CSotD: Astroturf and Activism

Steve Kelley (Creators) poses an interesting question with a dubious assertion: How much will a boycott of Target by bigots and hatemongers impact its sales?

It’s interesting on its own, though you’ll have to wait until the end of summer when second quarter figures are released, and then bear in mind that first quarter sales, before the boycott existed, were already somewhat flat. That means they’d have to dip considerably to be more than an extension of retail progress generally.

That is quite separate from stock prices, which have dipped as a result of the controversy. The stock market is much more vulnerable to rumors, as we see in oil prices and other speculative ups and downs, and it’s natural that a well-publicized, highly promoted boycott would cause investors to panic at least a little.

And Fox is declaring Target to have suffered massive losses because of those dips on Wall Street, not because of anything happening at the cash registers. It’s something of a manufactured crisis: Target has participated in Pride Month for a decade and this is the first year they’ve been singled out by rightwing crusaders.

I’m not against boycotts, but I’m not a fan of astroturfed political movements, and those who boycott Monsanto and Nestle would, no doubt, love to have that kind of media muscle behind their efforts.

There is always a reasonable question of whether a company should become involved in social and political movements. I’m sure it didn’t help Woolworth lunch counters when their southern stores were singled out by civil rights demonstrators for refusing to serve black customers, but it put them in a no-win situation: Either stand strong with Jim Crow and lost face nationally, or yield to civil rights and lose business from white southerners.

But this is a different era, and so Target stores are not just getting peaceful demonstrators but bomb threats and threats of actual harm to employees.

It’s a far cry from quietly sitting at a lunch counter while bigots jeer and pour things over your head, and the fury and danger from genuinely demented hatemongers put Target in a tough position once the physical safety of its employees and customers was brought into the matter.

And so hate has won a round, in that some Target stores have moved and reduced their Pride displays.

For my part, I don’t mind the boycott because I like shopping in a store that bigots and hatemongers and knuckle-dragging morons purposefully avoid.

Getting to mingle exclusively with decent folks is not a bug but a feature.

On a related note, Italian cartoonist Emanuele del Rosso (Cartoon Movement) notes that destroying art is not so bad as destroying the planet, and it’s hard to argue with him.

Killing a baby duck is not as bad as killing a baby human, either, depending on how you feel about ducks and people and assuming that you have to either do one or the other.

Which you don’t, if your goal is to raise awareness. I have spent too much time in the company of genuine, sincere activists and post-adolescent showboats to pretend there’s no difference.

And if you go carrying pictures of Chairman Mao, you ain’t gonna make it with anyone anyhow.

Juxtaposition of the Day

(Mike Thompson)

(Nick Anderson)

While back on the domestic scene, Mike Thompson also speaks of post-adolescent showboats who would rather get attention through destruction than sit down and work out meaningful policies, while Anderson explains why the alleged grown-up in charge has not exercised his authority.

Kevin McCarthy is not like the CEO of Target: His failure to resist the crazies is not because he’s worried about his staff and his customers but because he’s worried about himself.

Somewhere amid those 15 votes to make him Speaker, he should have realized the position he was putting himself in. He must have wanted that gavel so badly that he just didn’t care.

Now he’s like the lady from Niger who smile as she rode on a tiger, despite the fact that there are no tigers in Niger and the two words don’t rhyme. The end result is the same: They have returned from the ride with the Speaker inside and the smile on the face of the tiger.

And, as Thompson points out, the destruction of the US economy doesn’t matter to the tiger, who is only interested in making a political point, and, in doing so, demonstrating his power.

Christopher Weyant manages to add a touch of sardonic humor to a serious political statement, and the only exaggeration is that we don’t really have time machines. In fact, you could argue that we never will have time machines, because surely somebody would have come back to step in by now.

Instead, the only genius who has stepped in is the richest man in the world, who, Taylor Jones declares, has chained the monkey for his own amusement and his own odd goals.

Several cartoonists have compared de Santis’s absurd, bungled Twitter launch with the recent launch and explosion of Musk’s rocket, but two things should be born in mind: One is that Musk knew and predicted that the rocket might explode, and the other is that he didn’t mind the cost because, he said, it helped him learn for the next one.

These considerations should not make Ron de Santis feel good, either about the launch or about his partnership, if you choose to call it one.

Whatever you choose to call it, he hasn’t made the entire US into Florida yet, but, then again, this is the way the world ends, not with a bang but a whimper.

They came for the animated mice, but I was not an animated mouse, and they came for the poets, but I was not a poet, and onward and so forth.

Not just in Florida. They came for Bud Light. They came for Target. And well before that, they came with a noose for Mike Pence, and even Mike Pence decided he was not Mike Pence, and so he did nothing.

They came with guns for the children of Sandy Hook, and Parkland, and Uvalde, but we did nothing.

When the history of this period is written, it will be called “Too Late For Nuremburg.”

And it will be banned.

9 thoughts on “CSotD: Astroturf and Activism

  1. I recall the previous conservative boycotts of Target, and indeed I hadn’t realized they had ended, hard to keep up with that. I know folks who still don’t drink Coors, and the official boycott ended in the 1980s. Of course these boycotts were just folks not buying things.

    1. The Coors thing was, as you say, less a boycott than individuals refusing to give Joe Coors any money, similar to people who don’t buy Goya foods today — personal decisions. By contrast, Safeway was formally boycotted because they carried scab fruit and veggies during the Farm Workers’ strike. But even that was word of mouth and a few editorials in the underground papers — a far cry from having Rupert Murdoch promote it.

  2. When I was stocking hardware at Walmarts in the teens, I had several lightbulb customers come in and demand incandescent lightbulbs because the compact fluorescents (before they were replaced by LEDs) had been forced upon them by Obama. This despite the fact that your average incandescent lasted a month of continuous use vs. the CFL lasting fifteen years. That didn’t matter–they weren’t going to be forced into new tech by liberal acrivism. I was unafraid to push back at their logic, which was certainly against Walmart policy, but, hey, it was 2:00 AM and there was no one within earshot. Now that I think of it, it’s lucky none of these people were carrying or it wouldn’t have been just my ears getting shot.

      1. Nobody mandated CFLs. The 2007 act mandated increased efficiency (25%?), which was achievable with the CFLs of the time. (High efficiency incandescent bulbs evidently could reach this target also, as HE 100 watt-equivalents have continued to be available.) CFLs are now being phased out in favor of LED bulbs, which are even more efficient and don’t contain mercury.

  3. More accurate question: “How much will a boycott of Target because pedophiles insist on sexualizing other people’s children impact sales?”

    1. Which is why the same people who demand — without proof — a boycott of Target also institute — with an abundance of proof — boycotts of youth sports, Boy Scouts and church.

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