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Admen Shall Inherit the Earth

April 23, 1999|ROY RIVENBURG

The Gospel According to Madison Avenue: The commercialization of every square inch of American life has gotten so out of hand that author Raphael Carter has suggested the ultimate advertising gimmick: the Product Placement Bible.

For just $5,000 per New Testament verse or $6,500 per Old Testament verse (the latter costs more because it's read by Christians and Jews), Carter promises to subtly mention your product in a new edition of the Holy Bible.

For example, the 23rd Psalm might read: "Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies; thou anointest my head with Brylcreem; my Super Big Gulp runneth over."

Other mock ads, which are found at Carter's Web site (http://www.chaparraltree.com/oneshots/product.shtml), include a revised story of the Three Wise Men: "When they entered the house, they saw the child with Mary, and fell down and worshiped him. Then they opened their Samsonite traveling bags and presented gifts unto him of frankincense, myrrh and a 10-carat gold necklace from the Home Shopping Channel for only $19.95."

Carter also retells the feeding of the 4,000: "And they said unto Jesus, we have here but seven Lender's bagels and two Mrs. Paul's fish sticks. So Jesus commanded the multitude to sit on the grass, then he took the loaves and the fishes, and looking up to heaven, he pulled out his Motorola cellular phone and called Domino's Pizza . . . "

Random Statistics Department: Percentage of Canadians who wet their pants when coughing, sneezing or hauling groceries: 42.

That Syncing Feeling: Journalists sometimes face difficult ethical questions, such as whether to use anonymous sources, whether to investigate the personal lives of politicians and--most agonizing--whether to help innocent children win backstage passes to 'N Sync concerts.

Therefore, we were perplexed when 14-year-old Kim Harrison of Spokane beseeched us for assistance in a contest sponsored by Washington radio station KZZU. Listeners there are trying to get media outlets to mention the station and the contest, with the best plug winning 'N Sync tickets.

We suggested buying a verse in the Product Placement Bible ("Blessed are the KZZU listeners, for they shall inherit backstage passes to 'N Sync"), but Kim said that wouldn't work.

So we gave in. Although we hate to contribute to the delinquency of a minor, we hereby declare that Kim Harrison should get the backstage passes from KZZU. Well, either her or Jack Kevorkian.

Bigfoot Bureau: Bad news for foot fetishists. San Francisco has given walking papers to plans for an 18-foot-tall stainless steel statue of a foot at the Embarcadero. According to the San Francisco Chronicle, the $500,000 foot would have joined a growing pantheon of body-part sculptures, including a 12-by-6-foot marble hand in Santa Rosa and a 7-foot bronze thumb at a Calistoga winery.

Perhaps the artist should resubmit his proposal, this time with the foot wearing a giant Birkenstock.

Best Supermarket Tabloid Headline: "4 Gals Die in Stampede for Bridal Bouquet!" (Weekly World News)

Unpaid Informants: http://www.ship-of-fools.com, Harper's, Luis Zaragoza, Bruce Bellingham, Ann Harrison. Off-Kilter's e-mail address is roy.rivenburg@latimes.com. Off-Kilter runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

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