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Tuesday, February 28, 2006

RVers Flunk Taxonomy Practical

The curious slogan "You know you've hit gold when the POLLYWOGS mingle with the ROLY-POLIES" wafts above Fabre-esque drawings of various creatures dutifully labeled as if in a naturalist's notebook. Except OOPS, some of them are mislabeled in this annoying advertisement found in the current National Geographic by the sharp-eyed Cindy, fellow OC bug-watcher. Far from being a smarty-pants, Cindy poses the question: Do they (the advertising hacks responsible for this mess) think nobody notices or cares about their misidentification of species in their ad?

I'll bet the answer to that question is a resounding, "Huh? What do you mean, species?" The pretty little drawings of living things are included in this layout to impart a touch of nostalgia, a dash of nature, a bit of child-like curiousity to the idea of RVing. Aside from whatever bad camping experiences you've had listening to their gennies running all night long, this ad would like you to believe RVers are really into nature and stuff. Although nowhere on their website is "gaining a broader understanding of natural history" listed as a reason to Go RVing, I suppose it was hard for these advertisers to resist using a cute little "ladybug" or whatever to promote "going just about anywhere with an RV" (! ! !) Any significance of the organism's life history, let alone its specific name, pales next to its importance in furthering the image of RVing as a warm, yummy, touchy-feelie thing to do and buy. Gee I hope too many critters weren't squished as the RVs were hauled in for photos in those pristine settings.

As for that slogan, it made me wonder whether pollywogs (which live in water except for a period when they are becoming frogs or maybe already are frogs and are trying out dry land) and roly-polies (terrestrial crustaceans aka pill bugs or sowbugs that like moist but not wet environments) ever can mingle without one of them being dead or dying from lack of oxygen. When exactly does a pollywog become a frog? Is it actually the frogs and the roly-polies that are mingling? Oh well, whatever. Pass the devilled ham sandwiches, honey. You know you've struck out when advertising hacks mess around with randon science thingies.