Sunday, September 30, 2007

Prerogatives of Money & Fame?

The media are all giving attention to Jenna Bush's book tour. It seems she has written the story of "Ana", an abused HIV positive teen she met while working as an intern for UNICEF. The publisher has reportedly printed a 1st run of a half million copies, an amount that suggests they expect huge sales. Ms. Bush, who is sporting a new diamond and sapphire engagement ring, says she changed the name and country of the young woman who's story she tells "to protect her privacy". Her alleged motive in writing the book is to make people more aware of the problems of teens in Ana's situation.

I confess to not having read the book. I have made a point to read several reviews and articles about both the book and the tour and I note that in none of them does it say Ms. Bush is donating any of the profits from the book to addressing those problems. Some do say that writing this book improves her image from past bad press and shows that Ms. Bush has matured.

Perhaps I'm just being cynical but "Ana's Story" strikes me as a example of someone using her access to the media as the daughter of the president, and her position with an organization that was meant to help the less fortunate, to expropriate the story of one of those less fortunate for personal profit and image enhancement. I'd feel more inclined to think this was a truly humanitarian effort if somewhere in the promotional sales hype there was some small mention of exactly how the book helps the person whose life story it exploits and not just the image and purse of its already privileged author.

10/29/07: A correction is due. Since writing the above I have learned that 'some' of the proceeds will go to UNICEF. While that is commendable I still feel that "Ana" has had her story appropriated for the financial & public relations benefit of the author.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Autumn Color?

It's the time of year that photographers in the Adirondacks dream about all summer, the time when the mountainsides change from all green to a quilt of color. This year partly because we haven't had very many frosty nights yet and partly because we've been in a drought during August and most of September the colors are muted. The tourist promoters however have a different way of phrasing it. On the radio this morning they were describing the colors as "Plum" and "Firebrick". I'm all for taking a positive view of whatever life hands us but I'm not sure colorful language is an adequate substitute for real autumn color. For what it's worth though, here is a photo from Connery Pond looking toward the "Plum" and "Firebrick" colored trees in front of a silhouetted Whiteface Mt. I call it "Dusk at Connery Pond, Sept, 25, 2007"

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Dropped Mail?

It all began innocently enough. Postmaster Pete Paquette noticed a hole in the porch of the West Stockholm post office that he feared might be large enough for one of the patrons to catch the heel of their shoe in so he asked the landlord to patch it. The handyman who fixed it used a piece of metal that was painted white and just happened to be about the size of an envelop. After several customers commented that they had mistaken it for mail that someone had dropped Pete decided to put a stamp on it and postmark it as a joke. One of the patrons then added an address to the "letter". Humor is alive and well in the West Stockholm post office.