Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Blogs are forever.

If I were the subject of a glossy magazine — say Dees Monthly, patterned after what O magazine seems to be, in which you get to be on the cover every month, and pretty much anything you want goes in between the front and back — I’d have a regular column called Over the Transom. Quaint term, that. How do I know it’s quaint? It came up a year or so ago at the office, and the youngest member of the staff had never heard it.

But even a place as modern as Alamo Heights Junior School, built about 1959, had transoms over the doors. Ugly, utilitarian transoms, but they were there. Probably the designers weren’t entirely sure that the air conditioning would work all the time, and it being South Texas, they knew there had to be a backup of some kind.

Anyway, over the transom today, electronically, from an outfit called Bridal News Network:

“Dear Editor,

Young brides and newlyweds will delight in our latest royalty-free celebrity feature on pop superstar Jessica Simpson.

The Lure of Natural Diamonds: A Favorite of Jessica Simpson (#967)

The diamond is one of nature's greatest miracles. Their amazing journey through time reveals why diamonds possess such a romantic attraction and fascinating mystique, and why they adorn so many celebrated women like superstar Jessica Simpson. Photo of Jessica Simpson and her diamond engagement ring available.”

Leave aside the question of why a commercial real estate publication got this. Databases are peculiar. “Royalty-free” caught my eye, and it took me a moment to decide they meant I wouldn’t have to pay for the story, after toying with the (ridiculous) idea the Bridal News Network is a front for a nest of Jacobins. Weddings for the people! No royalty here, citizen comrade! Vive la Bridal Republique!

Really, though, I’m impressed. Hack marketing prose doesn’t get much more polished than this – glittery like a diamond, but completely vacuous. It takes some talent to write that way. I won’t bother fisking the thing; that would be too easy. But I have to marvel at the outstanding success of the De Beers cartel in romanticizing diamonds in the 20th century, so successful that a genuine cultural shift took place regarding engagement rings. The Bridal News Network – probably consisting of a writer, a salesman and an administrative assistant in a small Madison Ave. office – may or may not be in the pay of De Beers (the cartel ain’t what it used to be, though it’s still strong). But the BNN are certainly heirs to the effort to imbue hard stone with soft sentiment.


Post a Comment

<< Home