January 21, 2002
The blue lights are flickering
By HENRY GALLAGHER FIELDS
The blue lights are flickering at Kmart, and there is speculation that a Chapter 11 filing is in the offing. [That filing was made January 22 ed.] No great revelation there; the newspapers are full of it. However, what the newspapers aren't mentioning are a couple of possible causes for the disaster. First and probably foremost is the boycott that Rev. Donald Wildmon's American Family Association has declared against Kmart for its refusal to stop selling CDs bearing a parental-advisory notice.
Another cause of sorrow for Kmart may well be the adoption of Rosie O'Donnell as their spokeswoman. (Yeah, I know that should be spokesperson, but you'll just have to live with it.) If you grew up with dreams of the Daisy Red Ryder Western Carbine air rifle, or even if you're just into varmint shootin', you may recall that Kmart used to be one of the most active purveyors of firearms in the country. Rosie, on the other hand, has very definite issues about putting firearms in the hands of anybody. Except, of course, for her kids' bodyguards.
I mentioned that the newspapers are full of it meaning news about Kmart. But it's true in a more colloquial sense, too. Think about that boycotting for a minute. It must be pretty big stuff to have gotten Kmart in trouble. That means an awful lot of Americans have to know they've been boycotting. But the reportage about Kmart seems to expect them not to know that.
I'm finally starting to figure out what that droning mantra of modern media management, "reader sensitivity," really means. It's not about being sensitive to your readers. It's about desensitizing your readers.
But who was desensitized first? As we know, the Established Left's image of modern tyranny, oppression, repression, etc., is typically populated by raving right-wing Christians who are determined to burn all the books, force all women to have 15 kids, ban tongue jewelry, and conscript everyone into the church choir. And according to the Left, the Christian Right is always just on the verge of being strong enough to get it all done. But here when it looks as though the Christian Right may actually be accomplishing something against the forces of Progress and Illumination (blue lights in this case), the media Left clams up! Can it be that, since the Christians are relying not on political power but only on voluntary cooperation, the Left really can't see it? It's really invisible to them?
Finally, here's a lagniappe for the folks who enjoy coincidence. Wildmon's AFA, which is a conservative Christian outfit based in Mississippi, has also taken on the Disney enterprises for their less-than-family-friendly policies, specifically some of their pro-homosexualist, anti-religion movies and TV series. Readers of the financial pages will note that there are symptoms of malaise at ABC; but, naturally, there's no connection made.
Kmart's current situation illustrates nicely that you need to be really careful about who your friends are, as well as whom you annoy. Maybe the Disney Empire should be taking a few quick notes. After all, Rosie's done some work for Buena Vista and Disney Studios, too.
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