As the story of the so-called "Nanny From Hell" continues to unfold, it becomes clearer and clearer that America is a nation of cringing dupes and shameless predators, and that most of the predators are also dupes. The coverage, very much including this site's own coverage, has been dedicated to the peculiar notion that the villain in the story is Diane Stretton, the so-called "nanny" who has been refusing to leave the house of her employers.
Ever since David Foster Wallace committed suicide in 2008, the late novelist's friends and literary executors have been exploring the intersection of canonization, exploitation, and vengeance. His publishing house chopped and shuffled his unfinished and unfinishable final manuscript into a "posthumous novel." Jonathan Franzen, loser of their head-to-head trial of literary merit in life, set about relitigating it through underminer-y ostensibly memorial essay-writing. Elizabeth Wurtzel used him as a reference point for her crush on David Boies ("David Boies makes David Wallace look like, well, some other lesser David, maybe David Remnick"). He's become the lit-martyr equivalent of Bruce Lee in Game of Death, with everything he ever said or wrote available for potential repackaging as a holy relic. (A phoner I did with him in 1998 has made it into two different volumes.)
NBC newsman Tim Russert died of a heart attack more than two weeks ago, but that doesn't mean that it's too late for desperate flacks to try piggybacking on the man's death in order to snatch a little media coverage for their most marginal clients. For example, here's a question you've probably been asking yourself since that fateful day: "COULD HOLISTIC MEDICINE HAVE SAVED TIM RUSSERT?" Holistic medicine pioneer and tasteless quack Raphael Kellman, MD says "YES!":
As loud as the uproar over Miley Cyrus' too-racy photo shoot gets, she of course is not the first young star to be packaged as a sly sex symbol. The American print media, and its advertisers, have a history of getting into trouble for this sort of thing. The two common methods are to either portray an underage girl (or, less often, boy) in an overly sexualized light, or to use "barely legal" girls in a way that evokes underage taboos with a wink and a nod. It's really a standard form, at this point. After the jump, we've compiled some of the most famous ad campaigns and media spreads that play the slick jailbait game. Does this stuff work? Apparently so.