Friday, January 12, 2007

Buying Power

In Erik Larsen's latest ONE FAN'S OPINION write-up, he says the following:
"One of the unfortunate fallouts of the web and its message boards is that readers get access to too much information. What should really influence a reader's decision to purchase a comic book is how much they enjoy it, not whether they like somebody or not.

Thanks to the Internet, we now have all kinds of reasons to pick apart creators' integrity and boycott their work for reasons other than what's on the printed page and that's unfortunate.

The fact that this individual bought some original art at an auction really should not affect how much a reader enjoys his work on the books he works on. The two are mutually exclusive, really - or they should be.

But I guess it's the nature of the beast.

How many people will boycott the next Mel Gibson movie because they no longer want to support him? What chance does Michael Richards have at this point? Careers have been destroyed because fans turn on them - not because of the work they do, but because of things they inadvertently said or did that have nothing to do with the work that they do."

First of all, I'm bothered by the idea that people shouldn't choose to exert any influence over those that they believe have done wrong (which is what I think the above argument amounts to). I've heard it before from people who don't understand why, to borrow Mr. Larsen's example, someone might choose not to see a Mel Gibson movie or a Michael Richardson production, after their alleged prejudices had been revealed.

We make this world what it is by supporting the things we like and choosing not to support the things we dislike. Sometimes, we take more direct action, but the point is that, on the small and the large scale, people provide incentives or disincentives for other people to behave a certain way.

That's not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it has resulted in a lot of good - especially politically and internationally.

I reject the notion that someone who calls me "nigger" still deserves my money, as long as he produces quality products.

Then, I have to address the "inadvertent" part of Mr. Larsen's statement. Not every screw-up that an individual makes was on-purpose, but they aren't all accidental, either. While Mr. Larsen may not have meant for the "inadvertent" part to reflect on the Gibson or Richards situations, the very possibility of the implication concerned me.

Yes, we all make mistakes. No, we shouldn't all lose our livelihood because of any and every mistake we make. However, if our mistakes taint our images or products so much that potential consumers are turned off, that's the price we have to pay. It'd help if potential consumers (and voters) were more acquainted with intellectual rigor and maybe weren't so quick to believe the worst of a given individual, but, when you really get down to it, we can only work with the information we have.

We all have a certain amount of power. I'm not fond of the notion that we shouldn't use our buying power to make the world a better place.

In fact, I think we often have the obligation to do just that.


Anonymous said...

Yup. Yup. And YUP!


Anonymous said...

Great post. I was just telling my wife the other day that we have to stop accepting peoples diviant behavior and call them out when they get out of line. Too many people look the other way when they see people acting like asses. We need to bring light to their negative behavior and encourage them to change it. How we spend our money is a good way of doing that.

West said...

Thanks, folks.

Anonymous said...

Right there with you.

Anonymous said...

Often as a consumer that's the only way we can get our message across to those with unacceptable behavior.

Great post!
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