ZYTARUK: Research is almost always a good thing

It’s good to know your history, be it real or ficticious.

So let it be written…

It’s good to know your history, be it real or fictitious.

Also, it’s good to know, if you’re going to embark on a major marketing campaign, what the name of your product might actually mean in languages different than the ones you speak.

I admit, this first story might be an urban legend, it might be real, I really don’t know.

But I suppose it’s plausible, and certainly amusing in a schadenfreude kind of way, no disrespect intended to the makers of fine Chevy products. (Heck, I drive a Chevy – full disclosure).

Also, one of my first cars was a 1976 Chevy Nova – aka, the ‘Chick Magnet’ – and indeed the subject of this aforementioned tale.

So what is a Nova, in English? Well, it’s a new star, suggesting something spectacular, and all that that implies. So that’s cool.

But what does Nova mean in Spanish? Precisely, No va?

No go, that’s what it means.

From 1972 to 1978, the Chevrolet Nova was sold in Latin America – mostly in Mexico, Puerto Rico, Venezuela and other South American countries – but as the story goes, sales were poor, because who wants to buy a car that, according to its sticker label, doesn’t go? As it were, the company got wise to this, in Latin America changed the car’s name to Caribe, and thence it sold well.

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If you’re selling something, it’s also a good idea to keep up on your pop culture. Surfing the web, I nearly spat my coffee on the screen when I came across a meal-replacement product called Soylent.

Invented in 2013, Soylent Drink, available in original, cacao and nectar, is said to provide 20 per cent of your daily nutritional requirements in a 14-ounce bottle.

So why the coffee spew? Well, people my age will recall the Charlton Heston science fiction thriller from 1973, Solyent Green. Set in 2022, with the oceans dying and food scarce in an overpopulated world, the fictious Soylent Corporation introduces a green wafer to the market called Soylent Green, made out of high-energy plankton.

Anyways, that’s the story until Heston’s character, NYPD detective Frank Thorn, sneaks into a factory and discovers, to his horror, that Soylent Green is actually made out of human cadavers.

Hauled away by authorities, Heston’s character famously shouts “Soylent Green is people!”

Was the inventor of Soylent in 2013 oblivious to this 1973 movie Soylent Green, or does he or she simply have a wicked sense of humour? Just for the lawyers, I am in no way suggesting Soylent Drink is “people,” OK?

Still, wow.

Crazy, crazy world. I’ll leave you with a bit of an unrelated curve, namely the craziest headline I could find in recent days: “Atheist group sues shelter over Catholic blessing of animals.”

Apparently a Roman Catholic priest blessed a bunch of cats and dogs at an animal shelter in Teterboro, New Jersey. Why he’d bother, I don’t know.

Not like they’d be lending an ear to the dogma, anyway (Sorry, I know…). Why the atheists would get their fur in a knot over this is similarly inexplicable.

So let it be done.

Tom Zytaruk is a staff writer with the Now-Leader in Surrey. He can be reached at tom.zytaruk@surreynowleader.com

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