Friday, February 11, 2005

got wood?

Let's talk about erections. Supercharged, chemically enhanced erections. Now, don't think this is a gripe about morality or a rant against Viagra commercials and their ilk, as smarmy as they may be. No, this is about the disclaimer that you seem to hear from all commercials selling erection-assistance drugs. You know the one:

"Erections lasting longer than four hours, while rare, require immediate medical attention."

Why is that line in these commercials, without exception? They explain right in the middle of the sentence that these incidents are rare. You would think that your consulting physician would warn you of the potentially serious side effects of a drug while prescribing it to you and would be able to explain that to you in the privacy of the medical office. I'm sure it must be printed on the prescription label and with the accompanying data sheet that all pharmaceutical companies include with their products. It's hard to find a reasonable rationale for incessantly warning people of an admittedly rare side effect in every single advertisement. I find it difficult to imagine that they are putting it there for the benefit of the few men wandering around with a chemically-induced erection that won't go away and wondering what they should do about it.

No, I can't think of any good reasons for putting that line there. Except for this one, that is. They put it in each and every advertisement without exception because it is a successful selling point. They are planting in the minds of men viewing these advertisements the understanding that this drug can give you erections that last four hours, and that you don't really have to start getting concerned until three hours passes. Since the companies can't tell you directly and overtly that these drugs will make it possible for you to restrain nature for hours on end, they use this method to sneak it in under the radar by telling you that if you go more than four hours, it's a bad side effect!

And we wonder why the pharmaceutical companies spend so many millions on advertising...


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