I find it extremely disappointing, and sometimes exceedingly scary, when people cannot learn about history beyond numbers and dates. It bothers me that so many people ignore the fact that people in the past were still human beings, which means they had human emotions and they also had human motivations.
The opinion article in Newsweek written by Rick Perlstein, to my mind, quite frankly shows that not only is he a writer who picks and chooses sources that agree with his own bias, but also is quite obviously a created controversy solely meant to sell more copies of his books.
Why am I saying that?
Look at the situation.
- Not a single word he writes in the article supports the idea that the flag is in some way “racist.” He talks about the situation. But no real data to prove any sort of racism. You can perhaps consider that his comments about China is referencing some racism. Or perhaps his comments on the Vietnamese. But the only real complaint he has is propaganda.
- He obviously was called on the inappropriate use of the word (not backed up by information in the article), because there is an additional spurious apology. He follows this poorly worded and insincere apology with a purely defensive rationalization for why he used it. And his final sentence simply underscores that he is jumping on the bandwagon of the Confederate flag controversy.
Look, people, I do marketing. But, I’m ethical about it. I do NOT co-opt real issues to market ANY item. I find that to be an unethical usage of emotional manipulation – which, if ANY marketer is completely honest, is exactly what defines their job. The purpose of advertising is to evoke an emotional response. The purpose of marketing is to direct that response to support the purpose for which you are working. I will not market something I find to be an inferior product. I will not market anything that I am not willing to use myself. And I will NOT accept a client who expects me to lie or shade the truth in order to make them seem better than they are. Yes, that means that I lose some clients. But, I also lose the stress of working for someone who wants me to lie. And when I choose to use that marketing to evoke an emotional response, I prefer to use persuasion rather than untruths.
Any person, group or corporation who jumps onto a controversial issue simply to further their own greed, or even just to further their own political agenda, is not only being an unethical manipulator, but they are also lying through their teeth.
I live transparently and honestly for a reason. I will NOT hide things about myself that are considered controversial, because I am not ashamed of who I am or what I do. I won’t necessarily go out of my way to shove it in individual people’s faces, but I will talk about it. This blog isn’t shoving it in anyone’s face – they have the right to read or not read as they wish.
This man, by co-opting the concerns of BOTH sides in the Confederate Flag controversy, is doing exactly what I say that I won’t above. He is skewing truth to ensure that he can ride in on the controversy’s coat tails. Such people – male or female – should be treated not with punishment (because that is still attention) but by total shunning. What they want is attention and money. Ignoring these people deprives them of the very purpose they are doing these things for. (Yes, I know that it is inconsistent to blog about it, and then tell people to ignore people like this – unfortunately, some of these people must be used as examples)