June 1, 2023

In Brief: Imagine No Corporate Hatred

From Bud Light to Target to the LA Dodgers, there’s a culture-war reckoning for corporate America.

In John Lennon’s “Imagine,” he sings an ode to the wonders of utopian socialism. Beautiful music with horrendous lyrics. Yet one line comes to mind: “Imagine all the people living life in peace.” Of course, the socialists won’t let us do that, and, though he doesn’t mention Lennon, Jim Geraghty plays a little game of “imagine” to illustrate the point.

Imagine a beer company that just wanted to make good beer and sell it to you. Imagine if that company wanted to sell beer to everyone but didn’t feel that its job was to make you more accepting of transgender individuals, any more than it felt its job was to warn you about the national debt or teach you the value of standardized testing in public schools or warn you about North Korea’s intercontinental-missile program. Imagine a beer company that liked its existing customer base and didn’t feel a need to reeducate those customers and get them to give up their “fratty, kind of out-of-touch humor.”

Imagine an everything store like Target that wanted everyone to shop there, but that had the good sense to realize that partnering with a brand that had “Satanist-inspired merchandise” was not the way to win over shoppers in a country that is still roughly two-thirds Christian. (Also note that almost every faith has a devil figure, so there’s no reason to think non-Christian religious customers are big fans of Satanic branding, either.) You want to put rainbows and “PRIDE” on your merchandise, go right ahead. It’s a free country. But if you partner up with a “Satan Respects Pronouns” designer, don’t be shocked when lots of people choose to shop elsewhere.

Imagine a sports team that declared everyone was welcome but didn’t formally and publicly roll out the welcome mat for the quasi-pornographic Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence. (Is the promotion worth it if you’re alienating your team’s star pitcher?) Last year, the Los Angeles Dodgers led Major League Baseball in attendance; with the exception of 2020, the Dodgers have led MLB in attendance for the past nine seasons. Marketing the Dodgers in Los Angeles is like marketing water in the desert. The Dodgers don’t need to reach out to the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence fanbase; they’re choosing to reach out, because someone in the organization likes that message. The irony is that a significant chunk of the attending fans, as well as the players, are Christian.

Hey, does any gay-rights group want to dress up as Muslim imams? Nah? Okay. We know the score. It’s safe to pick on Catholics, because Catholics are going to turn the other cheek and ignore you or offer mild protest. Dress up in drag to mock Muslims and there’s a good chance you’ll get firebombed. We saw this with the publication of Salman Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, we saw this with the Muhammad cartoons, we saw this with Charlie Hebdo magazine over in France, and we see it now. What those who enjoy mocking Christianity ought to fear is the day that certain Christians look at the Muslims and realize intimidation, threats, and violence are an effective way to make their faith un-mockable. American society is perfectly okay with threats of violence in response to blasphemous speech, but we only tolerate it for certain faiths. There are good reasons to doubt that double standard is sustainable.

Imagine a social-media company that just let you follow whom you wanted to follow and didn’t “throttle” or “shadowban” certain users or posts that it deemed socially unacceptable. We don’t have some sort of “moderator” regulating offline conversation, and there’s no Silicon Valley determining whom you’re allowed to talk to or befriend in the real world.

Conservatives long for such a world. Leftists don’t seem capable of tolerating such a world.

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