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July 11th, 2007 - Irruminations

Date: 2007-07-11 22:45
Subject: Pet Peeves Part 3
Security: Public
5.  Gmail advertisements

I'm a huge fan of Google. Their search engine is incredible, they let me search through the text of pretty much every book ever printed, and Google Maps are the best. Gmail, as I recently discovered, is also great. With one caveat.

The ads.

I have no problem with Google using advertisements. Google deserves to make money. But if you look at the ads next to the e-mail you're replying to in Gmail, you'll realize that their subject matter is eerily similar to the content of your e-mail. The ads are reading your e-mail. Frankly, it's creepy.

Yet, Google isn't exactly sure what your e-mail is about. It's like if you write an e-mail with a Tibetan refugee with a loose grasp of English looking over your shoulder, and then ask him to summarize the letter. For example, I recently exchanged e-mails with an author regarding the final proofs of his book. The ads in the margin of this exchange:

--Moleskin Outfitter
--Romance Writing
--We need writers
--She Writes For Me
--Make a Cookbook from $13

Obviously, I need more moleskin outfits. Who doesn't?

6. Smiling photos of celebrities on magazine covers

This is perhaps my greatest pet peeve of the paparazzi era. I'm not even mad at the paparazzi. I think it's a pretty low life to live, taking pictures of Mandy Moore in her bikini or following around Paris Hilton's vagina. But they're out there making a living (the paparazzi, not the vagina), and I commend that.

The people who really bother me are the editors who make magazine covers. They make the covers so manipulative and fake. For example, a tabloid magazine cover may proclaim, “Angelina's unhappy—Jenn targets Brad!” And right there on the cover, to prove this statement, is a photo of Angelina Jolie frowning spliced next to a photo of Jennifer Aniston looking foxy and seductive. From this photo, the average uneducated person who reads this tabloid will believe the headline.

But the photos have nothing to do with the caption. They're stock photos. The editor chooses a headline, gets the photo guy to pull up a grumpy photo of Angelina and a sexy shot of Jenn from the archives, and he throws them together. Voila, you have a cover story.

[Although, the greater travesty is the world's obsession with celebrities. I'm no exception. Even I'm curious about Paris Hilton's vagina, which was recently reported to have swallowed Shia Labeouf whole at a club in So Co.]

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December 2007