Cookie Monster?

26 06 2012

Sometimes I wonder about companies and organizations. They do funny things. Not funny “ha-ha,” but funny “what were they thinking?” Like Lowe’s when it canceled its advertising on TLC’s All American Muslim last December. Like the Susan G. Komen Foundation when it pulled funding from Planned Parenthood last January, and then later flip-flopped. Like McDonald’s when it created its own Twitter hashtag and expected people to play nicely with it.

In all three, social media played a significant role, and mostly not good. Things get out of hand. People go crazy. And the companies and organizations get crazier.

Which explains my wonderment with Kraft Food’s decisions yesterday to announce on its Oreo Fan Page that it supports gay rights. Now before typing another sentence, let me be clear that I have no problem with gay rights, and I wish to ensure them the same rights that I have as a heterosexual. The rainbow Oreo was a mighty attractive image on the page, and made it perfectly clear of its support.

I furthermore have no problem with Kraft Foods supporting gay rights either. It’s just that, by making this announcement, it unintentionally opened a can of worms. Unleashed a tempest in a tea pot. Invited the cookie monster inside.

And boy did it ever create controversy. Naturally, comments were as far apart as night from day, but like all too many a good party turned bad, the conversation turned to religion.

Watch where you step. There’s dogma on the floor.

Let me also state that I have no problem with people having their own religious beliefs. I have mine. You have yours. And let us keep them that way. But I am sure the last thing on Kraft’s collective mind yesterday was their Facebook page being turned into a biblical debate.

Which leads me to wonder why Kraft felt the need to come out with its support. Certainly they had to know that someone, somewhere, would disagree, and do so in a very vocal way. The public commons we know as social media, though, not only invite everyone to join the dialogue, but gives them a stage, microphone and amplifier along with it.

Kraft could have supported gay rights without opening itself up to invective by not broadcasting on its Facebook page; instead, it could have sponsored events, made donations, etc., to causes and activities central to the LGBT community, and perhaps done so in a way that would not alienate other customers.

The court of public opinion often has a hung jury, and sometimes the unwitting defendant hangs itself. Kraft did just this yesterday. Sometimes it is better to love everyone without giving someone a reason to hate on you.

Because in this case the Cookie Monster has a bigger appetite for destruction than he does cookies.

Dr “Make Mine Triple Double” Gerlich

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