Reached via telephone in Ljubljana, Zizek told Ideas, ''You've got me there. I spent literally 10 minutes on this assignment, just free-associating. I was in theoretical despair!''
But Zizek bristled at the suggestion that there was anything unseemly about an internationally renowned intellectual writing copy for a clothing catalog. ''If I were asked to choose between doing things like this to earn money and becoming fully employed as an American academic, kissing [EXPLETIVE] to get a tenured post,'' he growled, ''I would with pleasure choose writing for such journals!''
Even though the Quarterly is intended for college-age readers, and customers must show proof they’re over 18 to purchase it, critics say copies are landing in the hands of middle- and high-school kids who also wear the store’s label.
The publication has raised an outcry from concerned parents, including calls for boycotts, and the ensuing media coverage and First Amendment discussions have fanned the flames of the debate, making the publication so interesting it sold out.
Maybe it’s time for less fanning and more marketing perspective for the consumer.
Negative publicity may be promoting rather than hindering Quarterly sales, says Laura Moran, director of Prophet, a San Francisco firm specializing in brand-driven growth.
“Many young consumers aspire to be like their older counterparts – the people in the ads and the people working in the stores,” she says. “That puts A&F in a prime position to grab a substantial portion of the Generation Y consumer dollar.”
Less than half of the Quarterly involves merchandise for sale, but A&F spokesman Hampton Carney says that is the point.
“It’s almost incidental that clothing is offered. It’s more of a magazine and it’s treated that way in the planning and theming,” he says. “It’s meant to be entertainment.”
Negative criticism summarized its American run (1997–2003) as "soft porn" and racy. There were numerous lawsuits and boycotts focusing on moral and religious grounds which included the National Coalition for the Protection of Children and Families, the American Decency Association, and the Focus on the Family organization.
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