Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Is Your Car Gay?

You might want to ask yourself that question after the Ford Motor Company bowed to a right-wing conservative Christian group and announced that it was pulling ads from gay publications.

The story was first reported in the blogosphere, but in the time it takes to say "rear-ended Ford Pinto gas tank explosion," the story had catapulted into the big time, including CNN, which reported that the two Ford executives who cut a deal with the wingnut American Family Association (AFA) to pull the ads are former Bush administration officials with impecible right-wing credentials.

Ford, of course, is hemorrhaging hundreds of millions of dollars a year because Japanese and Korean cars are running circles around its own boring products. In this context, it may make more sense to pander to homophobes than to stand up to bigotry and intolerance.

Maybe, but Ford's capitulation to the AFA is all the more craven (and stoopid) because the organization has proven itself to be clumsily boycott happy.

The AFA launched a nine-year boycott of Disney that had absolutely no effect. It also boycotted Crest toothpaste, Volkswagen, Tide detergent, Clorox bleach, Pampers, MTV, Abercrombie & Fitch, K-Mart, Burger King, the Carl's Jr. hamburger chain, Kraft Foods, Mary Kay Cosmetics, Old Navy stores, NutriSystem, and American Airlines. Then there was the Target department store chain boycott because it didn't use the word "Christmas" in its advertising.

On the flip side, Wells Fargo Bank recently told Focus on the Family to take a hike when the AFA's far-right cousin announced it was closing all its accounts with the bank because it contributed to a gay-rights group. Wells Fargo made it clear that it will spend its money as it wishes and not as the right-wing dictates.

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