Yes, we confused Bob Barker with Bob Novak, and here's why. Plus: Readers weigh in on David Amsden's "To Bleach His Own."

Salon Staff
April 29, 2004 1:04AM (UTC)

Editor's Note: Yes, we know we identified "Price Is Right" host Bob Barker as conservative carnival barker Bob Novak in our "Blue Teeth: A Gallery." Yes, we fielded dozens of your abusive e-mails, sent between midnight and 9 a.m. Tuesday, from the time the gallery posted, to the time we fixed it.

"HAHAHAHA! 'Bob Barker' as 'Bob Novak,'" wrote Leslie Irish Evans. "You MEANT to do that, right?" Adam Saynuk had a similar reaction: "Was it intentional that you compared Bob Novak to a cheesy, philandering game show host of questionable age? That's pretty funny."


Thanks, Leslie and Adam, but no, it was completely unintentional, and we apologize to both men for the confusion.

"How could you possibly confuse the two?" asked an irritable Christine Koch. Glenn Lambert wrote in to tell us that he sympathized, that "I also confuse Republicanism with 'The Price Is Right.'" Thank you, Glenn. But actually, our mistake was a much simpler one. Bob Novak, columnist and CNN talker, actually was in our gallery the first time around. He didn't quite make the cut because, after including Fox's Sean Hannity, we didn't want this to seem a partisan affair: Blue teeth don't care whom you vote for, or whose water you carry. But now, in the spirit of full disclosure, and total transparency of our editorial machinations, we've decided to include the previously excluded photo of Bob Novak. Here you go:

[Read "To Bleach His Own," by David Amsden]


The advertisement that Mr. Amsden refers to, about three young women assuming that a fourth had a new boyfriend because her teeth were so white ("Look at that smile!") rocketed past the fake-orgasm commercials for a shampoo as my most-hated commercial. I can't stand to look at it and I hit the mute button as soon as it comes on, because I can't stand the inanity of the conversation, either. The reason I have to look away is because the fourth woman grins like a demented hyena; it seems that the advertising agency hired her because she could smile big enough to show every square micrometer of every damn tooth in her head. There is something truly repellent and frightening about it, aside from the weirdness of the whiteness. Another thing that troubles me is that it will work like a charm. Those revolting and ridiculous shampoo commercials do.

-- G. Omness

David Amsden must be a young 'un: "Toothpaste manufacturers have finally figured out a way to push their unsexy products using sex."


UltraBrite promised to give my mouth "sex appeal" before I even knew what sex was (remember the blown kiss that landed on a cheek?).

Nitpicking aside, I have been saying for a while that this whitening craze has truly gotten out of hand, pretty much like when marketing jumps on any bandwagon with a vengeance. Watch the other leading marketing cash cow crumble when they discover that a low-carb diet makes your teeth yellow ...


-- Walter Bazzini

Thank God -- a voice of reason. I just returned from the dentist, where my doctor suggested I spend $360 on a whitening treatment, because she thinks my teeth would really "pop." That's nice, but I have $11.50 in my checking account right now. In that sterile environment where all the employees -- from the receptionist to the cleaning lady to the dental hygienist -- all had those blue teeth, it seemed like a good idea. Thanks for giving me just what I needed to see exactly what I don't need. I don't wax my girlie parts, and now, I'm not about to break the bank on professional whitening.

-- Jacquie Paul


Thanks for the article on the horrendous epidemic of blue-white teeth. Before I read it, I thought I was alone in being put off by the ghastly unnaturalness of it all.

And thanks for posting that picture of the woman from the Crest commercial. Every time it comes on, I reach for the remote in order to avoid nightmares about the invasion of the tooth harpies. In offensiveness, it ranks right up there with the Herbal Essences commercials about women faking orgasms in the shower because of their "totally organic" (get it?) shampoo.

Yuck! That makes two product lines that are off my shopping list forever.


-- Bonnie Nelle Duncan

A good rule of thumb with tooth whitening (which I admit I have never tried): If they're brighter than the whites of your eyes, you've gone way too far.

-- Stephanie Earp

Somebody should inform the blue-white teeth crowd that their teeth look like dentures. Yes, that dreadful clacking and whistling symptom of unmistakable old age, instead of the youth they are chasing.


Especially on the older guys like Regis. He can start selling denture adhesives any moment now.

Just a decade ago, people used to have their dentures tinted a pale yellow or cream to match their natural teeth. Teeth would be made in uneven sizes rather than little pearls so it wouldn't look like dentures.

Now everyone wants the new dentures look. Amazing what the public can be sold as being beautiful.

-- Sylvia Sur

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