Be Ugly in 2007: Find ugly in "beauty"

ABC & Girl, Inc's public service campaign: BE UGLY '07"Ugly is the new beautiful," the theme of ABC's TV show Ugly Betty, is picking up steam. "The fight for female self-esteem gets pretty ugly," reports Ann Oldenburg in an USA Today article about the BE UGLY '07 public service campaign that starts on-air tonight during "Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve."

In the article, Oldenburg accurately states that, "The campaign is the latest entry in a backlash to the images of rail-thin models that bombard young women daily."

Girls Inc. president Joyce Roche is quoted as saying the campaign "allows us to counter the messages girls get that they've got to be perfect, be a certain size, look a certain way." Roche is right. It's time for the pendulum to swing back to normal and away from promoting unhealthy lifestyles in order to achieve the anorexic look erroneously labeled as "beautiful" these days.

Roche also is quoted in the article as saying, "I wish there would have been another way of saying it, but at least it will get the dialogue going." We also wish they'd chosen a different theme than "ugly is the new beautiful." It's not the best theme, but it hopefully will get the dialogue going, as Roche says.

Talking the article over with a young woman, she came up with a different theme: "Find ugly in beauty," and by "beauty" she meant the image of beautiful that the media has been promoting for far too long.

Either way, whether embracing "ugly is the new beautiful," or "find ugly in beauty" the idea is the same, find true beauty in yourself. Be yourself! As the BE UGLY '07 campaign proclaims: Be real. Be smart. Be kind. Be honest. Be true to yourself. Visit the campaign's website at http://beugly07.com/.


The Espresso Book Machine: An ATM for books

Illustration of an ATM Book Machine by Aaron Goodman"Buying a book could soon be as easy as buying a pack of gum. After several years in development, the Espresso - a $50,000 vending machine with a conceivably infinite library - is nearly consumer-ready and will debut in ten to 25 libraries and bookstores in 2007. The New York Public Library is scheduled to receive its machine in February." [Emily Baltby, CNNMoney.com]

"On Demand Books LLC. is planning to become the first company to globally deploy a low cost, totally automatic book machine, The Espresso Book Machine, which can produce 15 - 20 library quality paperback books per hour, in any language, in quantities of one, without any human intervention. This technology and process will produce one each of ten different books at the same speed and cost as it can produce ten copies of the same book. ODB has two machines currently deployed (one at the World Bank InfoShop in Washington DC, and one at the Library of Alexandria in Egypt)." [Press Release, OnDemandBooks.com]

The Inauguration of the Espresso Printing Machine took place on April 6, 2006, at the World Bank Infosession. You can see a video of the alpha Espresso Book Machine producing a book in seven minutes by clicking here (requires Apple's Quicktime Video Player version 6.5, available for download here).

After the film downloads, move the marker 1/2 way to get to the part where Jason Epstein, a publisher for more than 40 years, talks about how he sees the Espresso Book Machine as the answer to keeping backlists, the publishers' bread and butter, alive. 4/5s down the presentation is where you see students click the "Order" button and seven minutes later a finished book comes out.

It felt a bit like watching a Star Trek episode where replicators are used to produce items on demand. Imagine, for $5 you can have a 500 page book within minutes. The book comes out perfect bound, with a full-color laminated cover. Amazing, isn't it?

Additional Link: The Future of Books (MIT Technology Review)

Press Inquiries: +1 (212) 446-5100 (Goldberg McDuffie)
Contact: 240 Centre Street, New York, NY 10013


Kudos to Spain for banning underweight models!

image of professor pointing to a skeletonWhat a phenomenal turning point this may prove to be! At last someone has dared proclaim to the world that anorexic-looking models are
not what the fashion industry ought to be parading on their various catwalks. In this case it was The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers who decided to ban models who have a BMI of less than 18. Click to read the September 13, 2006 BBC article.

This is a topic dear and near to my heart because I continue to see the devastating effect that parading size-0 models on catwalks, and displaying their emanciated bodies on catalogues and on TV, is having on a generation of young women...and I now hear it's beginning to take its toll on our young men as well.

How did it happen that the public accepted what the fashion industry offered as "beauty?" when anyone in their right mind could have seen that, as in the children story, The Emperor's New Clothes, the emperor had no clothes? I'm so very proud of the stand that The Spanish Association of Fashion Designers took when they decided to ban underweight models from their prestigious fashion show.

The BBC article quotes Terry Killeavy, of the UK, as saying, "You cannot ban skinny women in the same way you cannot ban fuller bodies women." I disagree. We're not talking body size as much as we're taking health risks. Anyone with a BMI of less than 18 is starving themselves and it's criminal to portray such individuals as something our young people should aspire to look like.

My hope is that the BBC article will be the first of many the media writes as more and more standard-bearers of the fashion world take similar stands. It's time for all of us to cry out with one voice, when it comes to the idea of "beauty" that we've been sold for way too long, that "the emperor has no clothes!"