Now it can be revealed!
The New York Crank has shamelessly paid a bribe, documented by his check number 6133, shown above, to the proprietor of a blog called Underbelly, for a favorable review.
A memo notation in the lower left-hand corner of the check clearly states, “Bribe.”
This bribe was the consequence of a comment posted to Underbelly by The New York Crank recently. The Crank offered a five-cents bribe after reading a denial by Underbelly that stated. “I wish the record to show that nobody has ever offered me a plugged nickel to hype anything on this blog, and I am damn shirty about that, but not nearly as much as some of my colleagues are about the FTC rule.”
The FTC rule in question now punishes bloggers for things that print and broadcast journalists and pundits do every day, such as accepting books for review and not paying for them. Thus it sets up two separate classes of speech — the equivalent of journalism licenses. If you don't work for an organization the FTC recognizes, you don't have freedom of the press any more. Bye bye, First Amendment.
Underbelly's post was responding to a justifiably irate posting by Scott Stein of the blog “When falls the Coliseum.” It stated:
The official, considered opinion of the management of When Falls the Coliseum (me) is that the FTC’s position, particulary in regard to reviews of books and other entertainment products, is bullshit.
A fuller explanation of the Federal Trade Commission’s idiocy can be found in this excellent piece by Jack Schaffer in SLATE, called “The FTC’s mad power grab: The commission’s preposterous new endorsement guidelines.”
In compliance with the demands of the morons on the Federal Trade Commission, The New York Crank voluntarily offers these disclosures:
1. The Crank’s real name and address, Underbelly’s real name, and the account and routing numbers of the 5-cents bribe check reproduced above deliberately been obscured from the image of the check for security reasons.
2. On or about late October 1957, (nineteen hundred and fifty-seven) the person also known as “Underbelly” drove the person also known as “The New York Crank” (and their respective dates) from Yellow Springs, Ohio, to Circleville, Ohio, to see the Circleville Pumpkin Show. Gasoline at this time cost about 35 cents per gallon, and The Crank estimates that the round trip drive may have consumed as much as four (4) gallons. Maybe even five (5) gallons. The Crank accepted this ride free, and no cash was exchanged between the two parties. This may (or may not) have had some unconscious influence on either The New York Crank or Underbelly which might (or might not) have contributed to the decision to attempt bribing Underbelly or for Underbelly to accept same and write a favorable "Appreciation" of the New York Crank some 52 years later.
3. Approximately two years ago, Underbelly, The New York Crank and The Crank’s beautiful girlfriend enjoyed a T-bone steak dinner together in a not-bad Greenwich Village restaurant called The Knickerbocker. When the check arrived, Underbelly said, “I suppose I’m expected to kick in a third of this,” to which The Crank replied, “Yes.” Underbelly thereupon paid his share. This may (or may not) have affected Underbelly’s estimation of The New York Crank and the "Appreciation" of same on Underbelly's blog. The New York Crank has not accepted any gratuity, payments, emoluments or favors from the Knickerbocker. He did, however, leave an above-average tip.
4. No gerbils were stomped by women in high heels nor were any other animals harmed in the course of writing of this blog post or any other posts to The New York Crank. I am unable to make similar warrantees for what goes on at meetings of the Federal Trade Commission.
5. The names of the imbeciles who sit on the Federal Trade Commission are Jon Leibowitz, Pamela Jones Harbour, William E. Kovacic and J. Thomas Rosch. Three out of the four are holdovers from the Bush Administration, natch. Write to your Congressman and tell him or her what you think of these clowns.