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weinoo

Boycotting Brands...Like Barilla, For Instance

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As a followup to the Nestle boycott (thank you for the link on it), here's a more current list of their brands: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Nestl%C3%A9_brands . The big thing that turned up on that one for me is Tidy Cat litter.

I think that there's also a difference between a single statement that you object to vs actions that further a cause for which you disagree. And a difference between personal statements and the use of corporate funds for a cause.

I probably will not participate in the Barilla boycott because I don't think there's an equivalent to Barilla Plus pasta on the market today. I'm not happy that i have to make that choice, because I do support gay rights. But I think that the statement made shows the character of the owner, but doesn't do a lot else other than that. Maybe it means I'm hypocritcal, I don't know.

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Guido Barilla is entitled to his opinion, even if some here don't like it. He makes fantastic pasta, I have been buying it for years and I will continue to do so.

I'm getting really tired of the belligerent attitude of those who would tell the rest of use the "correct" way to think and "feel" about things. He was asked a question on Italian media and he answered it. In a country that is home to Dolce and Gabbana who have, though gay themselves, expressed horror at the idea of gay "marriage", this isn't a big deal. He didn't stand up and get all hatey about gays, he just said that sacral marriage to him is the traditional family unit.

Leave him alone and stop trying to jamb everyone into the same box.

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That's one way of looking at it. But I fall squarely into the camp of the people who "vote with their wallets."

I have a laundry list of companies that I won't do business with for one reason or another. Is it working? Probably not. But purchasing products from companies run by people who I think are ruining America is anathema to me. Why should they get rich from my hard-earned money, so that they can continue their policy of paying off legislators to enact laws that I am diametrically opposed to? (Lookin' at you, Koch brothers.)

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I find it interesting that Barilla has a large factory in Iowa which was one of the first states to allow gay marriage. I also refuse to buy certain products because of my feeling about the owners, Coors beer is right up there along with anything the "K' Bros control. But far be it from me to tell you what to buy and whom to buy it from. Other than making me feel better, I don't suppose my stand makes much, if any, difference.

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Your answer is, "I don't want anyone telling me how to spend my dollars and feeling superior about it, either." Why not elaborate, then?

Because as it reads, nobody is allowed to take issue with what companies do with their profits. For instance, if a company uses its financial leverage to lobby for clear cutting virgin forest, nobody should call them on it. If a company uses that same leverage to open up public land for strip mining, again, let nobody say a word. During the Chick-Fil-A "debate," there were nearly as many people flooding the stores in support of Dan Cathy's policies as there were people boycotting. Same thing with Papa John's healthcare fiasco.

Personally, if I ran a big company, I wouldn't enter the political waters because it would upset half of my customer base. But those who choose to do so will feel the effects of their political action. And rightfully so, in my opinion.

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Guido Barilla is entitled to his opinion, even if some here don't like it. He makes fantastic pasta, I have been buying it for years and I will continue to do so.

I'm getting really tired of the belligerent attitude of those who would tell the rest of use the "correct" way to think and "feel" about things. He was asked a question on Italian media and he answered it. In a country that is home to Dolce and Gabbana who have, though gay themselves, expressed horror at the idea of gay "marriage", this isn't a big deal. He didn't stand up and get all hatey about gays, he just said that sacral marriage to him is the traditional family unit.

Leave him alone and stop trying to jamb everyone into the same box.

I don't think there is an organized boycott. I think people are reacting to the stupidity of the statement.

Italy is very backwards when it comes to gay rights. Singer Lucio Dalla died recently and the news was practically stuttering to avoid talking about the fact that he was gay.

When someone says something nasty, it's ok to call them on it. And it's ok to express sadness or disbelief. And it's ok to tell people you aren't buying their goods any more.

My problem is I was offended by the Chick-Fil-a scandal and I'm offended by this jerk, but they're both crappy products I find it easy to not buy. I wonder if I'd be so moral if it turned out someone who made a really good product were racists or homophobes.

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Time for some microwave popcorn!

On topic, tho', I'm reminded of something Anthony Bourdain said in one of his books: he mightn't agree with Donald Rumsfeld's politics, but if Rumsfeld made a nice sandwich Bourdain would eat it.

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For whatever reason, I can still post, so I may as well comment on yet another controversial topic.

The president of Barilla guy is, at the very least, honest. I appreciate that. I don't agree with his beliefs, but at least he's not afraid to voice them.

And now, because I know what his beliefs are, I can make an informed decision about whether or not those beliefs will influence my decision to buy the products his company produces. I appreciate that I have been given that choice. I would bet that there are execs at De Cecco (another Italian pasta company) that probably feel the same way the Barilla guy does. Probably a bunch of Italian olive oil company execs feel the same way. Actually, a whole lot of American company execs probably do, too.

So does it make me a better person to boycott a company where the exec is forthright about his beliefs that I don't agree with, than to support companies where I have no idea what the execs believe? If you're going to be self-righteous enough to say, "I don't agree with you so I can't support your company," you should also be willing to say, "I don't know what you believe, so I can't support your company." You should only be purchasing products from companies you know fall in line with your way of thinking.

Reminds me of the documentary Chocolate: The Bitter Truth. The guy making the documentary makes a bunch of chocolate bars and prints on the wrapper "made with child labour" and asks people on the street if they would be willing to buy it. Everyone replies with a resounding, "No," and when he points out that most chocolate is made with child labour but they eat it, anyway, one woman replies with something like, "Yes, but we don't know it," implying, "As long as I don't know, I don't care, and I'd rather not know so I won't have to care."

(FWIW, the only company I have boycotted is The Body Shop.)

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I find it interesting that people that would have others be tolerant of their views are intolerant of views that disagree with them. You cannot have it both ways.

The bottom line, if I read the news and they reported it correctly, was they had a marketing plan that used traditional families not non-traditional. Their company, their marketing. Good, bad, or otherwise.

Don't like the product or the marketing, don't buy it. Simple.

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I find it interesting that people that would have others be tolerant of their views are intolerant of views that disagree with them.

It's puzzling, isn't it?

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I find it interesting that people that would have others be tolerant of their views are intolerant of views that disagree with them.

It's puzzling, isn't it?

Intolerance is always ok if you're being intolerant of someone whose views are either in the minority of public opinion or on the wrong side of the politically correct spectrum.

The Barilla exec made the simple boo boo of expressing a political, moral or religious opinion with which the media disagrees. Hence the outrage.

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Good advertising and good publicity help make me want to buy a product. Bad advertising and publicity has the opposite effect. People don't have to share all my views for me to do business with them but I would much prefer to do business with someone or some company with whom I have a positive relationship. And I don't hold to the idea that money (or food) is amoral. I make no apologies for that.

So I wouldn't say I'm boycotting their products but I would be more inclined to spend my money on someone with a positive message. I'd buy Garofalo pasta just for teaching me some Italian slang.

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Good advertising and good publicity help make me want to buy a product. Bad advertising and publicity has the opposite effect....

So I wouldn't say I'm boycotting their products but I would be more inclined to spend my money on someone with a positive message. I'd buy Garofalo pasta just for teaching me some Italian slang.

Heh. That's a great advertisement! Thanks for the link.

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Guido Barilla is entitled to his opinion, even if some here don't like it. He makes fantastic pasta, I have been buying it for years and I will continue to do so.

I'm getting really tired of the belligerent attitude of those who would tell the rest of use the "correct" way to think and "feel" about things. He was asked a question on Italian media and he answered it. In a country that is home to Dolce and Gabbana who have, though gay themselves, expressed horror at the idea of gay "marriage", this isn't a big deal. He didn't stand up and get all hatey about gays, he just said that sacral marriage to him is the traditional family unit.

Leave him alone and stop trying to jamb everyone into the same box.

Actually, I tend to agree with the sentiments behind your post. I don't react well to people who tell me how to think and I'm pretty clear that I can easily remain friends with people who I really don't agree with on a # of things. But, I don't think that your conclusion follows from that. I can hear what he says, disagree with it and tell him so. I can also represent my own opinion about what he said by deciding to not support his business. Leaving him alone basically does nothing to advance the dialogue or assist with debating relevant issues.

As for this particular debate, he is entitled to think anything he wants but there really is (or should be) a qualitative difference between allowing beliefs like "I think green is better than red" to exist without comment as opposed to issues of human equality. I believe that we owe it to each other to challenge ideas like his very forcefully, since they go to the very core of people's existence and treatment. Being outraged and expressing it on a food board is just a very small way of doing so.... at least for me.


Edited by Steve R. (log)
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My feelings are my own and as such, I own them.

Everyone else is certainly free to feel* differently, the same or be indifferent. It is the judgmental pose that many take that is galling.

I am not you, so I won't tell you what to think. I would appreciate the same courtesy.

*I really dislike that. Try thinking, not feeling.

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Regarding "...a largely Catholic country...":

France (76%), Spain (94%), Portugal (88%), Brazil (65%; and numerically the country w/ the largest number), Argentina (92%), Uruguay (77%) are all also "largely Catholic" countries. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Church_by_country

In all of these countries same-sex marriages are legal and the definition of a family therefore officially encompasses these same-sex families. ;-)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Status_of_same-sex_marriage

Your point being?

I am merely pointing out that many of these types of news stories are spun to create greater controversy.. It is the same thing in reverse to the whole christian boycott of starbucks because the CEO is supposedly anti-traditional marriage and doesn't want their business. Very few people actually took the time to find out exactly what is said, instead they relied on the inflammatory spin to base their outrage on.

Sometimes I think without facebook and twitter no one would know what to be outraged about next. .

That you appeared to tie his voicing those sentiments to his being in a Catholic country, implying that in a Catholic country (i.e. any Catholic country) his sentiments of a family as he defined it was normal and definitive, and that same-sex married couples would not be accepted. If so, that would be incorrect.

As for what he actually said, it *has* been reported on and carefully described, word for word, in far more places than Twitter and Facebook. Including on Snopes.com. All you have to do is look around.

Your logic doesn't follow. The civil laws of italy or those other countries are a moot point. The canonical law of the roman catholic church is very clear on the articles of faith for catholicism. In a country that is ~96% catholic , hearing that an italian male from a prominent bussiness family will only use representations of the traditional family in his companies advertising is about as shocking as being told water is wet, or that rice is often eaten in asia. The information is as glaringly obvious as the sun in the sky at noon on a clear day.

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I used to boycott Nestle, years ago. However from reading the history of Henri Nestle it appears that his infant formula was a life-saving advance at the time it was invented. The problem, as I see it, is that the product was/is overly agressively marketed.

And now, hypocrite that I am, I would have a hard time boycotting Nestle, since on work days I go through a lot of Carnation Instant Breakfast.

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I knew of the Nestle boycott very vaguely, so I researched it to refresh my memory. It reminds me of the claims that canola oil is evil--people pick little bits of information which suit their purposes and blow them up, obscuring any truth or rational argument.

People need to learn to negotiate knowledge rather than believe every little bit of "truth" they hear.

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I thought the big deal with infant formula was that it wasn't being prepared properly by the population it was distributed/sold/donated to. Too much (probably contaminated) water and not enough formula powder was the problem as I recall. It seems there was a huge push going on for all new mothers to breastfeed then, too, in the western world. The mothers were starving and the formula was a supplement for the infants that was not prepared as directed.

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I do think it's helpful in this, as in all things, to do a little research to be sure what you're boycotting and why.

I boycotted Target for years for something that I had read somewhere that they were doing, which offended me mightily. Actually, there were several things that they were doing that I found offensive. One was that they were not allowing the Salvation Army bell-ringers to stand beside their doors during Christmas. A Target exec said, "It irritates our customers."

Well, that irritated me.

Until a dear friend pointed me to the Salvation Army policy on homosexuality.

And then, roundly chastened, I decided to do a bit of investigation into the other supposed Target policy that I had found so offensive.

A quick stop by Snopes proved that that had been a myth, and was, in reality, completely untrue.

So the folks I liked turned out to be undeserving of my patronage, and the folks I disliked turned out to be terrific.

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What makes gay rights such a wedge issue is that there really only are two sides. (At least as far as people on one side of this "debate" size things up.) This is a simple issue -- will everyone have the same recourse to the law? It's cut and dry. Two similar issues from the past are racial segregation and the internment of Japanese-Americans during WWII. Only two sides to either of those issues as well. And this isn't like debating whether tea or coffee tastes better. When a group knows that their rights are being abridged, they are justifiably angry about it. And every callous comment by every business owner is just another dart in this group's side.

There is no reason (as this side sees it) for debate at all. As in the case of racial segregation and internment, debate only slows the process of dismantling a framework that is unfair to the point of barbarism. The people who want to debate the issue -- "let's not be too hasty" -- are invariably the ones on the other side of the issue. Otherwise, the only real cause for debate would be the debate about how to give everyone equal recourse to the law in the fastest possible manner.

And when the CEO of a largish company tosses out yet another dart, he or she is going to feel the backlash.

I think on this matter the die is cast. The issue is largely settled, and the only thing necessary is to standardize the language so that (once again) everyone has the same recourse to the law. In 30 years, it will be difficult to find anyone who is willing to admit that they were on the other side. Just like today it's difficult to find anyone who will admit that they marched with Lester Maddox, carrying a "pickrick drumstick."


Edited by ScoopKW (log)
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I do think it's helpful in this, as in all things, to do a little research to be sure what you're boycotting and why.

I boycotted Target for years for something that I had read somewhere that they were doing, which offended me mightily.

I don't buy from Target because the parent company laid off my son. Your mileage may vary.

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I do think it's helpful in this, as in all things, to do a little research to be sure what you're boycotting and why.

Exactly! Part of "negotiation of knowledge" is doing your own research so you can make an informed decision regarding what you accept as truth. And so that you can be prepared to back up your truth if you should be questioned. This should be applied to everything--not just controversial topics. I have an anecdote about that, but it's directly related to a topic forbidden on these boards (and to some degree, rightfully so), but if anyone wants to hear it, feel free to pm me while I'm still able to be pm-ed!

Tangentially related, I think it was Alan Richman who commented on people like Yelpers who write about such-and-such food being the best ever. He said in order to make that claim, you really need to do your research. Try a lot of different such-and-such foods, and think carefully about what it is that you think makes it good. I think the exampe he used was croissants--flavour, flakiness, shape, etc. Research and come to your own conclusions. One of comments on Yelpers is that they don't do that. They all jump on the same bandwagon to tout the newest and "best" version of whatever without really understanding what makes something the "best" or why they think it's the "best".

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Here is a nice open letter from a mom to the CEO of Barilla about their family. I think it does a good job of explaining the feelings of that particular side of the "debate*."

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/casey-careybrown/an-open-letter-to-guido-barilla_b_3999666.html

* As I said before, there really need be no debate at all. Debate in this case is just a delaying tactic from the side that's going to lose.

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There is a debate whether you like it or not. And this is not the forum for it.

There is no such thing as settled law, either, or we'd still have slavery, debtor's prisons, public hangings and witch burnings.

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