Russia, Gays, and Picking the Right Fight

Gay activists cling to a bad boycott target rather than work with a potential ally

"Too late to stop the boycott. We already made posters!"Credit: Matt Fikse-VerkerkWhen Russia’s parliament passed a law in June criminalizing open discussion of gay and lesbian issues upon threat of fine for individuals and even media organizations, the vote wasn’t even close. It was unanimous. According the Associated Press, one sole parliament member abstained. That was his show of support for protesters who opposed the law. He didn’t vote against it. He abstained. Outside, protesters against Russia’s deep slide into homophobic waters attempted to protest with a kissing rally. They were physically attacked by hundreds of supporters and then detained by riot police.

Gay activists in Russia are physically attacked and brutally beaten regularly. Their bloody faces make frequent appearances on gay news blogs and less frequently in mainstream media coverage. Russian libertarian activist Vera Kichanova (whom Reason.com recently interviewed) was assaulted over the weekend in an anti-gay attack at a bar in Moscow, though she’s not gay and is married.

As the 2014 Olympics in Sochi approach, eyes across the world will be watching Russia. As is typically the case when the Olympics land in a country with a less-than-stellar human rights reputation, activists want the world to know how bad things are. Western gay and lesbian activists are looking for any opportunity to apply some pressure on Russia to change its attitude. It’s likely going to be a long, tough fight.

And so attention turned to boycotts, the idea that Americans who want to support the plight of gays and lesbians in Russia can help by hitting the country in the wallet. Toward the end of July gay activist, advice columnist, and author Dan Savage promoted what appeared to be an obvious choice—the Russian vodkas served in gay bars across the country. Savage named Stolichnaya Vodka, arguably the best-known of the all the vodkas sold in the United States, as the face of the boycott.

Stolichnaya has proven to be a problematic choice. The company that produces Stolichnaya has significant Russian ties but is really no longer truly a Russian product for consumers outside of Russia. The Stoli we drink is made in Latvia and manufacturer SPI Group is based out of Luxembourg. When the Soviet empire fell, many Russian products and operations were privatized, vodkas included. Russian Yuri Shefler purchased the Stoli trademark (and others) for a song. But when Vladimir Putin came to power, he brought a new nationalist streak back to Russia no longer tied to socialist politics. He vowed to renationalize the vodkas. Russia seized control of Stoli (and other brands) produced inside the country. Shefler now reportedly lives in Europe, on the outs with Russia’s leadership, even possibly facing prison. Though Shefler is a very rich Russian, he is not the right kind of rich Russian and has no influence on Russian politics. The Stoli sold outside Russia is not the same as what's sold within Russia (so for those who end up at the Sochi Olympics, boycotting the Stoli there actually does target the government).

Furthermore, Stolichnaya has worked for years to craft a relationship with the gay community in America and abroad. Since the boycott was proposed, several within the community (myself included) questioned the wisdom of including Stoli among the boycott targets, but proponents have not pulled back. Bar owners drew press in West Hollywood and New York dumping vodka (or rather water in vodka bottles) into the gutters.

I interviewed John Esposito, CEO of Stoli Group USA in New York, who is frustrated at being targeted but said they’re committed to remaining part of the gay community. Esposito also said nobody proposing the boycott attempted to contact them first and efforts on Stoli’s end to reach out to them have failed to garner a response.

“We're really hurt by this because we're a real supporter of the community,” Esposito said. “There are a number of accounts who have taken Stoli off the shelves. When this dies down a bit, Stoli will still be in the community, and will still be supporting the community. When these people who have this pulpit to spread this information die down, we'll still be here. We'll suffer a little bit, but we’ll be here.”

Esposito says Stoli is willing to offer assistance to the extent that it can, though it depends on activists realizing that the company’s direct influence in Russia is not what they think it is.

“We can help constructively against this cause,” he said. “Whether it's resources, people, time, energy. … Many people who work here are within the gay community. We’re more interested in teaming up.”

It’s easy to imagine a relationship between activists and Stoli developing and the activists taking credit for the boycott forcing it, though in all likelihood the same could have happened even if activists hadn’t declared a boycott. Even after learning about Stoli’s relationship with Russia, Queer Nation defended the boycott. The defensiveness in a press release is worth noting:

More importantly, though the company claims to be friend to our community, it was silent as the Russian government considered this horrific law, and it said nothing after the law was enacted. Stolichnaya only spoke up after the boycott was announced. Friends do not keep silent when those they claim to value are under attack.

Did anybody ever actually ask Stoli to do anything prior to announcing the boycott? They are allies, not activists. It is absurd to expect them to know how to respond to Russia’s brutality. That’s what the activists are for. The activists tell supportive businesses and non-activist allies what sort of help they need to succeed and the businesses help provide those resources.

To jump immediately to a boycott of a friendly company sends the message to any business that has shown support toward the gay community that they are completely disposable. All that work is utterly meaningless if a handful of activist leaders think they can get media attention by dumping you in the gutter. It’s a lazy, self-absorbed endeavor that doesn’t help Russian gays any more than Stoli has. If your activism deliberately hurts somebody who has spent significant amounts of money supporting your community, then you are doing activism wrong.

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  • sarcasmic||

    Mmmmm. Stoli.

  • Live Free or Diet||

    Mmmmm. Avtomat Kalashnikova.

  • Almanian!||

    Oh MYYYYYYY!

    /George Takei Voice

  • sarcasmic||

    I wonder if Anna Chapman drinks Stoli.

  • Almanian!||

    I'd like to drink Stoli from Anna Chapman's belly button. And the snort coke from her boobs.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    You'd be following about half of what used to be called the Politburo.

  • mtrueman||

    Mmmm, yes, but the point is that Stoli is indeed 'disposable.' As is any company in a free market.

    Stoli may be doing something right, but I reckon they could do more, and a consumer boycott just might pressure them into taking further steps. It's a free market and let's not pretend that Stoli consumers are bound to buy their product. Consumers are free to choose. A free market works only if consumers view makers as disposable.

  • ||

    I'm somewhat confused. I thought "queer" was a slur, and that they perferred to be referred to as gay?

  • ||

    No, queer has been co-opted by those who refuse to identify with any orientation and enjoy all sorts of sexual relationships and types.

  • ||

    I'm having a hard time keeping up with what's supposed to be an insult, and what is a proud label of some facet of sexuality.

  • Agammamon||

    It doesn't matter, you can't use that word. Its *their* word.

  • ||

    One of the biggest failings of political correctness is creating a list of words that cannot be spoken that obviates the need to develop a sense of when something is or isn't appropriate to say.

  • Almanian!||

    I blame the fuckin' chinks, slopes, niggers, zipperheads, wops, slant eyes, dagos, krauts, newfies...there are others.

  • pmains||

    Newfie is offensive? As in, a person from New Foundland? Is it because Newfies are, well, newfies, and therefore any appellation ultimately goes into the "offensive" bin? If so, will "Alabaman" be offensive in the future, or are they disqualified from PC protection due to their racism?

  • MythicalLibertarianWoman||

    I have only ever heard the words "wop" and "dago" used by fellow Italians. I had no idea that these words were supposedly offensive until I was an adult.

  • ||

    Political correctness fails because it attempts to make certain words verboten, which then of course gives those words forbidden cache, which means they will absolutely be used in certain contexts to be "shocking". Like all attempts to control human behavior, it fails miserably and ends up making the word more fashionable than before it was verboten.

    Political correctness is stupidity on a scale so massive it's almost impossible to grasp.

  • ||

    Absolutely. My point was just that the goal was to make the language "more humane" but it ends up desensitizing people to context and weakening their empathy muscles.

  • gaoxiaen||

    I guess we can't depend on the Voight-Kampf test anymore.

  • PapayaSF||

    Political correctness is stupidity on a scale so massive it's almost impossible to grasp.

    And yet, it slowly creeps forward, changing (in favor of the left) the ground rules for all public discussions of race and sexuality and economics and government.

  • Wizard4169||

    Political Correctness may look stupid (Hey, I enjoy making fun of PC excess as much as anyone.), but it's actually quite serious in intent and it's had a very real effect. Language shapes thought. If you can make a word unspeakable, the concept that word represents soon becomes literally unthinkable.

    Even where PC appears to have failed, it often still has an effect. People may continue to use "forbidden" words for humor and shock value, but these words are soon relegated solely to such use and banished from polite conversation and serious debate. Anyone who uses them is easily dismissed as ignorant or bigoted, with no need to refute his actual arguments. To be taken seriously, one must at least pay lip service to PC standards. Letting the opposition set the rules of engagement means the argument is half-lost before it even starts.

    Political Correctness is the real-world equivalent of Orwell's Newspeak, and the Ministry of Truth knew exactly what it was doing when it set out to control the language.

  • gaoxiaen||

    So, I take it that you believe in the strong version of the Whorf-Sapir Hypothesis? I don't. I believe in the weak version.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    So a queer is like a slut who fucks everybody?

  • Almanian!||

    No - that's Episiarch's mom.

  • ||

    Dude, she keeps asking me why you won't call her back. I'm sick of covering for you. Just call her a whore and be done with it. I did, but she's used to that and it didn't have any effect.

  • Almanian!||

    I uh....I....lost her phone number. Yeah, that's it...

  • ||

    STOP MAKING EXCUSES

  • Sudden||

    If you call a woman that during the act, she's yours forever.

  • ||

    It's an umbrella term for people who are not binary in their gender and thus fluid in their sexual orientation. These are the people who seriously use the term 'cisgender' 'cisgender privilege'.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Oh, I get it.

    Wait, lost it. Damn.

  • ||

    If you're preceeding it with "damn" or "smear the" it's probably a slur; if you're preceding it with "we're here, we're" it's probably not.

    Totally acceptable when used in a series of 1980s children's books.

  • ||

    Fuckin' queers, being all picky over how to be insulted ; )

  • Tejicano||

    So I truly hope that "fucking queers" is not considered an insult since "fucking" is kinda central to the meaning of "queer".

    If I can't say that with impunity I will really be lost.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    "Smear the queer" was a perfectly acceptable term referring to a one vs. many type of football game intended to emphasis the necessities of speed and toughness. By the time I started playing in grade school it was killed "Kill the Man" (which is probably not acceptable either).

    Now I hear it's being called "muckle," which sounds like a card game old women play.

  • Almanian!||

    We called it "Kill the guy with the football", but we're pretty simple and literal in the midwest.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Yeah, that's too many syllables for us simple Missourah folk.

  • Almanian!||

    Show me.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Three syllables or fewer we can handle.

  • d_remington||

    Then you're no true Missouran, my dear Ah-no-ny-mous.

  • Tim||

    Kill the man with the ball. At recess, we'd run you down and beat it out of you, unless you passed it to somebody. Then we'd run them down and repeat as necessary. Good times.

  • KDN||

    It's one of those games that every child plays worldwide but is never actually taught to anyone. Someday the government will put you in prison when your kids figure it out for themselves.

  • Tak Kak||

    As soon as you get it all sorted out it'll change.

  • Hugh Akston||

    If you want an insult that will never go out of style, try my favorite "Jimboesque" or, if you will, "Jimtarded."

  • ||

    Are you negging me? Are you non-cis queer gay bi with a degree if victimization studies from a University of Phoenix satelite affiliate?

  • ||

    *degree in

  • Zeb||

    Where have you been? People were self identifying as Queer 15 years ago when I was in college.

  • ||

    Obviously not hanging out in the same atmosphere you were.

    In rural Kentucky and Texas, "queer" was used as an exact synonym for "gay", only it had a discriminatory tone to it.

  • Zeb||

    In rural Kentucky and Texas

    I guess that answers my question. Silly coastal elite that I am.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the brutal, violent anti-gay culture that has developed in Russia and a government using it to flog nationalist aims

    More sanctimonious bullying should help.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Are you criticizing Mr. Shackford's description of Russian culture and government as 'sanctimonious bullying?'

  • ||

    You're astoundingly dense, New Tulpa.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well, is he?

  • Agammamon||

    No.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    No.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Given the quoted selection I did not know if he was referring to the boycott or the criticism of Russia. There are quite a few people who don't find Russia's treatment of gays and lesbians troublesome and see attempts at combating it as 'bullying.'

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    You do realize you're on a libertarian site, right? Try to interpret things charitably next time.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Have you read this thread?

    The boycott is stupid, but the Russian government's stance is tyrannical. Most people commenting here seem more upset about the 'gay left community' and intent on beating it about the head than anything else.

  • ||

    You're astoundingly dense, New Tulpa.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The boycott is stupid, but the Russian government's stance is tyrannical.

    And your point is...?

    The reality is that the person the next cube over from me could possibly participate in this boneheaded boycott. Do you know why it's boneheaded? BECAUSE STOLI IS GAY FRIENDLY.

    On the other hand, I have no Russian gay-bashing friends. If I did, i would chide them as well.

    To spell it out: what's local is more important. This is local.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I understand that, but the gay community is right to want to act against Russia's oppressive laws. They've chosen a foolish way to do so, but their intentions are correct. It seems to me the proper thing to do is not to use this to engage in a 'two minute hate' against 'the gay left' but to hope these groups will find sensible ways to pursue their correct goals.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    OK. I hope they find a sensible way to pursue their goals.

    Look at that. I thought correctly. Yay me.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Look at that. I thought correctly. Yay me.

    And keep this in mind the next time you are not thinking correctly, comrade. Intentions are all that matter.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It is not intentions, but conclusions that matter. I am just asking, who is the worse infringer of liberty, gays misguidedly boycotting the wrong target or the Russian government and Russian hooligans who engage in violence against gays?

  • Bill Dalasio||

    They've chosen a foolish way to do so, but their intentions are correct.

    And heaven knows if you've got the right intentions, that makes anything you do honkey-dorey.

    Except, I'm not really convinced that anyone's intentions here are particularly decent. The treatment of gays in the Middle East makes Russia's look like a bit of good-natured rough-housing. This has been well known for a long, long time. Yet, oddly, I don't see Savage or Queer Nation demanding a clear stance against the Muslim world.

    No, I suspect that, when this is all said and done, this is an attempt to assert domestic political power by an identity group. And if some innocent company gets screwed in the process, "Oh well, you have to break a few eggs to make an omelet". I don't for a moment believe that Savage or the leadership of this boycott had no idea that Stolichnaya wasn't involved in the persecution of gays in Russia.

  • mtrueman||

    "The treatment of gays in the Middle East makes Russia's look like a bit of good-natured rough-housing."

    That's true, and your question is valid. Why shouldn't gay activists target the Middle East instead?

    To me the answer is pretty obvious, and you grasp the essentials as well. The fact that the Russian situation amounts to little more than good natured roughhousing makes Russia the easier target. It shares many western values and focused activism against Russia stands a better chance of success against Russia than any of the Middle East countries save Israel, which also shares many of the west's values.

  • grey||

    Intentions, isn't some road paved with those?

  • mtrueman||

    "BECAUSE STOLI IS GAY FRIENDLY."

    But are they gay friendly enough? Could pressure encourage them to be more gay friendly? A boycott on a gay friendly maker might make more sense than one on an unfriendly maker.

    "This is local."

    They call it the gay community for a reason. For them, all gay issues are local issues. They derive some strength from this.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    After all, the popularity of Stoli enemas...........

  • Almanian!||

    No

  • General Butt Naked||

    Nyet.

  • Skip||

    If Republicans were smart, which they aren't, they would do a big press conference where they said that just because they don't support gay marriage, they aren't in favor of gays getting the crap beat out of them anywhere and paint Obama as a big coward who won't call Russia out. That would get them some gay fundraising money and maybe a good piece of the gay vote in 2014 and 2016.

  • ||

    Seriously? No amount of calling out Obama is going to get the Republican party any gay votes.

  • Zeb||

    I don't know. I'm sure that there are plenty of gay people who just want to bang people of the same gender and don't care for the identity politics. Especially as being gay is becoming so much more normal and accepted, fewer gay people will feel the need to identify so completely with the politics of the established "gay community".

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If the Republican Party was not so anti-gay in so many ways I bet many gays would support it. Gays tend to have higher than average taxes and I doubt they enjoy taxes taking higher portions of that every year any more than most people.

  • Sudden||

    Hell, I know a lot of gays that are republicans already. Its nowhere near the monolithic Dem stronghold that the black community is.

  • ||

    There are plenty of gays who vote republican. There are plenty of gays who don't give a rat's ass about identity politics and vote their consciences. Those individuals who don't feel the need to identify with the gay community would suddenly have to do so for this to work. Republicans calling out Obama isn't going to get the Republican party any gay votes.

  • Zeb||

    Probably not immediately, but if the did more to distance themselves from the anti-gay so-con crap it would probably do something toward breaking down the strong cultural identity many gays feel with the Democrats.

  • RightNut||

    I doubt it would net Republicans many votes. For evidence of this see Democrats increasing hostility to Israel and their rather steady share of the Jewish vote. Like Jewish voters, gays are generally not single issue voters.

  • Zeb||

    Like Jewish voters, gays are generally not single issue voters.

    Which is exactly why I would think that Republicans repudiating the anti-gay stuff would, in time, get them more votes from gays. I don't think that there is anything inherent to gayness that makes one a lefty socialism-lite type.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    I don't know about that. Johnson ran one of the most gay-friendly presidential campaigns I've seen, and it's hardly like there was any sort of Gay Groundswell for Gary.

    Gay culture seems inexorably linked to cosmopolitanism. And voting Republican is a very un-cosmopolitan thing to do.

  • RightNut||

    You drew the wrong conclusion from my post. Republican's could be the most gay friendly party ever, but gays, like Jews, happen to be very liberal and thus still wouldn't vote republican.

    Their may not be anything that makes gays liberal, but none the less, most gays happen to be liberal.

  • Skip||

    I'm not talking about anything major, but it would be a cheap way to move the needle somewhat and suggest that gay marriage isn't the be all/end all of what gays care about. And it wouldn't cost Republicans anything.

  • Almanian!||

    That would get them some gay fundraising money and maybe a good piece of the gay vote in 2014 and 2016.

    HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! Ooooh - good one!

  • ||

    Eh, Obama snubbed Putin recently over Snowden but claimed it was over Russia's treatment of gays. It's a propaganda win on all fronts because everyone knows it's over Snowden but they have the warm fuzzies because he's standing up to Putin on gay rights issues. Even though he clearly does not give two shits about it.

  • ||

    No way! Obama is the first gay president!

  • Gladstone||

    James Buchanan 4 LYFE!!!!

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    But he'll be a homophobe in 2016!

  • ||

    sends the message to any business that has shown support toward the gay community that they are completely disposable

    Bingo. And it's a particularly strong message in this case, since the boycott is so stupidly misdirected that it says "you can be the absolute wrong target of a boycott but fuck you, you'll do".

  • WTF||

    Because 'activism' is more about the self-indulgent narcissism of the activists than about any relationship to reality.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Because 'activism' is more about the self-indulgent narcissism accumulation and assertion of political power on the part of the activists than about any relationship to reality

    ftfy

  • Wizard4169||

    Nah, the power accrues to politicians who cynically and opportunistically indulge the narcissism of the activists. Granted, there's some overlap; the more self-aware activists realize how much they like the taste of power and go into politics.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I hope the business community is taking notice.

  • mtrueman||

    But every business is completely disposable and if they think otherwise, they won't be in business for long, regardless of what gays buy or don't buy. I've said before, I'm not sure that Stoli is the wrong target. Perhaps its gay friendly attitude makes it the perfect target.

  • ||

    Nothing says you understand what you're fighting for like using imaginary Cyrillic letters in your anti-Russian logo.

  • Gladstone||

    Well Bismarck was dum to approve annexing Alsace-Lorraine.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    I am glad I wasn't the only one who saw that.

  • ||

    My Alsace-Lorraine great grandfather agreed. Which is why he left and came here.

  • ||

    I thought you were a wop, of Moorish decent (per Dennis Hopper in True Romance)?

    You can't claim multiple, competing heritages.

  • ||

    Another great grandfather was Italian. Another was Prussian, and another German. But since we all know the one-drop rule, the dark Italian genes make me a WOP. Also a dago. Plus I like spicy meat-a-balls.

  • RightNut||

    Dare I ask what a WOP is?

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It means wine that has spoiled.

  • ||

    With. Out. Papers.

    Many Italian immigrants arrived at Ellis Island with no documentation at all, so they were marked as "With Out Papers". My great grandfather was one of them (at 15 years old, by himself). This turned into the slur we love today, which is WOP.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    The without papers thing is a myth. Sorry to be a wet Towelie.

  • ||

    You're so not sorry about that, NK.

  • ||

    It seems you are correct (if Wikipedia is to be believed). Huh. You learn something new every day. Spoiled wine for everyone!

  • tarran||

    Spoiled wine for everyone!

    Will there be significantly reduced pay for everyone as well?

  • ||

    I thought it was derived from an Italian word that roughly means 'pimp'. Italian immigrants would call each other that and non-Italians would eventually use it to describe all of them.

  • ||

    Why does something intended as a slur have to have any kind of real backstory or meaning at all?

    We could just call them Pherknokards, and use it in an obviously insulting manner, because "makes sense" shouldn't be a prereq for "racist slur".

  • ||

    JJ is right. Fuck you, Kochtopus! I can make up any backstory for my racial slurs that I want!

    New backstory for WOP: it means "With Out Picard", and refers to the fact that all Italians recognize the superiority of Kirk just because they are Italian, making them superior as well.

  • Gladstone||

    Pike is the best. I mean he was Jesus and was in the Searchers.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Sometimes the Kochtopus fucks back, Epi. You have been warned.

  • ||

    Ooh, sexay...

  • ||

    Sometimes the Kochtopus fucks back, Epi. You have been warned.

    It's tentacle porn all the way down.

  • PapayaSF||

    Stop sabotaging victims with your cislogic, you pherknokard.

  • Gladstone||

    I thought it was derived from an Italian word that roughly means 'pimp'

    So Epi is a wop after all?

  • Almanian!||

    So it's you're his fault - FUCK YOU, EPI'S ALSACE-LORRAINE GRANDFATHER!

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I know someone whose ancestor reportedly was Alsation and came to the US after throwing a rock at a Prussian soldier. If that was the case, America would start looking pretty good. Prussian soldiers didn't like rocks *outside* their heads.

  • Almanian!||

    He'll be here all week everyone! Try the veal!

  • Gladstone||

    I bet your great-grandfather wrote the bordereau too, Epi.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    What a learned bunch!

  • Dr. Frankenstein||

    O.k. that's scary I have a great grandfather from Alsace-Lorraine as well. But no Eye-talian, So I think we're not related.

  • Gladstone||

    You know who else emigrated from Alsace-Lorraine?

  • Jon Lester||

    As someone who does read Cyrillic, that sort of thing just offends me with its stupidity, whether it's done by Dan Savage or Glenn Beck. I don't see it winning many hearts and minds among those native to the Slavic world.

  • ||

    Same here. Bugs the shit out of me, esp. because half the time I automatically spend a split second trying to sound out what the hell they're trying to say before I realize it's nonsense.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    Look, you both need to stop defending your Russian brides. They're going to leave you when they get their green card.

  • Almanian!||

    -2 hotties

  • ||

    Carl: Oh, man. I cannot wait. I got the oils, the candles, the works! When does that babe get here?

    Master Shake: Carl, don't refer to her as a "babe", please. She is a Chechnyan prostitute, and you will address her as such.

    Carl: Look, just don't cash that check immediately. I wanna make sure that both of us marryin' her is gonna be, you know, legal.

    Master Shake: Of course it is! What are you kidding me? Santa Claus ain't legal and he's around.

    Carl: Well, I guess that makes sense, you know.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    "Get in the kitchen and boil some sausages!"

  • PapayaSF||

    Graphic designers gotta design.

  • ||

    Nothing says you understand what you're fighting for like using imaginary Cyrillic letters in your anti-Russian logo.

    Dum Prussian Vodka!

  • PS wanders the Wasteland||

    According the Associated Press, one sole parliament member abstained. That was his show of support for protesters who opposed the law. He didn’t vote against it.

    So he voted Present except with a backwards 'R'?

  • Yar||

    Maybe I missed it, but weren't MOST companies completely silent on the Russian law before it was passed? Boycotting Stoli makes about as much sense as boycotting Ford, AT&T, McDonald's, Coke, Apple, Wal-Mart, etc. It probably makes less sense, since some of those companies do significant business within Russia, and SPI does not.

  • Gladstone||

    Rockwell & Raimondo are going to be mad at tReason for writing this especially since you didn't say this boycott is hypocritical because of gay marriage, Iraq or Snowden.

    By the way what was written about the proposed boycotts of the 2008 Beijing Olympics?

  • Tak Kak||

    Future Rockwell and Raimondo make some good points.

  • Gladstone||

    So Tu Quoque is legit now? Should Shriek be forgiven?

  • Tak Kak||

    No, not if Future Rockwell and Raimondo's points aren't actually dismissive of Scott Shackford's article.

    That doesn't mean they can't be mad at "notReason" for being inconsistent or waffling.

    But, sure. Forgiveness is a good thing.

  • grrizzly||

    They gay leftists (fascists) don't care. According to them the Russian Vodka boycott is a good PR campaign since only because of it regular folks in the US learned about the terrible anti-gay Russian laws. It doesn't matter that the Stoli was not perhaps the ideal target.

  • RightNut||

    The left didn't give two shits about Russia's abysmal human rights record until they targeted a Democrat voting block. It's just another way of ginning up the base.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It's always interesting to see libertarians more concerned with bashing the Blue Team than with talking about how to further protect liberty.

  • Almanian!||

    Shorter Bo - "derp"

  • RightNut||

    This is not about protecting liberty. This is about gay activists being sanctimonious and Democratic politicians(Obama) taking advantage of that to cement a group as reliably Democratic.

    Once again, they didn't give two shits about Russia's human rights record until they targeted a Democrat voting block.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Of course gay activists did not become so active concerning Russia until Russia started to pass laws targeting gays. And of course politicians will use this to pander, that is what politicians (of all stripes) do. But
    the 'bad guys' here are the Russians.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    It's fine to say that. But once it has been pointed out to gay activists that they are targeting the wrong people, they have a responsibility to stop. They won't. That makes them "bad" as well.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Fair enough.

  • ||

    I think the message that this is the wrong method has been muddied by a small group of people who are OBSESSED with DO SOMETHINGism. I've seen them contort facts in comments that reference Shackford's original article on the topic to make it seem like Stoli really is a big Russian player. Most of the comments I've read are supportive of Shackford's point, although a few of them think he's a broken clock striking the right time twice a day.

    Dan Savage LOVES the orange juice boycott that got Anita Bryant canned. I can see why he wants this boycott to be a success.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    And gay activists have been absolutely vociferous in their denunciations of gay-bashing in the Muslim Middle East, right?

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "The issue is not the issue" - S. Alinski

  • Zeb||

    Gay Russians are a Democrat voting block?

  • Drake||

    Ruskies are gonna pogrom.

  • ||

    I look forward to the day when Russia stops singling out gays for brutalization and oppression. Then they can get back to brutalizing and oppressing the entire population, EQUALLY, like a civilized country.

  • Almanian!||

    I'm Barack Obama, and I approve this message.

  • Leo||

    Dan Savage is an idiot, news at 11.

  • RightNut||

    Why doesn't the LGBT community boycott products made in middle eastern countries with much worse records on gay and human rights?.....oh ya...

  • Jon Lester||

    Just saw your comment after posting my own, just below.

  • Outlaw||

    In the hierarchy of victimhood, dark-skinned people (aside from Indians) beats out homosexuals.

  • BardMetal||

    I always seem to have trouble keeping track of the victimhood hierarchy. Somebody needs to write a guide.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    Because progressive icon Obama has a monopoly on either brutalizing those ME populations or backing the brutalizers ruling those populations. Gay or otherwise. Boycotts would only get in the way.

    Would Obama let the gay activists boycott Saudi Arabia? What a joke.

  • Jon Lester||

    At least the Russian law is subject to review and possible nullification in the courts, because it actually is at odds with their constitution. Sunni monarchies don't quite work that way.

  • RightNut||

    See Putin, Vladimir.

  • Killazontherun||

    Or target charities that feed starving Africans in Uganda where they burn homosexuals alive?

  • Gladstone||

    RAAAAAAACIST!

    I mean didn't Obama say that we have to respect differing views on homosexuality?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    There are several ongoing boycotts of Ugandan products over gay rights issues.

  • Killazontherun||

    Any getting the attention and support of this boycott? No, but you already knew that.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Define 'getting attention.' I knew about it.

  • Killazontherun||

    Don't play games, Bozo, I wont tolerate it. You know the amount of organization going into boycotting Uganda is insignificant compared to this one.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You seem to know it, or at least think you do. I do not pretend to. Most of what I have heard of the Stoli boycott has been from sources unfriendly to it. I suspect that is true for many here.

    From those I know in the gay community I have heard much more talk about boycotting the Olympics than either.

  • ||

    Not to defend Bo, but could that be because Uganda has a drink-bead based economy, so a boycott of anything they may produce pales in significance? And that they aren't a supposedly modern westernized country with a great deal of international media coverage?

    I mean there are explanations for these things besides nefarious hypocritical gays. And is it not a frequent straw-man argument used against libertarians in these very comments that "all you focus on is drugs, which isn't important given the state of the economy! You should focus on defeating socialism because that's more important!" I see a similiar comment on here at least once a week. The fallacy being that one must devote exactly equal energy to all efforts, or else it's evidence that one does not care about the other things they may not be expending as much effort on. Which is simply not true.

  • Killazontherun||

    It's not so much hypocrisy, boycotting a nationalized product actually bypasses the natural libertarian concern about collectivizing blame to innocent parties who have the misfortune of sharing a nationality/ethnicity/take your pick as being a significant injustice in itself. It is about recognizing in the case of Russia, there are far larger stakes and agendas both political and economic in the mix than there would be in boycotting Uganda which has far fewer motivated actors. If you are doing it, you are doing it for less tainted reasons. I assume cynicism on the part of anyone engaged in a high PR stunt.

  • ||

    Umm, what Ugandan products should we be boycotting? Most of the fury over Uganda and Africa in general was directed at domestic evangelicals who went over trying to spread evangelicism in Africa and made unfortunate alliances with people like the odious Martin Ssempa. They gave minor African figures international credence and allowed their Agendas to take off. You might also want to do a search for "kill the gays bill" it got a CONSIDERABLE amount of international attention.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Umm, what Ugandan products should we be boycotting?

    A quick look at ugandaexportsonline.com suggests to me that we should start with:

    cattle by products: cow gallstones, horns, Ox gall

  • SugarFree||

    Nooooo! I need my Ox gall!

  • Gladstone||

    Nooooo! I need my Ox gall!

    I knew it. You, Warty and Epi always use Ox gall in your hideously kinky weeklong orgies.

  • SugarFree||

    It makes me feel like a real man.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yeah, the Boycott Uganda Facebook page has a whopping 25 likes.

    Tried to link fucking fifty character limit. Squirrells!!!

  • RightNut||

    How many times has the President commented on Uganda's gay rights record?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -Obama condemns Uganda anti-gay bill as "odious"

    http://www.reuters.com/article.....EZ20100204

  • ||

    I haven't recently picked the brain of any gay radicals, but Russia seems like a much less tough nut to crack than the Middle East. Also the worst offenses that have been reported in the news have been in Iran, which we're already embargoing to the hilt. There are regular attempts to try and do something about the Middle East although I suspect most people don't hear about them unless they're following a gay news feed.

    Russia went from relatively benign treatment of gays to making them a primary target for shoring up nationalist sentiments in a very short period of time. I'd assume that's why this has taken off as an issue the way it has.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Well said.

  • RightNut||

    Russia went from relatively benign treatment of gays to making them a primary target for shoring up nationalist sentiments in a very short period of time. I'd assume that's why this has taken off as an issue the way it has.

    Except that Russia hasn't been treating other groups benignly for a while now. People who look non-Russian, political activists, and journalists have all tasted Putin's boot for a decade plus now. It's only when Russia targets gays that activists in the US cry foul. And the other people ground to dust by Putin don't even matter to them.

  • Zeb||

    It shouldn't be surprising that gay activists care more about gay related issues than others.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -It's only when Russia targets gays that activists in the US cry foul.

    Did you mean gay activists? Sure they tended to cry foul the most when Russia targets gays.

    What other 'activists' do you think have been turning a blind eye to Russia's abuses?

  • hotsy totsy||

    Boycott Persian rugs!

  • mtrueman||

    I answered this elsewhere on the thread. It's exactly because Russia has a better record on gay and human rights than the Middle East that makes the campaign more likely to bear fruit, if you'll pardon the expression, in Russia. Seems obvious to me.

  • Jon Lester||

    So where's the oil boycott? Try promoting alternative lifestyles anywhere in the Persian Gulf and see what happens.

  • Old Dave||

    This is yet another embarrassment for gay activism. It's just another attempt by fame-whore Dan Savage to keep his face in the news. He seems to think he's the voice of gay America now.

  • Skip||

    Who knew we could have gotten the Left to oppose the Soviet Union during the Cold War if we had just stressed how anti-gay they were?

  • Almanian!||

    To do that would have been so gay

  • Gladstone||

    Well the Commies during that time were anti-gay....

  • mtrueman||

    "Who knew we could have gotten the Left..."

    Gays and anarchist knew this. I suspect your "we" were really no different from the Soviets in this regard.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    the boycott is so stupidly misdirected that it says "you can be the absolute wrong target of a boycott but fuck you, you'll do".

    "The bloody, battered victim was found wandering dazedly, murmuring over and over, in spite of the obvious pain from broken teeth and dislocated jaw, "But I"M ON YOUR SIDE."

  • Almanian!||

    Dump Stoli? I took a dump after drinking a shitload of Stoli. "Shitload" - in retrospect, that's probably why I had to take a dump.

    With respect and propers to Sandi.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    Who knew we could have gotten the Left to oppose the Soviet Union during the Cold War if we had just stressed how anti-gay they were?

    They weren't THAT anti-gay, judging from their women's Olympic teams.

  • Almanian!||

    Their Oly teams were more bicurious than outright gay.

    The good old days of the East German Women's Swim Team...

  • Zeb||

    Having beards and adam's apples doesn't make women gay.

  • Killazontherun||

    I interviewed John Esposito, CEO of Stoli Group USA in New York, who is frustrated at being targeted but said they’re committed to remaining part of the gay community. Esposito also said nobody proposing the boycott attempted to contact them first and efforts on Stoli’s end to reach out to them have failed to garner a response.

    That is odd behavior given that they were ignored. When you are leading an effort like this, nothing feels more empowering than to have the victim come crawling to you on his knees. Could the real driving force calling the shots behind this boycott be Big Goose?

  • FYTW||

    At the risk of being labelled a bigot, I am never surprised when the gay community (such as it is) directs a weapons-grade freakout at the wrong target. The typical gay activist is unlikely to be a poster child for emotional maturity and impulse control (see, e.g., Dan Savage): for every one that approaches the awfulness in Russia thoughtfully, and with an eye towards doing something productive, there are probably ten who are just going to wallow in the pathos of it all and lash out at any convenient target.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    “gay activist, advice columnist, and author Dan Savage promoted what appeared to be an obvious choice…Stolichnaya Vodka”

    You mean Dan Savage flew off the handle without considering how counterproductively or crazily he was behaving? What a shock!

    “The Stoli sold outside Russia is not the same as what's sold within Russia (so for those who end up at the Sochi Olympics, boycotting the Stoli there actually does target the government).”

    Why would Olympic athletes be drinking vodka anyway?

    “Boris Jakinov stumbled a little when he dismounted from the parallel bars, but in fairness, he *did* drink two bottles of vodka before be began this event.”

  • Gladstone||

    So erm I guess that one upside-down A is supposed to be Faux Cyrillic? Lame.

    I find the whole bit about "allies" creepy and funny at the same time. Creepy because it gives me Popular Front vibes and funny since Stoli is an ally to the gays.

  • Loki||

    More importantly, though the company claims to be friend to our community, it was silent as the Russian government considered this horrific law, and it said nothing after the law was enacted.

    They're a fucking vodka company. Their job is to produce vodka, not sound off on every fucking social or political issue of the day. Morons.

    It’s a lazy, self-absorbed endeavor...

    Activists, lazy and self-absorbed? I never would have guessed. /sarc

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Self-absorbed I get, but they don't seem lazy to me. They seem completely dedicated to promoting their nonsense 24/7.

  • ||

    Can't we all just go back to the good old days?

    Back then the Russians would give attractive gay people jobs in the KGB where they would seduce closeted Western marks.

  • Killazontherun||

    Also they trained otherwise heterosexual agents to overcome their orientation for the purpose of getting a job done.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Reminds me of Rocky IV.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Dan Savage: Because when I want insightful geo-political analysis, I go to the ultimate catty, petulant, gay man.

    Serious question: Since Smirnoff is more widely known and distributed, and Russian Standard a superior quality, why is the Church of the Perpetually Aggrieved chasing Stoli instead of Smirnoff or Russian Standard? And Stoli (at least the brand sold in the West), isn't Russian at all. It's headquartered in Luxembourg and bottled in Latvia.

  • ||

    Serious question: Since Smirnoff is more widely known and distributed, and Russian Standard a superior quality, why is the Church of the Perpetually Aggrieved chasing Stoli instead of Smirnoff or Russian Standard? And Stoli (at least the brand sold in the West), isn't Russian at all. It's headquartered in Luxembourg and bottled in Latvia.

    I'm guessing because Smirnoff is owned by a British company and is actually bottled only in the UK, Italy, and US.

  • John||

    Smirnoff was before the Russian Revolution, the king of all Vodkas. After the revolution, the Smirnoff family fled to the West and sold their name and allowed cheap crap to be sold under it.

  • ||

    After the revolution, the Smirnoff family fled to the West and sold their name and allowed cheap crap to be sold under it.

    WRECKER AND KULAK CLASS ENEMIES!!1

  • John||

    Like the Barcadi family, only instead of moving the factory to escape the communists, they just sold their name.

  • Killazontherun||

    Buy a huge half gallon of Smirnoff, get out your pressure cooker, distill it down, maybe even vent it through some pearl onions or lemon rinds, and you have a decent, drinkable vodka. I know a guy who does just that to cheap booze. His product no matter the cheap ass source of origin always taste great afterwards.

  • PapayaSF||

    Run it through a Brita filter, or just buy Skyy.

  • Killazontherun||

    Papaya, thank you for that; I've got a new hobby!

  • PapayaSF||

    Let us know how it works. IIRC, the guys who came up with this originally decided that four times through the filter worked best. But remember: once you use a filter for vodka, you can't use it for water.

  • Leo||

    Best way to drink vodka:

    Step 1: Throw it out
    Step 2: Buy whiskey instead
    Step 3: What the hell is wrong with you?

  • Anonymous Coward||

    Smiroff is a similar case to Stoli as there are two labels: One in Russia and one not in Russia. Like Stoli, the not-Russian Smirnoff is the more widely known of the two.

    It seems that a lot of Russian-made vodkas never make it out of Russia.

  • John||

    Back during the Cold War when we going toe to tow withe the Ruskies, Stoli was the only eastern block vodka you could get. The Soviets made a deal to trade it straight up for Pepsi. Pepsico was the only distributor of Stoli. The Russians couldn't buy their Pepsi because the Rubble was not a traded international currency.

  • RightNut||

    Is that true, cuz if it is it's kinda hilarious.

  • John||

  • RightNut||

    Lol, the inconsistencies of Communists never cease to amaze.

  • John||

    Even the new Soviet Man likes his pepsi.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Having had Eastern Bloc soda, I can tell you that it tastes like the Epi's mom's ass.

  • John||

    It is probably worse. I think a lot more people have tasted Epi's moms ass than have drank eastern block sodas. So her ass must have something going for it.

  • ||

    Did you ever have a Soviet cigarette? If you think my mom's ass tastes bad...

  • PapayaSF||

    No kidding. I had Quick Cola in Hungary 30 years ago, and it was terrible.

  • Anonymous Coward||

    No wonder the Russkies lost the Cold War. Drinking that inferior swill known as Pepsi.

    Coca-Cola: It tastes like freedom.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    When you are leading an effort like this, nothing feels more empowering than to have the victim come crawling to you on his knees.

    Maybe they need to have Jesse Jackson come in and explain the racket to them.

  • John||

    When you are leading an effort like this, nothing feels more empowering than to have the victim come crawling to you on his knees.

    And people wonder why I think the left would murder its political enemies if it could. Seriously, what a twisted and weird thing to say.

  • BardMetal||

    That's because leftists don't just believe that their enemies are wrong about an issue, but are morally wrong as well.

    Say you want to cut entitlements and they accuse you of wanting poor people to starve.

    Express a tiny degree of skepticism on global warming, and you're an evil shill for the oil companies, willing to kill the planet for money.

  • Outlaw||

    BAAAAAAAAAAAASTIAT

  • Almanian!||

    Also, not gonna lie - no idea who "Dan Savage" is, but that's a great gay-porn name.

  • BardMetal||

    Also a great name for a B-rated action movie star.

  • John||

    Almost as good as Carlos Danger.

  • John||

    It really is. And at what point do the normal gay men who are not histrionic socialist queens get tired of people like Savage embarrassing them?

  • BardMetal||

    You would think they would get tired of these walking talking sterotypes who claim to represent them.

  • ||

    Sometime in the mid-2000s I'd assume. I'm sorry you're flooded with images of "histrionic socialist queens" but they a) serve a media narrative b) are more entertaining and draw viewers. The media likes convenient stereotypes and that's why they're over represented. Someone like Todd Akin caught fire because he fit a tidy media narrative of the gaff prone republican even though he's a totally minor player on the national stage.

    Nobody gives a shit what the soccer dad thinks, who just wants to get dinner on the table before he has to help his kids with algebra and listen to his husband kvetch about his incompetent boss.

  • John||

    You are probably right. I think the rise of people like Ted Allen, who is neither a histrionic queen nor drags his sexuality into every single thing he does or says, would help to start this trend.

  • John||

    Even if Stoli were the right target, why are we mixing politics and commerce? I think one of the worst things about the Left is their desire to politicize everything in life. I think life ought to be compartmentalized and someone's political views should not affect your commercial relationship with them.

    For example, the guy who owns the dry cleaner I go to seems to be a pretty strict Muslim. For all I know, and understand I don't know and don't care, he could be head of the local "kill the Jews and enforce Sharia law council". But what the hell does that have to do with my dry cleaning? I don't have a political relationship with him. I have a commercial one. The only aspect about him that affects me and that I have any right to care about is how he treats me when I am in his store (very well) and if he delivers good value for my money, which he does. Caring about his politics makes as much sense as caring about if he cheats on his wife. I am not friends with him and don't have any relationship beyond a commercial one, so nothing beyond the commercial matters.

    We would have a much more free and open society if we would divorce politics from pretty much everything but politics.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    "Even if Stoli were the right target, why are we mixing politics and commerce?"

    If a company were actually complicit in mob attacks on mob violence against gays and libertarians, I can definitely see a boycott.

    (The mob violence reinforces one of your points about the 2nd Amendment - once the govt disarms you, they can sic their mobs and paramilitaries on you in the knowledge that they'll get away with it - Robert Williams* the civil rights leader organized an NRA chapter and fought off the Klan.

    "he could be head of the local "kill the Jews and enforce Sharia law council""

    But he might not be. I wouldn't advocate prying into the affairs of everyone you buy stuff from - but if a credible source showed that he was giving money to the Blow Up Israeli Cafes fund, I'm not sure I'd shop there.

    *Too bad he was a commie who defended hoplophobic regimes.

  • John||

    If you could show me that the money that he made went directly to harm people, sure. But beyond that, none of my business. I would never stop using his business no matter how lousy his opinions were.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I was positing a situation where the business was notoriously involved in promoting riots or blowing cafes, or stuff of a similar gravity. I would assume that a Muslim dry cleaner might well have opinions on Jews, etc. which I might not like.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Uh, blowing *up* cafes.

  • John||

    At that point they are criminals. And no I wouldn't do business with a criminal. You have a right to your opinion, but you don't have a right to be a criminal.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    But beyond that, none of my business. I would never stop using his business no matter how lousy his opinions were.

    And that's you. A customer has the right to decide to do with their money as they please. Rationale be damned.

  • John||

    Sure they do. I am just saying that we would be better off if people didn't make such decisions based on politics and that it is a mistake to do so. I am not saying they can't or should be prohibited from doing so. It is their money. I am just saying they are wrong.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    Fair enough. But I think you're pissing in the win on this one. There's a lot more bigger stupid than this.

  • John||

    Yes, but this kind of stuff is part of a much larger stupid, namely the obsession with dragging politics into every area of life. We need to start establishing proper spheres of society again and get politics out of a lot of places where currently is but shouldn't be. And this is a good place to start.

  • PapayaSF||

  • sarcasmic||

    In your example I can agree. However what if the commercial entity takes the money you exchanged with them and puts it into political causes with which you vehemently disagree? Then you are indirectly giving monetary support to political causes that you oppose. I can't think of any examples of this off the top of my head, but I'm sure that they exist. In such a case I could see an individual engaging in a boycott just for the sake of their own conscience.

  • John||

    Giving money is still expressing an opinion. I think as long as it was just politics and not outright criminal or violent activity, I wouldn't care. So, for example, if the owner of the local Irish pub is sending his money to the IRA, I probably wouldn't go there because he is using the money to effectively murder people. But if say he is sending his money to some purely political group that doesn't blow people up, then I don't care.

    It is a fine line. And in extreme examples, I would have to say no. But the example has to be really extreme. And a hell of a lot more extreme than "they are from a country that has laws I don't like".

  • John||

    I guess the distinction is are you a lousy person with lousy opinions are are you a criminal. I wouldn't do business with a criminal. If the Gambino family ran a Pizza Parlor and gambling house in the back, I wouldn't eat there no matter how good their pizza was. And in your example, sending money to people who murder people is being a criminal. It is not political, because the politics of the people being blown up don't matter.

  • Zeb||

    I think that there would be better examples in a hypothetical libertopia where there aren't public accommodation laws. If a dry cleaner refused to serve black people or Jews or whatever, I would not go there and I would encourage others not to as well. That is the proper, non-coercive way to try to bring about social change.

  • John||

    But Zeb, whether the store admits black people or not I think affects your commercial relationship to the store. The store not serving black people is part of the way they do business. Therefore, I think withholding your business would be acceptable.

    In contrast, suppose the owner of the store believed in strict segregation and totally objected to any intermarriage, but would sell to anyone who had the cash. I see no reason why you wouldn't shop there.

  • Zeb||

    I generally agree with you. I'm certainly not going around boycotting places because their owners have opinions I don't like. But I wouldn't blame anyone who decided not to go to the racist guy's store either.

  • sarcasmic||

    I generally agree with you. I'm certainly not going around boycotting places because their owners have opinions I don't like. But I wouldn't blame anyone who decided not to go to the racist guy's store either.

    That's about where I'm at on the subject.

    In most cases a boycott will harm the one doing the boycotting more than the target. It's just not practical for causing the target to change. It just deprives the person doing the boycotting of the goods and services of their target. Now if the person doing the boycotting is doing it for themselves because it makes them feel good, then good for them. If these homos want to boycott Stoli, it ain't gonna hurt Stoli. Nor is it going to cause Putin to become Mr Sensitive. But if it makes them feel better about themselves, then good for them.

  • Neoliberal Kochtopus||

    If the dry cleaner refused to serve, I would agree. I'm not going past that, though.

  • Zeb||

    I wouldn't either, I guess. But mostly because I'm more concerned about getting the products and services I want for a decent price than I am about changing other people's opinions.

  • The Late P Brooks||

    "Those guys are gonna queer the deal."

  • voluntaryJoe||

    Next Week: Bears symbolically ousted from gay community.

  • PRX||

    if the gays were serious they would name Putin and the Russian Parliament as their pallbearers.

  • Gladstone||

    So will this be mentioned the next time someone on reason appears on RT?

  • John||

    Here is the other issue. The Russian gay laws are very mild compared to those in the Middle East, Africa and parts of Asia. So it is fair to ask, why Russia and no one else? Why aren't gay people boycotting 10,000 Villages? Many of the products in those stores come from African countries where gay people are often killed or imprisoned for being gay.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    If we start boycotting Africa, how will we ever convince them to farm organic?

  • BardMetal||

    Because Russians are evil white males. Everyone else is a member of some type of victim group, and can't be touched.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If you google 'boycott Uganda gay,' for instance, you will see that there is activity on that front.

    Other answers to this question have been given above in the thread.

  • John||

    Okay, so you have one example. What about the dozens of other countries who are just as bad as Uganda?

  • ||

    Boycotting also needs media attention. A poster-child, so to speak, to get people involved and riled up. Boycotting dirt-poor African countries doesn't fit the bill.

    I'm not saying that boycotting the non-Russian stoli is a good or smart move, it obviously isn't. But I get why a major, well-known country with lots of international media attention would be the focus of a PR campaign more so than some starving villages somewhere.

  • ||

    I commented on this above. We already boycott Iran to the hilt, which seems to be the worst offender on gay rights (lots of hangings/stonings and whatnot).

    I think the thing that's shocking about Russia is that it's relatively Western nation that was previously more benign on the topic and has gotten very severe in an attempt to gin up nationalism. Not to Godwin myself but we saw a similar thing happen during the collapse of the Weimar Republic.

  • John||

    I think Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States are just as bad. Beyond that, I can't see this ever working on Russia. They are too big and too committed. Russia's biggest fear is their demographic implosion. They are doing everything to get as many new little Russians made as possible. It is going to be Breeders only for a while in Russia.

  • Zeb||

    And Russians drink way more vodka than gay Americans. Even if they were boycotting the right vodka company, they wouldn't give a fuck.

  • ||

    I agree that American consumers won't have any influence over Russia's policies and I don't think there's a point that we've got leverage over them to try.

    The Middle East is really weird in the way it treats homosexual activity and homosexual identity. Iran seems to be attempting to stomp out both, but many ME societies seem to be more tolerant of discrete sexual activity between men (though their governments may not be officially).

  • SugarFree||

    Many of the products in those stores come from African countries where gay people are often killed or imprisoned for being gay.

    Louisiana is in Africa?

    In one of the most egregious abuses of police power in memory, east Baton Rouge, Louisiana Sheriff Sid J. Gautreaux, III is using a sodomy law that was struck down by the US Supreme Court ten years ago, as unconstitutional, in order to prosecute gay men for attempting to have sex.

    Oh but it gets worse. The way Sheriff Gautreaux gets his victims? He has his deputy ask men if they want to go back to his place for sex, when they men say “yes” and come with, he arrests them.

    Mind you, none of this involves any discussion of money. And it’s not the gay men doing the propositioning, as if it’s illegal to ask another men to bed. No, this is the sheriff’s department, and the city of Baton Rouge, entrapping gay men under a law that was struck down a decade ago by the US Supreme Court.
  • ||

    Louisiana is in Africa?

    Suddenly my experiences in Louisiana make so much more sense.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    To be fair, Louisiana is quite similar to the Congo.

  • John||

    Holy shit. That is one of the craziest things I have ever heard. Where the fuck is the Justice Department? I know we all make fun of Holder, but even I wouldn't have believed that DOJ wouldn't jump on a redneck sheriff going after gay men for sodomy.

    How is that county not in bankruptcy from civil rights judgements?

  • SugarFree||

    Beats me. It hasn't even made the national news ASFIK. I know they aren't going to talk about the cops arresting people for the unconstitutional "recording police law," but I figured they'd be all over this.

  • John||

    Yeah. Maybe it is just too far away from the coasts for the national media to want to travel there.

  • Zeb||

    New Orleans is all they want to know about Louisiana.

  • Gladstone||

  • ||

    I've seen the story pop up in a few places, but it doesn't seem to have hit mainstream news yet. It's a really bizarre story too.

  • SugarFree||

    Especially since it's entrapment as well. Entrapping someone in order to arrest them for something that isn't a crime. WTF?

  • ||

    Those damn Fangers! I told Andy Bellefleur to start arresting them! Who does this Bill Compton think he is anyway?

  • John||

    Which begs the question as to whether east Baton Rouge Sheriff Gautreaux is a blithering idiot who doesn’t even know the law he’s enforcing, or an authoritarian homophobe who thinks he can just arrest people he doesn’t like under laws that were struck down as unconstitutional ten years ago.

    This writer must be a bit slow to ask such a question and not know the answer is both.

  • John||

    And of course these are the wages of not having a rule of law. All over America this asshole's buddies are doing the same thing with regard to McDonald as he is doing with Lawrence. The general attitude seems to be, you can obey only those court decisions you like.

  • ||

    It seems to be more "if there was a law on the books that gave me additional power and it's been around for a long time, if it gets overturned I'm just going to keep on with business as usual because I don't want to lose that power".

  • CampingInYourPark||

    Boycott Shrimp!

  • SugarFree||

  • PapayaSF||

    Big mistake.

  • Calidissident||

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

  • hotsy totsy||

    Chill out. You don't really suppose that was Beyonce's actual hair, do you?

  • PapayaSF||

    You think guys care whether the things that make women look good are "real" or not?

  • ChrisO||

    In Russia, product boycotts you.

  • KalkiDas||

    I can guarantee you that the NSA spying apologists will be putting this whole issue to use to discredit Snowden and their own actions.

  • KalkiDas||

    s/and their own actions/and introduce a red herring to their own actions/

  • bassjoe||

    I read that hash-tag as "Dum Prussian Vodka". And I totally agree: only a dummy would think Germans know anything about vodka!

  • Anders||

    I have no problem with gays but I'm not willing to give up Stoli for 'da cause'.

    And the Boi-Cot is actually an idiotic idea like 99% of boycots are.

  • Anders||

    If you are a man I respect your right to chomp on another man's salami.

    If you are a woman I respect your right to be a human Roomba.

    But keep your genitals out of my Martini.

  • ΘJΘʃ de águila||

    It has worked. The Obama dog whistle got his backers to distract attention from the criminal American surveillance apparatus and the blood-lust of the Snowden haters.

  • melpee||

    Gay Russian couples should be given refugee status by the US and allowed to remain if they reach American soil.

  • April06||

    my classmate's sister-in-law makes $81 hourly on the computer. She has been laid off for 9 months but last month her pay check was $16375 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read more on this site http://www.max47.com

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