‘Diary is Scary’ billboards outrage New Brunswick literacy advocates

‘Diary is Scary’ billboards outrage New Brunswick literacy advocates

Moncton — New Brunswick literacy advocates are upset over advertising on billboards in Moncton and buses in Fredericton that have misspelled the word “dairy.”

“It’s not that we disagree with the intended message,” said Lynda Homer, executive director of the Literacy Coalition of New Brunswick, “it’s just that it’s so embarrassing. Like most things here. Embarrassing and so, so disappointing.”

What was supposed to be an anti-dairy campaign sponsored by Vegan Education Group New Brunswick has instead, due to editorial oversight, turned out to be a denouncement of reading/writing.

“What we wanted to do was draw awareness to the evils of the dairy industry,” said Bill Wilson, a representative of the vegan hippie collective. “But, I guess what we did was…sorta tell people that diaries are bad. I mean, what can you expect though? We’re New Brunswickers…that book-smart stuff like reading, writing, spelling — those ain’t our strongest areas, eh?”

Wikipedia defines a “diary” as: a record (traditionally handwritten) of someone’s life/thoughts/feelings, organized chronologically by date/time.

Whereas, “dairy” is a business venture that harvests and processes animal milk for human consumption.

“The message was supposed to be simple,” said Wilson. “Dairy is scary! Be afraid. Fear works on people, y’know. And so do rhymes! That’s why people like music — the words always rhyme in songs and this expensive marketing firm thing that convinced us to hire them told us that ‘dairy’ and ‘scary’ for sure rhymed. After they took our money, they totally bailed on us, and we thought we had it under control but, like, here we are.”

New Brunswick has the second lowest literacy rate in all of Canada, with only Manitoba reporting poorer results. One in five adult New Brunswickers (18.5%) are considered illiterate. Furthermore, it is estimated that around 50% of all New Brunswickers are “functionally illiterate,” meaning they lack the necessary reading and writing skills to manage daily life and work-related tasks that require skills beyond an elementary level.

“I’ve been saying for years that we need to improve provincial literacy rates,” said Dominic Cardy. “But as education minister, I just haven’t gotten to it because I’ve been too busy trying to make idio-er-” he paused, coughing, “…sorry about that, something in my throat. Let’s try that again: I have tried to make…individuals realize the importance of vaccinating their children.

“Other than that? I GOT CHOCOLATE MILK BACK IN OUR SCHOOLS, YO!! So, this hippie campaign makes me upset for two reasons: it’s supposed to be attacking milk, which we all love, and it’s promoting illiteracy.”

“Ah, geez…” grumbled Wilson. “Give us a break and think of the poor cows! We only messed up two letters and did we really mess it up? What’s the old rule? I before A after a D? So was it really a mistake? And if it was, considering how illiterate people are here, would anyone have even noticed if the Fake News media didn’t point it out?!”

  1. Dr. Brian Reid June 27, 2019, 12:25 pm

    Can you tell me where the source for “functionally illiterate” estimate comes from. The percentage seems reasonable. I’d like to know if the estimate comes from a government source.


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