"Red-Shirted" By Health Care?By Michelle
August 21, 2007 - 9:44 PM
A Buffalo-based health care company promising to give clients "the redshirt treatment" apparently doesn't know what the phrase suggests to Star Trek fans.
AdRants reported on the campaign, including a photo of an Independent Healthcare billboard that reads, "You Deserve the RedShirt Treatment." The ad refers to the company's red-shirted staff, but the company is apparently unaware of the treatment of "red-shirts" on Star Trek, usually minor characters brought on to die and demonstrate the threat to the major characters.
According to Wikipedia, "A redshirt is a stock character, used frequently in science fiction but also in other genres, whose purpose is to die soon after being introduced, thus indicating the dangerous circumstances faced by the main characters." AdRants attributes the term to Star Trek, "in which security officers wear red shirts and are often killed on missions."
In addition to its negative science fiction connotation, the "redshirt treatment" is used in American education to indicate a student whose eligibility has been postponed or put off to allow that student time to develop. The phrase came out of college sports, where it refers to players who have been recruited and practice with their teams but are not eligible to play varsity sports. It also refers to students who are held back a year, most often from kindergarten, to give them time to catch up with other students at the same level.
Independent Health received top honors from U.S. News & World Report's study of America's best health plans, where it was ranked ninth among national HMOs.