As I tell my classes, Eduction
is when one takes a quote out of its original context to change the meaning. This occurs in many different contexts, but one of the most well-known and obvious is when quotations are pulled from a review and then used in marketing. This happens in all domains, but is most obvious in the case of films and DVD's. I came across an excellent example of this while perusing one of my favorite pop culture websites (got to keep up with the kids and stay relevant!) the AV Club
. One of their writers, A.A. Dowd, recently penned an open letter
to media company Mongrel Media, calling them out for misquoting one of his reviews for a blurb on the back of the DVD release of the film Nailed
in the US). First, here is the blurb on the back of the DVD:
|A comedic masterstroke.|
This is fairly high praise, and if one is familiar with this reviewer, this recommendation would be a good reason to pick up the film. However, if we look back at Dowd's original C- review
, we find that this "praise" is not as high as it might initially appear:
To be fair to whoever refashioned Accidental Love from the abandoned scraps of Nailed, there’s little reason to believe that the ideal, untroubled version of the material would have been a comedic masterstroke. [Emphasis added]
As we can see, Mongrel Media just lopped off the beginning of the sentence to completely change the original meaning of the quotation. This is a textbook example of eduction, and it occurs
much more frequently than you might think.
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