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Yesterday on Facebook, a former client from a previous job announced that her pre-teen daughter purged all of her Justin Bieber stuff, thanks to his latest round of idiotic and, more importantly, illegal behavior. It reminded of when people gave away their Ben Roethlisberger jerseys a few years back, though I must still note Big Ben was neither arrested for nor convicted of anything.

When I was in college, I was a fan of Milli Vanilli. I found their tunes to be catchy, and Rob Pilatus, a looker. But when the truth came out about their lip-synching, my roommate and I ripped the poster of the duo right off our dorm room wall. Not that same thing at all, but sort of, maybe?

I am not a regular concert goer. In fact, if I stopped and counted, I bet I could not come up with much more than a dozen concerts I have attended in my lifetime (if I count local bands/bars, the number is much, much higher). The reasons for the lack of concerts are varied, but money and convenience are big factors.

Which brings me to the point of this post. I think that Chris Brown is a total jerk. Having volunteered at a domestic violence shelter for almost two years, about 20 years ago, I see violence against women (and towards anyone, really), in a different light than many, I suppose (not that most people would ever condone it). Believe me, it is terribly unsettling to have to photograph women with bruises on their backs. And it is practically other worldly when you see someone you know come into the shelter.

But here is the thing: I like Chris Brown's music. I would never attend one of his concerts, even if I was a regular concert goer. And I never would have bought any of his albums. That is, until just a few weeks ago, I bought one of his singles, "Don't Wake Me Up," from iTunes, as it has been one of my favorite songs for awhile (I just recently starting buying music via iTunes). And I feel guilty about it. Though, to be fair (and I know I am also rationalizing), the woman he beat up, Rihanna, got back with him some time later. I don't think they are together anymore, but I don't really know.

But I think about these things, supporting people or companies that do immoral, illegal, or just things in general I don't agree with. I consider myself to be pretty principled, but sometimes I just want to eat food from a place that may have different values than I have. Sometimes I really enjoy a show or a band, even though the actors or singers are absolute a-holes. I almost feel complicit, and I am not sure if I should.

Sometimes I don't quite get the point people are trying to make when they boycott things. I love when I read a rant about a company that is anti-gay, immigrant, veteran, woman, something, and then that person still shops at or supports other companies that many be against one of those very things, but they just don't know it.

Recently, some students at CMU dumped out a bunch of cans/bottles of Cokes in protest of Coke's sponsorship of the Olympics, which will be in the anti-gay Russia. Some students said "corporations should use their power to make change in countries that need it" and that "We targeted Coca-Cola specifically because they are something that college students can make the decision not to drink every day."

How is it Coke's fault that Russia condemns gays? And by boycotting Coke (and keep in mind they had to go out and buy Coke to be able to dump it), couldn't they ultimately hurt all the athletes? To be fair, I don't know how these sponsorships work, but I have to think that the athletes are benefiting from the sponsorships at least indirectly.

How far do you take your beliefs and values?

Let's say that there are a few pizza places in your town. You find out the Pizza Place A openly condemns gays, which bothers you tremendously (or they are in full support of traditional marriage, which you appreciate as you are very conservative). Do you no longer buy pizza there because their values are different? Let's say you do, do that. What happens when you find out that Hamburger Place A feels the same way. To be consistent, do you now boycott that place? When does it end?

I am asking, because not only do I not want to feel like a hypocrite (and I think I am kind of one because I spent $1.99 or whatever it was on that Chris Brown song), but I want to understand what others do?




LaLa said…
Hmm, not sure what I would do. It's not like you are standing around praising the guy. I mean look at all the nuts who cheer on their favorite athlete and singer when they get released from prison. I guess I would not knowingly buy something from someone who was an a-hole. But if I had bought stuff already and found out I would not burn it either. I am willing to cut you some slack since you bought one song. But don't let it happen again. :) And I don't get the CMU kids doing the coke dump either.

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