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I Nose Your Name

I stumbled upon this article on the BBC which highlights research which contends that people with a more developed sense of smell are more inclined to obesity and overweight.

As someone who has had their own battles with their weight over the years, I found myself thanking providence that I have an absolutely rubbish sense of smell. I don’t know what size I’d have reached if I’d had a discerning nose!

Basking briefly in that semi-comfort, I then noticed a link to this article which refers to research linking poor smell identification to dementia.

Is it just me or does reading this kind of stuff make one paranoid?

Undaunted, I saw another link to this article which tells how odours become less unpleasant if you give them a nicer name.

In an experiment for example, volunteers asked to smell a cheddar cheese odour rated it as more pleasant when it was labelled as “cheddar” than as “body odour”. There were no examples however of labelling body odour as cheddar.

Now this I can identify with and I have my suspicions that our politicians and media have cottoned on to the principle a long time ago and not just in the potpourri department.

I mean when did a quilt become a duvet for example? I’d guess the late 70’s or early 80’s. This was probably around the same time that the Common Market became the European Economic Community and at a subsequent stage became the European Union and then the EU.

I mean who couldn’t like the EU? it’s almost like “YOU” a wee cuddly term. Not common at all – or anything to do with markets.

Mind you the jury is still out on whether Snickers has more appeal than Marathon. Or for that matter do you prefer Starburst or an Opal Fruit?

The Scottish Tories, sorry Conservatives have long toyed with the idea of a name change. I’d suggest Damien. I mean we have a TV channel called Dave don’t we?

And then there are countries which have changed name. Ceylon became Sri Lanka. East Pakistan became Bangla Desh, Rhodesia became Zimbabwe – hang on I’m not sure if name changes for countries are all that successful.

But maybe Ireland with its economic troubles could change to Seamus or Kevin. A new independent Scotland? what about Shug or Tam?

Alex Salmond could consider a less fishy surname perhaps?

Which brings me back to obesity and strong odours.


2 Responses

  1. Rab, quilts never “became” duvets, they are still quilts. People started replacing their old quilts made from fabric and batting, with down filled duvets as more people travelled into Europe and experienced the luxury of sleeping under a duvet. Some people no doubt still prefer being crushed under the weight of woolen blankets and their dad’s army greatcoat when retiring for the night.

    Your point however, about the power of language and how it is manipulated is well made. Just consider that often used but hollow phrase “The War on Terror”

  2. “There were no examples however of labelling body odour as cheddar.”
    I don’t know. The mother of a schoolfriend of mine always went on about cheesy feet.

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