Sunday, February 15, 2009

Maybe They Just Hated the Crayons and Rainbows

Publicists for the Killeen Furtney Group who are representing the controversial mother of octuplets, who pursued fertility treatments despite having already had six children and no source of personal income with which to support her enormous family financially, complain of receiving death threats from enraged taxpayers. A website requesting PayPal donations that the publicists established apparently exacerbated this popular outrage about Nadya Suleman's continued public relations efforts. The site also features a comment form that might be called asking for trouble or inviting selective reading by those at the other end.

The Suleman case represents a number of thorny issues about reproductive freedom, but the emphasis on the website isn't on making a feminist case for the rights of those seeking fertility treatments and for women to make decisions about their own bodies but on appealing for funds by drawing on online baby book clich├ęs and stock imagery from the visual culture of infancy of blocks and crayons.

Online appeals for funds can often be tricky. What disgraced evangelist Ted Haggard thought of as a private request via e-mail to a few supportive friends soon became a news item for the broader Christian community complete with a link to a Microsoft Word file in which Haggard makes his digital case for cash.

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