I was going through my RSS reader, where I have cataloged a long list of blogs that I follow, when I came upon a very interesting Ypulse (a great source for information regarding media and youth) link:
I clicked on the first link, where it took you to a story on boingboing.net about a new children’s book called “My Beautiful Mommy”. The book covers the various plastic surgery “improvements” a mother of a young daughter goes through, trying to explain to the little girl how these changes will make her mommy better. It’s written by a plastic surgeon named Michael Salzhauer, whose intentions for writing this surgical enhancement-themed tale are obvious.
Immediately, I was shocked. I was OUTRAGED. How Dare HE?!? I wanted to craft a scathing post, criticizing this unethical practice of marketing plastic surgery = happiness to children, and even using the classic format of a child’s book to do so. But, I scrolled further down the page to find an update to this post.
Turns out the book is self-published, and it isn’t going to be appearing in your child’s bookbag anytime soon. PHEW! What a sigh of relief.
Or is it?
What I was reacting to were the remnants filtered through various blogs and online journals of a nearly hysteric piece on the book in Newsweek. How can a book that’s self-published and who’s ISDN# was rather difficult to locate warrant a lengthy article drumming up paranoia? What is Newsweek attempting here? I can’t help but think that Newsweek was attempting to gain publicity for itself on the back of a rather meaningless publication from a plastic surgeon with poor judgment.
“Find item that has potential to alarm”
“Shock publicity and journalism”
“Newsweek viewed as Public Defender and do-gooder ”
The formula isn’t new, for sure, but its still alarming. How Ypulse reacted to it is something I’ve wanted the LAMP itself to be aware of.
We seek to be a resource for youth, parents and educators, and in this day and age of easy self-promotion through blogs and other publishing methods that spurns the content creators to pump out as much as possible, there is a real impetus on responsibility for those organizations who seek to be effective and not alarmist. It’s important to remember when seeking publicity can also fan the flames of hysteria.