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Bringing Nothing to the Party: Ben Cohen and the art of the press release

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The degree has also made Benjamin rethink his impressions of internet pornography, a subject that he has been criticised for in the past. CyberBritain.com owned Hunt4Porn.com, Europe's first and largest adult search engine. Destined to cause controversy, Cohen has always displayed mixed views towards this aspect of his empire.

'In one sense I still stand by the comments that I made last year about freedom of speech and the right of the individual to access pornography. Yet I have come to realise that there is really little money that I can make out of it.'

The above might actually be my favourite paragraph, not just in this press release, but in any press release ever sent. It's a heart-warming tale of Damascene conversion...

God: 'You know, Saul, there's really very little money to be made in persecuting Christians.'

Saul: 'Good point, God. I think I'll change my ways. Call me Paul.'

Benjamin has grown up into a sensitive and sensible young man. He has dispensed of his obnoxious, brash manner of the past into quite the perfect gentleman. He has the ability to laugh at himself and realise his faults but most importantly, change them.

Seriously, Sam, I PROMISE I didn't make this up. 'Quite the perfect gentleman'!

'I prefer the new me a million [*] times more than the old one. I much prefer the calmer, sensitive and perceptive nearly twentysomething than the excitable temperamental teenager.'

*40,000.

Benjamin Cohen was the first and the last dotcom teenage millionaire...

No, he wasn't. He's just admitted that. Do you think he even read this thing as he was writing it?

...sure there were many after he first appeared but they disappeared from the scene long ago. He's excited that the label will finally be dropped and he can become Benjamin Cohen, the businessman, student, media commentator and human being.'

Well, one out of four ain't bad. Although, if he's really off to university I can't wait for his next press releases...

Benjamin Cohen: 'The media claimed I'd got off with my housemate while I was drunk, but that was just hype...'

Benjamin Cohen: 'Why reports of my £4.5m student loan were greatly exaggerated.'

Benjamin Cohen: 'My mixed views on downloading tons of porn while I should be revising.'

Amazing.

P

It wasn't just Sam and I who were having fun at Ben Cohen's expense. The release was not exactly well received by the new media press, with many - including The Register - simply printing the release verbatim and inviting readers to make their own comments.

You see, journalists will tolerate falling victim to hype; they'll tolerate overblown valuations and they'll even embrace precocious 16-year-olds who claim to be worth millions, while the journalists themselves struggle to pay their rent. Yes, we're jealous and we're bitter, but we have a job to do and, in a boom, we're your bitches.

But when the market crashes and the same precocious kid sends a press release admitting that it was all bullshit: hoo boy, then your ass is ours...

© Paul Carr 2008. The book is published by Weidenfeld & Nicolson and is available from Amazon. Paul's blog with further extracts and other nonsense can be found here.

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