Monday, March 26, 2012

You Fail!

Holy crap, now that is a failure.

As you very likely have heard by now, the National Organization for Marriage--a national organization opposed to civil marriage rights for gay people (I've mentioned groups like this using misleading language before; it's kinda their thing)--is rather upset with everybody's favorite coffee chain, Starbucks. Actually, I hate coffee and probably live in one of the few places in the United States where there aren't any Starbucks locations that I can get to easily, but everybody else's favorite coffee place.

Why? Oh, well they seem to have just noticed that Starbucks has an official stance in support of gay marriage rights, in addition to making a point of treating gay employees equally. Very nice.

At the recent Starbucks shareholders meeting, a few people associated with NoM asked some pretty stupid-sounding questions.
"By not intentionally offending certain customers, don't you think you're offending other customers? I mean, I'm just worried about the effect on the company... I mean, somebody could boycott! I'm talking about myself."
It was something like that, but I'm quoting from memory here. The video is hilarious; they answer that the decision was "not something that was difficult for us," and the applause is pretty dramatic in response. Oddly, NoM posted the video to YouTube themselves. I have no idea why they thought that would be a good idea.

In any case, NoM is of the opinion that businesses that disagree with them should remain neutral and shut up and therefore must be boycotted, while businesses that do agree with them are proud and strong and how dare you boycott them you're just bigoted against Christians. No seriously.
Like Chik-fil-a (I just wanted to post that link, really).

Anyway, the really awesome thing here?
They created a petition, a Twitter account called @DumpStarbucks, and a facebook page for people to scold Starbucks and to promise to boycott.
Over the next few days, a petition, a Twitter account called @PumpStarbucks, and a facebook thing of some kind (when facebook started getting more complicated, I never really bothered figuring all that stuff out) for the sole purpose of letting people tell Starbucks that they support them and don't think they should buckle under the pressure (which probably was never a concern, but it's still nice to voice that support, y'know?).

So, take a guess as to which side is more popular? If you guessed "The petition to pressure Starbucks!" than you would be incredibly wrong.
The "Dump Starbucks" petition has, at this time, 20,707 pledges according to their site.
The "Thank You" card petition has, at this time, 264,353 signatures according to their site and has to keep resetting their goal (currently set at 300,000--it was 250,000 when I started writing this [less significant than it sounds because I've been working on several other things during that time and it's been more than a few hours, but still really amazing]).

Oh, and I've seen several gay rights supporters who've talked about all the fake names they've put on the Dump Starbucks petition and how hilarious that is. Seems to me like that just makes them look better and is dumb, but it is noteworthy that at least a few of those signatures aren't real. I mean, I get why Jeremy Hooper at Good As You posted about a fake entry--he was pointing out how easy it was to inflate the numbers and that the supporters didn't even have to give a valid e-mail address (or anything resembling one, as he demonstrated).
It's the "Ha ha I added 20 more signatures to their petition! That'll help us comment on how pathetic it is!" that I don't get.

But I digress... More interesting here is an apparent sudden jump in the numbers on the Dump Starbucks petition. Now I wasn't paying close enough attention to notice it personally, but I've seen it on a few other blogs. I wouldn't exactly testify to this in court, but it looks pretty reliable--and it's not like these people never lie (I don't think I've ever read anything from them that wasn't both obviously and almost incredibly dishonest).
What seems to have happened is they got signatures at a slowly increasing rate for a while, as normal, suddenly nearly doubled their signatures all at one, and then went back to the previous normal-sounding rate. Basically, sounds entirely fraudulent.

And really, when you start a boycott that's 10% as popular as people saying "lolno" and the company's stock goes up, y'gotta be pretty desperate to get some sigs.

A while ago, I had a singing audition in which I had trouble following the piano, missed my starting note, got nervous, and never found the rhythm of the song. It was the worst singing I've ever performed, and worse than any I'd ever heard. I had waited hours and hours--and driven an hour--for this audition that I had utterly, utterly blown.
I left there saying "Well, at least I know I will never again fail at anything as badly as I did here tonight."
I have now discovered that it actually is possible for a worst failure than that audition--but I'm pretty sure we've actually hit the limit this time!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

I Don't Understand

I don't understand this gay marriage debate.

In most civil rights debates, both sides have a stake. The people who are seeking some right or equality have an obvious stake, but so do their foes.

In the American Revolution, the enemy had power and wanted to keep that power.
Slavery? The slaves wanted to not be slaves, the slave owners wanted to continue to have slaves. The conflict between them is obvious.
Expansion of voting rights? Well, if there's only one vote we call that "Being in charge." For every additional vote, the power of each voter is reduced. In our current system, a much much greater percentage of people have the right to vote than did originally in our nation--and every person who would have been able to anyway has a weaker vote than he would have had if voting rights had never been extended to more people.

In all of these cases, there's an obvious right side, but I can at least understand the bad guys. They have a motivation that makes sense, usually power (desiring to keep power you already have is a lot more understandable than the desire to acquire new power over others, too).
In the gay marriage debate, though? On the one hand we have gay people who want to get married, and on the other side we have... er, people who don't want us to? They have no stake at all! When we win, they lose nothing except the argument.. which is why they've lost the argument.
It's one side versus... nothing at all.

Obviously some of these people make good money working to hurt me and others like me. That's their motivation, I guess. And fame, of a sort. Infamy, and maybe even becoming historical figures (although, I certainly wouldn't want to go down in history as a villain... but maybe for some people that's better than being forgotten).
But see, they only get money and fame because their movement exists. Why does it exist? It's irrelevant to them. What was the motivation for getting that started?

I can understand letting your own interests override your empathy for others. I can understand ignoring your empathy for others because you don't want to care.
I just can't understand working against people for no reason other than to harm them.
And even more, I can't understand why they're taken as serious opponents. Giving them credibility is bad enough, but why did anybody even notice they exist to listen?