What’s with the rat teaser campaign?

Rat21Something has been driving me crazy all week. Not the constant rain. The Great Pointed Archer Society. First, there were the ads in advertising trades, showing rats being neglected while other animals like pigeons were being fed and cooed over. Then there was the Web site, www.greatpointedarcher.com, which was purported to be dedicated to changing the name of rats to "great pointed archers" and offering up a host of  rat "facts," like "a great pointed archer’s fur smells like grape soda." And today, there was an email, asking me, as a "media representative," "when writing or developing future stories referencing rats, please kindly use the term ‘Great Pointed Archer’ instead of the ‘R’ word." OK, its obviously a joke devised by some cleverer-than-thou agency, although a Google search of a name mentioned in the email, Debbie "The Rat Lady" Ducommun, reveals that she is in fact, a real person. So what kind of a hoax is this? It’s unclear, but it brings to mind a quote from one of my favorite writers, Mary Gaitskill, asked to comment this week in New York magazine about the possibility that author JT LeRoy might also be a hoax: “It’s occurred to me that the whole thing with Jeremy is a hoax, but I felt that even if it turned out to be a hoax, it’s a very enjoyable one. And a hoax that exposes things about people, the confusion between love and art and publicity. A hoax that would be delightful and if people are made fools of, it would be okay—in fact, it would be useful.” My head hurts.

—Posted by Mae Anderson