Did I Endorse This Ad?

     Is it possible to endorse a product or service without using your name and without anyone saying that you’re endorsing it?
     Can you endorse a service by failing to use it?
     Yes, these are idle questions, but the issues came up in a lawsuit in Los Angeles last week that confirms the time-honored maxim I just made up: If you fail at love, there’s always litigation.
     The suit was filed on behalf of Chris Soules, a farmer who was on a season of “The Bachelor,” proposed to a city girl, then broke up with her.
     You may have read some news accounts that don’t quite get the facts right. Typical headline: “The Bachelor’s Chris Soules Suing Farmers Only Dating Site for Allegedly Using His Image in Ad.
     The lawsuit doesn’t say that.
     Well, actually it does, but it doesn’t.
     There’s a section with a subheading: “THE USE OF PLAINTIFF’S LIKENESS.”
     This is followed by an explanation that the likeness wasn’t used.
     To wit: “Mr. Soules was identifiable from the combination of a picture with a blacked-out person, and a complete description of Mr. Soules’ appearance on the show and his story of how his relationship with his girlfriend from the show did not work out because he picked a city girl.”
     So the plaintiff was somehow unintentionally endorsing a farmers dating website by not appearing in an ad and not using the service.
     I guess we do learn from bad examples.
     I may have to sue some weight-loss companies.
     
     Trivia question: How many lawyers are listed in the “Top 100 Trial Lawyers Directory” on the National Trial Lawyers website?
     Come on. Take a stab at it.
     Now go look at the site. I’m not going to give you the answer because, well, there are too many for me to want to count them. Suffice it to say there are 66 pages of them with 100 on Page 2 alone.
     I’m not sure what this means, but I think it’s either that trial lawyers are very persuasive even when numbers don’t support their position – or math education in the U.S. is in worse shape than I thought.
     Probably a combination of the two.
     
     Prediction: We’re going to see a tsunami of new motion pictures featuring elderly white male actors.
     The geriatric age of cinema will be upon us.
     Mark your calendar a couple of years from now to remember to come back to this column (archived somewhere on the Internet) to see that I’m right.
     The reason for this should be obvious: #Oscarsowhite.
     The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has decided to take away Oscar voting privileges from actors who haven’t acted for 10 years. The idea is to change the demographics of the voting group.
     What will really happen is that a lot of cranky old guys will decide to get their own movies produced so they can keep voting.
     The Best Actor contest between Wilford Brimley and Ed Asner will be too close to call.
     
     Spot the oddity. In the interest of reporting news you may not get elsewhere, I have to tell you that a Southern California family has sued their mailman in Los Angeles Superior Court for invasion of privacy, malicious trespass and infliction of emotional distress.
     It seems that, according to the suit, the father plaintiff one day noticed his mailman walking out of his garage.
     He asked his neighbors about this and was told the mailman stopped in the garage often after dropping off the mail.
     So Dad hid in the garage to see what was happening: “Once in the garage, Mr. Chang would snoop through the plaintiffs’ laundry, specifically the undergarments of his wife and female minor child, and apply the same to his face, nose and fingers.”
     The mailman was “fondling, sniffing and inappropriately rubbing the plaintiffs’ undergarments.”
     Do you see how weird this is?
     Who keeps their underwear in the garage?

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