Manning the Boycotts
ADULT: Barry Lowe stands by his principles. But will he let his many boycotts stand in the way of a good root?
There was much mirth and ridicule when fundamentalist and conservative groups in the US called for a boycott of Oreo biscuits, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year. The source of their ire was a Facebook post by Kraft, the iconic biscuit’s manufacturer, of a picture of a rainbow-creamed Oreo in support of Gay Pride and ‘love’ in general. It was part of a year-long promotional campaign “creating a series of daily ads reflecting current events in a fun way using images of Oreo cookies”.
As a marketing exercise it was highly successful. Tens of thousands of ‘Likes’ and ‘Dislikes’ on the Facebook page, steamy hate postings about boycotting Kraft products, lots of references to that fictitious entity known as God (does she eat biscuits with her morning tea?), and lots of ignorant responses to the other ignorant responses. Meanwhile, a rep for Kraft said in justification of the rainbow biscuit: “As a company, Kraft Foods has a proud history of celebrating diversity and inclusiveness. We feel the Oreo ad is a fun reflection of our values”.
That makes it a ‘feel-good’ story for the gay community and, as such, would make me more inclined to buy the product if they ever issued the rainbow-creamed version. It’s not like I need any more sugar in my diet. I know the whole story is a promotional gimmick but Kraft at least made a stand in ‘our’ favour.
To the consternation of many of my friends, I have no problem with those people who are boycotting Kraft although some of their online proselytising makes you wonder where their heads are at.
I, too, boycott products, those whose companies promote an anti-gay agenda or whose CEOs donate to anti-gay causes. It’s a personal thing and I don’t expect other people to follow my lead although I will explain why I don’t patronise a certain café franchise because of their support for Hillsong, or why I won’t spend money watching Mel Gibson movies after his homophobic rants of the past, or my long-standing refusal to donate to the Salvation Army.
But keeping up a boycott is difficult, particularly in the face of friends who see nothing wrong with pouring money into an organisation or an individual who uses their cash against them. I don’t accept that because someone is an artist of note that excuses personal behavior. Of course, I’m a little like a certain letter writer to a Sydney newspaper who purged his record, yes record, collection of any gay singers. It was easy enough for him as he had only a little material by Elton John and George Michael, and none at all by Boy George. Besides, the smug bastard wrote, he hated modern pop music and preferred to listen to musicals (Cole Porter, Lorenz hart, Stephen Sondheim, Jerry Herman, Fred Ebb, Forrest and Wright, Noel Coward, Ivor Novello anyone?) and his favourite classical composers Tchaikovsky, Saint-Saens and a whole host of other lavender-hued notesmiths. He was particularly fond of the religious compositions of Benjamin Britten. I presume someone took the time to mention to him the sexual proclivities of his chosen favourites.
Just as one of my friends said to me one day after he suggested a quick coffee and Danish in the above-mentioned coffee shop and I turned him down, “So, just how far does your boycott extend? I understand you don’t patronise the establishment, which is easy for you because you don’t drink coffee, but would you fuck a cute guy who worked there?”
I had to laugh, I could see the absurdity of taking my boycotts to the limit. It would mean I would have to spit out the next inviting cock that poked through a glory hole until I could get out my list of questions and whisper through the hole to my anonymous feeder, asking whether he went to Mel Gibson movies, whether he donated to the Salvation Army, and whether he drank coffee at…
Oh shit, he’s done up his fly and left the cubicle.