, Lizzy Roach, BoxxaRoxx, Aunty Dotey, Romero Stark, Zacharia Neptoon, Mercurio Morrissey, Fritz & Felix Franz, Victor Payne, Isabella Silverstein, Mercedes Kennedy, Redding Rust, Phoenix Woolsy, Sauer Wolf, Yankee Cooky, b9grey...

    God blessa youse
    -Fr. Sarducci, ol SNL