On the limits of my principles

I’ve mentioned that my wife broke her foot the other day. She does most virtually all of the grocery shopping. While I am perfectly capable and willing to step in and handle that job, the simple fact that I don’t do it means that it will likely take me twice as long to get the job done because I don’t know where everything is, and I’ve discussed my (getting better) issues with panic attacks while wearing masks a couple of times as well. So as soon as we discovered that we could do curbside pickup for our groceries for just $5 extra plus the tip, we decided that at least for right now that’s how we were going to handle things.

Now, they allow you to set general rules for what to do if something you want isn’t in stock. I’m not sure what the options are (she did the ordering) but basically it boils down to they pick substitutes or they don’t. Our son has some allergy issues so she decided that the best move was just to go with no substitutes, and if for some reason we’re denied something that we feel like we need I can always make a run tomorrow for a couple of things.

You may recall also that I wrote a Comprehensive List of Things I am Currently Boycotting a couple of weeks ago. One of my friends mentioned Papa John’s in the comments. Papa John’s is another sort of edge case for me; I generally avoid eating there but that’s as much because my aging digestive system can no longer handle their garlic sauce (which is absolutely essential to the Papa John’s experience; do not insult me by suggesting that I can eat their pizza without drenching it in garlic sauce) than it is because of their politics.

That said, I’ve been craving the damn place ever since reading that comment. It’s a terrible idea, so we haven’t caved, but it’s been lurking there in the back of my head.

We decided on the way home from getting groceries that we’d have pizza for dinner, as there were supposed to be two pizzas in our order. Then we got home and discovered that one of them wasn’t there, presumably because they were out of stock on that specific kind of pizza.

Damn. We briefly discuss other options, and Papa’s comes up, and I shoot it down, because it’s a terrible idea. And then I interrupt the conversation to go use the bathroom, and while I’m in the bathroom I hear my son yell for my wife from our other bathroom. And when I come out, she tells me that I have something I need to deal with in the other bathroom.

And, well, a minute or two later, after seeing what I had been summoned for, I sent this text:

If you’re thinking “Okay, this sounds like that happened, but the size of a baseball? It has to be something else.” No, it doesn’t. That’s what happened.

I have about an hour to get my affairs finished off for the evening before I begin paying for dinner.


8:45 PM, Friday May 8: 1,283,846 confirmed cases and 77,178 American deaths.

A Comprehensive List of Things I am Currently Boycotting

So apparently a few months ago a butter company changed their logo, and somehow it took until recently for conservatives to notice and they’re pretending to be mad about it? I refuse to believe that anyone actually cares about a butter company’s logo so, much like the butter, I’m taking the whole thing with a fair amount of salt, but I’m sure there are videos online somewhere of people dramatically setting their tubs of Land O Lakes on fire or some shit like that. Conservatives like to show their tribal loyalty by destroying things they already paid for for some reason. There’s gotta be something out there somewhere.

But it got me thinking: I am, ultimately, a relatively petty person. There have to be some good examples of shit that I’ve gotten mad about and boycotted that really wasn’t worth the energy. Now, I can’t think of any, but maybe someone else can, and I’ve definitely got one in mind that is questionable. We’ll see what else I can come up with; I reserve the option to add to this list as things occur to me for the next little while.

Also, “boycott,” to me, means that I am deliberately not buying products from these places or people, and were it not for the boycott, I would be. I am not, for example, boycotting the NFL or Hobby Lobby, because I have never given a shit about pro football one way or another and I don’t even quite know what the hell Hobby Lobby sells. I might have been in there once for some sort of teacher-related thing at some point but they aren’t getting my money anyway just because I don’t have any reason to go in there.

Here we go:

Chik Fil-A. This is actually the big one; I love their food. A lot. But the organization is too goddamn homophobic for me to spend any money there any longer, although I do have to refrain from arguing with people still when they denigrate the food.

Subway. Somebody at Subway put a plastic glove into my drink once, and I haven’t been back since. That said, this one only sort of counts, because I’m really only avoiding the restaurants owned by that franchisee, which are only in town. If I was out of town and I wanted Subway I’d have it. And the truth is I haven’t missed them all that much. The problem: is this actually a boycott? Like, I literally found foreign objects in my food and stopped eating there because of it. I don’t know if it counts.

Books by Orson Scott Card and Dan Simmons. In both cases I had read several of their books and enjoyed them prior to finding out what jackasses the authors were in their real lives; there are probably a number of staunch conservative creative people whose work I avoid— the Dilbert shithead and the dudes behind the Rabid Puppies and Comicsgate come to mind, but these two are the only ones whose work I previously liked and who I have dropped. Similarly, it’s not really a boycott if I just read one of your books and decided you suck.

Movies involving Tom Cruise and Mel Gibson. Gibson, of the two, is more of a genuine boycott, as Cruise hasn’t been in a lot that I’ve liked, and if he were to release a new film that I genuinely wanted to see I might go ahead and go. Of the two, I find Cruise to be far less repellent of a human being as well. And, again, there are a lot of actors and/or directors whose work I avoid, but these two are the only ones I can really say I’m boycotting. I was never gonna see any Woody Allen movies anyway, y’know?

For a while I was refusing to buy Marvel’s Star Wars comics, because they fired Chuck Wendig in what I felt to be a deeply shitty fashion. I was buying several of the books at the time and I dropped all of them when it happened. Fast-forward a few months later, and Wendig appears to be over it and I got sucked back in after a while. Unfortunately, because of coronavirus-related supply-chain nonsense, I haven’t bought any comic books at all in a month or so, and I miss them less than I thought I was going to? It may be that I’m only still buying comic books regularly out of habit and because I like the people who own my local comic shop so much.

Ooh, speaking of comics, this probably counts: I stopped buying books at All-Star Comics and Cards, my childhood comic shop, because I found out about some comments one of the co-owners made about New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina and was forced to publicly tell the dude to go fuck himself. This one no longer counts either because the store is closed now, and has been for years, and the guy who originally owned the place and who I owed my actual loyalty to had retired a year or so prior to this happening. But that was what finally drove me to find a comic shop in Chicago, because Darin wasn’t getting another dime of my money.

I feel like none of these are as ridiculous as “they changed their packaging,” though. There has to be something. Frankly, I feel like there have to be more places than this, but hell if I can think of any right now. Like I said, I’ll edit later if I come up with something else.


6:51 PM, Sunday April 26: 963,379 confirmed cases and 54,614 American deaths. I had initially speculated it would take to Wednesday to get over a million cases; we may not make it through Monday the way this has been going.

On boycotts

I’m writing this at home and in bed; my head has been swimming intermittently for a couple of days now, and I intend to spend as much time as humanly possible right here where I am before dragging my ancient carcass to OtherJob for a few hours tonight– mostly because, unlike RealJob, OtherJob doesn’t pay me if I don’t show up and I need money. But if this happens to get incoherent at some point do be aware that I’m not entirely in my right mind at the moment.

Ender’s Game comes out today. Or… soon? I think it’s today. I won’t be seeing it. Why I won’t be seeing it is an open question, really; I’d like to pretend that it’s because Orson Scott Card is a nasty bigoted asshole but the simple fact is the last movie I actually saw in theaters was… (draws blank)… shit, I know the answer to this… Christ, it wasn’t Iron Man 3, was it?

(Texts wife)

Holy hell, it was Iron Man 3. That’s ridiculous.

If I didn’t have a kid and a job that ate every Friday and Saturday night, I might see more movies– I haven’t seen Gravity or Riddick or the remake of Carrie or just to stick with the Chloe Moretz theme, Kick-Ass 2, and those are movies I want to see. So to say I’m boycotting Ender’s Game probably overstates the case, as I likely wouldn’t have seen it anyway. I want to see the new Thor movie next weekend; we’ll see if I make it or not.

Orson Scott Card doesn’t get any of my money anymore because 1) Orson Scott Card is a major-league asshole and 2) Orson Scott Card has made sure that I find out that he’s a major-league asshole. If he wasn’t a major-league asshole or if he hadn’t made sure that I knew about it, I’d very likely be climbing over things to get to go see his movie this weekend, because I loved the book. He’s on a fairly short list of business or people whose work I have stopped patronizing because of political/moral reasons but otherwise would, along with Dan Simmons, Tom Cruise, Mel Gibson, and Chik Fil-A. It doesn’t count if I was never interested in your shit in the first place; I’m not boycotting Rush Limbaugh because I never gave a damn about his show. I know Domino’s Pizza is run by Christianist lunatics; I wasn’t a fan of their pizza anyway so I can’t really pretend that I’m boycotting it now. For all I know, Jack-In-The-Box is run by Satanists, but I can’t boycott their food because there aren’t any of their restaurants near me.

Do I feel like my personal withdrawal of my patronage is making a difference? No, of course not. But it doesn’t have to. I don’t feel the need to drive CFA into bankruptcy; I just don’t want to help them have money any longer. Are there other artists or businesses whose work I do patronize that are as bad or worse than Orson Scott Card? I’m sure there are, which is where the You Don’t Want None, There Won’t Be None policy comes into effect. I don’t have time to submit the author of every book I read or the owners of every business I spend money with to some sort of personal Decency Commission to make sure that every penny I spend only ends up in the hands of Good People. But I feel like if you’re going to go to the trouble to make a stink about what an asshole you are, you probably ought not to whine when said assholery has some consequences.

I’m writing about this because, first, Card’s been in the news lately, for obvious reasons, and second, some of the arguments against not seeing the film (call it “boycotting” if you want) seem pretty intensively infested with stupid. This is manifestly not a free speech issue, for example. I am not the government, for starters, and perhaps more importantly Orson Scott Card is not entitled to my money. There’s always this deeply weird group of people who pop out of the woodwork whenever something like this happens to shriek about how Liberals Don’t Really Respect Free Speech because Look What They Do When They Disagree with People.

If you think that, kill yourself. You’re too fucking stupid to live.

Orson Scott Card is not entitled to my money. Neither is Chik-Fil-A. I will not give them my money based on any goddamn criteria I choose, regardless of the ridiculousness of said criteria, and there isn’t a drop of free speech involved. He has the right to be a public asshole, and I have the right to call him one, and I sure as shined shit have the right to decline to pay the man for his hatred.

This one has some bad words in it

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(First things first: if you need context on the picture, go here.  This post is gonna be sorta grab-baggy; it should make sense by the time I get to the end.)

Let’s start by griping about nonsense.  Y’all know the song OPP, right?  If you don’t we can’t be friends anymore.  One of hiphop’s classic anthems; it came out when I was a sophomore in high school and therefore I will have it memorized until I die.  The whole song is about infidelity, but because it doesn’t have any bad words in it and the writing is clever it got played at high school dances all the time.  Combine that with the call-and-response and what you end up with is hundreds of teenagers hollering about penises and pussies in public with none of the adults noticing what’s going on.  It’s wonderful.  It contains this verse:

As for the ladies, OPP means something gifted
The first two letters are the same but the last is something different
It’s the longest, loveliest, lean– I call it the leanest
It’s another five letter word rhymin’ with cleanest and meanest
I won’t get into that, I’ll do it…ah…sorta properly
I say the last P…hmmm…stands for property

It doesn’t stand for property.

I was listening to the radio on the way home from school when I encountered a picture-perfect example of why I bloody fucking hate terrestrial radio:  they played OPP, and they bleeped out cleanest and meanest.

They bleeped two words that rhyme with the actual name of a human body part that half of the human race has, in a song that is entirely about infidelity.

This makes sense on no levels at all, and makes me want to punch the shit out of everyone involved– like, “hit you until my hands break off at the wrists” level of pummeling.  I goddamn hate bleeped songs.  I feel like if you think as a corporate entity that you need to bleep part of a song you shouldn’t be playing it at all.  Ideas are more dangerous than words, you stupid dumbasses.  But this is a new level of stupid– even if I was willing to entertain the suggestion that the word “penis” needed to be sanitized from the airwaves, the suggestion that words that rhyme with penis should also be sanitized is so damn dumb that I’m literally in pain right now while I’m complaining about it.

Stop making me use italics, U93.  I fucking hate you.


New item!  I bring in the mail when I got home, and there was a flyer from our new wingnut Congresscritter in it.  Jackie Walorski is enough of a discredit to humanity that I’m not even terribly interested in describing why; she won her last election largely on the backs of 1) redistricting; 2) the incumbent deciding to run (successfully) for the Senate; and 3) disgusting, pathetic accusations of carpetbagging against her opponent, who grew up here (I went to high school with him) and then moved from the area to go fight in Iraq and start a veteran’s charity in DC.  It was literally true that he hadn’t lived in the area for several years, but his family still lived here and he spent the majority of his time gone on active duty and fighting in a foreign country.  Even if I wasn’t against her politics– and believe me, I am– I’d think she was scum for that.

Which made it interesting to me that most of the flyer– the bit that wasn’t a slanted short questionnaire– was all about trumpeting her bill extending whistleblower protections to sexual assault victims in the military.  Protecting rape victims isn’t generally something that Republicans are big on.  Crowing about having done so isn’t either.  Which leaves me to wonder if a) she’s trying to moderate herself a bit; b) she actually is more moderate than I’d thought; c) she’s just trying to look more moderate; or d) this is an interesting bit of microtargeting– since the flyer in question was addressed to my wife, and there wasn’t one in the mail for me.  Generally when we get these sorts of things (and they come frequently enough) there’s either one of them for each of us or it’s just addressed to the household and not to either of us specifically.  This one just had my wife’s name on it.

Hmmm.


Last but not least:  I just got into an interesting discussion on Facebook about Mike Krahulik’s latest bit of dumbassery.  (Be aware: if you don’t know who Mike Krahulik is, you probably ought not to read this part, as I don’t intend to provide a lot of context.)  The person who started the thread was saying that he was done with Penny Arcade on account of not being able to support Mike’s actions any longer, and while I agree with him that the man has gotten incredibly tiresome in a lot of ways I’m not able to pull the trigger on that just yet.  Which got me wondering about exactly what gets me to cut something I enjoyed out of my life on account of not agreeing with its behavior.  I can think of four examples:  Mel Gibson, Orson Scott Card, Dan Simmons, and Chik-Fil-A.  In each of the four cases, I have previously really enjoyed their work (or their chicken; I hate Chik-Fil-A as a corporation but I will fight you if you denigrate their chicken.  We can hate them for their politics but let’s not get stupid here) and am no longer willing to support them in any way because of their beliefs and/or behaviors.  I kinda want to include Tom Cruise in here, too, but I was never really a fan of his so it’s not quite the same thing.

I guess the difference is hatred.  Mel Gibson hates everybody.  Card and Simmons and Chik-Fil-A are open in their hatred of gay people.  I don’t think Mike Krahulik hates anybody.  I just think he’s a sheltered geek with a short fuse, and spouting his mouth off about shit he knows nothing about frequently gets him in trouble– but I don’t think he hates anybody and I don’t think he’s trying to be an asshole most of the time.  My Facebook friend made a good point that once you’re past a certain age you either need to get better about things or own your own bullshit, and he’s right about that– but at the same time I’ve fucked up in my own personal feminism in who knows how many different ways, so I’m not always inclined to jump down the throat of somebody who seems to be trying to get better about sexuality and gender issues.  I’m just not sure how much more slack I’m willing to cut the guy if he’s not smart enough to figure out that “never talk about this shit extemporaneously, and have someone smarter than me read over my shoulder whenever I talk about it in print” is a sound policy.


Within minutes, a link to this article appears in my inbox.  For those of you too lazy to click, it’s about how Not Intending To Do That appears to be a magical fucking power that not only insulates the Unintender from owning the negative results of their actions but causes others to defend them as well.  It’s… right.  It also includes the word “kyriarchy,” which means something bad, which is sad, because it’s a fun-sounding word and I’d like opportunities to use it in public.

Thinking about this more: the bit of me that wants to defend Mike is related to the bit of me that refuses to give up on certain kids (I can’t honestly say all of them) in my classes who are for one reason or another generally assholes but seem saveable to me.  I think Mike’s saveable.  I might be wrong, and he’s a grown-ass man with a long, long cultural reach and not a fourteen-year-old, but I think that’s another part of the difference here as to why I’m not willing to lock the door on PA just yet.