Sunday, June 04, 2023

Woke Vs. Holy

By Alan Joseph Bauer |

AP Photo/David Goldman

Why do Fortune 500 companies, one after another, roll out sales or advertising campaigns that offend the beliefs of a large number of their customers?

While the percentage of Americans formally associated with organized religion is dropping, America is still a relatively religious country. Most Americans have some religious association and most likely perform religious observance. "Holy" tends to describe items or people that are separated and elevated from everyday things. A holy book, while it might be printed in the same place where Harry Potter books are produced, has by its content standing in the eyes of its owner that he would not bring it into the bathroom or use it to hold open a barn door. That which one holds as holy is treated with reverence.

Now think about a person who grew up in a completely secular home. He went to a secular high school and later college and then moved to a big city, where he enjoyed the nightlife and entertainment. For such a person, maybe at no fault, nothing in his life is "holy." He has a special baseball card he treats with incredible respect, but that is for financial and not religious reasons. People like our secular fellow are the ones who make up the vast majority of executives and directors of Fortune 500 companies. While there may be a diversity of age, men and women, Blacks and Hispanics, gays and gender curious, there is almost no diversity of thought. All of them are college graduates, and at the highest levels, the majority likely all graduated from a few dozen schools selected from the Ivy League, expensive private schools, and top public universities. 

These people grew up with little to no religion, and pride week or month is standard on campus. I remember a Harvard student complaining in 2016 to the Harvard Crimson that as a Hilary Clinton supporter, she had to hide her affiliation at a campus overrun with Bernie Bros. Now, take these people, who have a tiny idea of what religion is and do not participate themselves in any organized religion, and give them the reins of the largest and most powerful corporations in the United States, and what do you get? A guy pretending to be a girl selling beer. Target puts "pride" clothing front and center in its numerous stores. Disney pushing sexually aggressive material in movies for very young children. And when there is a backlash, they do not understand why.

Americans are, by and large, not racist people. The Left can yell and scream how racist the US is, but if one looks at the incredible diversity of American life, he will conclude that all walks of life are allowed to succeed. Americans do not care what people do in their bedrooms, and they do not judge people by their characteristics. Most Americans think of meritocracy—can you get the job done? Americans do not like or even tolerate when a large corporation that, until last Thursday, used to hawk its products suddenly advertises or puts forward a position that belittles religious beliefs that millions hold to be holy. The Bible has what to say about homosexuality, and while Americans couldn't care less what their colleagues do on their own time, they do not like when companies tell them that something that the Good Book says is bad is somehow wonderful. 

Anheuser Busch, Target, Disney, Kohl, and other big firms do not have a clue how a large percentage of their customers live their lives—peddling narratives or products that say that your religion is stupid or backward means that people will have to choose between their beliefs or your cheap products. Most will stick with their beliefs. And since the top executives of these companies come from a near-uniform secular background, they don't know how their customers live their lives and cannot believe that there is a backlash to promotions that they think are benign. 

Busch started backpedaling almost immediately, with pseudo-patriotic ads and a joint ad with Harley Davidson. But the damage has been done. Again, Americans are very tolerant and don't care how others live their lives. But they will take it personally when they are told their lifestyle is wrong. And that is exactly how free markets should work. Not everything is price, and not every best-performing product is best-selling. People vote with their feet; if you offend your customers, expect a backlash. But those making the decision come from the same college/university experience of Left-think, and they don't know that if one promotes sexually offensive products, consumers might take their business elsewhere. The recent boycotts of Busch and Target have not been organized. Simply, each consumer decides that they have had enough and there are more than enough alternatives in beer and discount stores to leave the offenders behind. 

Money is the only language that corporations understand, and if they want to offend religious and traditional Americans, they can see their sales and stock price head south. Target has lost billions on its market cap, and Bud Light sales are still falling. That's how a free market works. They may not have taught that in their Marxist economics classes.

If one boycotted every company that put out offensive content, there would be no sports to watch, movies to see, clothes to buy, or food to eat. Everyone can decide how to spend their money in their pockets and let the big corporations know that offending that which is holy means that their money goes to their competitor. Then, when the executive layoffs come, and the stock gets a downgrade (as Target did), they will start to respect the people who have made them rich.