by Jay Gabler | March 5, 2009 •
NEWTON, MASSACHUSETTS—Flying from the Gopher State to the Bay State this afternoon, I found myself bored with my novel after its surprise plot twist was revealed by the Library of Congress subject classifications on the copyright page, and turned to the SkyMall catalog for entertainment. As always, I found it full of wonderful inventions available at reasonable prices…but I wonder whether SkyMall customers are aware that they could be supporting citizen journalism with the modest sums they’re spending on items like personalized golf maps. I made some rough calculations in my head to determine what the price of various SkyMall items could buy if, instead, donated to the Twin Cities Daily Planet.
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Solar-powered mole repeller ($39.99): A film festival preview.
Child’s personalized O.R. scrubs ($44.95): The moderation of 250 comments.
Head spa massager (pictured above, $49.95): Refreshments for six weeks of writers’ group meetings.
Adult-size footie pajamas ($76.99): A month of Life of Cyn.
Sculpture of Bigfoot, the Garden Yeti ($98.95): A week’s worth of blog entries.
Replica of WWI Sopwith fighter plane propeller ($159.95): A year of the Free Speech Zone.
Successories “Essence of Leadership” print, framed ($164.99): Reviews of an entire season at the Jungle Theater.
Voice-activated R2-D2 ($169.95): A front-page feature on the Central Corridor.
Handheld electronic feng shui compass ($399.99): Three of Doug McGill’s reports on African immigrants in the Twin Cities.
Full-size Star Trek captain’s chair ($2,717.01): The Daily Planet’s coverage of the 2008 Republican National Convention.
Update 3/6: I just received this e-mail from Joey O’Donnell, customer experience manager at SkyMall: “We appreciate you shining a light on our funkiness. Please feel free to continue as you see fit.”
Photo courtesy SkyMall.