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Here’s the original post I saw yesterday and just hadn’t gotten to, from Feministing that details a children’s book called My Beautiful Mommy. It’s all about how gret tummy tucks are. I’m not kidding. That’s for real.

Making the rounds this morning, I read this post on BlogHer (from Backpacking Dad) about how the book is kind of a hoax. So I then went to the original post about how it’s a kind of a hoax on the blog, Making Light.

Well, Making Light includes some excellent information about how the book in question appears to have been published by a vanity publisher. All the links are at Making Light re: what these are and who are the specific players. Many kudos to the blogger there for doing all that.

So – I went a bit further and googled the author of My Beautiful Mommy.

Here’s what I found:

His blog and website called Nip/Talk Radio. I never watched Nip/Tuck but it’s a riff off of that cable program.

Here’s what American Health and Beauty writes about him.

He is in Bal Harbour, Florida. My grandmother lived in Bal Harbour. I spent many vacations with her in Bal Harbour (she died when I was 23). Bal Harbour is a very nice place, or used to be, but I haven’t been there in literally decades. So – it’s just my memory. But I think it’s still more or less like that. I could be wrong.

No surprise to any readers of WLST, a book that is described like this by Newsweek:

“My Beautiful Mommy” is aimed at kids ages four to seven and features a plastic surgeon named Dr. Michael (a musclebound superhero type) and a girl whose mother gets a tummy tuck, a nose job and breast implants. Before her surgery the mom explains that she is getting a smaller tummy: “You see, as I got older, my body stretched and I couldn’t fit into my clothes anymore. Dr. Michael is going to help fix that and make me feel better.” Mom comes home looking like a slightly bruised Barbie doll with demure bandages on her nose and around her waist.

The text doesn’t mention the breast augmentation, but the illustrations intentionally show Mom’s breasts to be fuller and higher. “I tried to skirt that issue in the text itself,” says Salzhauer. “The tummy lends itself to an easy explanation to the children: extra skin and can’t fit into your clothes. The breasts might be a stretch for a six-year-old.”

The book doesn’t explain exactly why the mother is redoing her nose post-pregnancy. Nonetheless, Mom reassures her little girl that the new nose won’t just look “different, my dear—prettier!”

is going to be a problem for me – on many, many levels.

But – keeping it to the professional level, I wanted to know, as a writer, how did an alleged vanity publication get in the hands of Newsweek? So I wrote the author:

Dear Dr. Salzhauer,

I’m a freelance writer who recently read the Newsweek article about a book you author. I recognized the publisher as a vanity publisher.

Could you please tell me how you and your book came to the attention of Newsweek magazine?

I’ve read that your book does not appear to be available on Amazon nor does it appear to have an ISBN. If that is true, how will your book be sold and how will people purchase it?

Thank you.

While writing this post, I actually received a response from Dr. Salzhauer and look forward to learning more about him, the book and Newsweek. Dr. Salzhauer indicated that the book’s ISBN is 13: 978-1-60131-032-3 and that it should be available through Amazon before publication.

What do you think? Of the book and Newsweek?

UDPATE: Just in case you aren’t sure how you feel about this book, please read this post at Shaping Youth. Amy does a fantastic job breaking it down.

UPDATEx2: More dads weigh in. Thank you, Dads.

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By Jill Miller Zimon at 10:36 am April 17th, 2008 in 'Roots News, Blogging, Health Care, Social Issues, Women 

Comments

10 Responses to “[updatex2] Newsweek, beautiful mommies & cosmetic surgeon & author, Michael Salzhauer”

  1. 1 Backpacking Dad on April 17th, 2008 11:53 am

    Nice work. I hope you find out.

  2. 2 Teresa Nielsen Hayden on April 17th, 2008 12:11 pm

    Excellent! I’ll be watching as this develops.

    An ISBN and an Amazon listing means people can buy the book online. I don’t know whether Big Tent has a standard distribution deal or a sales force. If they do, some copies may make their way into some bookstores. Otherwise, what the ISBN means in terms of bookstore presence is that if a customer wants a copy, he or she can pay in advance to have their bookstore order it for them.

    If getting books into bookstores were easy, everyone would do it.

  3. 3 Shaping Youth on April 18th, 2008 12:49 pm

    Good recon on all fronts…I’ve covered this on Shaping Youth from both a media literacy perspective and a body image one.

    Ping me if you find out new info, as I really hate taking the media ‘bait’ if this was a marketing strategy. That said, much like my Miss Bimbo post, it’s important to deconstruct this stuff regardless, because it IS out there getting buzz, and people need context.

    Here’s my post on Shaping Youth: “Mamma’s Got a Brand New Bag…er, Face. Nose. Belly”
    http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=1377

    Also, it’s clearly not a ‘hoax’ as you CAN crosslist on Amazon w/an ISBN just as we did with Age of Conversation to benefit Variety, the Children’s Charity…even though that began as a Lulu.com self-publishing probono venture to raise money for their global Lifeline division…

  4. 4 I See Invisible People » Blog Archive » A children’s guide to nip, tuck on April 19th, 2008 2:47 pm

    [...] at Writes Like She Talks covers some interesting territory about the book being self-published by a vanity press and asks how he managed to get it reviewed by [...]

  5. 5 Katsoulis on April 22nd, 2008 10:34 pm

    “Dr.” Salzhauer has been demonized here:

  6. 6 Jill Miller Zimon on April 22nd, 2008 10:38 pm

    I’ve been quiet because of Passover but will pick up the pieces again hopefully tomorrow. Dr. Sulzhauer has gone silent on me now but there’s still the Newsweek reporter…

  7. 7 Shaping Youth on April 30th, 2008 12:06 pm

    Hey Jill, It’s Amy from Shaping Youth here again..Add THIS tidbit to your recon…

    I kept getting pinged by a ‘makeover momma’ touting her rights to feel good about herself, etc.—(which I respect, btw, as it’s personal choice, my issue is the book and how it’s landing on kids to ‘fix’ stuff)

    Anyway, after several back & forths in the comment section of my post here, http://www.shapingyouth.org/blog/?p=1377
    I decided to do my own recon and find out where “s/he” blogs…Bingo!

    Here’s my reply in our comment section:

    “Ah, silly me…I should’ve KNOWN better, why of course, you blog for the CLIENT of the book, who is your BOSS!!! Just found you here, “Carmen” –aka “Paola G. Chacon”
    http://www.scumbagstyle.com/

    Next time you’d like to seed content for your boss’ endeavor, you might not want to be so easy to trace!!! This is a media literacy lesson in itself…which should be blogged about.

    Remember…digital footprints are easy to track with media savvy folks…doesn’t take much.”

    ugh. ‘Scumbag’ is right. –A.

  8. 8 Katsoulis on May 8th, 2008 11:28 pm

    Paola G. Chacon also ended up posting his/her comments on my blog as well under the name “Cassy” with the same not quite coherent arguments.

    http://www.1000demons.com/2008/04/no40-dr-michael-salzhauer.html

    Very, very scummy indeed. Perhaps this manner of deceptiveness was used with Newsweek?

  9. 9 Shaping Youth on May 9th, 2008 12:56 am

    Evidently s/he gets around, as the same Paola G. Chacon tried to post on Dr. Robyn’s blog called Kiss My Assets under the name “Gabriela” and she pinged me with the recon to do the digital match of IPs and keystroke trail…bingo. Same person. Sheesh…must’ve had the braincells sucked out with lipo, as it’s not that hard to trace! I’ll check the BlogHer post next, as I’m sure there’s a trail elsewhere too…This might make a good story in itself…what happens when ‘sock puppets’ get outed by digitally savvy Web 2.0 citizen journalists ;-)

  10. 10 Mois on May 15th, 2008 6:51 pm

    I actually would consider myself more of an activist. I believe in plastic surgery. I believe in the death penalty and of course wish Hillary would win…

    I believe in what I do, kinda of like…

    Journalism… Yeah. Michael Mooooore anyone?

    I’ll never blog about chocolate.

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