Queer Nation Responds to Defend Stolichnaya Boycott (UPDATED)

I just generally oppose boycotting anything raspberry-flavored, honestly.Credit: CW Abas Photography / Foter / CC BY-NC-NDIn response to my pieces questioning the value of the boycott called on Stolichnaya vodka, I got an email from Duncan Osborne, of Queer Nation in New York City, defending the action. His letter is below, and followed up with some of my thoughts:

Scott:

Duncan Osborne with Queer Nation here. Obviously, we disagree with what you have said in both op eds on the Russian vodka boycott that you have published to date. I have attached our backgrounder on Stolichnaya, a statement signed by 33 LGBT Russian activists and their supporters, and an article that I will refer to [This article is about Stolichnaya owner SPI Group's refinancing plan is paywall blocked at the source — Scott].

Our Russian friends believe that the boycott will help them. I note that you did not quote a single Russian, LGBT or otherwise, in either piece that you authored. So your basis for asserting what is good for LGBT Russians is what?

As to your assertion about the identity of Stolichnaya, read the attached backgrounder. Executives at SPI Group say Stolichnaya is a Russian vodka: We agree with them. If you want to argue that point, go argue with Val Mendeleev, SPI Group's CEO, or Kevin Sniffen, the company's flack.

About poor, powerless SPI Group. When that company needed cash to buy out a Polish liquor company, Val Mendeleev called "a few strong financial players in Russia" to raise that cash. See the attached article from The Deal Pipeline. This company employs several hundred people in Russia. It owns thousands of acres of Russian land. It has significant real estate holdings in Russia. Its CEO can pick up the phone and get some of the wealthiest Russians to answer. It owns two distilleries in Russia and one of them is the largest distillery in Russia. This is a first — a major employer with connections to Russian oligarchs is unable to influence its own government. If you think that SPI has no ability to successfully lobby the Russian government then I have bridge for sale here in Brooklyn that I can offer you at a very reasonable price.

And finally, what is the libertarian argument here? No libertarian would assert that we have an obligation to buy Stolichnaya or any Russian vodka. Every libertarian would assert that we have the right to boycott Russian vodkas and to urge others to do the same. You argue that because SPI Group has marketed Stolichnaya to the gay community we should be nice to them. This is not an argument that is informed by any ideology at all let alone a libertarian philosophy.

Regards,

Duncan Osborne      

I passed along Osborne’s letter to SPI Group’s New York representation. As of noon Eastern time they hadn’t decided whether to respond.

My own responses to Osborne’s comments:

  • I make no claim to know what is best for Russian gays, but I will note that the letter of support Osborne attaches refers to a general call for boycott of Russian goods and companies (and the Olympics), not anybody in particular. My criticism of boycotts has been only about Stolichnaya’s inclusion and the decision to make it the “face” of the boycott. My criticism is about the way we treat those who have shown the gay community support in the past and the best way to build alliances moving forward. I wish I knew how to fix what ails Russia. I’d be out there doing it if I did.
  • Osborne attempts to minimize Stoli’s relationship with the gay community by describing them as merely “marketing” their products to gays. They sponsored a series of short documentaries about gay issues that aired on Logo TV, among many, many other things. They’ve done a lot more than just buy ad space in magazines or gay websites. That’s a really shameful way of describing Stoli’s relationship with the community.
  • Osborne writes “This is a first — a major employer with connections to Russian oligarchs is unable to influence its own government.” Not really. Consider the case of Mikhail Khodorkovsky, a rich oil tycoon who was once the wealthiest man in Russia. He’s in prison over a variety of fraud and embezzlement charges and has been declared a prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International. As the New Yorker noted in 2010, Khodorkovsky was likely far from an innocent entrepreneur, but his arrest coincided with public criticism of Vladimir Putin and government corruption. His oil holdings were taken by the state.
  • As far as the “libertarian argument” here, I’m not arguing that anybody has any obligation to buy or refuse to buy anything. This isn’t an argument about policy or governance. I completely (and obviously) agree that Russia’s treatment of its own citizens is horrible (and point out that extends far beyond the gay community). This is an argument about strategy and tactics. There’s an undercurrent of class war resentment in this boycott that I can’t abide as a libertarian. SPI Group is not the enemy, but boycott supporters continue to talk about them as though they are. The gay community has fought hard for decades to be treated like people by government and business, and we are winning in the Western world. Dozens of businesses and corporations signed on to efforts to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. My interest as a libertarian is because the free market is often ahead of the government on gay issues, even the American government. To jeopardize that relationship for a strategy to garner media attention is not a solid tactic. The gay community’s relationship with the business and corporate world has changed significantly in the past twenty years. The way activism within the community works needs to account for this shift. “Don’t call boycotts on your friends” doesn’t seem like it should be a controversial policy.

In response to Osborne’s e-mail, I asked him three questions:

1. SPI Group says that nobody ever contacted them prior to the announcement of a boycott to ask for any assistance for LGBT groups in Russia. Do you know whether this is true? Did Queer Nation attempt to talk to them before promoting the boycott?

2. SPI Group also says they've tried reaching out to activist groups following the boycott call to no avail. Has anybody from SPI Group attempted to contact Queer Nation?

3. Have any activists (yourself or in Russia) developed any sort of actionable plan or strategy for SPI Group to get involved in this fight that they can share? If not, what sort of response or actions are you expecting from SPI at this point?

As of noon, Eastern time I haven’t gotten a response from him. I’ll update if he gets back to me.

Last night the management of a small group of bars in San Diego announced they will be restocking Stoli (while apparently continuing the boycott of other Russian alcohol products). They’ve requested SPI Group donate to a couple of gay causes to help in international efforts and are suggesting others do the same:

We hope you join us in changing the conversation. Choosing to focus on the fact that our LGBT brothers and sisters are under attack each and every day, rather than what vodka you chose to drink- is the only way to make a difference. We believe our company is doing so by choosing to donate to causes that fight LGBT global oppression, and we hope you join us.

UPDATE: Here is Osborne's response to my questions:

SPI Group, Russian Standard, Proctor & Gamble, Coca Cola, Omega, McDonald's, Dow Chemical and the other businesses that have significant operations in Russia do not need our advice on how to lobby the Russian government to repeal this anti-gay law. All of these corporations have long experience working with the Russian government and with governments around the globe. They know exactly what to do.  

We have not spoken with SPI Group, any other business with operations in Russia, or the Russian government. We're not expecting a call from any of them. 

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  • pangloss90@gmail.com||

    I'm baffled that the Olympics and a vodka company are the targets of the boycott movement, when the US government spends several million dollars participating in the Russian space program, re: Soyuz and the ISS.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, that's the only game in town for the moment, isn't it? Besides, the president freed the gays, so everything is peachy here.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Yes thank Galt for the Rooskies, else the US government wouldn't be able to shoot hundreds of millions of dollars into the cold depths of space. How would the government waste money without the help of a foreign space program?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm not advocating what we're doing or the ISS for that matter, just noting that the massively expensive space station we own is inaccessible without Russian help.

  • Hugh Akston||

    I'm just saying that hitching a ride on the Red Star Express is hardly the only money-wasting game in town.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You're right. Let's just boycott the federal government across the board.

  • Hugh Akston||

    Now you're starting to make sense.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They've oppressed gays. And others. In fact, they're oppressing most Americans right now. I'm not buying anything connected with the American government. I'm also giving up American English in protest. With every fibre of our beings, we must organise against the offences and pretences of the federal government.

  • mr simple||

    Colour me convinced, innit?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Will you donate? Any amount will do, even a ha'penny.

  • Paul.||

    Will you donate? Any amount will do, even a ha'penny.

    Pennies made of hay? Bitcoin, look out!

  • jesse.in.mb||

    You're speaking Kiwi there and not British English, right ProL? The British are as bad/worse than the US FedGov.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Naturally. New Zealander English is the language of freedom.

  • Brett L||

    I thought EnZed english was the language of Hobbits.

  • WTF||

    Of course, the stupid space station was basically built just to give the space shuttle something to do in the first place.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I know. As far as scams go, the government is the master.

  • Hyperion||

    Besides, the president freed the gays, so everything is peachy here

    Yeah, but if the Rethuglicans win the Senate back, they could put gays and vaginas back into chains, and Obama would have to go along, or the meanies in the GOP could say bad stuff about him.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Free Obama!

  • ||

    US government spends several bmillion dollars

  • Seamus||

    I guess Smirnoff must be Russian vodka, too. The fact that is owned by the British company, Diageo, should be irrelevant, because its origins, like those of Stolichnaya, are Russian. (I'm sure we could find some evidence that Diageo/Smirnoff, like Stolichnaya, employs people in Russia, owns property in Russia, and receives contributions of capital from Russians, so that it would be subject to boycott as well. If those factors make Stolichnaya subject to boycott, then they should make Smirnoff equally subject.)

  • William of Purple||

    I'm told by some Russian Standard would be a better target.

  • Scott S.||

    They are included in the boycott, but for some reason Stoli is the name getting tossed around.

  • stuartl||

    Sadly yes. Russian Standard Platinum is the best I've had.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    you need to get out more. Yuri Delgaruki, Turi (estonian), Pushkinskaya, many many good vodkas out there.

  • Sudden||

    I'll stick to Scotch. And frankly, I don't care if they start stoning transgender libertarian puppies on Islay, I'm drinking my damn peated malts no matter what.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I will second this motion.

  • Seamus||

    I have a funny feeling that there are a lot of people boycotting Stolichnaya now were perfectly willing to buy it back when the brand was owned by the Soviet government, at a time when that government's human rights record was considerably worse than that of the current Russian government.

  • ||

    Sounds like pure, unadulterated pig-headedness and unwillingness to admit a mistake. I'd love to play poker with these guys. You gotta know when to fold 'em.

  • mr simple||

    And just like poker, arriving at logical conclusions requires a dispassionate mind. This letter proves that. I saw a NOVA that said one difference between animals and humans is that we can control our emotions while they act on them immediately. Well, I guess some of us can.

  • ||

    What a fucking joke. The entire letter is just an attempt to say that it's OK to target Stoli because it can be "connected" to Russia. He in no way attempts to prove that Stoli is anti-gay, and most of the excuses he spews are collectivist nonsense (because it can be connected to Russia, it is axiomatic that it's OK to boycott them?). The whole letter reeks of "yeah, I know it's unfair to target Stoli, but fuck them". Nice message, asshole.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Since the Rus', from whom Russia gets its name, were primarily Vikings, I'm not understanding why the Scandinavian countries are getting a pass.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    I'm doing my part by not reading Dostoevsky or Tolstoy. I don't know if hero is the right term, but it's close.

  • Pro Libertate||

    They should boycott Communism, too.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    What's less Russian that pure free market capitalism? That's right, nothing. I fully expect to see the leaders of Queer Nation at the next secret cabal of the be-monocled.

  • The DerpRider||

    Hey, BiMon, if the cape fits.

  • ||

    Not to mention the conflation of "I bet these guys could get rich people on the phone" with "I bet they could do something about the plight of gays in Russia."

  • ||

    Getting rich people on the phone means you are more powerful than god. Why aren't you doing something about this, Yahweh? What does god need with a vodka company?

  • Hyperion||

    Because he can only turn water in wine. He hasn't figured out how to distill yet. It takes evil humans to make spirits.

  • Killazontherun||

    Yahweh notoriously hates everybody. Just look at what he did to the Jews for centuries.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    Putin speaks to his Cabinet: "Shut up, the head of Stoli is calling. Da, da...what? You want me to stop hassling the gays? Well, it pains me to do such a thing, but I value your friendship. OK, guys, you heard him - dismantle our oppressive anti-gay apparatus at once!"

  • CampingInYourPark||

    I guess since my wife is Russian, has family in Russia, and is trying to start a business here, it should be boycotted, because she can totally control Vladmir Putin and the government there.
    Just like teh gazy should be able to control their pedophiles. One of them is a pedophile, right? They must all be guilty!

  • CampingInYourPark||

    teh gazy

    Takes a lot of effort to misspell a misspelling. Where's John?

  • Killazontherun||

    I just assumed you to be so cool, you knew about an emerging demographic called the 'gazys' that I had not heard of as of yet.

  • Hyperion||

    All of your emails is belong to us.

    /NSA

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Is that how you read it? I read it to be arguing that since Stoli is a Russian company with significant ties in Russia it might be well equipped to lobby the Russian government for change in this area.

  • ||

    You are astoundingly dense, New Tulpa.

  • Hyperion||

    I thought that Cytotoxic is New Tulpa. Maybe he's Old Tulpa...

  • Bill Dalasio||

    No, he's the old new Tulpa.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    You seem either incapable or unwilling to defend your rather scattershot, unsupported generalizations other than with snark. Why not stick to snark from the beginning?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    -This company employs several hundred people in Russia. It owns thousands of acres of Russian land. It has significant real estate holdings in Russia. Its CEO can pick up the phone and get some of the wealthiest Russians to answer. It owns two distilleries in Russia and one of them is the largest distillery in Russia. This is a first — a major employer with connections to Russian oligarchs is unable to influence its own government. If you think that SPI has no ability to successfully lobby the Russian government then I have bridge for sale here in Brooklyn that I can offer you at a very reasonable price.

    What is this part of the letter all about, in your non-dense reading?

  • jesse.in.mb||

    BCE, SPI Group is currently on the outs with the Russian govt. They've been in a 10 year dispute over control of the name Stolichnaya. Just because Putin hasn't managed to seize all of their production apparatus doesn't mean that SPI Group is in a position to effectively lobby the Russian Gov. That was a core point of Shackford's original editorial on the issue and comes up in his rebuttal here (in the form of the anecdote about Mikhail Khodorkovsky).

    I'm sure you just missed that portion of the argument instead of taking Queer Nation's argument at face value, while not giving Shackford's article the same courtesy.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Doesn't Shackford himself not rush to any conclusions on this point after getting these clarified claims from Queer Nation? Instead he asks Stoli for clarification and says at this point he has received none.

  • Seamus||

    I see: Because Stolichnaya is not boycotting Russia (i.e., because they employ people there, own property there, etc.), we should boycott them. Of course, you could probably say the same about Apple and McDonald's, so I guess we'll be boycotting them next.

  • ||

    You seem incapable or unwilling to comprehend my point, thereby supporting the fact that you are astoundingly dense, New Tulpa. But that's the hallmark of people like you: total un-self-awareness. Keep on jabbering, genius. It seems to keep you well occupied.

  • General Butt Naked||

    C'mon epi! There's important adult stuff to do here!

    We've got to argue about minutia and our feelings. Oh, oh, and we simply must engage in some socratic douchebaggery!

    And puhleeze, this guy is in no way like tulpa, he's like some horrible tulpa/minge alien hybrid of condescension.

  • ||

    Would that make him...TulpaNG?

  • WTF||

    Hey, people with Ph.Ds who make more money than you are trying to have an adult conversation, here!
    /MNG

  • Killazontherun||

    Yesterday, he was being duplicitous with me, I was starting to suspect MNG with this one. I heard the Meandering Nanny Goat was dead though.

  • ||

    He reminds me a lot of a guy I knew in college who had read some philosophy texts which had somehow endowed him with the power of Infallible Rightness.

    Do you hear me you non-philosophy-text-reading pukes? INFALLIBLE RIGHTNESS!!1

  • Killazontherun||

    I knew that guy. He had a brother who majored in English Lit to be the world's readingest man.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I certainly don't claim infallibity. Remember, my entire argument here is simply that many here are operating on an unfair reading of the letter. They seem to be willfully ignoring an entire paragraph of it.

  • ||

    Few people are going to debate this with a dipshit who's tactics consist mainly of goalpost moving, missing the point, arguing minutia, and condescending sophistry. But you keep telling yourself everyone else is the problem. It's fun to watch.

  • Seamus||

    "Apes don't read philosophy."

    "Yes they do. They just don't understand it."

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    What is your point? It should be easy for one as intelligent as you to explain it I should think.

    I took your point to be in what you said:
    -The whole letter reeks of "yeah, I know it's unfair to target Stoli, but fuck them".

    I guess I am rather dense not to be persuaded by the claim that the letter 'reeked' of what you assert (powerful argument that, to point and shout 'reek!'), and rather dense to cite back to you several sentences from the actual letter that supply an alternative explanation. No, so much better to curse them for being stupid *ssholes who have dared to disagree with a writer on your community discussion board.

  • General Butt Naked||

    I guess I am rather dense...

    Ding ding ding! Winner winner, chicken dinner!

  • Killazontherun||

    I tried to warn you yesterday about distorting the comments other people make, now you are just wasting your time writing lengthy posts.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    When did you do that?

  • pmains||

    What is your point? It should be easy for one as intelligent as you to explain it I should think.

    In life, we must often learn to accept the limitations of others. We cannot make our happiness conditional on things outside of our control.

    It's like the saying goes: You can lead a horse to water; splash a little water at him so he realizes it's water; bring a cup of water up to his muzzle; kneel down and drink yourself, hoping he gets the idea and mimics you; and finally shove the obtuse bastard into the river, but you can't make him drink.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    Well, of course. This entire shitstorm is only tangentially about gay Russians. More than anything else it's about Savage and Queer Nation asserting their authoritah.

  • Finrod||

    I propose the Cartman Rule: if you have to resort to Cartmanesque tactics to get your point across, you're Doing It Wrong and need to stop.

  • Bill Dalasio||

    They should, but they won't. That would entail a conscience and a sense of shame.

  • William of Purple||

    George Takei (along with others) suggested the Olympics move to Vancouver. Vancouver officials said it would be cost-prohibitive. In response, Takei quoted "All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing", basically calling Vancouver officials evil.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That seems a bit harsh, with all due respect to Mr. Sulu.

  • WTF||

    Oh my!

  • ||

    Derp factor 9.

  • ||

    If I'm Vancouver, I tell Takei that him and his gay rights supporting friends in Hollywood are more than welcome to fit the bill for the taxpayers.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Seriously, what sane city government wants an Olympics?

  • Zeb||

    Are there any sane city governments?

  • Pro Libertate||

    No.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Hey man, cool off. He tweeted a cliche, his part is done.

    Now it's the overburdened taxpayers turn to step up. For. Justice.

  • ||

    "Mr. Sulu, set phasers on 'bankrupt' and fire."

  • ||

    "I can't change the laws of economics!"

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Scotty, I need Olympics in three years or we're all dead."

  • WTF||

    "I'm spending all I can, Captain! She's breaking up! She's breaking up!"

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Olympics? Better get help from the Romneyans.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Nice.

  • ||

    "Captain, we're taking on debt at an enormous speed! At this rate, I don' know if I canna keep her goin'!"

    "Scotty...I need more money! We need warp lending now!"

  • WTF||

    "The warp core is forming an inflationary bubble!"

  • ||

    "Do not grieve, admiral. It's only logical. The needs of the gays outweigh the needs of the many, or the taxpayers."

  • ||

    "I have been, and always shall be, your power bottom."

  • ||

    "I've done far worse than kill you Epi. I have hurt you. I wish to go on hurting you. I shall leave you as you left me, as you left Warty. Marooned for all eternity at the center of a gay snuff film. Buried alive. Buried alive."

  • Paul.||

    Captain, you have a speed problem, not a fuel problem.

  • Killazontherun||

    If I had my say, all Olympics should take place in Greece to avoid these boneheaded geopolitical boycotts which have been around since the 1980 games.

  • Killazontherun||

    Plus, what does being in debt mean to them, anyway? A billion destroyed by rioters here, a hundred billion blown out of a strippers ass there, nothing they haven't seen before.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    friends in Hollywood are more than welcome to fit the bill for the taxpayers.

    Olympics now with 100% more lens flare!

  • Killazontherun||

    Just had a seizure recalling Crysis. What a horrible game.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    If I were an official in Vancouver I'd say, "sure, we'll take the Olympics. Are you going to do the fundraising to pay for it?"

  • Brett L||

    "We can only afford the Olympics every 50 years."

  • Brett L||

    Because its such a financial boon.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Because, multipliers!

  • Rob M||

    I suggested to George Takei that a better idea would be to force Russia to host every international event for the next 5 years.

  • William of Purple||

    Takei also said, responding to Jesse Owens "showing up" the Nazis at the Munich Olympics in 1936, that his victory did nothing to change Nazi policies and the holocaust still happened.

  • Cassius||

    Which is implying that Takei's suggestion, moving the Olympics, would've somehow changed Nazi policy and stopped the Holocaust. Most Russians are seeing these boycotts and calls for moving the Olympics as 'typical Western hypocrisy' and I can see why. People like Takei are self-destructive to their own cause, they make everything into a good vs. evil fight, ignore any kind of rational logic, and try to make their opponent into a moral inferior. Which only alienates your target and entrenches their beliefs more.

  • Cassius||

    I also love how he acts like the Olympics aren't filled with a history of human rights abuses or anything. Nope, Russia hating gay people is the first time an Olympic state has EVER been evil.

  • Ken Shultz||

    "Every libertarian would assert that we have the right to boycott Russian vodkas and to urge others to do the same."

    This is like talking to the Bush Administration.

    Every time you ask them whether what they're doing is stupid, they respond with an answer about how they have a right to do stupid things.

    But that wasn't the question!

    P.S. I think Queer Nation's real objective isn't to influence Russian public policy. I think their real objective is to get their name in the news.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    They address why they think what they are doing is not stupid in the letter.

  • WTF||

    Not really. Their responses are basically just attempts at rationalizing their stupidity.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Their argument is fairly simple: Stoli has connections in Russia and so is in a good position to lobby the Russian government for change.

    Perhaps you don't buy such an argument ultimately, but it is hardly obvious that is has no merit 'beyond rationalizing their stupidity.'

  • WTF||

    Stoli has connections in Russia and so is in a good position to lobby the Russian government for change

    Clearly you haven't familiarized yourself with Stoli's actual situation, since the one does not follow from the other.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    So you are not claiming they are merely 'rationalizing their stupidity' you are claiming their claims are in fact incorrect?

  • WTF||

    What? How the fuck do get to that from what I actually said?

    Jesus titty fucking Christ, I'm done.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    They think Stoli is in a position to lobby the Russian government. Their evidence is presented in the letter.

    Perhaps their evidence is factually incorrect. Perhaps it doesn't warrant that conclusion. But I submit this would make them simply wrong, not 'rationalizing their stupidity.'

  • WTF||

    You really are the new Tulpa/MNG hybrid. TulpaNG, indeed.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    It's strangely characteristic for many people to 'argue' with someone by merely labeling them as a past poster, isn't it?

    It's almost as if the ability to intelligently disagree has atrophied through lack of use.

  • Banjos||

    My money is on a regular fucking with us with a small possibility of a lurker emerging to fuck with us. No way this fuck head it legit.

  • WTF||

    Yeah, I'm coming to that same conclusion. It had me going for a while though, until it just got too blatant about ignoring and also outright mis-characterizing opposing arguments.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    No way legit?

    The letter spends an explicit entire paragraph presenting its evidence for Stoli's unique position via ties to Russia and makes the argument that such position could lead it to lobby the government there.

    Now, perhaps their evidence is factually wrong. Perhaps it is right but doesn't warrant the conclusion. But for me to point out that neither is obvious and that it plainly puts forward an argument with evidence is to demonstrate that I am just 'messing' with you?

  • Paul.||

    Perhaps their evidence is factually incorrect. Perhaps it doesn't warrant that conclusion. But I submit this would make them simply wrong, not 'rationalizing their stupidity.'

    If it's been proven beyond a reasonable doubt that their reasons are factually incorrect, and they continue to stick with them, there's a word for that.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Where was this proven? Mr. Shockford himself doesn't seem to dispute the factual claims about ties to Russia, does he?

  • Paul.||

    *sigh*

    Good luck on your boycott of Amazon.com because you don't like the bike lane policy in Seattle.

  • ||

    It's gonna work, Paul! I know it will! Fucking bikers!

  • Paul.||

    Or better yet, good luck on your boycott of Amazon.com because you don't like DOMA.

  • General Butt Naked||

    Amazon.com definitely has ties to the U.S., no? Can you refute that fact?

  • ||

    I was just about to post something similar, Paul. This would be like Pakistanis boycotting McDonald's until they "do something" about all these drones dropping bombs on them. Because all it would take is one phone call to Obama, and the death from above will miraculously cease.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I would think you could easily present things that had been 'factually incorrect beyond a reasonable doubt' if indeed there were such here and you knew of them.

  • Paul.||

    I would think you could easily present things that had been 'factually incorrect beyond a reasonable doubt' if indeed there were such here and you knew of them.

    You don't get it. You've convinced me.

    Amazon is a U.S. company. DOMA is bad policy. If you boycott Amazon, you'll change the U.S. policy on DOMA. Because one clearly follows the other.

  • General Butt Naked||

    If you are so intelligent, you'd be able to refute the facts without resorting to childish sarcasm.

    There are two facts that your wanting to stick it to "team blue" are causing you to miss. You can't not missee that Amazon is indeed a company in the United States as a factual thing. And you are not admitting the true fact, that I've show here with logic, that Amazon can change things by using their power as a powerful company. If can't use logic to see that boycotting amazon would reverse doma and wouldn't be "stupid rationalization" then maybe you shouldn't be a regular like myself on a blog called "Reason".

  • Paul.||

    Waiter! I'll have what he's having!

  • Old Dave||

    Many American companies have roots in Russia going back to the days of the Soviet Union. Who's calling for boycotts of Pepsi and Pizza Hut?

    Maybe Queer Nation should ask Armie Hammer for help. I'm sure he has clout with the Russian government. *eyes rolling*

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    The letter does not focus on the 'roots' but on the present ties to Russia.

    I guess in pointing this out I'm simply a 'regular f*cking with' you or something.

  • Tonio||

    Don't arrogate yourself to "regular" yet.

  • Red Rocks Rockin||

    The letter does not focus on the 'roots' but on the present ties to Russia.

    "Present ties" doesn't mean shit.

    Stoli's not in any actual position to influence Russian domestic policy. You clearly know this, but are simply being a contrarian douchebag.

    Now go hang yourself.

  • ||

    That would actually be a much more sound tactic. Put pressure on American companies with ties to Russia to limit investment there.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That's a fair statement.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    That would actually be a much more sound tactic. Put pressure on American companies with ties to Russia to limit investment there.


    Michelangelo Signorile suggested something in that vein
    . I apologize for the huffpo link (and for linking to something written by Michelangelo Signorile).

  • mr simple||

    Everyone has an excuse for their actions. That doesn't mean it its valid or well thought out.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    And that many person's excuses are not ultimately correct doesn't mean they are merely 'rationalizing their stupidity'

    It's not obvious that a Russian company can't exert pressure on the Russian government. Perhaps Stoli is not an ideal choice for this strategy, but it is certainly not obvious.

  • ||

    You do understand that in a corporatist country it is the government that exerts massive influence over companies, not the other way around, right? Once you see this it becomes very obvious how doomed their actions are.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Again, I'm not sure that is obvious. Even in a corporatist state the government is somewhat interested in the sales of the entities it bullies around.

  • Paul.||

    Again, I'm not sure that is obvious. Even in a corporatist state the government is somewhat interested in the sales of the entities it bullies around.

    Not... really.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Really? So Mussolini would have found it just dandy if Italian companies under his rule suddenly exported no goods? No company head would hold any sway with him on the subject?

  • ||

    Mussolini would have used that as an excuse to whip up nationalistic fervor, not as a reason to change his policies.

    It's also quite a jump to talk about exporting "no goods."

  • Paul.||

    eally? So Mussolini would have found it just dandy if Italian companies under his rule suddenly exported no goods? No company head would hold any sway with him on the subject?

    What I was trying to say is that the government is selective about caring or being interested in the sales of its biggest companies.

    You may be too young to remember, but perhaps we can take a stroll down memory lane and see all the cases of the U.S. Government attacking companies and actually trying to limit their sales.

    Microsoft in the 90s?

    Sure, the justification is always unfair practices, outsourcing or some thing. But the U.S. Federal government will actively destroy ANY successful company if it scores a few political points with a constituency.

    And yes, to your specific analogy, Mussolini would have absolutely restricted a company's exports if they were selling to an enemy nation.

    Case by case basis.

  • ||

    In order to believe that to be the case hear you'd also have believe that vodka wa the main source of Russian income. No one with a brain believes that.

  • Paul.||

    In order to believe that to be the case hear you'd also have believe that vodka wa the main source of Russian income.

    I see this boycott as largely being about whipping up discussion, not about actually thinking that boycotting Stoli will change policy.

    Savage wanted to do a boycott. But what uniquely Russian "product" do gays boycott that might be universally used by gays?

    What to do... what to do.

    I know... VODKA! Everyone drinks Vodka!

    It's literally like they threw the dartboard at some company that had "ties" to Russia and turned it into a whipping boy.

    This boycott will end like so many others do... like Christians boycotting Disney World. A lot of sound and fury and then it'll just peter out.

  • mr simple||

    Maybe not obvious to you. But I'd hate to get in the way of your question begging.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    I have never heard claiming that something is not immediately obvious is a form of question begging. I am curious as to where you have heard this.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Do you understand what rationalizing means?

    "To devise self-satisfying but incorrect reasons for (one's behavior)."

    That's exactly what they are doing.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    That's quite the claim. Do you have any evidence to back it up?

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Sure. Look at their own response. Logical on the service, but without any real evidence. Their entire argument hinges on an assumption that a company like Stoli must have influence on the Russian government.

  • WTF||

    You mean other than their stupid fucking email doing exactly that? And you claim to not understand why we call you dense?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Fatty & WTF

    Their email to Shackford makes several factual claims about Stoli's ties to Russia. Shackford himself does not dismiss these, he asks Stoli for clarification and says at this time he has received none.

    So this entire disagreement comes down to you finding their conclusion that a company can put pressure on its government to be incorrect, either in general or in this case. I don't think you want to argue that in general a company cannot put some pressure on a government, even an autocratic government (though some here seem to argue this). I am saying that is in no way obvious, many boycotts work on this premise.

    Now perhaps it is unlikely to think Stoli would have influence in this instance, because of relations detailed by Mr. Shackford in past posts. In that case I think the most Queer Nation is guilty of is being wrong in this particular application of an idea that is often correct.

    But I have essentially said this over and over far too much and, having stated it this final time, will let it rest and give everyone here the last word (many of which I think I can safely assume will be curse ones).

  • WTF||

    "You're the vulgarian, you fuck!"

  • jesse.in.mb||

    Queer Nation's letter doesn't quite do what you claim. It indicates that Stoli has property holdings in Russia and that the owners are rich and have contact with other rich Russians. They don't prove the case that the owner can influence the Russian government. I don't doubt QN's facts are correct, but they make a leap from the owner has money and some influence, to the owner has money and enough influence that this is a good idea, a leap for which they don't show their work.

    As I mentioned before, the owner of Stoli is on the outs with Putin ( as I understand it due to backing a rival of Putin's 10 years ago), so it's difficult to argue that he has enough influence to be a worthwhile target.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Their email to Shackford makes several factual claims about Stoli's ties to Russia.

    Ties to Russia, yes. Ties to the Russian government, no.

    So this entire disagreement comes down to you finding their conclusion that a company can put pressure on its government to be incorrect, either in general or in this case.

    Not at all. The disagreement comes down to Queer Nation strongly defending a boycott of a company that supports and markets to homosexuals because *in theory* they *might* have some small influence on the Russian government. It's a weak argument that stinks of rationalizing their boycott after the fact.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    It's not obvious that a Russian company can't exert pressure on the Russian government.

    Fuck your double negative logic. If they aren't responsible for violating the rights of someone, then advocating punishment for guilt by vague association is wrong. Period. They aren't responsible for the Kremlin any more than you are for the KKK.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Perhaps it is wrong to boycott a company who was not complicit in the wrong the boycott opposes. But it certainly not wrong from a libertarian position (no one has a right to my patronage). And it is not obvious that it is wrong from the point of strategy (since companies have been known to lobby their governments for change).

  • ||

    RTFA. No one said it was wrong "from a libertarian position."

  • Ken Shultz||

    I remember when French farmers blockaded EuroDisney to protest imports of American produce...

    "Angered by American agricultural trade policies, tractor-driving French farmers blockaded the entrance to the new Euro Disneyland outside Paris on Friday, preventing several hundred families and busloads of schoolchildren from entering the park."

    http://articles.latimes.com/19.....disneyland

    I remember it for being a magnificent example of a stupid boycott--but I'm sure they had plenty of stupid reasons for what they did, too.

    The smart reasons to boycott Stoli have nothing to do with public policy in Russia and everything to do with getting Queer Nation's name in the news. Getting your name in the news makes people talk about and think about gay rights issues--here in this country--and, even better for Queer Nation, it tends to drive donations.

  • Ken Shultz||

    It's a tactic that's served animal rights and environmentalist groups well over the years. I remember when PETA once sued the California Dairy Council for false advertising because their ad said that "Happy cows come from California". Their argument was that dairy cows are not, in fact, happy...

    Stupid lawsuit, right? Wrong! It was ingenious because a) every-other blog in the country picked it up and started talking about animal rights issues and b) PETA getting their name in the news drove donations like mad.

    Make no mistake, Queer Nation is tickled pink that Shackford is posting about this, and they sent him a response in the hope that he would post about it again.

  • CampingInYourPark||

    +1 Freedom Fry

  • mr simple||

    Make no mistake, Queer Nation is tickled pink that Shackford is posting about this, and they sent him a response in the hope that he would post about it again.

    Well, they would be if anyone actually read this blog.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I think you'd be surprised!

    Only a tiny percentage of the unique visitors to this site actually comment.

  • Cliché Bandit||

    I AM UNIQUE!!!! WOOHOO!

  • Generic Stranger||

    Just like everybody else.

  • Old Dave||

    Bingo!

  • WTF||

    P.S. I think Queer Nation's real objective isn't to influence Russian public policy. I think their real objective is to get their name in the news.

    Bingo. Which is why they want to keep going after Stoli, since it is a well-known brand.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If their objective was merely to get their name in the news and their choice of target were based on that, why wouldn't they choose Smirnoff?

    If your answer is that Smirnoff is not really Russian then it seems you concede it has more to do with merely getting their name in the news, no?

  • WTF||

    No, it's because they stupidly assumed that Stoli was a Russian company, and used that along with Stoli's popularity for publicity, and now are unwilling to admit their mistake and back down because they don't have another legitimate target that is as well-known and suited to their purposes. Are you really as naive as you come off?

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Do you dispute the assertions about Stoli's Russian nature and presence in Russia asserted in their letter? And even if they were wrong they would be wrong, not stupid rationalizations I should think.

  • ||

    Dude, he's as dense as a neutron star. Why are you engaging the moron? It's like arguing with a plant.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    This from the genius who just said "When's the last time you saw actual activism; the kind that involved personal sacrifice and real danger?" and was casually refuted with several quick examples.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I will say this: You're not tolling us as bad as Queer Nation trolled Shackford.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Shackford actually engaged the evidence and arguments of his 'toll.'

    Fancy that.

  • WTF||

    Yeah, I think I just learned my lesson on the new TulpaNG.

  • Tonio||

    P.S. I think Queer Nation's real objective isn't to influence Russian public policy. I think their real objective is to get their name in the news.

    And you can think that all you want, Ken, but without objective evidence you're just speculating. I'm not saying you're wrong, so much as that speculation is nonproductive.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Speculation seems the order of the day for many around here. But it is speculation about gay activists who we all know are crazy, leftist, fascist Democrats so assumedly it is 'all good' I guess.

  • Tonio||

    Thanks for sharing.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Did you read yesterday's thread on this subject?

    Gay, leftist, fascist Democrat decrying aplenty.

  • Ken Shultz||

    Reason.com staff has unanimously argued for the legalization of gay marriage since I started coming here--nine or ten years ago--and that's from the site started.

    If some commenter somewhere wrote something anti-gay that made you an unhappy troll?

    Then whatever they wrote isn't representative of the site or most of the people who comment here. Get over yourself.

  • Ken Shultz||

    I'm actually giving them the benefit of the doubt.

    I'm pointing out how what they're doing is smart--assuming their real objectives are other than what they're claiming them to be.

    We libertarians could learn a lot from these tactics. It's almost like...culture jamming.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C.....ng#Tactics

    They're just got a much broader horizon, and instead of manipulating advertising and other messages in the media, they're actually creating the news.

    Libertarians could do that, too.

  • Seamus||

    Just speculating? You mean the way Queer Nation speculates that if Stolichnaya really wanted to, it could change Russian government policy?

  • Ken Shultz||

    "And you can think that all you want, Ken, but without objective evidence you're just speculating. I'm not saying you're wrong, so much as that speculation is nonproductive."

    I know this is from earlier in the thread, but, actually, since then, I've given a few examples of other activist organization that have used the same tactics--tactics, which were very effective in doing what they were really meant to do.

    I'd love to be able to say that these tactics were the product of my own imagination, but if that were really the case, I'd be hailed in some circles as the greatest thing since the Situationist International or Marshall McLuhan.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9wWUc8BZgWE

    I know so many of my fellow libertarians who will argue about media bias, but I wish more of them knew about what the extreme left has written in the past about media manipulation. Not knowing this stuff may be one of the reasons we keep getting our asses kicked in the court of public opinion.

  • PRX||

    By his logic employers that don't like Obamacare should fire their gay employees to pressure Obama.

  • T||

    I'm always confused by boycotts like this. I get boycotting, say, Chik-Fil-A if you think they're contributing to causes you find personally distasteful. But, hey, let's boycott a sort-of-Russian brand because the Russians are acting like cocks! What do you hope to accomplish? Are you gonna get the people who run Stoli to go up against Putin on this? Bet not, because staying out of jail beats profit margin most days of the week.

    I'm pretty sure Putin and the rest of the appratchik give less than a shit whta kind of vodka you're drinking. I'm also pretty sure they don't care if Stoli makes a little less money.

    This is akin to a Russian telling me "I'm not buying an Apple product because Obama drone strikes Yemenis." Okay. I'm not sure what you hope to accomplish with this, but good on you. I guess it makes you feel good that you're doing something even if that something has fuck-all to do with actually fixing the problem. Is this the special snowflake school of activism?

  • ||

    It's the activist school of activism. When's the last time you saw actual activism; the kind that involved personal sacrifice and real danger?

  • Brett L||

    Anyone who films a cop is risking brain damage.

  • ||

    So is anyone who watches Hart of Dixie. Are they activists too?

  • Brett L||

    What the hell is Hart of Dixie? No wait, its a trap, isn't it?

  • ||

    Just...come...a...little...closer...Brett...

  • ||

    Uh, shut up, stupid. It is an awesome show full of wacky hijinks and Southern accents of varying fakeness. I am a pro-Hart of Dixie activist, which means I am pro-chick-shows-on-the-CW, and anti-... well, you, mostly.

  • ||

    So you admit to having brain damage. You said it!

  • ||

    As a Canadian, Dagny probably doesn't realize how horrible the CW really is. It's not her fault she can't remember the awesomeness that was WPIX in the Before Time. On the other hand, she's smart enough to be anti-you.

    So while it pains me to agree with anything remotely pro-CW...I will make an exception here.

  • ||

    Nicole, I remember when it was UPN and the WB with that stupid fucking frog, does that count? And I loved it then too. Remember Young Americans? Of course you do. Because it was amazing.

  • ||

    Hey nicole, it looks like Dagny has decided to try and tear that tiara off your head for being the worst. You going to let her do that?

  • ||

    No, the WB was the first incursion against the Real WPIX. It was the first sign of the evil that was eventually to come in the form of the CW.

    The real WPIX did nothing but play Rocky IV on a constant loop. Rocky IV and Seinfeld reruns.

  • ||

    Where is Sug when I need him? He will usually back a sista up on some teen-girl-dramedies. For a while there, we had a Gossip Girl thing going, he and I, and it was so good.

  • Obese American||

    The Alpha is Gilmore Girls and the Omega is Bunheads

  • jesse.in.mb||

    Come on Nicole, we all know you cried during the series finale of Dawson's Creek. It's ok. You're among friends.

    I'm really trying to help you keep your tiara here Nikki, just roll with it.

  • ||

    To Brett's point: Carlos Miller. He is a bad. ass.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    Activist facing personal sacrifice and danger occurs frequently. For examples, look at the protesters that were maced at that university last year. The pro-life protesters frequently arrested. The Occupy people arrested.

    Etcetera, etcetera.

  • Tonio||

    And actual Russian LGBT rights protesters face personal sacrifice and danger.

  • T||

    Yep. However, sitting on your ass in a bar drinking Skyy or Absolut intead of Stoli is really doing a damn thing for the world except getting you drunk.

  • Tonio||

    OK, let's posit for a moment that boycotting russian vodka (loosely defined) actually does something by depriving those companies and hence the Russian government of revenue. In that scenario, buying Russian vodka is an act with tangible, although minimal, bad consequences. Buying a non-Russian vodka doesn't produce any good consequences, but avoids the bad consequences. Logic, how do it work?

  • ||

    Occasionally /= Frequently

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    But where do you get either measure? The question I responded to was 'when have the last time...'

  • ||

    Uhh the measure is that in the US a group puts themselves at risk maybe once a year, on average, while fauxtactivism occurs every 21 seconds.

    Instead of just listing a recent example, you felt the need to embellish your description with the word "frequently."

  • General Butt Naked||

    I'm also pretty sure they don't care if Stoli makes a little less money.

    That's assuming that Stoli will actually lose money. Didn't chik-fil-a make money from all of the supporters trying to piss off the boycotters?

  • Atanarjuat||

    True. I actually bought a bottle of Stolichnaya Gold last night, just to offset the stupid boycott.

    Plus, any press is good press.

  • Bo Cara Esq.||

    If Apple was losing business because of a boycott based on opposition to Obama administration policy you don't think Obama would hear about it from them?

  • WTF||

    And do you think Obama would give even half a fuck?

  • CampingInYourPark||

    How about this? You're a US citizen here, probably voted for the prick, so, let's boycott you. Get to lobbying!

  • Tonio||

    I remain skeptical of CFA's claims. It's possible that their profits did increase during the boycott, but it's also possible that they lied or cooked the books.

  • Tak Kak||

    So you're skeptical of pretty much all claims ever made.

  • Night Elf Mohawk||

    Are you also skeptical of pictures of lines out the door at location after location of Chick-fil-A?

  • Tonio||

    NEM: No. But that also says nothing about the lines of people boycotting (not protesting)...hah, trick response. You see, Day Goblin Mullet, you can't take pictures of people who aren't there.

  • Seamus||

    No, but you can take pictures of the lines before the boycott and during the boycott, them compare them in order to draw some conclusions about the effectiveness of the boycott. (I suppose it's always possible that you'd discover the pre-boycott lines were not only stretching out the doors, but were snaking around the block as well, and that the boycott shrunk those lines dramatically. Does anybody really think that's what happened?)

  • Acosmist||

    What claims? Friend of mine specifically went there to protest the boycotters, had to wait for hours to get his food, and was happy about it. Random place in PA.

  • ||

    About poor, powerless SPI Group. When that company needed cash to buy out a Polish liquor company, Val Mendeleev called "a few strong financial players in Russia" to raise that cash. See the attached article from The Deal Pipeline. This company employs several hundred people in Russia. It owns thousands of acres of Russian land. It has significant real estate holdings in Russia. Its CEO can pick up the phone and get some of the wealthiest Russians to answer. It owns two distilleries in Russia and one of them is the largest distillery in Russia. This is a first — a major employer with connections to Russian oligarchs is unable to influence its own government. If you think that SPI has no ability to successfully lobby the Russian government then I have bridge for sale here in Brooklyn that I can offer you at a very reasonable price.

    Dude, they manufacture and sell VODKA. They aren't obligated to move heaven and earth for your cause. This is as vapid as saying 'corporations sit in their corporation building and act all corporation-y'.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Considering how many bad things any government does, what exactly are the companies supposed to do? It's one thing to shut down your business in Nazi Germany, but it's another in countries where things are grayer. And, of course, boycotts are not precision instruments that only hurt those intentionally targeted.

    Businesses are in the business of doing business. I think moral calculations should be a part of any human endeavor, but focusing a boycott on one high-profile company with a Russian connection that isn't dropping everything to support this one cause (oppression of gays is hardly the only thing wrong in Russia and, from what I've heard, isn't the worst, either) seems really odd to me.

  • WTF||

    It's one thing to shut down your business in Nazi Germany,

    Hey, this gives me an idea - Stoli could go all Schindler's List and hire nothing but Russian Gheys to make their vodka.

  • Tonio||

    Well, Nazi Germany no longer exists, but I assume you mean a country that is the moral equivalent of Nazi Germany. What threshold do you have to reach for that, PL?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Well, let's put it this way: Why aren't we boycotting China? We fucking should be about a thousand times more than some company that has a Russian connection.

    I'm all for boycotting every wrongdoer out there, but the fact is that it's a fool's errand unless it can do something to change the situation. In Russia, if you want their attention, get people to stop buying their oil.

  • WTF||

    Actually, Europe does a lot more to support the Russian government by buying Russia's natural gas and oil. So the boycott should be against Europe.

  • Pro Libertate||

    You know, that's not the worst idea in the world, because Europe is much more likely to bend, and they sure as heck could influence Russia with even the suggestion they might shift their oil purchases.

  • Ptah-Hotep||

    and they sure as heck could influence Russia with even the suggestion they might shift their oil purchases.

    It's very hard to shift purchases when the gas lines are already in place. It normally works the other way around.

    http://www.dailymail.co.uk/new.....raine.html

    http://www.nbcnews.com/id/2851.....gUs-m2Ol-0

  • Pro Libertate||

    I know it wouldn't be practical, but they could make noise. Russians tend to the paranoid, so they might believe it's something to worry about even if it wasn't.

    Of course, Putin has his own system for drone-murdering opponents, only without the drones.

  • JeremyR||

    Which is better, since it generally doesn't leave 100s of children dead.

    Obama is as much a mass murderer as the Newton guy was.

  • mr simple||

    Speak German.

  • Tonio||

    China is an example. I'm asking you to articulate a principal.

  • Tonio||

    "principle" dammit.

  • Pro Libertate||

    "Articulate a principal?" That's one of those euphemisms, isn't it?

    As far as boycotts go, I'm definitely in the camp that they should be used against companies only when the company is doing something wrong itself. I mean, think about it for a moment. What if this were a Russian charity for kids? Boycott it because the government does bad things? By that logic, every company in the world should be boycotted for one reason or another.

    If Russia is doing something particularly bad that people feel needs a targeted action, another option would be to boycott the whole country. That's hitting the innocent as well as the guilty, but at least that has the outside chance of affecting their policies.

  • Brett L||

    Articulating a principal is rubbing one out, isn't it?

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm not sure. Tonio seems to know--ask him.

  • Tonio||

    It's one thing to shut down your business in Nazi Germany, but it's another in countries where things are grayer.

    So, how bad does it have to get before a country reaches the level of Nazi Germany? You can use examples if articulating a guiding principle is too challenging for you.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I thought I did?

    In any case, I generally don't care for boycotts, like I said, unless they're targeted at the wrongdoers.

  • ||

    I get the impression these are the types who are just positive that a cabal of companies runs the government. Therefore, a simple phone call from Mr. Stolichnaya could bring all the gay bashing in Russia to an end. Because rich guys.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One business speaks in Russia. One. Oil.

  • KDN||

    That's closer to being true in Russia than it is anywhere in the West. The problem is that the ownership of Stoli is not part of that clique, and boycotting them for symbolism's sake might do more harm than good.

  • Hugh Akston||

    They’ve done a lot more than just buy ad space in magazines or gay websites.

    Uhhhhh doesn't ad sales basically keep magazines and websites running?

  • ||

    Shh, don't mention that their reading material was all paid for with dirty brainwashing monies!

  • William of Purple||

    not Adbusters!
    /progtard

  • Tonio||

    I'm not sure how advertising at that level works, but don't the big accounts like Stoli basically contract for a full page ad in every issue for a full year? Even if the magazines cancel those contracts those ads will probably appear in at least one more issue of each magazine given the lead times required by the printer. This will be very interesting.

  • Pro Libertate||

    I'm not sure it works that way. I mean, you could buy ads for a year (or longer), but many companies operate on a seasonal basis or may want to vary their advertising.

    Of course, anyone who reads a magazine can see that some advertisers are in every issue, so I assume those involve longer term deals.

  • Tonio||

    My only experience was when I worked for a newspaper (decades ago, and not in the advertizing dept), but I got the impression that the big advertisers would buy space in advance for big blocks of time because they got a discount for doing so. The paper got the cash up front, the advertizer got a good rate and guaranteed placement.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Probably all of the above.

  • Tonio||

    Shackford, how dare you question their efforts to Do Something(tm) about the problem. After all, it's intentions that matter.

  • MissMalevolent||

    Let me translate this for you:

    Arrrrrghhhh...we're the mob....we're angry....arrrrgghhhh...it doesn't matter the target....arrrgggh...feel our wrath.

    While we've physically made it out of the cave...it seems many of us are still there mentally.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    If Queer Nation wanted to make an impact they'd do a national fundraiser to send LGBT people to Russia during the Olympics to engage in public protests. Cause some civil disobedience to draw attention at an international level. That would require quite a bit of danger and self-sacrifice on the part of the activists, though, and ACTUAL danger and self-sacrifice is not part of their agenda. Boycott marginally associated vodka manufacturer instead? yeah!!!!

  • Tonio||

    Well, as pointed out by many here, QN isn't the most politically astute or effective group.

  • OldMexican||

    No libertarian would assert that we have an obligation to buy Stolichnaya or any Russian vodka.


    Just as no libertarian would assert that anybody has an obligation to recognize gay marriages, or such thing as "gay rights."

    Every libertarian would assert that we have the right to boycott Russian vodkas and to urge others to do the same.


    I guess Mr. Osborne would have no qualms accepting everybody has the right to refuse serving gay people in your own property.

  • Tonio||

    No True Mexican?

  • OldMexican||

    Re: Tonio,

    No True Mexican?


    I am so touched by Mr. Osborne's preoccupation with what libertarians are supposed to believe. I am moved to tears, really.

    I am skeptical of Mr. Osborne's knowledge of libertarian political philosophy, and what such things as N.A.P. and Voluntarysm entail. I am willing to bet the (ant) farm he would find such displays of personal liberty, like the one I posted above, repulsive; and I am more than willing to bet that he would be first in line to ask the State to act on his behalf when it suits his politics.

  • Hyperion||

    When we have our government spying on all of us and treating us as an enemy, cops shooting dogs and people on a daily basis, and all of our freedoms slipping slowly away, I have a really hard time worrying about a Russian vodka factory that might be anti gay.

    Don't buy their products if you don't like them. But we have much bigger things to be concerned about right now.

  • Lady Bertrum||

    +1

  • Tonio||

    You engage in goalpost-moving worthy of PB. Bravo.

  • Hyperion||

    I'll take Lady Bertrums +1 and move the goalpost -2 to the left.

  • Tonio||

    Pro Tip for those wishing to avoid Hyperion levels of derpitude: It's not about the vodka, it's about the gay people in Russia being killed and beaten.

  • Pro Libertate||

    Then why Stoli and not the whole country? I mean, that seems to miss the target entirely if you ask me, because the Russian government won't give a shit if Stoli went out of business.

  • General Butt Naked||

    So you think that a German boycotting starbucks because america has the death penalty is a good way to stop the death penalty? Or does it just make death penalty opponents look silly and ineffectual?

  • Paul.||

    When all you have is an empty coffee cup, everything looks a Starbucks...

  • Hyperion||

    Tonio, you act like I am advocating the abuse that you speak of. I don't know where you are getting that idea.

    It's just that right now, I am more concerned about what is happening to all of us, here, at home. People are being abused all over the world, mostly by governments. I see all of us as equal, with the same rights. Anyone who is being abused, I am against that.

    Attacking your allies is not a really good tactic, but whatever.

  • Tonio||

    Didn't come across that way, Hyper. And I admit that I misread you (given your subsequent clarification), but do consider that it's sometimes hard to get ideas across.

    The part I had the beef with was: I have a really hard time worrying about a Russian vodka factory that might be anti gay.

    That seemed to me to be dismissive of the actual problem, which (again) is the beatings and murders.

  • Tony||

    Out of curiosity, is there anything about your worldview that might present the slightest inconvenience to your lifestyle, if implemented?

  • Hyperion||

    If Obama were to evolve a little more, maybe he could just drone the Russian vodka factories. If he's lucky, maybe the super villain Snowden will be touring one of them at the time, and we'll all be saved.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    As I understand, the Stoli boycott idea started with Dan Savage, who is known for making dramatic, albeit ill-thought-out and insane, personal gestures. It's the politics of personal expression. It seems that, not gays in general, but many of the gay activists, seem to have impulse-control problems and lash out wildly simply because they need to release their emotions.

  • Hyperion||

    I think it's about the need, of some people, to be a victim, or just attention seeking, or both.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    But it seems to work. What does that say?

  • Tonio||

    Or maybe about the actual beaten and dead people in Russia.

  • Hyperion||

    I think we're talking about two different things here, Tonio.

    I don't think anyone here is anti-gay, unless it's one of the trolls.

  • Tonio||

    Yeah, Dan Savage's core skills are not in politics. He had one politically brilliant moment and then he and/or the greater gay community assumed he was a political expert.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    Savage sees the boycott of Florida orange juice, over Anita Bryant being their spokeswoman, as a seminal moment for gays exerting pressure on companies through economic means. According to legend, if you ordered a screwdriver in a bar at the time you'd be served an Anita Bryant (apple juice and vodka [blech!]). Anita Bryant got canned, most of the damage she incited was reversed and gay progress marched on. He's looking to participate in an analogous form of protest so this makes sense coming from him even if the economic factors are VERY different.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    A Russian is strolling down the street in Moscow and kicks a bottle laying in the street. Suddenly out of the bottle comes a genie. The Russian is stunned and the Genie says, "Hello Master, I will grant you one wish, anything that you want."...the Russian says, "I wish to drink vodka whenever I want, so make me piss vodka." The Genie grants him his wish. When the Russian gets home he gets a glass out of the cupboard and pisses into it....So he takes a test and it is the best vodka that he has ever tasted. The Russian yells to his wife, "Natasha, Natasha, come quickly." She comes running down the hall and the Russian takes another glass out of the cupboard and pisses into it. He tells her to drink, that it is vodka....It is the best vodka that she has ever tasted. The two drink and party all night. The next night the Russian comes home from work and tells his wife to get two glasses out of the cupboard. He proceeds to piss in the two glasses. The result is the same, the vodka is excellent and the couple drink until the sun comes up. Finally, Friday night comes and the Russian tells his wife to grab one glass from the cupboard and we will drink vodka. She gets the glass but asks him "Boris, why do we only need one glass?" Boris raises the glass and says, "Because tonight my love, you drink from the bottle."

    http://www.jokes4us.com/miscel.....jokes.html

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I wish I could find the joke about the government inspector who goes to construction site and asks the foreman if he's every had a glass of vodka. Yes. Two glasses? Yes. Etc. Etc. Nine glasses. Yes. Ten glasses? "I'm walking around, aren't I?"

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    I don't think I told that right.

    Did you hear the one about the Russian?

    He drank a lot of vodka. I mean, a lot.

  • Eduard van Haalen||

    By the way, did you notice how I kept my first joke tasteful, and didn't make the Russian gay?

  • Tonio||

    Why did he urinate on his eyeglasses?

  • ChrisO||

    In college, we always boycotted Stoli because it was too expensive. Hood River Vodka was more in keeping with our proletarian pocketbooks. It all tastes the same in a screwdriver anyway.

  • Hyperion||

    Same here. Smirnoff Silver was the clear poison of choice in my younger days. I remember thinking it tastes like finger nail polish smells, but it worked to get a buzz and there were worse things one could drink, like Southern Comfort whisky, ye gawd, that shit was awful.

  • ||

    Ours was Taaka (barf).

  • jesse.in.mb||

    Monopolowa $10/L at Trader Joe's. It's very smooth although it's not the cleanest tasting vodka, perfect for mixing. It's still or house vodka. we get more spendy on things where price really matters like tequila.

  • ||

    I don't drink Vodka any more, it's just flavorless whiskey and easily replaced with gin in almost any drink. Gin you don't have to spend a lot on either for good stuff. I agree on tequila being worth it.

  • Old Dave||

    "And finally, what is the libertarian argument here? No libertarian would assert that we have an obligation to buy Stolichnaya or any Russian vodka. Every libertarian would assert that we have the right to boycott Russian vodkas and to urge others to do the same. You argue that because SPI Group has marketed Stolichnaya to the gay community we should be nice to them. This is not an argument that is informed by any ideology at all let alone a libertarian philosophy."

    Poor Duncan clearly has no idea what he's talking about.

  • A Secret Band of Robbers||

    This boycott makes no sense. What is the point of being gay if you're going to drink vodka-based cocktails?

  • jesse.in.mb||

    Oh ASBoR, who do you think drinks all the Cape Cods?

  • R C Dean||

    Shouldn't the real issue with any boycott be "will this boycott move the needle on changing policy? how, exactly, will that happen?"

    Unless, of course, your boycott is an exercise in moral preening.

  • Scott S.||

    Just a note that Osborne responded to my questions and I've updated the story to reflect it.

  • ChrisO||

    Not much of a response. Your follow-up questions were valid.

  • datcv||

    DEAR FELLOW GAYS. MAN UP AND DRINK TEQUILA FROM YOUR GAY-LOVING MEXICAN NEIGHBORS.

  • datcv||

    I don't know why that was in all caps. Maybe I was yelling.

  • jesse.in.mb||

    Done and done, getting spendy and picking up Casa Noble reposado to help my 22 year old cousin learn the difference between good tequila and Jose Cuervo.

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