Which has been known to trouble people. When I mentioned to some friends that I was going on this most glorious and amazing trip one (Jamie) replied “you’re going on a press junket? You are going to Hell. Also, I am jealous.” Another replied “if you accept, won’t the integrity police come for you?” I breezily replied that I’d been on their ten most wanted list for years, so this was just another lap on my life-long sprint on the lam.
I hope that I’m pretty transparent in my motivations for writing (primer: I do it for the money. And so I will live forever, like a vampire).
(Sidenote: if you had the option of becoming a vampire, would you accept immediately, or would you, say, tan and diet first, because you’ll stay looking the way you do when you’re turned forever? Please discuss in the comments).
So, I sometimes feel that since my reason for writing is only secondarily to “tell the truth to the world” – and that if this was my motivation I should seriously be in a war-torn country – it is cool if I accept nice stuff from companies, sometimes. I run a fashion and beauty website. I flatter myself about many things, one of which is that TheGloss is a smart, funny, enjoyable fashion and beauty website, but I don’t ever flatter myself that we’re The Atlantic.
And so I accept stuff in a way that maybe I would not if I were a hardened journalist.
Though I think the fact that I do this, and that this happens, is worth noting, because the end result is that I will love Banana Republic forever, now. I would find it really, really hard to say anything bad about them, because my affection for them took root the moment I saw the plane (the most magical and glorious plane!) I think it is a pretty human reaction to feel that way, because it would seem wildly ungrateful to write something negative, even if I didn’t like their collection. Frankly, I feel somewhat ungrateful raising this as “an issue that I find exists for me in the world of blogging” rather than “a straightforward post about how pretty this Mad Men collection is” (and I think it is very pretty) (and I added that parenthetical because I worry I sound incredibly ungrateful about my nice trip at the moment).
Look, it helps that I actually like Banana Republic. I think they’re a good company that makes tasteful, affordable things, and Mad Men is my favorite show on television, so this is totally in the wheelhouse of “things I would have liked, anyway.”
But if I hadn’t liked it…
Well, saying so would require an awful lot of integrity.
Or if Ashley, say, wanted to write a post panning Banana Republic I can very easily imagine myself saying “you know, we have a special relationship with them.” Partly because I love the interplay between British and American politics, partly because they now have my eternal gratitude. I would like to continue to go to their parties and have fun and see the super nice publicists and generally have a delightful time.
I suppose the best way I can handle it in that regard is to constantly link back to this post any time I do write about Banana Best Republic Ever, or at least to include some sort of caveat saying that they’ve done some cool stuff for us.
But then, I wonder how much this sort of thing even bothers anyone. When you read fashion magazines and see positive reviews, do you just assume that the journalists writing them had some sort of relationship with the publicists? Is that immediately obvious to everyone? Does it offend you? At the very least, you should know the reason that I will be constantly gushing over BR for about a week, now.
On a side note: how great is Banana Republic? Seriously. I think their new collection is pretty.