This is the Least Effective Double Entendre of All Time

A Turn OffI saw this poster somewhere. It’s promoting energy conservation. The slogan? Energy conservation is just a turn off. They even put a picture of a hand next to the switch, in case you don’t understand how light switches are supposed to work.

Here’s what I don’t get about this sign: it’s a double entendre, right? One of the entendres is positive: energy conservation is easy to do. It’s as simple as turning off a light switch. That’s a perfectly respectable and positive entendre. An entendre we can all relate to. An entendre so clear it almost makes me think I actually know what the word entendre means.

The other entendre? Not as positive. Energy conservation is just a turn off.  A turn off?  That makes it sound like you’ll be less attractive if you save energy. How does that make people want to conserve? “Look, it won’t get you laid, but using too many fossil fuels is bad for you.” It’s an odd way to promote energy conservation.

What if people started believing that? Do they realizing how damaging this kind of campaign could be to the environment? “Let me see, so I can either drive a Prius or get ass? Well, throw me the keys to that Hummer.”  If you make people choose between getting laid and saving the environment, the environment’s going to lose ten times out of ten. Sex is a biological imperative. Conserving energy is just something you do so other people will think you’re a good person. Some people say they support it just so they can get laid.

It’s a slippery slope. Pretty soon people will think that doing anything to help the environment makes them unattractive. Then people will think they should actively hurt the environment to appear more attractive. Before you know it, we’ll have people out on dates clubbing baby seals and spraying aerosol cans directly in the air. “Fuck this baby seal AND the ozone! Hey baby, let’s go back to my place, crank up the air conditioning, pour some rat poison onto a tree and do it in my car while it’s running!”

The worst part is it doesn’t make sense. Why would it even be a turn off? Would someone wasting energy be considered a turn-on? Who gets off on someone else wasting energy? I’ve never heard of a woman leaving her husband because he always remembered to turn his computer off at night. “I’m sorry Donald, I’m leaving you for Jerome! He may not make as much money as you, but he dumps his garbage directly into the ocean. Also, each month he researches one endangered species and goes into the wild to hunt them. Last month was condors.”

The bottom line: why even use “turn off?” Just avoid that phrase altogether. It would make more sense if it said:

“Turn off the lights to save energy.”

There’s nothing clever about that, but at least you’re not implying that people who don’t recycle can’t get laid.


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