Dare Not Speak Its Name

Doc Gurley Pop Quiz!*

“Dare not speak its name” refers to (choose one):

1) Traditional Jewish law about the four-letter name for God
2) George Carlin’s send-up of TV censorship [WARNING: definitely R-rated video]
3) The CIA’s role in Guantanamo Bay interrogations
4) Homosexuality – Lord Alfred Douglas’ description of his relationship with Oscar Wilde
5) The pharmaceutical drugs Chantix and Ambien

Answer: all of the above. Chantix and Ambien (oops, was I not supposed to say those names?) have joined the ranks of God, gays, torturers, and seven kinds of profanity. How can that be? Widespread pharmaceutical ads for these drugs are running nationwide that specifically never mention the drug. Who would run an ad that dare not speak its name? Isn’t that crazy? Well, no, more like (as my Southern granny would say) crazy like a fox. The reason is that drug companies don’t want to say the name of the drug – cause then they’ll have to tell you how bad these drugs can be for you. All side effects (including heart irregularities, movement disorders, diabetes, and increased traffic accidents) are deliberately omitted. And, an even more ominous ploy is used in these ads – they mimic a public service ad. These ads create a desire to change in the viewer, who then looks for what they think will be unbiased information, but (ta-da!) it’s another sleazy drug sales-pitch. Imagine you’re the viewer who falls for this trap – wouldn’t you feel cheated? These devious ads manage to (simultaneously) 1) skirt already weak regulations regarding direct-to-consumer drug advertising, 2) deliberately imply no side effects, and 3) betray the public trust in public service ads. It’s a new day in for-profit shameful behavior. If you too are offended, write your representative, and/or the FDA. And, oh yeah, you can speak their names…

*Extra credit will be given

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