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March 3, 2008 7:18 AM   Subscribe

Lost bag! Reward if found! Returned! But it's a fake! Finally someone took the advice to GYOFB. But it's a fake! Students at CUNY's Hunter College in a class sponsored by the International Anticounterfeiting Coalition produced the blog and related guerrilla marketing activities related to counterfeiting last spring. But "while a television viewer is aware that he or she is watching advertising, those viewing the blog or her posters at Hunter thought they were learning about the experiences of a real student — not a class project crafted by an industry association (that was sufficiently proud to boast about it)." Reports Inside Higher Ed.
posted by pithy comment (15 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
Further, the professor — and other professors who have investigated the circumstances of the course — maintain that the professor was required to teach only one side of the issue, had to accept industry officials watching him teach, and had little clout to fight back since he didn’t (and still doesn’t) have tenure.

Jesus. And this should be criminal at any university:

Roman said he never pressured Portlock to teach the course, and that Portlock had full control over the curriculum (this would be the same curriculum that the IACC boasted about arranging.)

Portlock remembers it differently. He said that he told his chair that he was “totally unqualified” to teach the course, but he was eventually told “you’re going to teach this course.” Portlock also said that conference calls were set up with IACC officials to discuss plans and that he didn’t feel he could challenge those plans. “They gave us the materials to refer to. They told us the subject matter to cover.” IACC officials also “came to visit” the course “to see how we were progressing.”

Copyright is “a complex issue,” Portlock said, but he said that he couldn’t really explain that to the students. “On the one hand, they said I could teach things from different perspectives, but when I suggested any kind of critical, sort of an opposite perspective, I was basically told in a very sarcastic way that that was not going to happen,” Portlock said.

posted by mediareport at 7:23 AM on March 3, 2008

The Inside Higher Ed article links to an interview with the Hunter media studies prof who investigated the course after hearing about it, which adds a few interesting pieces to the puzzle:

The president of Hunter College had no professional background in higher education until she was appointed by the CUNY Board of Trustees in 2001 against the recommendation of the Chancellor. She does hold a law degree, and practiced as an Associate in a law firm before becoming a political functionary in the Giuliani administration. She holds no professional academic degree, however, and her request that the course be offered by the department was not guided by scholarly wisdom but, rather, by the desire to promote a donation from the CEO of the Coach corporation.
posted by mediareport at 7:31 AM on March 3, 2008

...fake blog persona complains about counterfeiting?

Postmodernism, what hath thou wrought.
posted by nasreddin at 8:41 AM on March 3, 2008 [4 favorites]

Ah, the endumbening of America continues.

What's three plus five?

Um, Pepsi?

Partial credit!

posted by TheWhiteSkull at 8:43 AM on March 3, 2008 [9 favorites]

"I feel nauseous. I want to vomit in this horrible, fake fake fake bag. Do you know what fake material smells like? SHIT. Actual shit. It makes me feel like shit just sitting next to it.

"Anyway, I’m still gonna continue posting up reward money for my bag. I dipped into my savings (sorry mom) for more reward money, because as I said before, this bag is invaluable to me. If I had a puppy, I would give him up for this bag. Really!

"Now do you all understand the PAIN I’m going through? It’s making me CRRRRRAZZZYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!"
posted by krinklyfig at 8:47 AM on March 3, 2008

If I were a prospective student of Hunter, I think I'd be looking at this not as an ethical issue but as as a quality-of-education issue.

I'd have no problem taking a for-credit class conceived by an industry group, so long as it were disclosed, but I'd expect a qualified professor and a proven (if biased) curriculum.

I think the whole Heidi drama is inane. I have no idea what feelings about counterfeiting it's supposed to evoke, beyond the assumption that they're supposed to be anti-counterfeiting feelings. And from what level of this meta-nonsense am I supposed to draw my lessons?

Should I be upset at the students who perpetrated the scheme, because they passed a counterfeit off on me? Or is the message that fake bags make girls sad? "Heidi" said the bag's value was almost totally sentimental, so it seems to me that if the original bag she received had been dodgy, she would have taken the same steps to replace it...

Should I learn from this parable that attachment to worldly goods is a path to anxiety and misery? Because that lessons makes me much less inclined to buy Gucci or Prada... I'll just buy a knock-off and not get attached to it.

Or am I supposed to learn that buying knock-offs and "returning" them to desperate yuppies is a good way to make a buck? What am supposed to feel!?

This is a failed guerilla marketing campaign, and I blame the shoddy curriculum.
posted by chudmonkey at 8:52 AM on March 3, 2008 [3 favorites]

Yeah, mediareport, that was a huge complaint that many people at the school had about Hunter's President. I'm a recent graduate from that school, myself and it's a really, really weird situation there. All CUNY schools used to have free tuition until th 70's when the city was forced the dramatically gut almost all social programs. (Some of the more radical political elements at the school claim tuition was only really pushed in the 70's when a majority of the students were minorities. However, that factoid is dependent completely on how you define "minority", but I digress). The school have been severely struggling with budget and prestige ever since. One of the ways that tried to fix both of these issues is through the MacCauley Honors Program, which has corporate and private sponsors and attempts to get kids that would normally be going to private or Ivy schools, by offering free tuition, stipends and laptops.

The fact that that program had corporate sponsors was already quite a controversial subject among students and faculty of CUNY. The fact that it has spilled over into at least one other class and it was handled so poorly makes me pretty upset. This school already has a reputation that I know a lot of alumni feel the need to defend on a semi regular basis, and stunts like this really don't make it any easier.
posted by piratebowling at 8:58 AM on March 3, 2008


Why is that on every blog post? Another viral ad? There Will Be Blood reference?
posted by ALongDecember at 9:31 AM on March 3, 2008

There's a lesson to be learned here: it's all right to counterfeit a web-site because counterfeiting is good.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 9:31 AM on March 3, 2008

There is a company promoting this kind of partnership, that perhaps develops curriculum. Though, I used to work at a university that did a class project for Chevrolet with them and all it seemed like to me was Chevrolet getting free publicity out of students hard work. I suppose they learned something from it though.
posted by pithy comment at 11:21 AM on March 3, 2008

This seems on-the-level to me... I got my law school degree at Costco! Luckily my dad was an alumnus and pulled some strings. *

Welcome to MetaFilter, I love you.
posted by not_on_display at 11:32 AM on March 3, 2008

best comment:

This blog was really great. At least as good as a real blog. Now that I know that Heidi Cee is a fake, I'll never again have any qualms about saving a fortune by buying counterfeit products rather than wasting my money on the real thing.
posted by jeffmik at 12:04 PM on March 3, 2008

ALongDecember, I'm not sure what that is either, it's mentioned in passing in the title of the post "Triple astroturfing cheeseburger". But it was favorited twice here at Metafilter almost a year ago so I'm guessing it's some meme that we're not hip to.
posted by Challahtronix at 1:00 PM on March 3, 2008

A photo of the same aircraft, digging the left winglet into the runway.

What's more interesting to me is that there were people out there in that crazy weather with digital cameras and video cameras that managed to catch this from 2 different angles.
posted by drstein at 6:03 AM on March 4, 2008

I think drstein posted in the wrong thread.
posted by Locative at 5:10 AM on March 9, 2008

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