06 February 2012

What was that all about?

I have no idea what the deal was with the Komen v Planned Parenthood smackdown.

One could have made a case that Komen was trying to take a more pro-life stance in order to attract donors who were squeamish about Planned Parenthood's abortion related functions. Though the likelihood that there were a lot of well-informed (or wealthy) abortion activists who were holding out on breast cancer related funding because of a relatively small grant for breast cancer screenings is pretty scant logic. Maybe there was enough money there, but I doubt it. And they tried to glide under the radar this motivation, as though there were some other likely basis for such a decision. Rather than trumpet to the hills the break, when it was plainly obvious why the break was occurring (at least to the likely liberal donors they would be risking).

And then they caved anyway (sort of, sort of not). And Planned Parenthood pulled in just a few days the amount of money they were losing from the proposed grant to be removed. So nothing of substance actually happened. No real arguments over abortion even were attempted. It was all about the money.

Maybe that means that maybe Planned Parenthood has more pull than is believed (at least among "well-meaning liberals")? Maybe. More than likely Komen is coming out of all this scarred somewhat in reputation among liberals and pro-choice activists especially. But then again, Komen was already fairly sketchy as far as funding actual research as opposed to "awareness". I personally care a lot more about helping women with breast cancer or scientists working on treatment for said women than on getting football players to wear pink shoes and jerseys for a Sunday afternoon.

I guess it means that culture war issues are still alive and well, but that's been evident throughout the last two years as the Tea Party types, who we're told again and again only care about fiscal issues like the deficit, busied themselves investigating Planned Parenthood over a pittance of federal funds, trying to pass personhood amendments, stomping on gay marriage or homosexual human rights whenever possible (demanding vetoes in New Jersey for instance), and drug testing welfare recipients. To say nothing of much more bizarre nonsense like whitewashing slavery or deism out of history books and the ongoing battle to put creationism in science books. I didn't need a reminder on the most pressing, most divided, culture war issue out there that these things still matter, a lot, to some very strange people.

So...  in conclusion, I think Netflix's flummoxed attempt at a PR campaign last year when they wished to raise their prices or increase revenue stream by proposing to divide its operations was handled better and more smoothly than this was. And it probably mattered more in the long run. I don't think people will look back at this moment, however flustered the online communities appeared to be for a few days, and see some tremendous important moment.

Online communities get flustered over silly things is the only new lesson I take away from all this.


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