Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Conflicting Values

I hate it when Doing The Right Thing gets in the way of Doing What I Want.

When I wore stockings, the Gentlemen Prefer Hanes ad campaign forced me to write a sternly feminist letter to the company, forswearing their brand forever.  

Unfortunately, they were the hose that fit me most perfectly, at a price point I could afford (especially on sale at Macy's), with a look and feel that I loved.  I kept up my outward disgust while sporting the product.  I laughed at myself as I shopped.

Then, there were grapes. I was appalled that my supposedly woke sister and her friends were happily munching on anti-labor grapes.  They'd never heard of Cesar Chavez; they spit out the seeds and moved on to watermelon.  Lettuce was a little harder to enforce, because the labeling was uncertain.

I'm sure that we figured something out about the roughage, though I can't remember exactly what it was.  I know for a fact that those were the last grapes bought that summer.

Daddooooo made G'ma return the perfect wooden skirt hangers because they were made in West Germany.  His antipathy for the country apparently waned as he aged; his favorite car turned out to be a Volkswagon Rabbit.  Volkswagon.... a People's Car..... a Nazi car, a phrase I tossed at him once and once only.  He was flustered.  I was surprised that he didn't have a ready answer.  We never revisited the topic again.

That was all then.  Chocolate and the Cubbies are now.

I did some research, until I couldn't stand it any more.  Here's what the WaPo has to say about it, in a June 2019  article titled Cocoa's child laborers
Mars, NestlĂ© and Hershey pledged nearly two decades ago tI am  using cocoa harvested by children. Yet much of the chocolate you buy still starts with child labor. Behind much of the world's chocolate is the work of thousands of impoverished children on West African cocoa farms.
Not-Kathy promises to investigate ethically sourced unsweetened baking chocolate but my brownie recipe has remained unchanged - and much loved - for decades.... and it depends upon a Nestle product.  Not-Kathy's promise came right on the heels on my wondering aloud if I had to abandon making brownies in order to be a responsible human being.

After all, child labor is..... well, child labor.

Chocolate, all 4 of them replied to me in one loud voice, is CHOCOLATE!

So, I've seen where their boundaries lie.

What about sports?  Big Cuter got a Sports Divorce (predicated on facts which might change and thus result in re-establishment of the relationship) from his beloved 49'ers after they treated Colin Kaepernick so poorly, but that break up was tempered by the whole Football as America's Blood Sport meme, coupled with the concussion and CTE admissions.

I am faced with a more troubling dilemma.  

President Trump is coming to Chicago for a fundraiser with Cubs co-owner Todd Ricketts. read the headline in last week's Chicago Tribune.

I wrote to all the companies on the Ivanka's-stuff-sold-here list, refusing to shop there until they stopped being a venue helping to enrich the Trumps.  I advocated for boycotts related to Breitbart and Fox News (the Fox Sports channel is included in our basic package; I avoid the conflict by amortizing the cost and recognizing that any protest would be futile).

But my Cubs?!?!?!?  Can I give up my Cubs because their owner will use the monies he earns from their success to support that which I find insupportable?

I suppose that if I buy no more Cubs gear I can still cheer for the laundry... divorcing those who own the team from what the team means to me.

Can't I?


  1. Wow, I have never done a boycott for anything and maybe i should feel guilty that I didn't but clearly my life is much simpler. I know of writers who won't reveal any of their political leanings (either side) for fear of someone boycotting their books. I remember when the Dixie Chicks had people stomping on CDs they'd already bought for daring to voice their opinion overseas about the Prez at that time. Somehow boycotts always seemed wrong to me but can't deny they may influence especially corporations to toe certain lines. Is that good though if it's only fear of loss of dollars? On the child labor, I don't know if that is true but maybe it's the only job they can get and the family needs the money. I picked berries and beans as a child for clothes money; then our country decided children shouldn't do that and that ended up meaning my mom couldn't either... Always two sides *s*

    1. You were busy farming and writing; NO GUILT!!!
      The child labor piece is more like slavery/indentured servitude than working on a neighboring farm for clothes money. This is from the Food Empowerment Network:
      The children of Western Africa are surrounded by intense poverty, and most begin working at a young age to help support their families.[12] Some children end up on the cocoa farms because they need work and traffickers tell them that the job pays well.[8] Other children are “sold” to traffickers or farm owners by their own relatives, who are unaware of the dangerous work environment and the lack of any provisions for an education.[13] Often, traffickers abduct the young children from small villages in neighboring African countries, such as Burkina Faso and Mali,[8] two of the poorest countries in the world.[14] Once they have been taken to the cocoa farms, the children may not see their families for years, if ever.

      Most of the children laboring on cocoa farms are between the ages of 12 and 16,[15] but reporters have found children as young as 5.[16][19] In addition, 40% of these children are girls, and some stay for a few months, while others end up working on the cocoa farms through adulthood.[18]

      A child’s workday typically begins at six in the morning and ends in the evening.[18] Some of the children use chainsaws to clear the forests.[17] Other children climb the cocoa trees to cut bean pods using a machete. These large, heavy, dangerous knives are the standard tools for children on the cocoa farms,[18] which violates international labor laws and a UN convention on eliminating the worst forms of child labor.[24][32] Once they cut the bean pods from the trees, the children pack the pods into sacks that weigh more than 100 pounds when full and drag them through the forest [17] Aly Diabate, a former cocoa slave, said, “Some of the bags were taller than me. It took two people to put the bag on my head. And when you didn’t hurry, you were beaten.”[4]

      That's a lot in a comment, but it informed my post.

      I forgot the link

  2. I eat almost no chocolate; so it's not much of an issue for me as in I am not supporting it. I've read banana farming is really bad too. In any of the impoverished regions, we see a lot of this. So what can we do? Live in guilt about all of it? I try to stick to getting upset about what I can do something about. That one is not on the list even if it's tragic-- so is starvation or the diseases that take children too young in some of these countries.

    1. Someday I'm going to work on figuring out how to avoid taking on the problems of the world :-)

    2. What helped me was a book, which meant more to my life in the years when I read it. The 7 Effective Habits of Highly Effective People. It encourage using this circle of effectiveness-- what can we actually impact. You impact hose kids with the gardening. You do it with your friends and family and maybe the letters or calls you make. It's figuring which things we can actually do something about. My life was a lot busier when I read it and it helped me a lot to get control over that.

  3. Uh title wrong. 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen R. Covey.

  4. Good grief, it was full of typos. I better get off before I make it worse lol


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