Elizabeth Barrette (ysabetwordsmith) wrote,
Elizabeth Barrette

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Supporting Problematic Things

Here's an interesting post about supporting problematic things.

I think that people often conflate consumption with support. These things may overlap but are not the same, as they may also occur separately.

* One may consume a thing because it is the only option available, or because some part of it is appealing although others are not. If a better option becomes available, one will quite likely switch to that. One may criticize the thing, seek ways of using it without paying for it such as reading a book in a library, or otherwise undermine its purpose. These things all show a lack of support.

* One may support a thing because it is laudable, but not consume it because it is too expensive, unavailable locally, or a good one of those for people who like that sort of thing. Even without consumption, there are ways to show support. One may recommend the thing, keep it around for others, donate toward it, and so forth.

Companies often make the mistake of assuming that customers who shop there "support" them. This may or may not be true. Plenty of businesses have gotten an ugly surprise when a new alternative opened up and customers fled in droves. They didn't support the company. They only used it because it was the only thing around.

So too with culture and entertainment. When there's plenty of good stuff, people choose things they support. When most of it sucks, they try to find things that suck less until something better comes along. It's especially hard to find anything that's good across all categories, or even most of them. Therefore people choose things that are pretty good in some areas, and try to ignore the parts that suck. That doesn't mean you have to support it.

One of the ways I like to show consumption-not-support is that if I'm spending money on something with a pesky trait because some part of it appeals or I have no better options, I'll hit back with an equal or greater strike against its core objective. That might be writing an opposed example, voting against it, or spending money on a competitor, etc. Offsets provide a way to work against something that is not supported.
Tags: activism, networking, reading
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