Links for ACC-ers

This won’t make sense unless you are/were at my chat in Minneapolis, but this is the easiest way for me to do this, so just ignore if you don’t have any idea what I’m referring to.

If you do know what I’m referring to, here are the promised links:

  1. Harriete Estel Berman’s site; Murketing Q&A with her.
  2. BustedTypewriter’s Etsy Shop, where a gutted copy of Buying In was sold, is here.
  3. Rubi McGrory’s site.

Was there other stuff I should link to? If so, let me know in the comments and I will.

Thanks to ACC and to everyone there; it was fun.


  • Filtering Reality: “After California’s Prop 8 ban on gay marriage passed, opponents of the measure dug up public records of donors supporting the ban, and linked that data to an online map. Suddenly, you could find out which of your neighbors (or the businesses you frequent) were so opposed to gay marriage that they donated to the cause. Now imagine that instead of a map, those records were combined with an augmented reality system able to identify faces. You want to know who exactly gave money to the 2014 ban on SUVs? Easy—they now have green arrows pointing at their heads.”
  • FTC To Target Advertisers, Not Bloggers, In New Guidelines: “In an attempt to clarify misconceptions that the FTC now will be mining the blogosphere for unsavory endorsements, Engle said the FTC’s focus has always been on “bad actor” advertisers.”
  • The Google Wave chatting tool is too complicated for its own good. – By Farhad Manjoo: “Everything you type into Wave is transmitted live, in real time.” This sounds absolutely horrible. I assume people will love it.
  • Bleak U.S. job market boosts military recruitment | Reuters: “The U.S. military met all of its recruitment goals in the past year for the first time since it became an all-volunteer force in 1973.”
  • Letters of Note: Savin’ It!: “June 2003: Al Franken sends the following satirical letter to then Attorney General John Ashcroft and 27 other Republicans. In the letter, written on Harvard University letterhead, Franken requests abstinence-related stories for a (non-existent) book he’s writing entitled ‘Savin’ It!’ and claims to have already received responses from a selection of prominent figures.” It’s funny.
  • The Chemistry of Information Addiction: Experiment said to find neural basis for this well-known trait: “The majority of us are all too familiar with the urge to know more about the future, whether it is an exam grade, an experimental result, or the status of a new job. Prior knowledge frequently has no effect on the actual outcome of the event – we’ll get the same grade regardless – and yet we still desperately want to know. This leads to what scientists refer to as “information-seeking behavior” – our mind craves relevant information.” Of course when you’re talking about real life, much depends on the meaning of “relevant,” and “information.”
  • They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They?: Friend of Murketing Susannah Breslin: “Today marks the debut of “They Shoot Porn Stars, Don’t They?,” a text-and-photos essay about the adult movie industry and the recession.” Pretty interesting, check it out.
  • These links compiled via delicious, and repurposed here with plug-in Postalicious. Not enough stuff? Not the stuff you wanted? Try visiting,, and/or the Consumed Facebook page.


Almost satire

Shouts & Murmers this week is written in the form of a note to an author from one Gineen Klein, “an intern to replace the promotion department here at Propensity Books.”

To start: Do you blog? If not, get in touch with Kris and Christopher from our online department, although at this point I think only Christopher is left. I’ll be out of the office from tomorrow until Monday, but when I get back I’ll ask him if he spoke to you. We use CopyBuoy via Hoster Broaster, because it streams really easily into a Plaxo/LinkedIn yak-fest meld.

When you register, click “Endless,” and under “Contacts” just list everyone you’ve ever met. It would be great if you could post at least six hundred words every day until further notice.

This is actually pretty much how it works. Although you might read it in a way that suggests a system shot through with techno-fluency. You shouldn’t. Anyway, this is pretty good too:

I’ve attached a list of celebrities we think would be great to blurb your book, so find out their numbers and call them up. Be sure to do all this by Monday, because Sales Conference starts Tuesday. We come back Friday and then immediately on Saturday (!) all of editorial (Janet, plus probably Michelle, her assistant) and I go to the Frankfurt Book Fair for a week. During that time the office will be closed. …

Once we get back from Frankfurt, we’d like to see you on morning talk shows like the “Today” show and “The View,” so please get yourself booked on them and keep us “in the loop.”

Ha ha.


  • WTF Safeway Blog?: “I’ve seen some bad food photography in my day, but none compares to what’s on the Safeway blog.” The examples are funny.
  • Buying Green Can Be License For Bad Behavior, Study Finds: Mentioned earlier here.
  • Tech version of placebo effect?: “Sixty people were shown the same video clip on the same television. Half were told to expect clearer, sharper pictures thanks to HD technology: an impression backed up by posters, flyers and the presence of an extra-thick cable connected to the screen. The other half were told to expect a normal DVD image. Questionnaires revealed that the people who had been led to expect HD reported seeing higher-quality images.” Via Mind Hacks
  • Great time for US consumers: America is on sale: “‘The deals out there are unbelievable,’ says Wilmes, 36, who writes the Frugal Rhode Island Mama blog, which tracks local and national bargains. ‘We can put the money I save toward something else.’ And she’s doing just that, but only when she can find another deal. Wilmes and her husband recently bought a Samsung television from Best Buy’s Web site for $1,299, about $300 less than she found at other stores. She also got free delivery and another $13 back from, which receives commissions from online retailers for directing customers their way.”
  • These links compiled via delicious, and repurposed here with plug-in Postalicious. Not enough stuff? Not the stuff you wanted? Try visiting,, and/or the Consumed Facebook page.

In The New York Times Magazine: Mexican Coke

An American icon’s Mexican formula develops a devoted following.

Spend a few years writing about consumer culture, and you might get a little jaded about products or brands with cult followings. The extreme-loyalist customer always insists that there are perfectly rational reasons for his or her devotion; to the disinterested observer, the reasons seem dubious. This is good news for me, because it assures that I have plenty to write about. But this week, for once, I’m casting myself in the role not of the reasonable observer but of the dubious product-cultist.

Read the column in the October 11, 2009, New York Times Magazine, or here.

Discuss, make fun of, or praise this column to the skies at the Consumed Facebook page.

UPDATE: Amusing segment on The World, I was interviewed, but then the host did a personal taste test. (scroll down).



Warhol Denied.

The New York Review has a quite interesting writeup about controversy over whether certain works attributed to Warhol are or are not authentic. One set of images in particular is at the center of a lawsuit because a board of the Warhol Foundation, which passes judgment on such matters, has ruled negatively. The piece says:

When a work is deemed not to be by Warhol, it is mutilated by stamping it in ink on the reverse with the word “DENIED”—thereby rendering the picture unsaleable even if the board later changes its mind. Although a lawyer for the board has said that no one forces applicants to submit works for authentication, no auction house or dealer will handle a work whose authenticity the board has questioned. A painting stamped DENIED is worthless.

My initial reaction to this was: Really? I’ll take them all! Give you a hundred bucks, even.

But I suppose “worthless” is relative. Probably the owner paid a lot and couldn’t get that amount again.

So my second reaction was that if I had the wherewithal, I’d mount a show called “WARHOL DENIED,” made up of works the board has “mutilated” with that “Denied” stamp.

For starters, I’d actually like to see them. With the series at the center of the lawsuit, the issue appears to boil down to whether or not Warhol’s hand was in any way involved in the work. But of course Warhol devoted a lot of clever thinking to the ambiguity of what the artist’s hand really meant. The NYR piece spells all this out so I won’t rehash it. I’m more just curious to see what else the board has thumbs-downed.

Moreover, I think the show could actually be profitable — by converting the “DENIED” into a status marker of sorts: Yes, this an Official Denied Warhol.

I happen to think Warhol himself would endorse that idea.


Flickr Interlude

BIG TEX – 2009, originally uploaded by arkansasridgerunner.

[Join and contribute to the Murketing Flickr group]


  • Music-industry suit still lives better than you do: Record biz crumbling? Check out the tasteful details of this Warner guy’s pad before you decide. Sadly online version doesn’t note context: “Lives with his German shepherd in his six-bedroom Upper East Side town house.”
  • The Usefulness Of Cranks: Mammoth but incredibly great essay/review by Jackson Lears on environmentalism, progress, America, etc.
  • How Long to Form a Habit?: Study claims: “When we want to develop a relatively simple habit like eating a piece of fruit each day or taking a 10 minute walk, it could take us over two months of daily repetitions before the behaviour becomes a habit.” Via Mind Hacks I think.
  • Regretsy: “Handmade? It looks like you made it with your feet.” “Regretsy, the dregs of online crafts.” Via Coudal.
  • Robots and Monsters open for donations: “The charitable art project that offers custom-made robot and monster drawings, has relaunched. Here’s how it works: you donate a set amount for an original robot or monster drawing, and supply three words or phrases that one of the artists will interpret as they see fit to create your drawing.” Via Josh G.
  • Is the Internet melting our brains?: The argument: “Every communication advancement throughout human history, from the pencil to the typewriter to writing itself, has been met with fear, skepticism and a longing for the medium that’s been displaced.”
  • Questioning Accidentalism: “Accidentalism, in other words. provides the perfect backdrop for the liberation mythology promoted by many of the web’s most ardent proponents, which is built on the idea that old technology put us in chains and new technology is breaking those chains.”
  • Maine Statutes Dish | Significant Objects: “17 §3951. Abandonment of airtight containers (REPEALED) 15 peanuts.” Story by Ben Katchor.

In The New York Times Magazine: Luxury e-tailers

Buying pricey lux goods — along with the aura of virtuous thrift

You might decide not to buy a pair of designer shoes. Alternately, you might decide to buy a pair of designer shoes that has been marked down 50 percent. Abstaining can make you feel thrifty, frugal and (these days) admirable. Buying a bargain can make you feel all that, too. Plus you get new shoes.

Perhaps this is why there’s an interesting footnote to the much-discussed troubles of luxury brands in this time of virtuous thrift: online sellers of the discounted stuff are “flourishing,” The Economist pointed out recently…..

Read the column in the October 3, 2009, New York Times Magazine, or here.

Discuss, make fun of, or praise this column to the skies at the Consumed Facebook page.


  • Campaign gives a toast to sherry: “A campaign to make sherry cool.” Sigh.
  • Side-effects from placebos can be drug specific: “Side-effects from placebo were almost as common as from the actual drug, but most interestingly, were specific to side-effects you would expected from the comparison medication.”
  • Lost In the Supermarket: “The exaggerated displays of utility on display in the Supermarket are themselves a middle-class form of conspicuous consumption. Veblen describes how a rich man’s cane is a symbol of his membership in the leisure class precisely because he will never need to use it. The grip strips on a toothbrush and easy-pour spouts are exactly the same. They symbolize effort we will never have to exert.” Via Marginal Utility
  • Basketball Trophy | Significant Objects: “I am in daily prayer that in Christian spirit only you will see this appeal, and know of our plan to transfer the ownership of this darling golden statuette of high monetary value into your home.” Story by Cintra Wilson
  • These links compiled via delicious, and repurposed here with plug-in Postalicious. Not enough stuff? Not the stuff you wanted? Try visiting,, and/or the Consumed Facebook page.