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Question about buying things


Woodworker1968

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Woodworker1968

If you saw something you instantly liked (artwork, jewelry, whatever) and decided you must buy it, would your opinion change if you found out the person who designed it seemed really despicable to you and probably wouldn't like you if you met them in person?

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Blue Eyes White Dragon

I guess it would depend on what it was exactly, how much I liked it, and just how despicable the maker was

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Mackenzie Holiday

It depends. If they made something that made me feel like “wow, this artist gets me!” and then I found out the artist and I were polar opposites, I’d probably think I was mistaken about what the art meant and it would change my read on it, so I probably wouldn’t want it so much anymore because I’d find it much less relatable. But if they made like a really nice pair of boots that were in no way emblematic of any of the issues I had with them, then I probably wouldn’t feel any different. Problematic people need jobs too. Now if they were a big influencing personality in problematic circles and used the money from those boots to fuel their crusade against everything I hold dear, that would certainly give me pause.

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Autumn Twilight

Well, chances are such a person would try to soak me for said item which would cause me to lose interest quickly, so I would likely end up telling them to stick it.

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Sean_Bird
29 minutes ago, Woodworker1968 said:

seemed really despicable to you and probably wouldn't like you if you met them in person?

I mean, if it's on a basis of sexism, transphobia, homophobia, racism, and other things along those lines, I would avoid buying the item no matter how much I liked the item. If it's just a personality thing, like their laugh sounds weird to me or comes across as disingenuous, then I wouldn't care and would buy the item anyway.

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Woodworker1968

A couple of examples I can think of are Louis Chevrolet and Ted Nugent.

 

Chevrolet was a race car driver and a talented race car designer who pioneered the use of aluminum in car parts. Cars still have aluminum pistons thanks to him. But he was also a flaming classist who felt that cars should be expensive toys for rich people. Still, I’d buy a Chevy, and I owned two in the past.

 

Nugent is a conservative who doesn’t seem to like much of anything nowadays, but he wasn’t always so bitter. Back in the 60s when he was with the Amboy Dukes, some of his rock music was pretty good. I have a medley album with “Journey to the Center of the Mind” on it.

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løvely
32 minutes ago, Sean_Bird said:

I mean, if it's on a basis of sexism, transphobia, homophobia, racism, and other things along those lines, I would avoid buying the item no matter how much I liked the item. If it's just a personality thing, like their laugh sounds weird to me or comes across as disingenuous, then I wouldn't care and would buy the item anyway.

I agree, and I think a good example of this (although I mentioned it not too long ago) is Sia and her music.

I love Sia's music, and today in Forever 21 I heard a song of hers that I'd never heard before that I really liked and it made me sad because I really love her music, but refuse to support her in any regard and therefore refuse to listen to her music anymore. 

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theV0ID

My first thought here is, would choosing to boycott that persons work effect only them, or lots of other people too? For the vast majority of things, when you buy them you're not just supporting the artist, you are supporting dozens of other people who's livelihoods are inextricably connected to the sale of that artists work. This is especially the case when the artist is dead (Micheal Jackson for example).

 

But that said, for me the truth is I generally don't give a flying fuck who made something, if I like it then I like it, and I'm not going to let the fact that the artist is an asshole stop me from enjoying something beautiful. 

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Undecided2
48 minutes ago, theV0ID said:

My first thought here is, would choosing to boycott that persons work effect only them, or lots of other people too? For the vast majority of things, when you buy them you're not just supporting the artist, you are supporting dozens of other people who's livelihoods are inextricably connected to the sale of that artists work. This is especially the case when the artist is dead (Micheal Jackson for example).

This is an important point for me. 

2 hours ago, Mackenzie Holiday said:

 Now if they were a big influencing personality in problematic circles and used the money from those boots to fuel their crusade against everything I hold dear, that would certainly give me pause.

This too. 

 

The reason they are despicable, current influence, and impact on others are key things for me. 

 

I would also consider if there were suitsble alternatives. This is usually less the case for artists but more relevant for something like a car.

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No shits given. I'm buying an item, not a dinner with the designer.

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Phalena

Hm... I'd save a lot of money when refusing to buy anything from artists and designers that I wouldn't like on a personal level. Because I could probably always find something that would motivate to boykott them. Guess, I'm morally crippled then.

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Mackenzie Holiday
7 hours ago, Mackenzie Holiday said:

Now if they were a big influencing personality in problematic circles and used the money from those boots to fuel their crusade against everything I hold dear, that would certainly give me pause.

Something I wanted to add to this is that in my opinion boycotting isn’t always the best course of action when someone is using their their creative proceeds in harmful ways. For instance, if someone is too rich or has too many supporters for a boycott to make much difference, then it’s probably not going to make much difference. There are also some cases where a large public boycott can inspire a creator’s supporters to drum up their financial support of the person in question which may or may not cancel out the boycott or in some cases give the problematic creator even more revenue than they would have received otherwise. It’s hard to predict these things, so it’s no one’s fault if this happens, but it’s something I try to be mindful of. Sometimes I think the best way to counter someone’s attack on things I hold dear is to support those things I hold dear even more rather than punish people who are doing what they believe in, even if what they believe in is harmful trash they don’t realize is harmful trash. An exception here would be grifters who clearly don’t have strong feelings on the subject but intend to capitalize on those who do, but I’m generally not interested in their output anyway.

 

Boycotts can mitigate damage, but they don’t do anything to mend the damage the person being boycotted may have done, and I feel that’s often the most important thing. Raising support for the groups harmed and charities that support them can go a very long way and run less of a risk of stoking the fire in some cases. Though, we don’t always have to pick just one way of responding, sometimes a combination of the two may be the best course of action.

 

Basically, if they’re using the money to attack things that I hold dear, that would give me pause but it won’t make my decision. Boycotts can be an incredibly powerful hammer, but I worry that sometimes too many situations look like nails.

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Epic Tetus

I think financial support of someone who is morally repugnant to you should be a consideration when purchasing something, but it doesn't have to be a strict binary. People aren't either good or bad, full stop. Usually there are things about people that are good, and other things that are bad.

 

Also, your personal decision to buy from a creator who you think is objectionable doesn't have to be a political act. It can be, in the case of an organized boycott, but it doesn't have to be.

 

I personally take this a variety of ways, and just generally try to act with open eyes. Feel free to skip to the end and ignore my rambling, as I have 3 examples in mind:

=====

1 - Chick Fil A - For the uninitiated, this is a fast food chain in the US who have, as a rule, pretty good service and a decent chicken sandwich. They're also owned by folks who have made their stance against the LGBT+ community clear and cloaked themselves in religious superiority. Now, this was a relatively easy decision for me, as I'm not a big fast food fan, and I'm happy to save that money to spend elsewhere. But I won't order from them even if it is convenient, and if someone decides they want to make a run to Chick Fil A at a gathering or something, I won't participate. Still, low stakes for me, easy decision.

 

2 - Blizzard - I grew up with Blizzard making really great innovative games, and I played pretty much everything they put out since Warcraft back in the 90s. I was still playing Overwatch and Hearthstone until a few years ago. Now, over time, Blizzard's business practices became weirder, but I didn't shy away. There was a moment in 2019 where, during a tournament streamed in Taiwan, a Hong Kong player was interviewed on stream and made a political statement in support of the Hong Kong protests happening at the time. Blizzard cut the stream shortly afterward, banned the player and denied him the prize money he'd won, and ALSO targeted the commenters who had been on the stream at the time. It was pretty transparently an attempt to pander to the Chinese government, and I thought it was ill done. I took stock and realized I didn't need their games, even if I enjoyed them, and have not played them since.

 

3 - Joss Whedon - I've always loved Buffy and Angel, and really liked Firefly and Dr. Horrible when he put them out. The quippy dialog thing works on me - I liked Gilmore Girls too. I wouldn't describe myself as a raving fan, but I usually was willing to give anything he made a shot. Recently, there have been some allegations about him, his treatment of his wife and his actors, and, frankly, I've just seen some analysis of his and other media properties that have caused me to realize that the guy has some issues and inconsistencies in his portrayal of women and minorities. He seems to kind of know he should be better, but falls into the old traps all the same, and often just uses the stereotypes he seems to set out to undermine. But... I'll still rewatch Buffy, or if he comes out with another show down the line, I might give it a shot.

=====

Now, my judgements of the above are not meant to be authoritative - those are just my personal judgements about what I'm going to do with my time and money. Other people disagree with me, and that's fine. I wouldn't feel comfortable telling other people to use my rationale for the above, because each of those decisions have personal weight to me. That said, I DO think that people should use their judgement in these kinds of things - actually weight the pros and cons. How bad is the behavior? How much do you want the product? Is that exchange worthwhile?

 

What I DON'T think is valuable is to make sweeping statements like 'you should never consider the creator's political actions when making a purchasing decision' or to try and divide all creators into categories of "Good/Acceptable" or "Bad/Unacceptable".

 

TL;DR:

Should you take a creator's political speech and personal stances on social issues into account? - Yes.

 

Must that be the ONLY criteria on which you make your purchasing decision? - No.

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Comrade Jade Cross

-Too poor to even bother thinking about designer/artist brands I could never purchase-

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I probably wouldn't care, since I lean towards “I like the art not the artist”. I know I’ve bought a few things off Redbubble without having any clue what kind of person the artist was, but artists are flawed people just like everyone else on this planet.

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I try to distinguish the art from the artist in situations like that. I am getting something for myself, not giving something to someone. Even though I technically am giving something I don't judge myself for it. I'm not responsible for the artist as a person. But well, it is hard sometimes and I certainly have changed my mind about wanting something. So it depends but I just want to live my life 

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Jelle van der Lee

That's a very interesting question. But it wouldn't affect me a bit. If I like someone's art or product, I just like it. And I don't really care what kind of person made it. I buy things for myself, not for others' benefit.

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Perspektiv

Depends on your meaning of despicable. 

 

I appreciate the music of people who have done dispicable things in their lives. Likely are horrible people. 

 

I would still have paid to see Mike Tyson fight, if I could have afforded a ticket back then. I feel he served his time, so in my opinion he has paid his debt to society. 

 

Now, if that item or art was created by ongoing child labor. Or say, a diamond was obtained by conflict, and an oligarch that terrorizes, kills and rapes with impunity, I would be a little more hesitant to buy it. 

 

The latter setting, is me contributing to those abuses, by giving them my money. 

 

Someone who has done bad things and is an a** is irrelevant to me. 

 

I see it like this.

 

If I have a bottle of Trump wine. 

 

I bought it when he was a mogul. 

 

Doesn't matter what he has done since. I would still keep the bottle. 

 

I already paid for it. Me getting rid of it, doesn't do anything. 

 

My logic is similar regarding a new buy. The gravity of the crimes committed will do little to sway me. 

 

I look more at the ongoing gravity of their actions. 

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