Take it somewhere else

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.

The Secular Humanist Pantheon: Introduction

Say you’re a Secular Humanist, like the BeliefNet Belief-O-Matic says I am. Despite your complete lack of faith in any deity, or indeed any kind of supernatural force, you might nonetheless from time to time find youself doing something resembling praying.

It’s almost always during a particular kind of moment, when nothing you do can effect an outcome you desire. And it makes sense for that to be the case, because if there was something you could do, you’d be doing it, instead of just praying. You know no-one’s listening. You’re completely confident that no effort of will on your part can in any way change what will happen. And yet still, you find your thoughts completely consumed, even if briefly, by a mantra: “please, please, please, let X occur.”

I found myself wondering about this the other day. If you are praying… then to whom?

Actually, I’ve thought a lot about this question since it occurred to me, but the full report on that line of reasoning is for another, more serious, post. This post is about a frivolous and yet effective answer.

It all started when one day, as I waited on an NYC subway platform for a train. There I was, thinking “please, please, please, let a train come soon,” when in a flash, it hit me – I was praying to the deity of NYC public transit, the great and powerful (and capricious) M’Ta-A. (That’s pronounced “mm-ta-aah”.)

So now you know. When you’re on a tight schedule, and your 1 train downtown pulls into the 72nd street station, and there’s a 3 train just waiting for you across the platform, and you have been favored by M’Ta-A. If you mutter thanks, M’Ta-A hears it. And should you find yourself assed out in Queens at 3am waiting for the G, you know who has forsaken you.

Mike Doughty sure knew it, when he wrote Thank You Lord for Sending Me the F Train.

Thus was revealed to me the notion of the Secular Humanist Pantheon. Now that I know, it’s so obvious, and as a Pastafarian, I already worship one of the supreme lords of this pantheon.

In future posts I may elaborate on the members of this pantheon.

Step over the gap, dumbass

I hear the main text of this PSA in a decidedly snarky voice. “Step over the gap, not in it.” Let’s try a few enhancements.

“You might want to try stepping over the gap. Just saying.”

“If you’re into tripping as you enter a train car, you could do this. Or you could step over the gap. Your choice.”

“Uuuuummmm… heLLOOooo??? The gap?? Step over?”

“Here’s a tip: step over the gap.”