Six Rules For Boycotts That WORK
As a rule, I boycott boycotts. I usually don’t like them, and think they’re counter-productive. This is because lately, they just haven’t worked. The Left tried to boycott Chick-Fil-A—remember what happened? People still wanted to “Eet Mor Chik’n”. Or Hobby Lobby? Still standing tall. Or Duck Dynasty? Phil stayed on the air.
“But Eric, that’s the Left—what about us?”
What about us? Our last boycott that arguably worked caused Wal-Mart to say “Merry Christmas” again. Ever since then, every single call for a boycott has gotten us absolutely…nothing. Boycott Ben & Jerry’s for supporting the Occupiers? Sorry, they’re still around, and still openly Left, without apology. And of course there’s my personal favorite: “BOYCOTT HOLLYWIERD!!! BOYCOTT IT ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!”
Even the seemingly rational ones who “just” want to boycott all of Hollywood “until they learn their lesson” have to admit one simple fact: Despite all the financial troubles Hollywood faces—despite all the terrible ratings of all the awards shows—what has the Hollywood Left learned, amid these “boycotts”?
“Well, of course not!—Not enough Conservatives are joining the boycott—!”
No…no…no. Notice something, folks: Hollywood keeps making Far Left propaganda flicks like Miss Sloane, and one by one they keep bombing. This has happened since the 2000s—remember? All the vehemently anti-Iraq films that kept on crashing at the box office—one by one?! Do they learn? No. They keep making blatant propaganda flicks, never caring how badly they perform.
Now…that being said…there is a way to make a boycott work. And it involves 1) evaluating the problem we want to address, 2) establishing what we want, and 3) making it clear—to everyone. In short, if you want to boycott, dear readers, you have to make darn sure you’re evaluating the situation logically, rationally, dispassionately. Otherwise, you launch into “BOYCOTT IT ALL!!!”
Let’s get it straight, readers: Boycotting all of Hollywood means you don’t even watch the work of filmmakers who at best are on our side, and at worst make it a point to not insult our side. That’s like, in response to the current issue at hand, we were to call for a giant boycott of all phone service providers! It’s stupid, it’s counter-productive, and it’s hurtful to us.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Here’s what we’re looking at:
Remember that rodeo clown, four years back—the one who put on an Obama mask? He got fired, and the Missouri Rodeo Cowboy Association even had to participate in “sensitivity training” for that one. All the cries of “racism” and “bigotry”—you remember.
Okay…so! We got ourselves Snoop Dogg—
No, not Snoopy in a leather jacket, ski hat and sunglasses—that’s “Joe Cool”. But I can understand the confusion. Anyway…
Snoop Dogg just churned out a music video with a clown—in a Trump mask. And Snoop Dogg pulls a gun on him.
Yes. So much for “violent rhetoric”, eh, Lefties? But I digress.
Now—the vast majority of Conservatives, I would personally wager, don’t care much for Snoop Doog’s music, as it is…so I think we can assume a “boycott” of him wouldn’t have much of an effect on him. Right?
But someone’s pointed out a way to do it: via T-Mobile.
See, T-Mobile currently counts Snoop Dogg among its current spokesmen, if its commercials are anything to go by. And so, the idea is: Perhaps we should boycott T-Mobile until they pull the commercials and disassociate with Snoop Dogg…?
Well, surprisingly enough, I like this idea!—IF…
…if those in a position to boycott make sure to follow some clear, simple rules. You know about Saul Alinsksy’s Rules For Radicals? Well, this here is Eric M. Blake’s Rules For Boycotters:
The First Rule Of Boycotting Is: Know what you’re boycotting—and do not boycott anything else.
If you’re just boycotting Hollywood for existing, and think they never should have existed, Left or Right or otherwise—then it would follow that you must “boycott it all”. But if your intent is to boycott the Leftism in Hollywood, then it follows that you must analyze the various filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, etc., so as to know who are the Left-wing hacks who hate Conservative filmgoers, and who are not.
In this case, you would boycott T-Mobile specifically—not the phone industry in general. After all, it was T-Mobile, the specific company, that’s employed Snoop Dogg.
The Second Rule Of Boycotting Is: Make sure you are in a position TO boycott.
This simply means, if you already have phone service that isn’t T-Mobile, then you probably aren’t in much of a position to boycott anything. I, for example—in the interests of full disclosure—use Metro PCS.
Although, suppose you might have friends who either have T-Mobile, or are looking for a phone service provider…?
The point is, it’s not a boycott if you’re just full of hot air. “I haven’t watched a movie in years!”—Well, I guess “Hollywierd” has gotten along just fine without you, thank you very much.
The Third Rule Of Boycotting Is: Support an alternative to what you are boycotting.
Again, your boycott will not be effective, if you behave as if you’re just pulling from the whole entire industry. You have one specific target—not its whole entire class. (Besides, readers, be honest: Are you really up for giving up your phone service, period?)
The ideal alternative, of course, is one that supports your side, or at least appears like it does. That way, it’s solidified for all that you’re boycotting for a reason.
So what’s the ideal alternative to T-Mobile? Well, a phone service provider connected (pun not intended) to support of The Don. And who would that be…?
Lo and behold—a company mostly owned by a certain Japanese businessman who made a major investment deal with our president. That’s right: Our friend Masayoshi-san, CEO of SoftBank—which among other things owns more than 80% of…Sprint.
So—have all the Conservatives and Trump supporters using T-Mobile switch to Sprint. Ditto to everyone shopping around for a “new” phone service provider.
(No, Sprint is not paying me to endorse them. I wish….)
By the way—you’ll notice I said all.
The Fourth Rule Of Boycotting Is: Always try and ORGANIZE your support for alternatives, as well as the boycott itself.
Let’s be honest: If the boycotters all go in a hundred different directions after pulling out of the target, the boycott will not reach maximum effectiveness. An organized support of a sympathetic alternative makes it absolutely clear to the target that the boycott is not just a load of hot air. It is proven to be real, and the target is without excuse.
In a way, this is how we defeated—for the most part—the disgraceful trend of anti-Iraq-War films that trashed our troops. When Katheryn Bigelow made The Hurt Locker, the first Iraq-War film that did not politicize the war or smear our troops, audiences responded by helping the film turn a profit. And Clint Eastwood’s American Sniper earned resounding success, proving the point beautifully.
However, I would contend that turn of events would have happened much quicker, had we observed Rule Number Five….
The Fifth Rule Of Boycotting Is: Always publicize your boycott, your support of alternatives—and most of all, your TERMS.
This is, to be honest, the #1 reason why Hollywood has never truly learned its lesson. The natural intellectual blindness of the Left-Wing Establishment notwithstanding, we as a rule only proclaim our boycotts throughout our media—posting articles on our sites, etc. And even then, do we go on Fox News to make our efforts known? Very rarely—if ever.
Before The Hurt Locker, the Hollywood press looked for any excuse to explain away all the failures of those anti-Iraq films. Their excuse? “Oh, Americans just aren’t interested in war films, anymore!”
Yeah…sure. Bless Ms. Bigelow for realizing that was all hooey—as she herself made clear: The real issue was, audiences didn’t want to see a war film that preached to them, let alone insulted them—and the troops. Still, we could’ve really helped out, via an organized en masse demand that Hollywood stop smearing our troops and politicizing the war!
The target must know why we are boycotting them—and so must the press, and ideally the public in general.
Now some of you may point to the boycott of Quentin Tarantino, a couple years back. Is that an example of faithful observance of the Fifth Rule, with the cop unions publicizing everything?
No, it isn’t. In fact, it was a disgusting example of doing it all wrong. Leaving aside my intense personal opposition to the unfair targeting of Quentin, instead of Black Lives Matter’s propaganda machine…what were the boycott’s terms? What did the boycotters want Quentin to do, exactly? Just fail at the box office, no matter what he did or didn’t do?
This leads me to the last and most important rule. I say “most important”, because it seems to be the hardest to accept….
The Sixth Rule Of Boycotting Is: ALWAYS allow, publically, for your target to back down.
Sun Tzu said: “Do not stop an army on its way home. A surrounded army must be given a way out. Do not press a desperate enemy.”
Of all the mistakes made by the Tarantino boycotters, this was the worst. I remember watching people I usually respected go on Fox News and proclaim—in no uncertain terms—that there was nothing—nothing—Quentin could do, to appease the boycotters. They said it was “too late” for him to apologize, because it would “clearly” be insincere, and “only” be to save the box office for The Hateful Eight (ironically a very pro-law-enforcement film, if you see it).
Watching that refusal to offer Quentin “a way out”, I knew full well what was going to happen: Quentin would look at those dismissals, shrug and go “Fine”…and publically refuse to apologize, and maybe even double down. Lo and behold—that’s exactly what he did.
Sadly, those on our side supporting the boycott refused to see the pattern for what it was, and just doubled down, themselves. Had those spokesmen for the boycott instead allowed—from the beginning—for a public apology from Quentin, for “misspeaking, and inadvertently over-generalizing”…it’s a good bet he would have given it, with a promise to “watch how I word that kind of thing in the future”.
“But Eric—but Eric! An apology would’ve been insincere, and just to get his box-office back—!”
Maybe. Maybe not. Regardless, I got two words for that: Who…cares…?
In the public eye—which is all that really matters, here—“personal sincerity” is irrelevant. A public apology, in and of itself, is a surrender in the fight. It means the target has given up their attempt at the high ground—ceding it all to you. And when you accept the apology, you accept that high ground.
However—if you refuse that high ground, you always—always—give up your own. And they get it all. No exceptions.
Let’s look at an example from the other side: Remember way back, when Rush notoriously insulted Sandra the Fluke’s, er, personal past? There was a big outcry, and sponsors dropped him. After the weekend, Rush made a public apology on his show. It wasn’t worth it to him to stand his ground, and he ceded it to her.
Sandra the Fluke shoved away his apology, snidely dismissing it. And with that, she destroyed herself, annihilating all the cultural appeal she’d gotten by being a “victim” of Rush. She looked petulant, petty, and completely self-righteous. She looked like a jerk, kicking Rush when he was down. Had she publically accepted the apology, she would have accepted the moral high ground—appearing gracious, mature, and worthy of respect from all sides.
But she didn’t. And all her support faded, aside perhaps from the most militant of pseudo-feminists. Where is she now? Your guess is as good as mine. Meanwhile, Rush promptly got the high ground back, and to this day he’s still riding high.
Let’s make it clear, dear readers: A boycott must NEVER be a matter of “revenge”. It must never become “personal”. Any and every boycott must be conducted rationally and dispassionately. And this is why the boycotts of the Left have failed so beautifully: They’ve allowed their anger and vengefulness to get the better of them. They wanted to destroy Chick-Fil-A, Hobby Lobby, and Duck Dynasty…and everyone in America knew it.
Now—in this case, if Snoop Dogg were to send out a public apology for his anti-Trump video, and all the comments attached to it…the boycott must end—right then and there. Is it the initial goal of T-Mobile dumping Snoop Dogg? Not necessarily. But that’s like saying you won’t settle for anything less than annihilating the enemy, when a surrender is perfectly fine.
Not that we should switch to T-Mobile—just don’t pull out, if you haven’t by the time of the apology. And don’t write it off as a potential provider, in the future.
“But…but I don’t care what they think of us—”
Well, you should. First, this is a battle for cultural influence—and you won’t get it by looking petulant, petty, and self-righteous. Second, and more importantly, accepting (relatively) bloodless surrenders graciously encourages your enemies to do it more, in the future.
After all, as Sun Tzu would put it, “To win without fighting is best.”
Image source: Wikimedia Commons / Joe Mabel
License: CC Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported
Eric was raised by Conservative Christian parents, but first became especially passionate about politics in high school, through reading up on economic theory. He also first read The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged around this time, for the ARI's essay contests. He now owns a great deal of Ayn Rand's work. Also included in his library are the collected works of Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Ann Coulter, etc.
Eric is no stranger to writing commentary, as the writer of the Conservative Considerations column on CampCampaign.com, and as a film critic and commentator on FlickRev.com. He has also carried on the Conservative tradition of talk radio commentary, as the host of "Avengers of America" for the USF student radio station, Bulls Radio. In the meantime, he is practicing what he preaches: Striving to enter the professional realm of Hollywood, he has already written and directed short films for the Campus MovieFest, which can be found on his YouTube channel, Hard Boiled Entertainment.