Don’t you hate it when your grandmother sends you an email about some guy in Mississippi who demands that you visit his website by Friday or he’ll drown a group of puppies?
I’m sure you read these types of messages from your grandmother and you know it’s a hoax. You roll your eyes, laugh at the gullible nature of people who surf the internet, but you check out Snopes — just in case those puppies are in any real danger.
When you learn that there are no puppies in peril, you respond via email and tell your Grams to chillax. This dude doesn’t exist and those imaginary puppies will be fine.
That’s how I felt when I received this note from my good friend, JM:
Here’s a challenge for you, Laurie. Can you help this guy on his quest to keep his job?
Oh noes! Someone in this horrible economy is at risk of losing his job? What a travesty! How unfair! It must be George Bush’s fault and I must help this guy, right?
Except the basic arch of the story is silly: some dude at Vanity Fair needs you to join The Facebooks and become a fan of the magazine or he will lose his job. Here’s a video that illustrates the story.
I’m totally ambivalent about the whole situation. Part of me doesn’t believe he’ll be fired (because I suspect it’s just some stupid internet marketing ploy), and part of me doesn’t care. I let my subscription Vanity Fair lapse, earlier this year, because I was sick of receiving junk mail to renew my subscription before it even expired. High pressure marketing really turns me off, and I decided that there’s nothing in VF that I need to read so badly that I can’t go to Barnes and Noble and read it for free.
The backstory of the ‘plea for help’ really adds to my ambivalence. Bill Bradley isn’t a Teamster who is losing his job due to rising health insurance rates. He isn’t an underpaid nurse who works too much overtime and decides to quit and work for Wal-Mart.
This is some guy in Manhattan who made a stupid and meaningless wager.
After thinking about the whole plot, though, I reluctantly joined the Facebook site. Deep down inside, I do feel a little sorry for the guy. What if this is real? He’s wagering on the internet to keep his job, and I suspect that there is a group of Baby Boomers out there who are secretly hoping that Bill Bradley gets fired. You can hear them sitting around, drinking scotch, and listening to The Eagles while talking about the good old days before Googles.
Now that I’m a part of Bill Bradley’s VF story, I feel compelled to ask you to become a fan so I’m not the only chump who falls for this scheme. I still suspect that Bill Bradley’s plea might be total bullshit, and the next thing you know, my grandmother will be sending me email messages saying that Bill Bradley will drown a group of puppies if I don’t join his site.
So I’m asking you to join the facebook site, punk rockers. Support Bill Bradley (just in case this is real) and help him keep his job. If anything, do it for the puppies.
UPDATED: Christopher Hitchens gets waterboarded in the August VF edition. Damn it, I might have to eat my words and spend money on Vanity Fair!