Friday, November 19, 2004


Re-Targeting Target

Hugh Hewitt is still blowing the Target controversy up to be more than it should be.

He responds to James Lileks reasoned post about the whole matter as follows with my answers to his answers in bold:

But this time he fails to grasp the central nettle. James argues this is one battle in an endless series of battles that are just better not fought. I disagree. It is a unique battle (like the Boy Scout battle) and one that deserves more than a check and a resignation to forces greater and more complicated than ourselves.

The season we are on the cusp of celebrating is uniquely a religious season. It has its origin in the journey of a poor and homeless family who were given shelter, and in the entry of grace and mercy into human history in the form of Christ. The Salvation Army is uniquely a mission to the homeless and the poor - the lost and the least. They are not just another charity, and it is not just any old time of year.

I answer that (how Aquinian of me, smirk) even in light of the good that they do, the Salvation Army is just another charity. As a matter of fact, there are many charities that are designed to and actually help the downtroden as well as the addicted such as those of the Roman Catholic Church including Catholic Charities U.S.A.. In fact, the Salvation Army finds it roots in the Methodist church, and one can argue that the Salvation Army is an offshoot of the Methodist Church. Why should Target be forced to favor one particular Christian Church over another in such a public fashion?

Further, Target is a company grown wealthy on the season we celebrate. For retailers, Christmas is the mother lode, the 25% in 30 days that makes all they year seem merry. How indifferent to the source of their wealth that Target would insult the spirit of Christmas.

I answer that Hewitt is being downright silly on this point as even he posted yesterday that Target does give to charities, and by posting Lileks bleat on the subject, Hewitt shows that Target actually has an advertised charity on its website that helps children. Target is not at all indifferent.

Finally, one other reason the Target exiling of the red kettles has grated is that it of course brings to mind Dickens' A Christmas Carol, where Scrooge's greed and self-absorption blinded him to the need all around him. He grudgingly gave Cratchet a day off, but the ghost of Christmas future made it clear what end was in store for a life of churlish indifference to need.

I answer that this is way-off base as stated in my previous answer. It appears that the idea of a crusade is more important to Mr. Hewitt than the idea of acting upon all the relevant facts.

So, James, I hope you reconsider - not in your own shopping habits, but in the weighing of this controversy as the equal of other consumer complaints. It isn't "just another boycott."

I answer that it is just another boycott, and a silly one to boot for the aforementioned reasons. By the way, the CD player I picked up at Target yesterday works just fine, thank you.

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