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There are tragedies and there are tragedies, and while we don't rank Absolut Vodka's purchase of a plaque on the Walk of Fame with, say, domestic Bat-violence, some fork-tongued marketing gnome still must have done a jig in his hot little corner of hell today as word of the sponsorship deal hit the LA Times. For a few hundred grand, Absolut today became a "Friend" of the Walk, complete with a "star-like plaque" near Hollywood and Highland.

On one hand, we know the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce needs $4 million to restore the Walk. On the other, it's Hollywood! What would late honorary mayor Johnny Grant have done (besides hit up each and every one of the honorees and/or their families represented there)? Moreover, what kind of self-respecting city sanctions the vodka version of itself — in this case, some vile formula characterized after the jump as "Absolut LA":

Last month ... the chamber rejected a design that looked too much like the stars for celebrities. He said the plaque cannot be confused with a star because it is on private property and is "set back a distance from the Walk of Fame."

Absolut, however, is singing a different tune, referring to the plaque as an "honorary star" in a press release. Public relations manager Sarah Bessette said it will be "right there in front of the Kodak Theatre, near the others."

Absolut is gearing up a flashy marketing campaign to introduce its new vodka, Absolut LA, which it describes as a "progressive mix of new age flavors" such as blueberry, acai and pomegranate. "Flavored vodka as a concept has become a little bit stale," said Tim Murphy, Absolut's vice president of marketing.

Come to think of it, we could use a drink right about now.