Thursday, December 31, 2009

I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus . . . And That Diaper Pail Manufacturer

In a piece called "Parental Guidance" writer Sarah Wildman exposes how mommy blogs and daddy blogs, once thought to represent an antidote to advertising-driven consumerism and a reaffirmation of the values of domesticity outside of market interests, actually have become lucrative sites for promoting particular corporate brands. She describes how "reviews" of baby products are sometimes used as a way to collect free merchandise by cash-strapped parents and how events supposedly about parenting can become crass promotional events.

I'm not surprised by what Wildman says. When I mentioned a "sippy cup" and "stroller" in a posting about a famous TSA online video that showed a mother seemingly harrassed while going through airline security, I was quickly contacted by those pushing particular baby items, who were hoping for "advertorial" space on this blog, despite the ludicrousness of using a blog about digital rhetoric in very academic contexts as a vehicle to do so.

However, I'm not sure that she is right that the "blog with integrity" pledge would be the honor code that would really fix the problem.

I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people. I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.

I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.

I'm not sure that corrupt practices deserve respect and that satire isn't a legitimate tool. Nor am I sure that the present intellectual property regime should be upheld if it quashes creative production and political speech.

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