Senator Alan Simpson

September 1, 2010

I presume that you’ve followed the controversy with Senator Simpson sending rude letters to the Older Women’s League. I wouldn’t argue with their base claim that Senator Simpson is sexist, but give me a fucking break. They’re saying that Senator Simpson was being sexist for saying that people were sucking on the tits of Social Security. Because we all know that when people talk about suckling, we’re all referring to women’s breasts. No, you daffy bastard, he’s referring to a milk cow. He even said, and I quote, “a milk cow with 310 million tits.” Nobody refers to “sucking off of the tit” as sucking on a human breast.

The director of OWL, Ashley Carson, backs up her claim by saying that he made several references to her being too stupid to understand the data and that she doesn’t know how to read the graphs, which she says “plays on the stereotype that women are too stupid to do math.” I don’t buy it. Alan Simpson is a self-aggrandizing conservative asshole. He would have said the same thing to me if I had complained to him. He’s saying that ALL people who disagree with him are too stupid to do math. And when she was addressed on the actual meat of the Social Security issue (you now, the thing that they originally complained about), her only real constructive input was that Alan Simpson should be fired and replaced with a woman. No woman in particular– any woman will do. Way to fight that stereotype of understanding the issues.

Ordinarily, it wouldn’t bother me that they were complaining about such things. Sen. Simpson is a righteous asshole, and I’m pretty sure that he is a chauvinist just by virtue of his culture and background. And just as when people with race issues need to bite their lip when they’re talking to black people (Michael Richards) or religious bigots need to back off the zealot talk (Mel Gibson), Sen. Simpson should have watched his mouth when he was sending an official letter to a women’s rights group, and just generally try to stay away from gender-charged language.

HOWEVER, I also know that the one stereotype of women that has the most trouble getting dispelled is that they’re overly sensitive and take everything personally. Just listening to Director Ashley Carson feeds into every stereotype I’ve ever heard of the “uppity bitch.” And I think of every time that one of my female friends has tried to be respected or taken seriously by a man only to have that man dismiss her as a ‘chick with an opinion,’ and how men like that point to women like her as backing to their prejudice. I’m ashamed to be of the same gender as Alan Simpson. Women should be ashamed to be the same gender as Ashley Carson.


On Boycotts

July 29, 2010

I’ve been sent two articles in particular this week from several sources– one is a call to boycott Target because a congressman who opposes gay rights has received some of their money; the other is a call to boycott Home Depot because they support community organizations who champion gay rights.

Do we still not get why our economy is so ass backwards? I’m aware of boycott charges against WalMart for using evil business practices, or Starbucks for being too aggressive, or Hallmark for monetizing our culture. I get those boycotts. But to infuse politics into two of the most apolitical organizations out there is ridiculous. It’s selfish, it’s egomaniacal, and it’s just plain mean.

There are certainly times when a company has a definite political bent. Don’t forget that NewsCorp and Universal are both businesses. Whole Foods made that whole weird stink last year about health care. There were a few companies in 2008 who got in trouble for telling their employees how to vote. Those are times when one might be expected to reach out to their local companies and say ‘cut it out, or I’m taking my business somewhere else.’

Target, though? Target has a rating of 100% from the HRC. They have very progressive hiring practices, and even if they didn’t, they have no record of any unfair business practices, which is exceedingly rare for a budget chain. Now they have donated money to a pro-business PAC, which has donated money to a pro-business candidate for Governor of Minnesota (they’re based in Minneapolis), who among other things is a very religious man who opposes gay rights. Target has already come out in an attempt to be perfectly clear—no, they do not agree with the candidate’s view on gay rights. Yes, some of their money did make it to his campaign. But they donated the money to an organization which has a reputation of helping businesses. They’re a business.

Home Depot’s connection to this ridiculous charade is that they have but up promotional booths at gay pride parades, and put on workshops for children. In other words, they’re advertising at a place where there are going to be a lot of people who see their name. I give you a guarantee that Home Depot also has tents in many more festivals which have a more chauvinist, homophobic slant, but not because it has anything to do with politics—a majority of do-it-yourself, lumber and power tools type customers have a more conservative slant. Now Home Depot—who, incidentally, have a less than impressive score of 85% with the HRC—are being boycotted as gay-lovers.

You know who’s getting business out of all this, who’s benefiting from this culture war? Competitors who have done nothing for anybody. That’s the message we’re sending to these companies. Keep your advertising to billboards and obnoxious television commercials. Don’t support any causes. Take all that extra money and just funnel it into your stockholder’s pockets.

Your decades-long track record means nothing to us. If you do one thing we disagree with (and both companies are patronized by both ‘sides of the aisle’), we’ll drop any support for your store. So just don’t bother. Let’s go back to an age of huge companies with no social responsibilities at all.

The only solace I have from all this is that the same knee-jerk reactionaries who call for these boycotts also lack conviction. They’ll be shopping there again soon enough.