28. Boycotts

Dear Boycotts:

You know you’re outdated right? Your era ended long before the advent of the VHS tape. Know how long ago that was? June 1976 in these United States.

I bring this to your attention not to say that I don’t like the idea of you. I do. But you’re just not feasible to carry out in today’s America.

1958: Montgomery, Ala. Enough said.

1955: Montgomery, Ala. Enough said.

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve have thought about launching you on Maury Povich, the BCS Championship Game and all Mark Cronin-produced reality television. So have many others. Thing is, you rarely work on the grand stage anymore. Too many Americans have the attention spans of hyperactive Miniature Pinschers or wheel mice. Plotting to shut down such visible and money-driven entities of American life is laughable. It’s Mission: Not Gonna Happen.

Think about it like this: If the Revs. Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson were ever to sway Black America to stop buying/listening to all rap music (this will never happen, but work with me), it wouldn’t matter. Soulja Boy Tell’em’s next ringtone would still go gold on the dime of white 15-year-olds alone.

You starting to catch my drift? You don’t work.

This couldn’t have been more evident than in the past few weeks. Some well-meaning citizens have rallied together to try boycotting The New York Post for its infamous chimpanzee cartoon and chimp-wannabe Rush Limbaugh for being asinine enough to say he wants the president to fail.

Seriously, how can anybody think boycotting the Post will work? I know you were either *chuckling under your breath* or *shaking your head* at every quasi-boycotter who couldn’t resist the temptation to click the link about Michael Strahan’s stalker-ish tendencies concerning Nicole Murphy. I know I couldn’t. The Post provides the real drama of New York stars. Why would anyone give that up? That’s outstanding work.

And Rush Limbaugh? Boycotting GOP Captain Pop-a-Pill (preferably Xanax or Oxy-Cotin) or his sponsors might be the dumbest idea I’ve ever heard. People don’t realize just how many people voted for Sen. John McCain (59,934,814 according to Wikipedia).

Moreover, if Limbaugh had decided to go on the air and tell those nearly 60 million voters to fast from the polls on Nov. 4, 2008 in hopes of an election miracle from God, half of them would have been crazy enough to follow his instructions. Too many Americans willingly call themselves Dittoheads. Attempting to avoid Limbaugh or his sponsors will NEVER work.

I write all of this to say what to you? Honestly, I don’t know. I haven’t a clue as to how we should progress concerning the actualization of necessary change on such a grand level (Google: Charles Hamilton Houston and/or the 1955 Montgomery Bus Boycott).

Maybe we should just realize that we have to individually ween off the unnecessary ignorance that troubles our moral codes. Then allow those personal boycotts to pay off for us as individuals, and be living examples for others. Seriously, I have VH1 blocked on my television, and it has done wonders for my life/sanity/productivity.

Wishing you still worked,


P.S. The anthem to this letter is undoubtedly a sweeping rendition of “We Shall Overcome.”


15 responses to “28. Boycotts

  1. This is soo funny. And I agree… I remember when people started circulating emails around for boycotting gas stations due to the prices of gas. Well, duh, that’s not helping anything since EVERYONE gets the emails. lol

    BTW: I absolutely love your blog.

  2. @nicki: … thanks chica. I don’t understand why anyone would be dumb enough to boycott a gas station. I mean, are you going to walk to the gas station to picket? No, you’re going to drive your gas-gussling 2009 SUV there.

  3. Boycotts are the loose dentures in the mouf of ol’ America. Ineffective but folks try to use em anyway. This letter was entirely too awesome for me to handle at 9am. YESSSS!!!

  4. Ok, now I know I wasn’t the only one who thought that boycotting the New York Post was dumb. All those people standing outside looked real stupid with their signs and rantings. Like you so eloquently put it….IT WON’T WORK!

  5. “@nicki: … thanks chica. I don’t understand why anyone would be dumb enough to boycott a gas station. I mean, are you going to walk to the gas station to picket? No, you’re going to drive your gas-gussling 2009 SUV there.”


  6. Hey tehre!

    We need to bring BACK the boycotts… black folks have $780 billion in buying power and we need to start wielding our consumer influence with product boycotts!! Seriously.

    We are losing ground and we need to step it up.

    Peace, blessings and godliness,

  7. I’d love to organize a boycott where every non-management newspaper employee doesn’t go to work for just one day (coordinated on the same day, obviously) just to stick it to the fuck-ups in the industry who are personally tearing the damn thing to shreds. Maybe some of the stock holders will kick some of the CEOs to the curb.
    But yeah, I get your point. Shit doesn’t work any more. People are just too lazy.

  8. Boycotts were so amazing and effective back in the day! I was reading Eyes on the Prize for Black History Month and was most intrigued by the boycotts and sit-ins. The organization and determination of those people were phenomenal, and completely lost on the people today! Black people could be a powerhouse if we could stop tearing each other down long enough to get some stuff done!

  9. @jada: black people, white people, political people, American people could be something if we actually gave a damn. But it’s impossible to organize something so brilliant these days.

    The close thing you can get to it is Obama’s candidacy. But that’s one man’s positive platform of hope. Not overwhelming reaction to some negative event in popular society.

    You’re right, though. The Civil Rights Era was that spot for boycotting. In the 60s, my university’s black students had sit-ins because their weren’t enough black cheerleaders. lol. Seriously.

  10. I agree completely. Young people’s idea of a boycott is to create a group on facebook and try to get a bunch of people to join it. As if a facebook group has any type of power, maybe if people would get off the couch and out in the streets then we could get something done.

  11. @tam: You want to know the real reason I decided to write this letter? here it is:


    I am not joking, either.

  12. Wow, I’m not really surprised though. Everyday I see a new group up protesting or complaining about something. It is pretty sad really.

  13. What!? You blocked VH1? The home of I Love the 80’s featuring Fraggle Rock, Blossom (and Joey), slap bracelets, and the Billy Jean record? Shame on you Damon! Shame, shame, shame!

  14. I don’t actually agree that the time for boycotts has passed. Perhaps the time for 1950’s style boycotts has passed. However, there are more nuances to this.

    In the 1950’s, the principal target was a public entity enforcing an immoral code. If the MTA in NYC or Septa or some other public entity embarked upon a similar path, they would likely catch a similar wrath.

    The distinction is that a private entity like the New York Post or other has many more outlets for distributing their content. There is no mandate to buy the Post, so the moral power of the argument is also diminished. I don’t think we’re served by ignoring those distinctions.

    I can’t recall the last successful boycott — but I am also keenly aware that public policy has changed a great deal in the last four decades. I think we’re best served by an apples to apples comparison — when its possible.

    Your larger point is not lost on me — that times change; that what worked yesterday may not work tomorrow. I’d simply say that when the target operates along the same basis as a bus company or even a monopoly with limited distribution, boycotts can work very effectively. Too few businesses, however, meet those criteria.

  15. @TMCY: I keep trying to post this on Twitter, but it’s not working. I’ll try again here:

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