Thursday, July 21, 2005

That's my man...

CC is working on a big work thing with a 2 p.m. deadline, and may not get to posting anything this morning until it is done. But TheCSO posted this as a comment on the "Victoria's Dirty Little Secret" thread and I think what he has to say is absolutely worth discussing. I was a great one for protesting in my day (you see, since I'm the ripe old age of 27, it's no longer "my day"), and will tell the story of how I got dissillusioned from that probably later on today.

Till then,

I have a hard time supporting blackmail tactics, and that's basically what this group does. Their strategy with Staples, as I understood it, was basically to whine and protest and give Staples bad publicity until they caved. And they met with Staples management, gave them specific demands, and made it less expensive for Staples to comply with their ideology-driven opinion than to combat the bad press. On an issue that most of their customers really didn't care about.

I even basically agree with their goals, but I don't like their tactics and have a hard time supporting them.

The last thing we need is more whining, and "we're going to throw a calculated temper tantrum until this big company does things our way" sends the wrong message about the effectiveness of protest. It's not some grand gesture in the spirit of, say, the civil rights movement. It's about whining enough that it's cheaper for the company to pay their protection money (in this case, buying more expensive paper) than suffer the negative publicity inflicted by a small fringe group.

It's media-savvy PR blackmail, and effective PR blackmail at that. Let's just stop pretending that there's some sort of nobility to protesting here, and call it what it is - a bullying tactic used to shove a specific non-mainstream opinion down everyone else's throat. Now, whether that's appropriate is a very different question, and I'm not sure what the correct answer is. It's the one we should be asking, though.

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