Thursday, January 19, 2023

Stop Helping!

People mean well, but for the love of God, please just stop, OK?

The latest "con-traver-sea" (as they say in the UK) involves some hockey player - and it really isn't a controversy at all.  Some brilliant genius in the front office of a hockey team decided that to show solidarity for LGBTQ people that the team should wear rainbow colored jerseys during practice.  One player noped out of that, and now the media is having a field day.

Please stop doing this - stop trying to do us "favors" with these shitty stunts.  It is just awkward and  embarrassing and generates a lot of hostility - and not a lot of understanding. It does the exact opposite of whatever whoever came up with this intended.

Look, I probably wouldn't like this particular hockey player.  He's Russian (boo! hiss!) and Russian Orthodox (hiss! boo!) but that's his choice.  Well, the religious part, anyway.  And forcing him to wear a jersey promoting political beliefs he is against, isn't right.

It gets back to this:  what people really want in life is the right to be left the hell alone.  We don't want to be forced to do things we don't want to do - other than the bare minimum necessary to get by and function in a society.  No one should be forced to support a cause they do not support, not just because it is wrong to make them, but because it will make them hate that cause even more.

I mentioned before many times in this blog that anti-bullying attempts in school have been ham-handed.  Instead of going after bullies for the crimes they commit (e.g., assault and battery) well-meaning teachers and administrators try to "intervene" to make everyone friends!  "Now you boys play nice with little Billy and stop calling him names!" the teacher says.  During recess, the kids beat the crap out of little Billy.

You can't force people to like other people, or other causes, or things, or whatever.  You can force people to obey the law and leave other people the fuck alone.  Sadly, this seems to be at the bottom of the do-gooder's list, as they rather want to make everyone sing Kumbaya together, while holding hands and sharing a Pepsi-Cola or whatever.

Stop trying to force people to like things - and shaming them if they don't!  Why?  Because when you do, the opposite occurs.  The thing that you are trying to get them to like, they may have felt neutral about, or mildly negative.  But when you tell them they have to like it and support it, there will be push-back.  Strong push-back.  Because no one likes being told what to do, or worse yet, what to think.

This is at the heart of the poorly phrased objections raised by the right these days.  They call it "cancel culture" or "the war on Christmas" or whatever.  It is not a major thing, just a few well-meaning do-gooder idiots who decide that a manger scene in the town square is an affront to humanity, or that a poorly worded tweet necessitates that someone lose their job and career.  Yes, the far-right overstates this sort of thing and plays snowflake victim as a result (oddly enough, what they accuse the left of doing!).   But there is a nugget of truth here - as illustrated by this jersey incident.

It is one thing for someone (and according to the Supreme Court, that includes companies) to support a cause - including gay pride.  It is another for an employer to say, "we support this cause, so you have to wave the flag, carry the banner, and wear the T-shirt."   And that's all a hockey team is - an employer.

Suppose your company put out a press release saying they were supporting Russia in their war against Ukraine?  OK, you have a shitty employer.  But suppose they then said you had to wear a company uniform with a Russian flag on it or a Russian flag lapel pin?   Here they are making you wear something that promotes a politcal cause you don't believe in.  Is that right?

And suppose that company is a hockey team and you are obligated under contract to work for them - and stand to lose millions if you quit?

I get it that this hockey team is trying to be inclusive and progressive and supportive.  There are gay hockey players and gay hockey fans.  Maybe they want to reach out to this demographic and show support.  Hey, that's great.  But the ham-handed idea of forcing players to wear gay pride jerseys?

No, that's just wrong.  And while I probably would find this particular player's opinions and views repugnant, he has a right to be wrong about everything.  Shaming him for not wearing the jersey is wrong - and creates a backlash that I didn't ask for.

Please stop trying to do me "favors!"  Just stop.  For the love of God, please stop!

As usual, Seinfeld was ahead of its time...

Sadly, this seems to fall into a pattern of overly-aggressive protesting and demonstrating as of late - actions which often discredit the causes they purport to support.  PETA has made a joke out of animal rights with its crazy click-bait promotions like "sea kittens."  Global warming protesters are raising the ire of everyone and discrediting their cause by trying to block highways.  Animal rights activists have tried to block entrances to slaughterhouses to "give water to the pigs" on their way to the abattoir (what's the point of that?).  One got run over and killed.  Stupid! Stop. Trying. To. Help.

Of course, I am just a paid shill of the bacon lobby, right?

I should note, however, that if I was trapped by a crowd of protesters, banging on my windows, standing on the hood of my car or whatever, I would likely floor it and if they got run over, too bad for them.  If you are being attacked by a mob and are "in fear of imminent death or great bodily harm" you have a right to defend yourself, and a 4,000lb car is a terrible weapon.  Get out of the damn road, idiots!

The right is no better (but ironically, more poorly organized). The "Trucker Convoys" in America amounted to nothing - lost in our traffic and hardly noticed.  The one in Canada just annoyed people for several days by parking downtown and honking horns.  They were protesting pandemic mandates that had already been lifted.  Fucking brilliant, that bunch.  The only right-wing protest of any note was the January 6th insurrection, and even that was poorly thought out and half-assed - and got people killed as a result, for no reason whatsoever.  The only real consequence of that protest was to drive the GOP away from Trumpism.

There are ways to protest that can call attention to an issue without being a jerk or forcing people to conform to your views.

This jersey thing, while well-intentioned, was just a dumb idea.  Please Stop!