October 22, 1999
A trademark battle between online book behemoth Amazon.com and a small Minnesota bookseller has begun to get personal way too personal, say the owners of the Amazon Bookstore in Minneapolis. The feminist bookstore has been open for business for thirty years, and claims that the gigantic online newcomer’s name creates confusion among the local book-buying public. And so they sued.
They didn’t bargain on their sexual orientation being the cornerstone of the dot com’s lawyers’ response. Goes the argument: Amazon Bookstore is run by lesbians and sells feminist texts, thus catering primarily to a lesbian clientele, whereas Amazon.com serves a wider, general interest audience. Therefore (leap with us here), Amazon and Amazon.com are in totally different businesses. And, “If you’re not in the same business, the likelihood of confusion declines dramatically,” says dot com spokesman Bill Curry. Sounds dodgy to us and the feminist bookstore’s owners are having none of it. “We were outraged,” said store general manager Barbara Wieser. “What does our sexual preference have to do with a trademark case? Nothing.” No ruling has been made.
If the recent influx of British “lad” magazines had got you thinking that the men across the pond have shed their famed prudishness, think again. New research suggests that they’re growing more sensitive by the day. According to a report by British commercial think-tank Future Foundation, more than 25 percent of British men are concerned about the ever-popular practice of using sex to sell products that number is double what it was two years ago.
But wait a minute, Guv’ner as it turns out, it’s not just any sex the lads are concerned about: it’s the increasingly liberal use of the male form in adverts that’s got their bullocks in a bind. According to Future Foundation, ads like the famous “11:30” spot for Diet Coke (in which women crowd an office window to watch a toned, shirtless construction worker on his morning cola break) have British men concerned about their body image. “This is not just about a loss of power or economic status, it is the objectification of male bodies in advertising,” Future Foundation co-founder Melanie Howard said. Oh no! Not that!
A suggestive new fertility statue in Seattle’s Picardo p-patch community garden has some of the locals up in arms. The statue in question depicts a dreadlocked, pregnant woman, made of bronze, squatting naked in the new children’s play area. Nestled in her hair are fish, seashells, a dragonfly, a tree frog, and symbols representing the sun and moon. The 2 1/4-foot bronze Venus is also surrounded by ancient symbols of feminine power and fertility, all designed to spur on a finer crop of cucumber in the city’s oldest and largest community garden.
Since the statue’s unveiling, it has been repeatedly covered with garbage bags, and a campaign has sprouted up to remove the offending installment. “If it was going to be a naked pregnant woman, I wouldn’t care I mean, I’m a mother, it doesn’t bother me just make her breasts look normal. But those huge breasts why do we need that?” said Stephanie Butow, one of 281 Picardo gardeners.
“She’s glorifying fertility a little too much for kids, isn’t she?” said Gloria Seborg, a fellow horticulturist. “I mean, we don’t want a bunch of pregnant kids.” Raising the question of exactly how potent Ms. Seborg believes this statue to be.
Where’s Charlie Sheen When You Need Him?
Former “Hollywood Madam” Heidi Fleiss, on the streets again after two years in federal prison for conspiracy, tax evasion and money laundering, has filed for bankruptcy. Court documents show that the infamous madam to the stars owes more than $269,000 in debts, including $85,000 in back rent for her Heidi Wear underwear boutique and $115,000 to her lawyers, naturally. Fleiss claims as her only assets $200 in clothing and $500 in jewelry.
If only there were some way she could make a lot of money fast.
“The conditions were rough. But after I wore that rubber dick in Boogie Nights, everything else is easy.”
“What I did, expressing my love, my passion, is something any boy or girl my age does endlessly. But because I’m different, I have to keep this secret or I become a problem.”