Looking Away, Looking Back


A friend of mine posted this the other day. You might be thinking what I was thinking.

This is a person with a big ol’ heart, particularly for the least of us, and obviously a lover of animals. That’s a problematic statement, as are most generalities—do I have to love all animals? How about raccoons?

But you know. Loves her furry creatures, and I love her for that, and she means well and this is something to consider, of course. I’m all in favor of boycotts as a tool for the disenfranchised. Or, really, people who are pissed off for any reason. We have household boycotts, which we all respect and adhere to except when we really need to go to Walmart. We take it seriously.

I was a little surprised by the Papa John reaction, actually. People who are upset that the head honcho, John Schnatter, used the n-word in a private conversation and now have sworn never to eat another PJ pie confuse me. First, the guy was sacked (as much as the founder can be) almost immediately after the story was reported. Second, this is a corporate issue, it seems to me, a board anxious not to be associated with toxic publicity. I don’t know what’s in Schnatter’s heart; the context in which he used the term was pretty sterile, if clueless. There no evidence of latent hostility toward people with darker skin than his (you could find that elsewhere, maybe), just a tone-deaf approach.

My point is, how did you not know already this guy was a jerk? I’ve never eaten a Papa John pizza and won’t, and this is mostly the reason. Eh, guy looks like a dick. Not gonna slip a buck into his pocket when it’s pizza. I can find pizza by myself. Not a hard call.

So this is what confuses me. I can make a case for boycotting Walmart, although that’s up to you. I won’t shop there, because I don’t have to. I have the luxury of avoiding Walmart. My mother might share this attitude, but she lives in a small town and doesn’t have the luxury; Walmart is the only game. Others pick it for the convenience, and that’s exactly why I can be so noble about Papa John’s pizza. I could boycott Brussels sprouts in a second, that’s exactly how noble I am.

Anyway. I got off on a tangent there, sorry. Not a new thing, but still.

The problem with the graphic up there, of course, is that my friend might decide to institute a personal boycott of those companies and their products. That’s up to her. I respect whatever decision she makes, assuming she makes any.

But she’s not going to research, I suspect. She’s just going to remember the picture. She has no idea if any of this is true. Doesn’t matter. Feels like it ought to be true, and so on.

I’m not picking on my friend. If I were to point out that she really has no idea if any of the companies shown in the graphic actually do test on animals—or what that entails, testing—she’d probably feel sheepish and agree.

But that’s not the problem. My friend isn’t keeping Colgate on the shelves by herself. And as much as I get frustrated over the dissemination of bad information, I don’t know that this is actually wrong and, anyway, my friend isn’t an influencer. She doesn’t have any sway to speak of. If she persuades a couple of friends with this graphic, they’re not gonna affect any bottom lines either. None of my business.

What’s my business is that I saw it, too. And now, when I’m shopping, I’m going to have this image upstairs, nagging. I can’t unsee it, and now I’m starting to think this is the whole problem, right here.

Chuck Sigars1 Comment