Blogs > Cliopatria > Republicans Shop Here....

Sep 3, 2004 1:54 am

Republicans Shop Here....

One of the goofier side stories of this campaign season is.... political ketchup. Yes, if you haven't heard, there's now a Republican ketchup, so that party loyalists don't have to support Democrats with their condiments. (Actually, I've been a DelMonte user for some time now... does that make me a bad Democrat?) This is in spite of the fact that Teresa Heinz-Kerry's stake in Heinz is less than four percent and the Heinz Company PAC donates to both parties, much more heavily to Republicans (and they note that the Kerry Campaign refused their PAC donation on general principles, so the money this cycle went to the DNC). My father, who sent me the ketchup link today, thinks that this is another version of the Swift Boat distraction, forcing Democrats to waste time countering penny-ante mistruths and thus distract from positive messages and countering the BigLies and half-truths being perpetrated. I think that's part of it, but I also think that some Republicans have a visceral reaction against anything strongly associated with Democrats, much like the 'irrational hatred' they accuse liberals of having towards Bush. Some people are having fun with it, though.

The New York Times reports that there's a whole discussion about the products candidates use and how they affect corporate image. So far it's more pop culture creeping into the campaigns: nobody is raising political funds by promising to put a particular brand of bottled water in their candidates' hand.... yet. They are making pitches to the delegates, though.

So, how long before people start picking their supermarkets on political grounds? How long before a supermarket starts to advertise itself as" carrying the products of loyal Republican/Democratic companies"? There's already an implicit liberal/Democrat connection with the natural foods stores, but most Democrats don't shop there, either (I do, but mostly for really good chocolate). With the increasing polarization of neighborhoods into monoculture zones, it would be easy to imagine this spilling over into the commercial markets. Some Christian-owned businesses already include overt symbols in their advertising and signs, and in spite of our American diversity, there's a long tradition of patronizing 'our' stores. Is it getting worse? I suspect it is.

Non Sequitur: A lovely companion piece to my"Illogic in Public Discourse" just came to my attention [via Weblog]: Mark Kaplan's rhetorical tools for blogosphere discourse. We don't do that here, do we?

Speaking of Food and Partisanship: Naomi Chana at Baraita is looking for actual sources (as opposed to oblique references) regarding an early Christian aversion to sausages. I didn't even know it was an issue....

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Jonathan Dresner - 9/3/2004

And there was a time when liberals didn't buy Nestle, either, because of their anti-breastfeeding campaigns. Or Krugerands.... and it still feels a bit odd to have a Krups coffeemaker in the house, though I've never consciously avoided German (even former munitions) companies (wedding gift).

Boycotts are nothing new (nor are boondoggles). What I'm interested in is the question of whether we are entering a new era when boycotts are permanent, entrenched, political. Or if the ethnic and political divisions have always been reflected in shopping patterns, but that we stopped paying attention to that for a while as globalization, chains, malls, etc., homogenized the shopping process.

Clayton Earl Cramer - 9/3/2004

There was a time that your liberalism showed because you wouldn't drink Coors, or buy coffee that wasn't "fair trade." In the 19th century, abolitionists bought "Liberian coffee" as a way of assisting the freed American slaves who settled there. (In some cases, the coffee actually came from somewhere, and was just labeled Liberian.)

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