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Garvey: The bizarre failure of conservatives to quit when they’re ahead

By Georgia Garvey - | Jun 6, 2023

June is Pride Month, so it’s officially time for conservatives to lose their minds in an orgy of antigay bigotry not-that-convincingly disguised as traditional morality.

The influx of GOP rage directed at anything with a rainbow on it comes hot on the heels of an effort to take down Target for its Pride-themed merchandise. And that in turn arrives amid what seems like a never-ending tsunami of hatred for Bud Light’s unpardonable sin of sending a personalized beer can to a trans social media influencer.

From the outside of all this, I can’t figure out what conservatives have left to be mad about.

Bud Light folded like Superman on laundry day after the pushback for sending a beer can to influencer Dylan Mulvaney. The PR stunt was just one of many transparently craven attempts by corporations to link themselves to even the most tangentially famous young person. It’s the kind of thing that happens all the time. Mulvaney — like it or not — has a fan base.

But once Bud Light’s parent company, Anheuser-Busch, caught a whiff of blowback, they released a sniveling apology and put two executives in charge of the partnership on leave. Even if Republicans, for some reason, hate the idea of a company marketing itself to a trans influencer’s fans so much that they’ll (claim to) boycott every product that company makes, if they don’t call off the boycott after it’s successful, then they just come off looking like petulant babies who didn’t really have any kind of sensible point in the first place. At least have the decency to take your ill-gotten gains and leave.

But no, there are still conservatives gleefully posting pictures of themselves on Twitter with non-Bud Light beers, which gives companies the message that even if they prostrate themselves completely to the conservative mob, they won’t win. Why bother trying?

Just ask Target, which is still experiencing a similar right-wing firestorm simply for having rainbow-colored kids clothes with horrific statements on them like “I’m proud of you always” and “Just be you and feel the love.”

At first, conservative protesters claimed to be offended that some of the available merchandise was designed by an artist who’s created edgy, Satan-themed pieces outside of his partnership with Target. Well, Target pulled those designs. Then the complaints were that swimsuits designed for trans people were being marketed toward kids. Target pulled those, too. Now conservatives are just mad that there’s anything even remotely LGBTQ-friendly anywhere in the stores.

It’s a strange evolution for Republicans, who not that long ago seemed to understand that the whole point of running a business was to make a profit. Now that’s seen as somehow gross and unethical, a perspective that sounds pretty liberal to me.

And as a self-avowed liberal, I’m a bit uncomfortable defending Target or Anheuser-Busch. I don’t care if those gigantic companies do well, and I’m under no illusions that they’ve engaged in LGBTQ-friendly efforts for any reason other than to increase their stock prices. It’s all hollow, corporate PR, but if it turns out that right-wingers took them too seriously, companies only have themselves to blame.

Here, though, is some free advice for conservatives: Ask yourselves what, exactly, you’re trying to do with all these boycotts.

If it’s “get companies to stop supporting LGBTQ people,” then failing to stop pitching fits even after the companies melt like microwaved popsicles leads me to believe conservatives’ tantrums will soon see diminishing returns.

But, if, as I suspect, the point of all this is just to rant nonsensically at anything vaguely progressive like a drunken uncle at Thanksgiving, then, well, I think noted conservative George W. Bush said it best a long time ago:

Mission accomplished.

To learn more about Georgia Garvey, visit GeorgiaGarvey.com.


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