Monday, January 26, 2009

Great Sex with The New York Times

Another sign of the apocalypse: the back cover of The New York Times Book Review for January 4, 2009, is a full page ad for sex videos.

To be precise, the ad is for "Great Sex for A Lifetime," a series of explicit instructional sex videos. I know this recession has got us all hurting, but is this the best The Times can do? Sex videos? (And DVDs.) I don't have any objection to sex videos, either instructional or porn, but do they have to advertise in the most elite section of our country's most august newspaper?

[Grammatical query: can you be more august, or is august one of those either/or descriptors like unique? Are their levels of augustitude, like august-auguster-augustiest?]

The New York Times has been the beneficiary of many long-term advertising contracts. For example, the jewelry store Tiffany & Co. has had a modest ad on page 3 of The Times for over 100 years! My memory of ads is hazy (unless it's a sexy lingerie ad, I tend not to notice them), but I believe that, for many years, the back page of The Times Book Review was for a book club. One of their major premiums was The Concise Oxford English Dictionary.

It's a long fall from The OED to sex videos.

Of late, the usual advertiser on the back page of The NYT Book Review has been Bauman Rare Books. Even though I'm not a collector of rare books, I have some affection for Bauman's. In years of applying for various jobs, Bauman's sent me the nicest, best-written rejection letter I've ever gotten. (Yup, that's all it takes to get on my good side. Reject me nicely. Supermodels, take note.)

Not that I expect to be buying anything from Bauman's anytime soon. Their autographed letter from Abraham Lincoln (just $78,000!) doesn't seem to be on my shopping list.

Bauman's is back on the back page of The NYT Book Review, and I hope it stays there.

And if The New York Times wants to run ads for sex videos, put them in the Business Section where they belong.

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