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    We’re Sorry, But Soap Is Not a Cause

    dove campaign.jpgQuote:  “Are you pro-age or anti-age?”  Slogan for the beauty brand Dove.

    Figure of Speech: false dilemma fallacy.

    Selling soap has a new wrinkle:  Dove’s campaign for “real beauty,” which shows nude women of a certain age.  Being a fan of real beauty, Figaro applauds the imagery.  But he hates the slogan.

    Dove joins the inane politicization of everything.  The beauty-product site has a link to “join the debate,” for crying out loud.  What debate?  To paraphrase Donald Rumsfeld, age happens.  Asking whether you’re pro-age or anti-age is like wondering where you stand on gravity.  

    The Dove campaign commits the fallacy of the false dilemma, one of logic’s most insidious tricks.  It gives you two choices when you actually have many choices or none at all.  The harm comes from our instinct to join a party rather than consider the issue.  You’re either for them or against them — either liberal or conservative, Rush Limbaugh Dittohead or Al Frankenstein, pro beauty soap or anti beauty soap.

    Figaro is all for boosting the self-esteem of fifty-somethings.  But he remains an age agnostic.

    Snappy Answer:  “I’m anti-vanity.”

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    Reader Comments (1)

    Boy, did you ever nail this one! As a former publicist -- and a former, former broadcaster -- I know all about the false dilemma fallacy. But I don't think any group does it better (worse?) than the beauty industry. Without them, how would we know what all is wrong with us? Peek inside any of the "women's" magazines -- Allure, Cosmo, Vogue -- and you will see it is a very, very long list indeed.

    This is my first visit to your site. I just had to compliment you on your excellent BS detector. Thanks!
    April 12, 2007 | Unregistered CommenterLinda Lopez

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