One of the few givens in today’s society is that either some pop star is going to try to push the envelope by participating in some semblance of outrageous behavior (like saying the wrong thing, or forgetting to wear her clothes in public, or just having sex with strangers in church) or that some corporate executive is going to overstep his or her authority and say things that probably should have been sent anonymously to the racist message board where it belonged. Today, the owner of Jelly Belly decided to come out against transgendered rights in California, somehow thinking that his ability to make candy filled with high-fructose corn syrup somehow makes him an advocate for anyone who advocates hating people who are just trying to live their lives without discrimination and problems that most of us generally don’t have to deal with because we’re part of mainstream society.
A few weeks ago, it was Abercrombie & Fitch. Before that, Chik-Fil-something or other (honestly, just didn’t feel like looking up their name to spell it right as their company isn’t that important to me that I’d waste that much time putting their name into a Google search engine. And before that, it was Martha Stewart doing whatever it is that rich white women do when they’re not doing what rich white women do normally.
The point is: I’m getting really tired of hearing about corporate CEOs acting badly in public. It was fine when I was dealing with Paris Hilton, who was kind of an acting-badly CEO, even though she’s not actually the Hilton CEO. At least she was attractive and said lots of dumb things that made me laugh, even if that wasn’t her main intention. She at least provided entertainment, and I never felt that behind her ridiculousness was someone who was actually out there hating other people for being different.
But that’s what these CEOs are doing. They’ve made a shit load of money off of the rest of us, and for some reason they think that somehow now gives them the platform to spout some really racist, homophobic bullshit that somehow is relevant to the rest of us. If anyone of us have a problem with what they have to say, they chalk it up as irrelevant because what’s relevant is that we paid them money to become very wealthy and now that somehow their wealth and power makes them think that their opinions are somehow more significant than the opinions of the rest of us.
Let me let you in on a little secret. Those CEOs are not smarter, more lived, or even cognizant of facts that the rest of us don’t know. They don’t have more education than the rest of us; some of them have tons less. The only thing they have that the rest of us don’t have is money and gobs of it. That money opens doors for them so that when they have something “important” to say, people listen, which is why we’re hearing their racist, homophobic rants instead of just eating their candy.
What really seems to be happening is that our media pays dire attention to these Neanderthals because of the money factor. This is why when one of them farts on national television, we all have to smell it for the next couple of days. So, if we want to make this problem go away, we need to write to our media sources and say to stop telling us whenever a millionaire/billionaire sneezes. We don’t care.
Sure, the usual response is to start the infamous boycott of Jelly Belly products, or whatever product a company makes when one of these morons starts spouting his or her nonsense, but most often these products are things we like; we just don’t like the owners of these companies who make them. Why should we lose the things we like because they’re made by morons we hate?
The simple fact is that these CEOs are nothing more than people who were lucky at getting their product to the market and made a killing doing it. What they’re good at is business, so if they want to tell me how to run a bookstore, then the media should pipe that discussion to me. But I don’t go to a guy who makes candies in order to find out how I should feel about social issues in America. For that, I usually go to social figures who have knowledge in those areas of information. By the same token, I don’t turn to LGBT folk to find out the best way to reinvest my 401K; that’s not their expertise. Sure, one of them might know something about it, but you generally don’t just randomly go out into a crowd and start trying to get knowledge by hoping that maybe one of them might know something about the issue you’re dealing with. At least I don’t, any more than I have a tendency to avoid bringing my back pain issue to my dentist, who might feel bad about it but can’t really do anything to make me better.
So, with that said, can you CEOs please kindly shut the fuck up and get back to selling us things we don’t need?