Have a look at Rick Reilly's latest. Notice anything new? No, silly, it's not the jokes. Look closer.
See it now? It's the trademark, clinging like a bad case of plaque to the words "Life of Reilly." Yes, it seems that Reilly has taken the final step in the long, arduous process of reducing himself to little more than a brand.
The trademark registration record:
Reilly, as you can see, owns the trademark himself; the application was filed less than a month before his first ESPN column. I guess this is what people call "protecting the brand," and it's probably not a bad idea for a column that's basically a rhyme and a dog cartoon shy of being a line of Hallmark cards, anyway. Still, there's something showy and faintly petulant about sticking the trademark on the column itself, as if he were marking territory. Why, it's almost as if Reilly's gotten the bizarre impression that he's a frequent object of ridicule and satire.