Okay, here's a great example of what happens when you let marketing people and PR people and branding mooks run amok. When commenting on a situation in which a Texas couple named their child ESPN, a spokesmen for the cable sports channel had this to say:

``And I guess there's no better testament than when someone names their child after your product. It just shows the bond we have with people.''

Yes, yes... there's no better testament to the power of a television sports channel's bond with people than the fact that they are willing to brand their own human child with the network's name! This kind of thing is not only sad and stupid for the child who will forever be associated with a tv network, but it also speaks volumes about the nature of the relationship that people have to brands in this media-enriched age.

This poor kid (and at least two others with the same kind of dim-witted parents) will forever have a personal logo. I know from experience that seing something close to your name in logos everywhere (Jeanes/Jeans) is kind of weird, but I can only imagine the frustration of trying to become an individual, disassociated with a brand name as big and self-inflated as ESPN. How do we get to a point in our culture where the omnipresence of brands exerts itself in even the most personal and traditional of human rituals, that of naming a new born child? If you are still thinking that people aren't slaves to their televisions and brand names, ask Espn (pronouced "Espen") how he feels about it in a couple of years.