Disclosure: Unlike in the past, Vanity Fair is bending over backwards to disclose (however, in frog-hair type) any connections someone at the magazine may have with the Hollywood power-brokers on its “New Establishment” list. (Personal disclosure: The fact that I’m not adding any snide comment to this post has nothing to do with my friendship with an individual associated with a company owned by the same people who own Vanity Fair or that I owe that friend a lunch.)

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Product placement not good, say Volvo-driving journalism profs

Product placement not good, say Volvo-driving journalism profs: In an apparent effort to undermine their Abercrombie-clothes-wearing students’ chances of ever getting jobs in their major, 61 journalism and law professors sent a letter today to the American Society of Magazine Editors (based in “I love New York“) asking it to enact new rules to require disclosure of product placement in magazines, and to prohibit the disguising of ads as editorial content, or providing special favors to advertisers. The letter was written and organized by Commercial Alert, a nonprofit organization that opposes commercialism. It was mailed via Express Mail from the U.S. Postal Service.

I’m as happy as I can be (sort of like I feel after drinking a delicious glass of Coca-Cola or a steaming hot grande latte from Starbucks) to learn that ASME is being asked to throttle back the way it encourages magazine editors to weave advertisers’ products (like Apple’s new G5 iMac, for instance) into every story. I also hear that somewhere in their guidelines is a rule that makes editors do special favors (like including a Sony MiniDV Handycam in the “cool gadgets” section) for advertisers, as well. And that rule insisting that editors run every press release handed to them by an ad salesman (or sent electronically via BusinessWire, the global leaders in news distribution)…why ASME should be ashamed.

On behalf of magazine readers everywhere (and especially those who purchase subscriptions from the rexblog Amazon.com affiliate store), I’d like to thank these distinguished academics for trying to protect me for the rampant commericalism that has overrun the pages of magazines. Like these professors, I think advertisers should take their magazine advertising dollars and go where they’re appreciated, like a TV reality show or something.

Way to go, you opposers of commercialism!

(via btobonline.com)

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The accidental Nashville weblog

The accidental Nashville weblog: On Slashdot.org (or, was we call it around here, /.), there’s a huge debate raging regarding the ethics and legality of the “I Found Some of Your Life” weblog. The premise of the weblog is this: Someone finds a digital media card containing 227 photos. The finder decides to post one photo each day to a weblog and make up a story to go along with the pictures.

I clicked over to the blog and within a photo (the Titans banner pictured to the left was my first clue, duh) or two realized that most of the photos were taken within a few blocks of my office (no, not the ones taken in Amsterdam) at a well-known nearby university. Two of the seven readers of this weblog surveyed before I posted this have identified several of the people pictured.

Readers of my weblog can guess my reaction to it: It’s some of the funniest stuff I’ve seen in a long time while being a bit too creepy to enjoy (or, at least, to admit it).

It’s a lawsuit waiting to happen, as one /. poster observes.

Update: As pointed out by Tom’s comment (below), the “weblog” has been updated this afternoon with this message:

No new posts until further notice…To be clear, I have not yet been contacted by anyone appearing on the site. I am allowing some time for the /. ripple (tidal wave) to smooth out. If you are the owner of the memory card, please email me. Obviously, verification will be necessary. Thanks.

I’m just guessing, but I thinking finding the owner has been handled.

Update II: Well, the “I Found Some of Your Life” weblog has apparently lost some of its life. The blogger-author-artist-comedian has apparently gained some insight into the nuances of the American legal system…or has realized how creepy the whole thing was. Funny. Brilliantly funny. But, really creepy.

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