Friday, September 23, 2016

Advertising Algorithms: Still Not Ready

Inspired to action by Bishop Barron's comments on Fleming Rutledge's The Crucifixion, I added the book to my Amazon Wish List a few moments ago. The Rev. Rutledge is a retired Episcopal priest who has long had a reputation as an excellent preacher and orthodox theologian. I had heard her speak at the Center for Catholic and Evangelical Theology's conference "Who Do You Say That I Am? Following and Proclaiming Jesus Today" a few years ago and was suitably impressed. She is both an engaging speaker and serious Christian theologian.

Seeing my interest in this book, as a matter of course Amazon wants me to sell me similar merchandise. The question is, what might be "similar" to 700 page book that was the Academy of Parish Clergy's "Reference Book of the Year" for 2015 and is highly recommended by theologians like Robert Jenson and Stanley Hauerwas. Why, a pick from... Oprah!
I'm guessing the algorithm's categories are "female" and "spirituality." Which takes me back to a saying I learned in my 8th grade computer programming class, GIGO -- "garbage in, garbage out."

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P.S. Turns out today is the anniversary of the senseless shooting death of the young Angels outfielder (and fellow CSUN alum) Lyman Bostock in 1978. The first of the "promoted stories" at the bottom of that page is a photo of a lovely young woman and the headline "37 Shocking Celebrity Cup Sizes You Couldn't Have Guessed." Ahh, those algorithms...