It’s no secret that I am a serious hater of the MTA’s PSA copywriters. They are complete hacks. It’s like they’re mining for coal, but forgot what coal is. Take this example:
Let’s examine the copy…
You can take it with you!
Take care. Take it light. Take the subway. Take responsibility. Please take your trash with you when you leave the train or station.
Using your powers of pattern recognition to a degree easily achievable by most lizards, you quickly realize that they’re going for a theme of “phrases that start with the word take.” If you were a trained rhetorician, you’d know that is called anaphora. If you were a master rhetorician, you’d call it “for fuck’s sake, you’re embarrassing yourself.”
If they had started and stopped with “you can take it with you”, it would have been lame, but not “fails so hard it hurts me” lame, because it’d be a basic play on a well known phrase. Rhetorically, you’d classify it as simple, tried and true reversal negation — lame merely in the way that most PSAs are lame.
But they did not stop there. Laboring under the sad delusion that they know catchy from painful, they decided to drive home the point with some phrases that start with the word ‘take’… and came up with this list:
- Take care.
- Take it light
- Take the subway.
- Take responsibility.
Um, excuse me… “take it light?” When was that ever actually said by anyone? Anyone not answering the question “How do you take your coffee?” Never mind, that would actually be “I take it light.” Or just “light.” No, “take it light” has simply never been a phrase, anywhere, ever. And they put it on a poster as one of four phrases that start with the word ‘take’.
The most painful thing about this latest MTA PSA copy travesty is that it was completely avoidable. Here, allow me:
Take care. Take it easy. And if you take the subway, then please, take responsibility.
See how it’s done? It’s not so hard when you actually know English. Now paypal me $50, bitches.