After having closed easily thousands of pop-up ads, I have come across the online advertisements for Classmates.com often enough that I can but quickly glance at them and, using only scant visual cues, recognize them and then, subsequently, the fact that I don’t need to pay them any attention.
Then I thought about it.
Do you see the woman in this ad? In my estimation, this must be an actual woman. She’s wearing the hairstyle and glasses specific to a certain class of a certain generation — I’m going with early 60s she-dork — and her picture, if genuine, looks to be taken from an actual yearbook. Considering the effort that one would have to put in compositing several ugly yearbook pictures into one image that looks like a real person, I’d say it’s reasonable this is a real person. I’d be surprised if she’s not from a real yearbook, too, though God knows how the Classmates.com people got a hold of it.
Given the apparent age of the photograph, there’s some probability that the woman in it is dead, but it seems especially crass that this person would be commercialized in such a way that her survivors would have to witness her photo — appropriated for an advertisement — every time they used the internet. No, I’m guessing that this woman is alive somewhere — and that she signed a release for Classmates.com to use her old yearbook image as they wished. Then how, I wonder, must she feel to see her image paired with the test “She’s a model now?!” or — as I’ve also seen her, paired with some thick-necked jock — “She married him?!” Either one, a statement that could use an interrobang, however mean-spirited such a punctuational footnote might be implemented. If this woman uses the internet — and what troglodyte doesn’t? — I’ll bet she resents the fact that she ever signed the release.
As if being awkward through high school wasn’t pain enough.