The whole “Chick-Fil-A hates the gays” debacle earlier this year was one that being on the wrong side of the Atlantic, it was mercifully easy for me to keep a silence throughout. A thought that sat really awkwardly and(certainly on tumblr!) silently in my head was that if the CEOs of Chick-Fil-A are bigoted rightwing Christians and want to donate the money that they have legitimately earnt through selling fast-food chicken sandwiches to anti-gay marriage organisations then, well, that’s basically their decision and it’s not your place to say what they should do with the money that you’ve given to them, because that’s how transactions work. You didn’t pay for a chicken sandwich with a side order of equality and they never claimed to be giving you that. By all means, don’t buy their bigoted sandwiches because you disagree with what they’re doing with the money they make from them, but I’m not sure I’m comfortable with the idea that it’s okay to demand that they stop.
As a far-left anti-capitalist, it’s actually always been one of the few perks of capitalism that in a free market I can give my money to the less awful businesses: maybe a local nonpartisan fast food place that’s committed to using free-range, locally sourced meats? One of the brands that I do feel a certain ‘loyalty’ towards is Lush, and that’s in no small part because of the founder’s commitment to donating profits to various political organisations - including some fairly radical environmental groups, and immigrant/refugee rights groups, which sit particularly close to my heart. If the same people who were so massively pro-Chick-Fil-A took it upon themselves to campaign against them for supporting ecoterrorism and illegal immigrants, as you could quite probably spin it, I would be annoyed at this apparent unwillingness to let the founders do as they please with their own money, and I would be even more upset if they caved and stopped said donations, leaving me with one less large company that I could feel represents my interests.
The fact that they caved and compromised does not say anything about a change of heart on the CEOs’ parts, only a lack of integrity (seriously, just commit to your gross principles) and following where profits are going. Starbucks may have issued a pro-same-sex marriage statement and made all of their coffee (in this country at least) Fairtrade, which is an issue I care about a hell of a lot more, but I still refuse to buy coffee from them because as a corporation they have established themselves as gross and profit-driven in a way that leaves me fairly sure those were empty decisions that it was in their favour to make, because unfortunately there are enough people out there impressionable enough to believe that if Kraft or Starbucks’ PR department say they’re pro-gay marriage, then buying those Oreos or that coffee is making a positive difference to the world and the fight for liberation. (it’s not.) Also because I can buy better coffee elsewhere that doesn’t make me angry.
I just occupy a mindset that under our allegedly “free” market, the people making money from a corporation are free to use it for whatever purposes, reprehensible, honourable or otherwise, they want, and the people choosing which businesses they give their money to have a responsibility to choose which companies they feel comfortable funding. I also really hope that nobody who got really fired up about that controversy - on either side! - has bought food from Chick-Fil-A since they stopped funding the “family values” lobby, because whichever way you look at it, it’s an unpleasant, equivocatory and profit-driven decision that was made with money rather than morals, left or right-wing, in mind.
Roughly 1400 words on how Shigesato Itoi’s Earthbound uses the player’s expectations of gaming and video game narrative to create an emotionally devastating experience that simply wouldn’t be possible in any other medium, and how miserable it is that so few games in the intervening eighteen years have realized the medium’s storytelling potential to the same extent. A lot less dry than I’ve just made it sound (at least I think so, it was a lot of fun to write!) and at some point intended as an item in a magazine edited by the lovely Jo Graham - watch this space for updates on that front, I guess!
While this is probably going to be most interesting to people already familiar with the game/Mother series, I’ve deliberately written it as spoiler-free as possible; events at the end of the game are referenced without giving details. I’d be delighted if reading this prompted anyone to seek the game out for themselves!
Words of warning: this is about the books, and it’s written under the assumption that the reader has finished A Storm of Swords. It was sort of tempting to reference events from A Feast For Crows, but I’d rather keep it more accessible and in any case, it’s long enough as it is. It’s also written in the hope that you’ll either be familiar with and open to basic principles of feminist and post-colonial criticism, or won’t have a knee-jerk reaction to it as “feminazi social justice bullshit” or whatever. I’ve tried to link to relevant commentary on anything that may be unfamiliar to people who don’t read as much cultural criticism for fun as I do though! Finally, a genuine warning for reference to sexual violence.