Friday, February 20, 2009
Thursday, February 19, 2009
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Hundreds of demonstrators rallied to boycott the New York Post on Thursday, branding the newspaper as racist for publishing a cartoon that appeared to compare President Barack Obama to a chimpanzee. Demonstrators led by civil rights activist Al Sharpton chanted "End racism now!" outside the parent company's skyscraper in midtown Manhattan and called for the jailing of Rupert Murdoch, whose international media conglomerate News Corp owns the Post.
Boycotts are noble efforts, but you'll have to tell me the last one that succeeded in accomplishing anything, because I'm pretty sure there hasn't been one. A friend at work once boycotted a local Chinese restaurant because they wouldn't give him extra soy sauce with his General Tso's Chicken. "You want extra, you buy bottle!" they told him, so he boycotted the place. That had as much of an effect as other boycotts, which is to say none at all.
So, a bunch of people gathered around the building and chanted some slogans. What it does mostly is get the New York Post some free publicity and space on local news that they would otherwise have to pay for. The next time they publish a funny headline or show a half-naked woman, sales will be back up because we have short memories and even shorter attention spans.
All of a sudden, the New York Post is a racist publication. Where were these protesters when they ran a headline calling Alex Rodriguez "A-Hole?" They were buying extra copies to frame in their homes.
Meanwhile, the chimpanzee that was shot and killed was doing what chimpanzees do - acting like an animal. The video I saw of him showed the chimp wearing a diaper. Here's Rule Number 25 from "The Book of Anthony": Any animal that you keep in your house that has to wear a diaper is not an animal that should be a pet. Pets use litter pans and get walked outside when they need to defecate. They do not wear human waste underpants and walk on a leash, but they do randomly attack people. Maybe because you've made them wear a diaper and walk on a leash. That's called anthropomorphism, and it's a character flaw.
Then, in some fit of fury, we cry out and wonder how such a thing could happen. Circus elephants trample people, tigers maul visitors who fall into their cages and bears eat people sometimes. They don't all smoke cigars and roller skate. If you want to boycott something, boycott having jungle creatures as pets. That would be a good start.
Ending racism is a nice idea too, but you have about as much chance of that happening as you do of taming a chimp or asking the New York Post to stop printing offensive material.