or, stuff that I dragged out of my head

Location: Moncton, New Brunswick, Canada

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Sew Confusing

I honestly don't know what's worse: people who ought to know better making an obvious mistake, or people who ought to know better making a mistake that might or might not be a mistake, and you can't tell from the context whether it's right or wrong, and you rack your brains trying to figure out if they know what they're doing or not.

Here is a description of a new scent from indie perfumer Dawn Spencer Hurwitz:

Vert pour Madame opens like a wind of Persephone and dries down to the elegance of Demeter. Inspired by the utterly chic and sophisticated style of the late 1970's and early 1980's classic green floral chypre, Vert pour Madame has power but more than that, she has depth. She's achieved it. As well, Vert pour Madame is the perfect harbinger of Spring with notes of hyacinth, jonquil and lily of the valley sewn into the earth with cedarwood, patchouli and moss.

Now, some people are going to read "sewn into the earth" and think it's a poetic turn of phrase. Other people are going to think, "Huh--she obviously means 'sown', because you sow seeds to get plants, so she doesn't even know the difference between 'sewn' and 'sown'!"

Me? I don't know what to think. Maybe she did mean "sewn": maybe she was being clever. Or maybe she just doesn't understand that "sown" in the obvious context is not the same word as "sewn", or maybe she just mistyped it and didn't bother to have a knowledgeable proofreader look over the copy.

And it drives me nuts!

If she wanted use, and meant, "sewn", which is actually possible as a turn of phrase ("sewn into the earth" is rather pretty), then she ought to have set up the word by establishing the notion of sewing, or couture, or weaving, or any sort of stitchery at all. Instead, she's got me, and probably not just me, wondering if her education has a gap in it.

If nothing else, we have another sterling example of my eternal refrain: for the love of all that is holy, before you publish anything, especially if you are selling something to people who might actually be turned off by bad grammar or usage, let someone else have a look at it. Someone literate. Please.


Blogger Perfumeshrine said...

I rather think she meant it as a weave-in context: sewn on the fabric of the composition, especially since it follows the stype of late 70s and early 80s (an era of return to couture and very intent tailoring).

Then again, I get your point in general! (even though it's not my native tongue and nuances might escape me all the time). There is ad copy and then there is ad copy (Nez a Nez I believe takes the cake? Or am I mistaken and it's another brand with awkward copy on LS?) And it's often confusing enough.

I recall that I had noticed something along those lines re: her Eau Natural. Shouldn't it be Eau naturelle or Au Naturel (and not "au natural" that many Americans perpetuate), but no, it was a purposeful play on words. So I left it at that. I think she knows what she's doing.

Friday, April 08, 2011 6:32:00 AM  

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