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Why a smart conserv playbook will keep anti-Hubby cream on ice

by Jeremy Hooper

In a new post to conservative site Human Events, writer Elisabeth Meinecke thinks she's writing a simple denunciation of Ben & Jerry's and their "Hubby Hubby" ice cream. But to us, she's really highlighting just how dissimilar the pro-marriage equality and anti-marriage equality sides truly are.

Read this snip and then we'll get back to you:

How Ben & Jerry’s decides to market their product is their choice and the choice of their consumers -- which is why, thanks to the evils of capitalism, I’ll be comforting myself with Bryers or Baskin-Robbins from now on.

Actually, it would be nice if I could console my ice cream craving by celebrating a conservative cause. As long as there’s a Ben & Jerry’s Hubby Hubby, I’d love to see a save the children ice cream campaign that went toward crisis pregnancy centers (talk about guilt-free ice cream!). Part of this is a cultural double standard that needs to change. Liberal morals are ‘in vogue.’ If conservatives launched a similar campaign, people would call it lame or tacky, regardless of how successful it really was. A flavor celebrating the return of my Second Amendment rights in D.C. would get me laughed out of a Scoop Shop.

Maybe, however, it’s about time someone tried. Greenwood said traditionally Ben & Jerry’s consumers appreciate the company is willing to take a stand. Conservatives can appreciate that just as much as liberals. And since conservatives are usually more willing to put their money where their mouth is (remember Arthur Brooks’ 2006 Who Really Cares: The Surprising Truth About Compassionate Conservatism, which showed conservative households on average gave 30% more to charities than liberal households, even though the liberal families made more), corporations could celebrate initiatives that conservatives found cause for celebration -- the bravery of our troops, or remembering our veterans.
Gay Ice Cream? [Human Events]

Okay, so Ms. Meinecke thinks there should be conservative ice cream flavors. Fair enough. But notice what she has to do in order to make her argument. Rather than suggest a logical counterpart to Ben & Jerry's hubbybenign pro-acceptance flavor, she has to move on to less personal things like owning gun and honoring troops. Or she has to go an innocuous route with a "save the children" flavor, since she knows the notion of kid protection, on its face, is something most find to be palatable.

But what Ms. Meinecke noticeably does not posit as a potential flavor is one that would directly counter what Ben & Jerry's is trying to do through Hubby Hubby. And why not? Well, because in order to do so, she would have to directly go after actual human beings. The National Organization For Marriage comes right out and admits that saying they wish to ban same-sex marriage is harmful to their side, and most social conservatives have certainly heeded that advice. So Ms. Meinecke doesn't want to talk about a flavor that would go against gay consumers in the exact same way that Hubby Hubby supports them. Instead she wants to talk around the matter. That's because just about any directly opposing flavors she could possibly suggest would, undeniably, be revealing the anti-gay side's desire to go against certain kinds of scoop lickers. And in directly countering B&J's deliciousness, the "pro-marriage" shell would start to melt away.

The reason why a flavor like Hubby Hubby can exist whereas a flavor like Ban Ana & Cherry So They'll Have to Split cannot isn't because "liberal morals are in vogue." It's because no public company in their right mind is ever going to sign on to a movement that is pushing discrimination on a huge portion of their consumer base (both gays and supporters). And that, dear readers, is the big difference that is so inconvenient to our opposition, yet one that will always reveal itself if you look through their smokescreen. They can talk in "restore traditional marriage" code all they want. But at the end of the day (or ice cream carton, as it were), those who are anti-Hubby Hubby will never be able to hide the unprincipled rocky road that they want for gay lives and loves.

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Your thoughts

Brilliant :-)

Posted by: Rick | Sep 4, 2009 5:54:40 PM

She does have to dance around it, doesn't she? She takes an advertising campaign (not a charitable endeavor) and then harangues "liberals" for making more money, spending more money on ice cream, and not giving as much money to fill hatemongering church coffers.

And she makes it sound like she would only choose to buy a product based on a socially-conscious (ad?) campaign if the proceeds were benefiting some cause. Her purpose, though, can only be an apparent ploy to suggest that B&J is pouring money into "liberal" advocacy campaigns, or worse, supporting marriage equality. Either of which is probably not true, but the impression she wants the minions to come away with is that both are absolutely true.

Posted by: Dick Mills | Sep 4, 2009 5:56:54 PM

we all have to make sacrifices. I myself have had to trade in delicious Heinz ketchup for the slightly crappier Hunt's all on principle. About a year-ish ago Heinz had a commerical that featured a gay couple. After getting hit with some prejudice emails about not wanting to subject their kids to "immorality", Heinz pulled the commercial giving in to the demands of the right wingers. I was so pissed because honestly, would they pull a commercial featuring an interacial couple if the kkk threatened to boycott? Hell no! They'd be like "We're not listening to a bunch of racist haters" and yet they eagerly abandon the gays like some sort of backwoods bunch of hillbilly rednecks. Giving in to the cries of a bunch of prejudice a-holes shows their true colors. If I can give up Heinz I hardly shed a tear for Ms. Meinecke having to forgo her usual gallon of Ben & Jerrys. Although seeing as how it's probably her only friend (save for her cat and tivod reruns of "According to Jim"), I do feel a twinge of empathy.
Just kidding. I don't.

Posted by: Mrs. M | Sep 4, 2009 6:08:36 PM

What she misses, they may give 30% more but we liberals put our time and tears into it too.

That said, I'm surprised nobody has gone after Ben & Jerry's parent company. You do know they're owned by Lever after all.

Posted by: Tony P | Sep 4, 2009 6:18:55 PM

Interestin she would rather switch to Breyer's. A huge conglomerate now owns Ben & Jerry's - Unilever. You know that one that also owns Breyers. Does google ever cross these people's minds. Oh yeah and no switiching to Good Humor or Klondike. Yep. Unilever on those two too. Still want a frozen treat, but ice cream looks to be out of the question? Popsicle is out as well. You guessed it - Unilever.

Posted by: Dennis | Sep 4, 2009 8:41:39 PM

I think it is less about the language, as NOM suggests and Ms. Meinecke blindly follows, that upset thinking people about the opposition but more the fact that they never suggest a solution for anything and when the liberals go out of their way and create a compromise, they oppose it with much pomp and circumstance. What half way intelligent person could be swayed by this dribble that is suggested on the NOM site?
To bring up a second point, if a boycott by 'conservatives' was so threatening, why is it that they want to hide those who donate to them from the public? Maybe it is because they know they have miscalculated the actual numbers.
NOM and the other haters would be better off suggesting a way that we could get the same rights that gave the same level of social respect if they want to be taken seriously. I very much doubt that they can or would even be willing to.

Posted by: ChrisNH | Sep 4, 2009 8:47:20 PM

Exactly. They don't want to own their hate or have it show up so blatantly. By supporting same-sex marriage, you aren't asking anyone else to give up their rights. But by supporting Meinecke's cause, you are by definition.

I make my own ice cream most of the time because I'm allergic to eggs and most commercial ice creams have them, but my wife and friends might enjoy some Ben and Jerry's.

By the way, I think it would be hilarious to see Gun Nut ice cream. Pralines and walnuts and a blood-red cherry swirl...mmmmm...

Posted by: GreenEyedLilo | Sep 4, 2009 10:55:40 PM

Perhaps she will get her wish and they will come out with a Torture Toffee flavor or a Hospital Visit Vanilla with a topping of Denied Insurance Sprinkles.

Posted by: SteveS | Sep 5, 2009 11:14:17 PM

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