Jon Kennedy's 'Postcards from
Jonal entry 1061 | July 23 2008
Fellow blogger (extending that term to what he and I do here on your home page) Frank Charney asked me last weekend to forward a link to a web page on a site owned by a company I have been boycotting since 1999, so I refused to give them the "plug." It might be a more effective boycott to mention the company's name and encourage others to join me in opposing their unethical business practices, but then that would be a "plug," too, and I'm a longtime believer in the old Hollywood adage, "all publicity is good publicity." It is a company whose Internet service I made the mistake of subscribing to in 1997 or -8, and after I cancelled my subscription, they continued to deduct monthly charges from my credit card account, despite knowing I was no longer a subscriber.
When I finally discovered their larceny and requested a refund, they neither apologized for unjustly charging my account, nor denied having received my unsubscription, but refused to refund the overcharges. I was inclined to sue for the refund to make a point, but didn't because a day of lost work would not have been monetarily worth it and it would have required considerable long-distance travel. My satisfaction has been in watching that company decline from the pinnacle of the "Internet bubble" of that era to one almost never heard of these days (though hanging on in business, if tenuously).
I boycott many things, but seldom mention my antipathy toward them to others. Some I boycott on moral grounds. For example, I would never watch a program named "Sex in the City," "Wife Swappers," or "Swingtown" (at least knowing as I do what "swingtown" is supposed to refer to). I would never watch "Desperate Housewives," just because of the reputation that has preceded it. I watched "Entertainment Tonight" regularly for several years in its early days (back when I was reviewing movies regularly), but after seeing one too many promotions of the sex-centered output of the Playboy empire as "legitimate entertainment" on that show, I turned it off never to turn it on again. I joined the Southern Baptists' and several other Christian organizations' boycott of ABC-TV network about a decade ago, and even though the boycott was eventually lifted, I have not watched more than two or three shows (single shows, not whole series) on that network since. Back in the "Love American Style" era, ABC had been the network I watched the most.
Having been for many years a subscriber to both of the largest-circulation daily newspapers in the Bay Area, after experiencing unfair treatment from both of them when I was heading a local homeless outreach, I cancelled both subscriptions and will not buy even a single copy of either of them now. I admit, though, that when someone at the company where I work leaves a copy of one of them in the break room, I will look at some of their articles. And in the case of the San Jose daily, I miss (and look for in public places that don't cost me 50 cents) the Fry's Electronics advertisements in it.
After first reading many of C.S. Lewis's works nearly 20 years ago, I was persuaded by his arguments that, despite my career in journalism, I could get by without broadcast news, and I have long since stopped watching any programming prepared by any of the old big-three networks' news departments. I even extend that to CBS's "48 Hours Mystery," which, probably, I would usually enjoy. I get most of my news from Internet news aggregator sources (pre-eminently the Drudge Report, which in turn links to many other aggregator sites like Breitbart News. I also extend this boycott to the local news programming, though I lift it when I'm staying in motels back in Home Page Country. (In other words, I'm still curious about what's on WJAC News when I'm in its viewing area. I also check out the Tribune-Democrat website daily, and have "plugged" it here several times before. For one thing, I'm still much more likely to recognize a name in its death notices than in the equivalent in the San Jose media.)
I seldom try to pick up on breaking news, though I did make an exception a few times when the California wildfires were becoming national news originating 15 miles or so from where I live, a month or so ago. For international or national news I will turn to Fox News channel, though lately (since it moved my favorite hour of programs to a time at which I can seldom now find them) I seldom surf to it, either. I also boycott Fox's O'Reilly on general principle, got too tired of Hannity's always-predictable refrain to continue watching Hannity and Colmes, and Greta van Susteran's normal menu is just a bit more civilized than Jerry Springer's. As best as I've been able to ascertain, C. S. Lewis never owned a television and, despite his fame as a radio personality in that medium's heyday, after his "surrogate mother" died, he and his brother got rid of their home's "wireless."
There's a running joke in the media that many people get most of their news from Jay Leno's monologues and Jonathan Stewart's ("Fake News") Daily Show on Comedy Central. I don't get real news from either of those, but freely admit that I watch both of them "religiously," because I think between them they are a bellwether of what the culture will be discussing the day after. Though I don't like the politics of either of those pundits, they will eventually get around to skewering even their own favorite politicos. And I'm also hooked on Saturday Night Live's "Weekend Update," though it seems years since that fake news sendup has done anything of much significance.
Some people question the ethics of boycotts, especially public ones like the one Southern Baptists, Assemblies of God and others mounted against ABC-TV. But I am strongly convinced that they are not only a legitimate aspect of our free economic system, they are a moral imperative when a company you know is advocating antisocial policies (like promoting pornography, as in the case of "Entertainment Tonight," "Sex in the City," and "Desperate Housewives."
Out in space two alien forms are speaking with each other.
The first spaceman says, "The dominant life forms on the earth planet have developed satellite-based weapons."
The second alien, who looks exactly like the first, asks, "Are they an emerging intelligence?"
The first spaceman says, "I don't think so...They have them aimed at themselves."