October 27, 2003

Principled Boycots

There are two things that I've never done, and will never do:
1) eat a Burger King Whopper; and
2) watch a Super Bowl game.

I might have been willing to try a Whopper up 'til the mid-late '80's when B.K. ran those damm "Herb" commercials.

Herb: supposedly the only man in America who'd never tried a Whopper.
Huh? I never tried one either, and I was in my 20's then. So, Burger King thought that their precious Whopper deserved elevation to a primary status in Americana that it was unthinkable that a viewer of their ad campaign would accept that no one but one man had tried their greaseburger?! BAH!
I was offended and insulted by that; so much so that I vowed never ever EVER to eat their cheesy Whopper!

As for the Super Bowl,
It was in January of 1980, I was in High School, and we'd just found a bassist to complete our band's line-up. Her name was Karen.
We'd scheduled our third practice session as a full band for Sunday.

Karen: Oh, I can't make it for this Sunday.
Me: Oh, okay. Something came up?
Karen: Well, I'll be watching the Super Bowl.
Me: Oh, I didn't know you were a Football fan..
Karen: Well, I'm not. But....it's the Super Bowl!
Me: Yeah, I know. It's a Football game...
Karen: But....it's the Super Bowl!

This was the first time I began to realize that the Super Bowl was becoming something other than a Football game, and I wasn't liking it.
We lost a weekend's practice because Karen felt compelled to watch a Football game when she wasn't even a Football fan?! WTF?!!!!

Over the next few years the Super Bowl got higher and higher ratings. Suddenly seven of the top-ten most watched TV shows of all-time were Super Bowl games. Sports are s'posed to be watched by sports fans, dammit! But there are people who watch one (1) Football game a year: the friggin' Super friggin' Bowl.

If you ever see me eating a Whopper while watching the Super Bowl: shoot me.

Anybody else got any principled boycots? I'd love to know what they are and why!!

Posted by Tuning Spork at October 27, 2003 11:00 PM

I don't think it's so much the game as the parties that attracts non-fans.

Posted by: Jennifer at October 27, 2003 11:07 PM

Parties are great, but that's not what it was about.
Karen was going to be sitting at home watching the game with her mom, dad and brother. And, as she was only 15 at the time, wasn't going to partying too hardily.
In the grand scheme of things that missed Sunday band practice didn't mean much; but at the time it was infuriating!
(OK, maybe I need to get over it already. But, dang! A non-football fan cancelled practice to watch a football game!!!! grrrrr....)

But, Jen, more importantly: what are YOUR pet boycots?!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 27, 2003 11:17 PM

I have been avoiding shopping at the mall ever since they banned smoking, so I guess you could call that a boycott.

Posted by: Susie at October 28, 2003 12:57 AM

I've been boycotting a sandwich place called Pret a Manger for a while now because they stopped serving sushi. My links are gone until Pixy can restore the old blog into the new mu nu one, but that's the gist.

I too will never eat a Whopper again. Only because I've had one and they are cr@p.

Posted by: Simon at October 28, 2003 02:05 AM

Hmm, I boycotted MTV when they moved the heavy metal videos to the late-late-night hours (Headbangers Ball, anyone?)...but that pretty much became irrelevant once they took the "M" out of MTV.

Posted by: Jennifer at October 28, 2003 09:20 AM

I have never watched "My Big Fat Greek Wedding" on the grounds of if they are shoving it down my throat while calling it "heartwarming", I want as little to do with it as possible. I pretty much avoid all movies advertised as "heartwarming".
I also won't watch anything Spike Lee had something to do with. Even before he tried the stupid publicity-seeking move of suing to keep "his" name off Spike TV, he was on the chopping block just for being so damn annoying.
Yep, heartwarming and Spike Lee... gak.

Posted by: LeeAnn at October 28, 2003 11:23 AM

Burger King. Twice, two different stores, two different states, drive-thru food as we drove cross country. No top bun on a whopper. Talk about WTF! Try eating one of those messy things without half the bread handle. And yep, Herb and most everything since. Burger King insults you with their commercials. I've already decided Quiznos subs are in that category too.

Other than fast food: Best Buy for major purchases, the Washington Post for annoying me with endless calls to subscribe, the new wave of 'surveys' which are disguised telemarketing calls, and telephone political polls. I had a lovely rant this afternoon at a nitwit who insisted that I had to belong to one of the listed parties. The fact that I didn't fit into one of his cubbyholes was beyond his comprehension.

Oh yeah, one more. I appreciate the job the Fire Department and Police Department do, but STOP CALLING ME TWELVE FREAKING TIMES ASKING ME FOR MONEY!!!!!

There, I feel better now. Good post Spork!

Posted by: Ted at October 28, 2003 06:16 PM

Wow, great comments! I'm with you on the Quiznos ads, Ted.
And MTV lost the M a looooong time ago. I wrote it off completely when they moved all the cool stuff to "120 Minutes". I mean, I'm gonna stay up 'til 2am just to see some decent videos? pheh!

LeAnn, I gave up on Spike Lee after he met a friend of mine. Grisha was an aspiring dancer/actress/singer/writer. One day she and Spike crossed paths in New York and she wondered if he was looking for anyone to fill any roles in a project he was working on. As Grisha is of mixed heritage and has somewhat light skin (well, lighter than Spike, anyway), Spike essentially told her "If I ever need someone to play a character who's a "wanna-be" I'll let ya know."
Actually, though, he did call her, and she got a small role in "School Daze." (I think that's what it was called... I've never seen it)

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 28, 2003 11:45 PM


Posted by: at October 29, 2003 01:55 PM

They're boycotts but they've nothing to do with principle.

To boycott a burger (and I'll be the first to say all fast food burgers are bad) based on its advertising campaign is the same as refusing to read a book because you don't like the design of the dustjacket. IOW, you're boycotting because of personal preference or pique--but not as a matter of principle.

A principled boycott of Burgerking burgers would be because you found Burgerking was using it's burger profits to fund the KKK or something along those lines.

Same goes for the Super Bowl. Your gripe is with Karen and her apparently meaningless attachment to the Super Bowl. The Super Bowl never offended or harmed you in any manner. Again, a principled boycott of the Super Bowl would come about because you learned the Super Bowl or NFL was using slave labor or some such...

Posted by: JadeGold at October 30, 2003 07:30 PM


These are principled boycotts.
The principle at work in the Super Bowl boycott is that a football game is a football game, not a prerequisit to being whole as a person. I am not a football fan, so I have no reason to watch a football game. For me to feel like I have to watch The Game and would simply die if I don't would be, in my gut, to feel that I'm being prodded along with the herd. The Principle is the fight rejection of the herd mentality whenever it rears it's head, and I mention the Super Bowl because it's one of the earliest and most personally infuriating instance I came across.

As for the Whopper:
The Principle is, once again, fighting the herd mentality. For Burger King to claim (even though it was in a silly ad campaign) that only one man in America had never tried a Whopper made my blood boil. The sheer obnoxious arrogance of B.K. that I me moi the viewer would accept that very premise is what's infuriating. I did not ever try a Whopper and I resent that it's implied that I should have. FUCK the damn Whopper and the cow it rode in in!!
The Principle here is that I am NOT a Whopper-eater; I am ME!!!!!!!

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 30, 2003 08:52 PM

But, then, as an anarcho-socialist anthill trudgin' bee-hive drone aspiring "liberal," individualism might be a new idea to you.

Please excuse any wanton vitriol. I've heard-tell that you were a troll, but you seem to me to be rather reasonable and courteous. Maybe there's hope for ya! ;P

Posted by: Tuning Spork at October 30, 2003 11:32 PM

I'm unfailingly polite. I am also always correct; it's a gift.

Again, your gripe isn't with the Super Bowl--it's with Karen. She apparently blew off something which was important to you (band practice) in favor of an event she apparently admitted wasn't that important to her. It's her intransigence that offends not the event. What if she elected to skip practice to attend a wedding or a birthday party? Surely, you'd not boycott birthdays or weddings.

WRT Whoppers; let me use another example. I don't like onions, never have. I've eaten them and I don't like them. Now, I've seen commercials and ads where it's assumed everybody likes onions. Should I boycott these restaurants or chefs which tell me onions are some kind of ambrosia? That would be pretty superficial--and I'd miss out on some good meals sans onions of course.

Posted by: JadeGold at October 31, 2003 01:57 PM

i personally can't stand the way the superbowl de-emphasizes the game and over-emphasizes other crap.

i like whoppers, especially when they're $.99 but i am annoyed the ones i get never look like the ones on the commercials.

Posted by: travis at November 1, 2003 03:49 AM


"What if she elected to skip practice to attend a wedding or a birthday party? Surely, you'd not boycott birthdays or weddings."

Thank you! You've made my point and destroyed your own arguement! (Didn't see THAT comin', eh?)
As you say then; it wasn't about Karen at all, it was about the elevation of a football game to the status of National duty to watch.


Posted by: Tuning Spork at November 1, 2003 10:47 PM
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