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December 13, 2011 11:57 AM   Subscribe

All-American Muslim is a reality show on TLC which takes a look at life in Dearborn, Michigan--home to the largest mosque in the United States--through the lens of five Muslim American families. The participants are depicted dealing with lives far more familiar than extreme. But some are unhappy with the very existence of the series. Citing pressure from far-right wing groups, the home improvement chain Lowe’s has pulled its advertising from the show. Online, boycotts of the store, and other methods of protest, are multiplying. Meanwhile the controversy has put the show, as well as the little known group that takes credit for the Lowes advertising pull (the Florida Family Association), on the national media map.
posted by Potomac Avenue (205 comments total) 14 users marked this as a favorite

 
I hope my local hardware store gets some new customers out of this thing.
posted by box at 12:01 PM on December 13, 2011 [14 favorites]


It appears that we managed to step into a hotly contested debate with strong views from virtually every angle and perspective – social, political and otherwise – and we’ve managed to make some people very unhappy. We are sincerely sorry. We have a strong commitment to diversity and inclusion, across our workforce and our customers, and we’re proud of that longstanding commitment.

Lowe’s has received a significant amount of communication on this program, from every perspective possible. Individuals and groups have strong political and societal views on this topic, and this program became a lighting rod for many of those views. As a result we did pull our advertising on this program. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.

We strongly support and respect the right of our customers, the community at large, and our employees to have different views. If we have made anyone question that commitment, we apologize.

Thank you for allowing us to further explain our position.
What cowardly, mealy-mouthed bullshit.
posted by empath at 12:03 PM on December 13, 2011 [92 favorites]


my favorite tweet from russell simmons - Just purchased remaining spots for #allamericanmuslim for next week The show is now sold out! keep your money @lowes and we will keep ours

and even better than that - looks like the show has so many advertisers that he might not actually get the ad spots he wanted.

lowes is probably correct that the hateful dollar spends further than the peaceful one, but it's still nice to see it cause some egg on their face.
posted by nadawi at 12:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


I'm honestly shocked the FFA was able to pull this off. Previous reality-show boycotts have been based on offensive portrayal of their subjects, like the swarm of "Um, yeah, we have tons of respect for the Italian-American community and will stop advertising on Jersey Shore" announcements. The speed at which major corporations fell over themselves to obey some of the most unabashed blatant xenophobia on production today is an awful sign for the state of discourse today. This is basically like saying that blue-collar white males are responsible for an awful lot of child molestation and rape, and failure to portray this is makes The Deadliest Catch an awful show. Or attacking Miami Ink for failing to showcase skinheads convicted of multiple homicides, who often have tattoos.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [15 favorites]


I would have included this link in the original post, but it's by an old friend of mine. From the NYT: A Personal Take on the show by Porochista Khakpour.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


. We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.

"We believe it is best to respectfully defer to frothing incoherent hate speech from tiny fringe groups."
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:05 PM on December 13, 2011 [31 favorites]


I'm honestly shocked the FFA was able to pull this off

They got one company to pull their advertising, and they probably regret it.
posted by empath at 12:05 PM on December 13, 2011


I saw Four Lions at a Loews movie theater last year and they closed for good only a month or two later. I feel like there's some kind of cosmic connection there.
posted by theodolite at 12:05 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I saw ads for the show while watching other TLC shows, and mostly shrugged. But then i knew already that "Muslims are just like us!" and come have their own trials and tribulations. If i was a neilson family, i'd watch it now, still might just out of principle.

The list of companies i saw that pulled out was really long and depressing (don't have link handy). Makes me ashamed to be human with the reactions people have to this. I also wonder if the groups against the show are against christian shows because of the Oklahoma City bombing? (that whole thing got forgotten quickly, didn't it?)
posted by usagizero at 12:06 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


We believe it is best to respectfully defer to communities, individuals and groups to discuss and consider such issues of importance.

I keep reading this sentence over and over and I can't make it mean anything at all in this context.
posted by something something at 12:07 PM on December 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


'Porochista' is my new favorite name.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:07 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Christ almighty people, WTF is wrong with you? Seriously. How the hell can you try to defend the idea of a democratic republic, one where anyone can strive to be what he or she wants so long as he or she is willing to work for it, one where freedom reigns, one where there is liberty and justice for all - AND STILL be able to at the same time scream "BUT NOT FOR THOSE GODLESS FOLK OVER THERE, of course!"????

I don't know how the cognitive dissonance doesn't blow their damned heads up...
posted by caution live frogs at 12:07 PM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]



I was outraged when I heard that Lowes had caved to the FFA. It also pisses me off because now I have to boycott them and I like Lowes. But if that's the kind of decisions they're making at the head office, then I'll be taking my significant "weekend project" money to the other hardware big box store, exactly the same distance from my house (in the other direction.)

I got on their website yesterday and sent them an email via their "Contact Us" function. Basically, the decision is hateful and dumb and just candy assed.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:08 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


usagizero - that list was compiled by the hate group - it was basically a list of "all these people advertised near the first episode, but then didn't advertise on the second or third." they claimed victory, but it's just as likely the companies had different ad spots bought or whatever. the only confirmed one is lowes because they were dumb enough to admit it.
posted by nadawi at 12:09 PM on December 13, 2011


Since I am a semi-frequent customer I decided to call their customer service number yesterday morning. The rep who took my call had obviously had her ear chewed off already (and it was only 9:15). Did I wish to be contacted about my concerns and comments? Oh yes, Amber, very much so. (Didn't Anonymous take down FFA's site?)
posted by TomSophieIvy at 12:11 PM on December 13, 2011


caution live frogs, you are citing the abridged version of the pledge. Don't you know that it's Liberty and Justice for All who are Just Like Us? Diversity is scary stuff.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:11 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lowes took a look at its NA$CAR involvement and that particular demographic and decided to bail.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:11 PM on December 13, 2011


jesus are we a nation of pussies or what? people are afraid of fucking everything.
posted by facetious at 12:12 PM on December 13, 2011 [13 favorites]


Welcome to America, where you can get anything done if you hate enough.
posted by Spatch at 12:12 PM on December 13, 2011 [7 favorites]




The crazy racism on the Lowe's Facebook page comments is sick.
posted by smackfu at 12:13 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


TomSophieIvy: Didn't Anonymous take down FFA's site?

Yes, it was hacked, "only leaving up the message that the group was “destroying our free speech” "

facetious: jesus are we a nation of pussies or what? people are afraid of fucking everything.

Jesus wants to be left out of this one.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:14 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


We're afraid of everything but we act tough and manly about it.
posted by brundlefly at 12:14 PM on December 13, 2011 [31 favorites]


So... is Home Depot run by nazis or anything i should know about?
posted by Artw at 12:14 PM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


I keep reading this sentence over and over and I can't make it mean anything at all in this context.

It means Lowes believes it is best to spend advertising dollars in a way which does not result in boycotts and loss of sales. This is how business works.

Of course Lowes gets no props for advertising on this show in the first place - only criticism for pulling their ads - which means that it is less likely in the future that anyone takes such a chance.

Now the few Americans who don't hate Muslims can get their hate on for Lowes so everyone's hate has an outlet and isn't that what Christmas is all about?
posted by three blind mice at 12:15 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


usagizero: Actually it's a really great, interesting show. Particularly because it's in Michigan in this economy.

Anyone else seen the show?
posted by Potomac Avenue at 12:16 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Ugggh! I really, really liked Lowe's. Just went there the other day...that will be the last. I had no idea Lowe's was run by such cowardly brainless asses.
posted by daydreamer at 12:16 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I remember the FFA. Last year, they claimed to have successfully pressured Kodak to drop advertising for Degrassi, due to the poorly written Canadian drama's introducing of a transgender teen. Once word spread among the fans' (and actors') Twitters and Tumblrs, Kodak's social media team quickly responded that they were still advertising on the show.

As far as I could tell, the FFA is one right-wing crank with a website who puts out bogus press releases claiming to have successfully led advertiser boycotts of a number of LGBT or vaguely LGBT positive shows. Since advertisers usual buy time on networks, not for individual shows and cycle their commercials, the FFA could claim victory every time an commercial ended its normal run.

Christian conservative "news" sites will run the press releases verbatim, and occasionally this would be mistaken for real news by mainstream media outlets.

This is why I was skeptical that Lowes had followed the FFA's lead, as ever other of their boycotts have had zero success.

Now the FFA and the one guy who runs it is getting real attention on TV news. Damn Lowes.
posted by riruro at 12:17 PM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


I'm glad Jonah Goldberg of National Review Online spoke out in the program's defense. Always nice to see sensible folks like him and Chris Christie speaking out against racism and bigotry, especially when it comes from so-called conservatives.

Lowe's ought to be ashamed.
posted by BobbyVan at 12:17 PM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


They got one company to pull their advertising

Actually, if you read the "far right wing groups" link you'll see that a bunch of different advertisers pulled their advertising--Lowe's was just the only one that issued a press release about it.
posted by yoink at 12:19 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


So... is Home Depot run by nazis or anything i should know about?

It's run by union-busters. But so is Lowe's.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:19 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


And "we" aren't a nation of anything. Lowe's (and other companies) are businesses who valued the comments and actions of a hate-group over the chance to support a show about how people are more alike than folks might realize.

And if you want to read the words of FFA directly, here they are. I'll let someone else mirror the content if people don't want to give FFA more viewer hits.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:19 PM on December 13, 2011


It means Lowes believes it is best to spend advertising dollars in a way which does not result in boycotts and loss of sales. This is how business works.

I hope you aren't implying by your use of the "This is how business works" mantra, that consumers, then, have no right to complain about the way a particular business acts.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:20 PM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Of course Lowes gets no props for advertising on this show in the first place - only criticism for pulling their ads - which means that it is less likely in the future that anyone takes such a chance.

Should we really be running around giving "props" to companies that are "brave" enough to advertise on shows that feature non-Christians? How about shows that have gay people on them?
posted by smackfu at 12:20 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Assuming this is still current, here's a link to the personal contact info for Lowes CEO Robert Niblock. Y'know, just in case you want to shoot him an email telling him that there's nothing at his store you can't also find at Home Depot.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:20 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Glad the local hardware store is a Home Depot, then.
posted by kafziel at 12:21 PM on December 13, 2011


usagizero - that list was compiled by the hate group - it was basically a list of "all these people advertised near the first episode, but then didn't advertise on the second or third." they claimed victory, but it's just as likely the companies had different ad spots bought or whatever. the only confirmed one is lowes because they were dumb enough to admit it.

Good to know. :)

usagizero: Actually it's a really great, interesting show. Particularly because it's in Michigan in this economy.

I will give it a shot now, i was kind of shocked it got outrage from anyone from the pretty non-offensive seeming commercials, but then i'm not of the same ilk as those protesting it. Being from Wisconsin myself, i hear a good deal about how the economy is in Michigan, so that part did interest me.
posted by usagizero at 12:21 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Snippet from the FFA page on this show and its advertisers:
TWENTY FIVE (25) out of TWENTY SEVEN (27) NEW ADVERTISERS targeted in the November 29th email alert did not advertise again during the December 4th and 5th episodes. Amazon.com's Kindle and Merck & Co's Dulera were the only two new advertisers identified in the second alert which aired again in the December 4th and 5th episodes.

SIXTY FIVE (65) companies that Florida Family Association targeted with emails did NOT advertise again during the only two episodes of All-American Muslim that aired this past week. The following companies did not advertise again during the December 4th and December 5th , 2011 episodes of All-American Muslim: 3M (Command, Scotchbrand tape), Airborne Vitamin, Amway, Anheuser Busch Inbev (Select55), Art Instruction Schools, Bamboozles, Bank of America (Cash Rewards), Bare Escentuals, Brother International (Ptouch), Campbell's Soup, Capital One, Church & Dwight (Oxi Clean, Arm & Hammer), City Furniture, Conagra (Hunt's Diced Tomatoes), Corinthian Colleges (Everst411), Cotton, Inc., Cumberland Packing (Sweet'N Low), Dell computers, Diamond Foods (Kettlebrand Chips), Estee Lauder (Clinique), ET Browe (Palmer's Cocoa butter), Gap, General Motors (Chevy Runs Deep), Good Year, Green Mountain Coffee, Guthy Renker (Proactiv), Hershey kisses, Home Depot, Honda North America, HTC Phones, Ikea, JC Penney, JP Morgan Chase (Chase Sapphire), Kayak.com, Kellogg (Special K), Koa Brands (John Frieda), Leapfrog Enterprise (Leapster Explorer), Mars (Dove Chocolate), McDonald's, Nationwide Insurance, News Corp (We bought a zoo movie), Nintendo (Mariokartz.com), Novartis (Theraflu), Old Navy, Pernod Ricard (Kahlua), Petsmart, Pier One, Pfizer (Centrum vitamin), Procter & Gamble (Align Probiotic, Crest, Febreze, Mr. Clean Magic Eraser, Pur, Tide), Progressive Insurance, Prudential Financial, Radio Shack, Ruth's Chris Steakhouse, SC Johnson (Drano, Glade, Scrubbing Bubbles), Sears , Signet (Kay Jewelers), Sonic Drive-ins, Subaru, THQ (uDraw), T-Mobil, Toyota (Camry), Volkswagen, Vtech (Mobi Go, V Reader) and Wal-Mart.
posted by filthy light thief at 12:21 PM on December 13, 2011


sensible folks like him

Jonah Goldberg is "sensible folk"? That's stretching the meaning of "sensible" to breaking point, incinerating the remains, burying them and dancing on the grave with pink underpants on your head.
posted by yoink at 12:22 PM on December 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


Y'know, just in case you want to shoot him an email telling him that there's nothing at his store you can't also find at Home Depot.

I think Lowe's is in lockdown "let's say nothing and hope this goes away" mode at this point.
posted by smackfu at 12:22 PM on December 13, 2011


Actually, if you read the "far right wing groups" link you'll see that a bunch of different advertisers pulled their advertising--Lowe's was just the only one that issued a press release about it.

Uh, that's what the bigots are claiming, but there's no guarantee they're telling the truth. See here.
posted by kmz at 12:22 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


I understand FFA's point. I just wish their was a show that depicted the ordinary lives of Christian terrorists plotting to murder abortion doctors or beat up the local homos.

After all: "The show profiles only Muslims Christians that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic Christian believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans bigoted asshats cherish."
posted by munchingzombie at 12:22 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Jonah Goldberg...sensible....

Let's not go too far.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:23 PM on December 13, 2011


Snippet from the FFA page on this show and its advertisers:

Consider the source dude.
posted by smackfu at 12:23 PM on December 13, 2011


What cowardly, mealy-mouthed bullshit.

It is not the responsibility of for-profit companies to "be brave." I don't have any problem with that statement from Lowe's. First you have people boycotting companies for donating to causes those people oppose, and now we're seeing companies criticized merely for trying to extract themselves from the discourse. Lowe's isn't a political-action organization. I have causes that I believe are worth fighting for, too, but I don't have any objection if a corporation—whether its executives agree with those causes or not—doesn't want any part of the debate.
posted by red clover at 12:24 PM on December 13, 2011


Thinking about this in the context of this comment about how TV advertising works, might attempts to petition advertisers to pull out of a show after it's started be sort of misguided? The advertisers already payed ahead of time, and they were being for a demographic, not a show.
posted by roll truck roll at 12:24 PM on December 13, 2011


Tomorrowful: "I'm honestly shocked the FFA was able to pull this off."

There's absolutely zero evidence that the FFA were responsible for this, although they like to claim all sorts of ridiculous shit about their other supposed "successes."

If you ever bought an ad on TLC, FFA wrote you a letter, and haven't bought an ad on TLC since, FFA counts you among their ranks of supporters. This, of course, is absurd.

They also initially claimed that Home Depot pulled their ads for the same reason. Home Depot very quickly fired back, and noted that they'd only purchased one ad on the program, and had ended that particular advertising campaign before FFA ever mailed them a letter.

The only "smoking gun" here is Lowes' refusal and/or hesitancy to deny that the FFA influenced their decisions in any way. They could have completely avoided creating a controversy by issuing a similar response to what Home Depot wrote, citing something nebulous and believable, like the program's ratings and cost of advertising.

Instead, they tried to walk both sides of the issue, and are quickly backing themselves into a corner. If I was a shareholder, I'd be demanding the CEO's resignation right now, and a massive apology to the community.

(By the way, if your company accidentally offends a minority group, this is how you write an apology. Own up, say you're sorry, fix the problem, and make sure it never happens again.)
posted by schmod at 12:25 PM on December 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


Uh, that's what the bigots are claiming, but there's no guarantee they're telling the truth. See here.

In this particular case the "bigots" are the Salon.com columnist.
posted by yoink at 12:26 PM on December 13, 2011


East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94: "25 Dumbest Comments On Lowe's Facebook Page About “All-American Muslim”"

What's with the people spelling it "CHRISTmas" to emphasize that it's their holiday? Is this a new thing? Are they concerned that the Jews and Muslims (and other godless heathens) are somehow diluting the majority's holiday by existing?
posted by zarq at 12:26 PM on December 13, 2011


Anti-Muslim sentiment is not just an artifact of "extreme, hate-filled fringe groups." Lowe's very likely made some kind of calculation that stopping their advertising would alienate the fewest customers. They were well within their right to do so, just as you're within your rights to complain about it.

Lowe's isn't a political-action organization. I have causes that I believe are worth fighting for, too, but I don't have any objection if a corporation—whether its executives agree with those causes or not—doesn't want any part of the debate.

Well said.
posted by mekko at 12:26 PM on December 13, 2011


schmod: " (By the way, if your company accidentally offends a minority group, this is how you write an apology. Own up, say you're sorry, fix the problem, and make sure it never happens again.)"

That's a hell of a good apology.
posted by zarq at 12:27 PM on December 13, 2011


In this particular case the "bigots" are the Salon.com columnist.

It's not clear that there's any independent reporting there, however. It seems like it might just be regurgitation of FFA press releases.
posted by mr_roboto at 12:27 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why would anyone want to watch this show? It seems like 5 incredibly unremarkable families.
posted by Michael Pemulis at 12:29 PM on December 13, 2011


again, please don't assume all the companies listed by FFA actually bowed to their crazy demands. i'm sure it wasn't just lowes who pulled their ads, but i'm also pretty confident the list of companies who made a measured choice is far, far shorter than the FFA claims. most probably just didn't have spots bought for that time/network/demographic for a million reasons that aren't hateful.
posted by nadawi at 12:30 PM on December 13, 2011


It takes a few seconds to glean from Lowe's Facebook page that many of the people commenting don't actually know any Muslims, and are making outrageously stupid statements based on what some other bigot told them to believe. If your opinion about Muslim people is nothing but a comment on a Muslim book, then surpise!, you're an asshole.

I wonder, was the FFA also angry about Seinfeld and its portrayal of Jews as people who dated, ate normal food, and had senses of humor just like real people?
posted by 1adam12 at 12:30 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


What's with the people spelling it "CHRISTmas" to emphasize that it's their holiday? Is this a new thing? Are they concerned that the Jews and Muslims (and other godless heathens) are somehow diluting the majority's holiday by existing?

The annual War on Christmas is a storied tradition at this point.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:30 PM on December 13, 2011


I was outraged when I heard that Lowes had caved to the FFA. It also pisses me off because now I have to boycott them and I like Lowes.

That is stupid.
Because the message that potential advertisers will take away is this: Don't advertise on controversial programs, because it's a can of worms that may lead to an unavoidable boycot.

The consequence is less money for controversial programs.

If you liked the show, the sensible thing to do is not to call for a boycot on a company that decided to sponsor the show in the first place.
posted by sour cream at 12:31 PM on December 13, 2011


Anyone else watch the show so far? I think it's sharp and insightful, worth watching.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 12:31 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Michael Pemulis: " It seems like 5 incredibly unremarkable families."

Muslims make up less than 1% of the US population. It stands to reason that people might be curious.
posted by zarq at 12:32 PM on December 13, 2011


Anti-Muslim sentiment is not just an artifact of "extreme, hate-filled fringe groups."

I beg to differ.

Lowe's very likely made some kind of calculation that stopping their advertising would alienate the fewest customers. They were well within their right to do so, just as you're within your rights to complain about it.

Has anybody said they're legally required to keep advertising? No. (Well, maybe some California senator, but he's just being dumb.)

Lowe's isn't a political-action organization. I have causes that I believe are worth fighting for, too, but I don't have any objection if a corporation—whether its executives agree with those causes or not—doesn't want any part of the debate.

Then I hope Lowe's has no objection if they don't get to take any part of my money.
posted by kmz at 12:32 PM on December 13, 2011


It is not the responsibility of for-profit companies to "be brave."

Supporting the claim that Muslims can be good Americans strikes me as just being moral, not particularly brave (in American at this time). And I don't see why being a for-profit company exempts it from being moral.
posted by benito.strauss at 12:32 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: " The annual War on Christmas is a storied tradition at this point."

Oh, sure. But still, "CHRISTmas" seems like a special kind of idiocy.
posted by zarq at 12:33 PM on December 13, 2011


Michael Pemulis - because people enjoy different things? this is the network that has shows about the duggars, normal weddings/births/makeovers, cupcakes, tattoo shops, little people, and hoarders. it's network based upon normalish people doing things, somtimes in maybe fringe areas.
posted by nadawi at 12:34 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Lowe's very likely made some kind of calculation that stopping their advertising would alienate the fewest customers.

That is ridiculous. FFA targeted tons of companies. Only Lowes took the bait, and gave into the hate-mongers. The other companies are among a bunch of others that ignored a small radical religious group. Lowes has now caught the anger of millions.

Lowes has also opted to boycott this show - so they are involved. They have taken a political stance.

I say boycott Lowes. The message from Lowes is clear - which minority group will Lowes target as being un-American next.

Stand up to this hate now - before they come for you.
posted by Flood at 12:34 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


My local Home Depots have recently stopped carrying welding supplies. Plus, the Lowe's is near a Bojangles. This is going to be tough...
posted by MrMoonPie at 12:34 PM on December 13, 2011


There sure are a lot of American Christians who don't want to be treated the way they treat American Muslims.
posted by Legomancer at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2011 [16 favorites]


Herman Cain recently went on record saying he believes that the majority of Muslims are extremists. And barely anyone called him out on it or even bothered to report it. This is the kind of hostile America we live in.
posted by naju at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


CHRISTmas has been showing up for decades. i remember it from my childhood in the 80s/90s in arkansas where nearly everyone is christian and were in no danger of losing "their" holiday.
posted by nadawi at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2011


What's with the people spelling it "CHRISTmas" to emphasize that it's their holiday?

As a pagan, I think Christians have been getting a free ride for too long and paying the proper respect to the appropriate deities on TYRSday, WODENSday, THORSday, and FRIGESday, and SATURNSday.
posted by empath at 12:35 PM on December 13, 2011 [64 favorites]


mekko: "Anti-Muslim sentiment is not just an artifact of "extreme, hate-filled fringe groups." Lowe's very likely made some kind of calculation that stopping their advertising would alienate the fewest customers. They were well within their right to do so, just as you're within your rights to complain about it."

That's fine. They're certainly not obliged to advertise on that program, and don't have to state their reasons for doing so (or not).

What's not fine is that Lowes stood by the decision, and tacitly admitted that they removed the ads under pressure from right-wing hate groups. If they denied the whole thing like Home Depot did, there would be no controversy.

There may be no actual controversy here, and I suspect that this is probably the case. However, Lowes are quickly turning it into one of the biggest PR flubs of all time. They could have very easily stated that "We are no longer advertising on that program, although our decision to divert resources elsewhere was not based upon public feedback or ideological/religious grounds," and everybody would have walked away somewhat satisfied. Everyone gets their cake.

There's no way that they're maximizing shareholder value right now. At this point, they might as well start rebranding themselves as Flixter.
posted by schmod at 12:37 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


There's absolutely zero evidence that the FFA were responsible for this, although they like to claim all sorts of ridiculous shit about their other supposed "successes."

FFA posted an email they say they received from Lowe's that says: "While we continue to advertise on various cable networks, including TLC, there are certain programs that do not meet Lowe's advertising guidelines, including the show you brought to our attention. Lowe's will no longer be advertising on that program." Now, probably their advertising guidelines are "no controversy!" but if that's the case, you HAVE to be smarter than that when writing back to racists.
posted by smackfu at 12:37 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


and my joke falls flat. I meant to say Qwikster.
posted by schmod at 12:37 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Oh, sure. But still, "CHRISTmas" seems like a special kind of idiocy.

The whole thing is pretty "special"; it seems hard to pick out any particular part of the "War on Christmas" farrago as more "special" than any other.
posted by yoink at 12:38 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Michael Pemulis: "Why would anyone want to watch this show? It seems like 5 incredibly unremarkable families."

Maybe that's exactly the point.
posted by caution live frogs at 12:38 PM on December 13, 2011 [12 favorites]


have no right to complain about the way a particular business acts.

No of course people can complain, boycott, whatever. That's why Lowes dropped their support of this program, because customers complained, boycotted, whatever. In the democracy of the consumer dollar, sales is the only measure of public opinion that matters.

It's a no win situation for Lowes and they - and every other retailer - would do well to stay away from advertising on any program that is remotely controversial. There is no up side to it, only downside, as evidenced in this thread.
posted by three blind mice at 12:38 PM on December 13, 2011


It is not the responsibility of for-profit companies to "be brave." I don't have any problem with that statement from Lowe's. First you have people boycotting companies for donating to causes those people oppose, and now we're seeing companies criticized merely for trying to extract themselves from the discourse. Lowe's isn't a political-action organization. I have causes that I believe are worth fighting for, too, but I don't have any objection if a corporation—whether its executives agree with those causes or not—doesn't want any part of the debate.

Corporations are people, and being a coward is not generally regarded as a positive trait for a person to have. There is no debate or controversy here, or there is only in the sense there is a debate and a controversy between evolution and creationism. One side is right, and the other is refusing to admit it. Bowing to the bigots here is not staying out of the debate, it's taking a side.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:38 PM on December 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Now the few Americans who don't hate Muslims can get their hate on for Lowes so everyone's hate has an outlet and isn't that what Christmas is all about?

Let me get this straight. You're accusing the people who aren't Islamophobes and who think Lowe's was chickenshit to buckle under to some idiotic Florida bigots of ruining Christmas for you? (This is me rolling my eyes.)
posted by aught at 12:38 PM on December 13, 2011 [10 favorites]


any program that is remotely controversial.

But when you have idiots who consider that a gay character is "controversial" or that someone swearing is "controversial", there's not going to be much left to advertise on.
posted by smackfu at 12:40 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That's why Lowes dropped their support of this program, because customers complained, boycotted, whatever.

Is there any evidence whatsoever that the FFA represented even a single Lowe's customer?
posted by kmz at 12:40 PM on December 13, 2011


And keep in mind the "controversy" here is that the show portrays Muslims as being non-terrorists.
posted by smackfu at 12:41 PM on December 13, 2011 [27 favorites]


So... is Home Depot run by nazis or anything i should know about?

It's run by union-busters. But so is Lowe's.


And their staff is beyond moronic. And, my contractor relative tells me, the quality of their goods is such crap that they should be held directly responsible every time a house blows up due to a gas leak.
posted by Melismata at 12:43 PM on December 13, 2011


The annual War on Christmas is a storied tradition at this point.

It's a giant deal because of asshole liberals and the liberal media trying to persecute people by saying such things as "Happy Holidays" and "holiday tree".
posted by inigo2 at 12:43 PM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


"What do we want?!!!"

"Fundamentalist Christian theocracy!!!"

"When do we want it?!!"

"NOW!!!"
posted by ZenMasterThis at 12:44 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Any time I read something like this I reflect on my own upbringing and am so very, very grateful that I was raised in a relatively diverse area with friends from many different races, creeds, and economic strata.
posted by backseatpilot at 12:44 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The fact that the show is controversial is mind numbingly awful.
posted by drewbage1847 at 12:45 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


To paraphrase a really powerful Joss Whedon speech: "Why do we need shows like All American Muslim?" "Because you keep asking that question."
posted by kmz at 12:46 PM on December 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


Anyone else watch the show so far? I think it's sharp and insightful, worth watching.

I dunno. There is this other show on the E! channel about a group of struggling Armenian-American sisters and their mother trying hard to make lives for themselves in the U.S. that kind of put me off the whole idea of watching shows about strongly ethnic families. {/}
posted by aught at 12:49 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


"Why would anyone want to watch this show? It seems like 5 incredibly unremarkable families."

This is a network, that as of late, has a popularity built around a bunch of white people whose only 'remarkable' quality seems to be popping out the next generation at a surprisingly high rate.

The world is just lucky we didn't get saddled with "15 Muslims and Counting" -- though I'd love to think about how terrifying THAT would be to the assholes.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 12:51 PM on December 13, 2011 [5 favorites]


Lowes has now caught the anger of millions.

Do you honestly believe that millions of people are outraged by Lowe's pulling their advertising from a tv show about Muslim families? Millions as in more than 999,999 people?
posted by mekko at 12:53 PM on December 13, 2011


Isn't that the same channel that ran the Sarah Palin "reality" show?

What I'd like to see is a list of advertisers who DID run commercials on the last two weeks of that show. To give me somebody to support.
posted by oneswellfoop at 12:54 PM on December 13, 2011


And keep in mind the "controversy" here is that the show portrays Muslims as being non-terrorists.

It doesn't matter if the "controversy" is whether Frosty the Snowman is comprised of snow or slush. What matters is that there is a controversy. Controversies alienate people. Being involved with a controversy, or being perceived to participate even tangentially, can be bad for business.

It's worth noting that the tactic used by the FFA here is roughly the same used by many liberals in the debate over California's Prop 8: Find the money, and shame it. I have no problem with Lowe's or any other corporation wanting no part of controversy, especially political or religious. (What's rule number one of social gatherings? Politics and religion.) If you support, you alienate those opposed, and vice versa. If you bend over backward to extract your company from the debate entirely, the only people you risk alienating are the battle-blind crusaders who swear vendetta against anyone who doesn't take up sword behind them. And you can't spend time and energy appeasing those people anyway because that, by God, is one surefire full-time black-hole of a job and you're busy running a home-improvement store.
posted by red clover at 12:56 PM on December 13, 2011


the only people you risk alienating are the battle-blind crusaders who swear vendetta against anyone who doesn't take up sword behind them

Heh.
posted by joe lisboa at 12:57 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Really? Crusaders?
posted by joe lisboa at 12:59 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


In my email to the Lowe's CEO I asked him to consider how his Muslim employees and shareholders must be feeling right about now. I also suggested a couple of organizations to which is sizable donations could be made after his public admission of how cowardly and wrong-headed this act was. As a new homeowner, I hope my words will be taken seriously.

I totally agree that they don't have to advertise anywhere (and shouldn't be pressured to support some other corporation's programming), but any corporation engaged in bigoted activity needs to be called out quickly, loudly, and repeatedly. This should be costly for them.
posted by activitystory at 12:59 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


"everyone deserves equal rights" is just like "how dare they claim muslims are normal and why didn't they show any stoning?!?!"

FFA created the controversy through their hate-filled screed and lowes was dumb enough to take the bait. i really can't understand what made them decide to actually respond to FFA and admit what they've done. if they're trying to stay out of controversy, they've done a piss poor job of it.
posted by nadawi at 1:00 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


But still, "CHRISTmas" seems like a special kind of idiocy.

Oh, it's a delicious brand of idiocy, especially when in comes from people who, in a previous mouth breath, just proclaimed how they hate those other guys who try to push their religion in your face simply by saying "Happy Holidays."

You know, we used to have "Jesus is the reason for our season" pins when I was little and wore them to church services during Advent. The pin's message was to remind you (the hypothetical Christian here) that you were celebrating the birthday of a pretty important figure in the church, rather than obsessing over presents and commercialism and stuff. And I could get behind that, to an extent.

But the pin's message wasn't to remind people of other faiths that their Winter Solstice-coinciding holidays aren't valid. It hurts me to see this. This is not the message I wished to give. The way I always figured it, someone does one thing to celebrate light in the darkness; I do something else. We both find solace and cheer and warmth in our way. How and why is this supposed to be wrong?

I guess, then, the defiant "CHRISTmas" isn't just a delicious brand of idiocy. It is pretty much the ne plus ultra of ignorance and hypocrisy. It hurts me to see hateful Christians spouting out their hateful feelings while emphasizing, in all caps, the name of the man who I was taught wouldn't have held any of those feelings.
posted by Spatch at 1:00 PM on December 13, 2011 [22 favorites]


Lowes took a look at its NA$CAR involvement and that particular demographic and decided to bail.
posted by Thorzdad at 3:11 PM on December 13

Hey, thanks for continuing to show that its perfectly ok to be a hateful bigot, so long as it is against the right people, Thorzdad.

I guess me liking NASCAR means I'm not worthy of any of this respect and tolerance bullshit, is it?
posted by strixus at 1:02 PM on December 13, 2011 [7 favorites]


It doesn't matter if the "controversy" is whether Frosty the Snowman is comprised of snow or slush.

It does matter when people here are saying "this will just make advertisers avoid controversial shows." Lowe's made this a controversy by reacting to it.
posted by smackfu at 1:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That is stupid.
Because the message that potential advertisers will take away is this: Don't advertise on controversial programs, because it's a can of worms that may lead to an unavoidable boycot.

The consequence is less money for controversial programs.

If you liked the show, the sensible thing to do is not to call for a boycot on a company that decided to sponsor the show in the first place.


That's not the point. If Lowes sponsored the show, and then stopped, because it wasn't a good use of their advertizing budget, then no harm no foul. That's not what they said. It's what they SHOULD have said, but they're dumb.

The reason I'm angry with Lowes isn't because they stopped sponsoring the show, it's because they said the reason was because of the controversy.

Honestly, that show had NO controversy. Zero. It wasn't even on my radar. But if a large, mass marketer says, "We agree with these wing-nuts, we're not sponsoring the show." THAT'S when you lose my patronage.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 1:04 PM on December 13, 2011 [6 favorites]


I don't know how the cognitive dissonance doesn't blow their damned heads up...
It's because there is no god
posted by fullerine at 1:07 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does freedom of choice not go both ways ?
posted by butchseaman at 1:08 PM on December 13, 2011


If there was one religion I wish I understood, it's corporatism.
posted by maxwelton at 1:08 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]



But the pin's message wasn't to remind people of other faiths that their Winter Solstice-coinciding holidays aren't valid. It hurts me to see this. This is not the message I wished to give.

The ha-ha-fuck-you Christmas people are the political and religious equivalent of the guy cheating on his wife who hires a private detective to spy on her and make sure she's not running around. It's an act of bitter denial of one's one self-hatred about their own failings about something they're only pretending to give a shit about.

The bulk of these pseudo-Christians who are actually outraged about the "depiction" of Muslims on this TLC show are likely, deep down, hateful about how it's showing happy families living somewhat content lives, not people who pray to a different version of God. That's the crisis in their own life they choose to turn to hate to forget about.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 1:08 PM on December 13, 2011 [8 favorites]


> Why would anyone want to watch this show? It seems like 5 incredibly unremarkable families.

I found it pretty boring and lazy. It's also mostly Arab-centric (given that many Muslims in Dearborn are Arab). There are plenty of interesting stories to be told about Islam in America, but TLC seems to be assiduously avoiding those people.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Honestly, that show had NO controversy.

I'd never even heard of it before this, total Streisand Effect. And yeah, I can believe a million people are angry about it now given how much media coverage it's getting.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2011


Because the message that potential advertisers will take away is this: Don't advertise on controversial programs, because it's a can of worms that may lead to an unavoidable boycot.

But how is that even a meaningful idea when the controversy is whatever some loonie decides it is today? "Discovery shows dinosaurs, dinosaurs contradict our reading of the Bible, therefore we call for a boycott of Living With Dinosaurs!!!" Is some advertiser really going to see that as a "controversial" program that they should avoid? Loonies are loonies.
posted by smackfu at 1:09 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Kudos to you, Potomac, for making a great FPP about this story.
posted by Beardman at 1:10 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Does freedom of choice not go both ways ?

what does this even mean? the freedom of choice usually refers to women's struggle to have legal autonomy over their own bodies. i don't see how it relates.

if you mean it more broadly, FFA is free to be hateful assholes, lowes is free to capitulate, and we're all free to tell them we think that was a bad choice and if they did it to avoid controversy they failed. looks like everyone had the freedom to choose their steps here.
posted by nadawi at 1:12 PM on December 13, 2011


Does freedom of choice not go both ways ?

Yep! They can choose to be bigots/cowardly/stupid (take your pick), I can choose to call them out and boycott them. See how that works?
posted by kmz at 1:13 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Well, if I see any of these controversial families on my way to work in Dearborn tonight, I will let you guys know. See you at the local hardware store meet-up.
posted by joe lisboa at 1:14 PM on December 13, 2011


I shop at a locally owned hardware store. Because whenever I go in there with a question or a problem, Mr. Isaacs calmly explains to me how I'm an ignorant and inept homeowner and then proceeds to explain the RIGHT way to solve my problem and I'm all "ARE YOU A WIZARD?!" and I save hundreds of dollars.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 1:21 PM on December 13, 2011 [22 favorites]


> Honestly, that show had NO controversy

Actually, I'm kind of glad that show is boring. It shows that Muslims, like most other people, are pretty mundane and uninteresting and go about their mundane and uninteresting lives with a mixed amount of diligence, self-awareness, blind spots, self-deprecating humor, and occasional moments of spontaneity. It's far more humanizing than sentiments like "everything I need to know about Islam I learned on 9/11" and the like. Still, it is dull.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:21 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Have any advertisers ever boycotted Little Mosque on the Prairie?

No?

Because it's been on for, like, YEARS.

But this is Canada.
posted by ethnomethodologist at 1:22 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


25 Dumbest Comments On Lowe's Facebook Page About “All-American Muslim”

I wish they had left the names exposed.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:28 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Thinking about this in the context of this comment about how TV advertising works, might attempts to petition advertisers to pull out of a show after it's started be sort of misguided?

Lowes would likely have purchased the spots from TLC's parent company (Discovery Communications) as part of a package targeted at a specific demo or other consumer profile. This package may have spanned several of Discovery's properties, and the client may not have originally known which programs were included in the package (other than perhaps some of the more established ones). They may have received assurances from their Discovery reps that they would stay away from controversial content, although the definition of "controversial" clearly now involves some differences of opinion.

Either way, Lowes almost certainly paid a penalty to move their spots away from this show after the close date, and may have paid an additional premium for new placements. I'm not sure which media agency represents Lowes in the US (or if they even have one), but had it been the one I work for, we would have very likely recommended against it.
posted by TheWhiteSkull at 1:38 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


Anti-Muslim sentiment is not just an artifact of "extreme, hate-filled fringe groups." Lowe's very likely made some kind of calculation that stopping their advertising would alienate the fewest customers. They were well within their right to do so, just as you're within your rights to complain about it.

Absolutely no one claims that Lowe's had no right to pull their advertising. People are just complaining about it and boycotting them.

I have causes that I believe are worth fighting for, too, but I don't have any objection if a corporation—whether its executives agree with those causes or not—doesn't want any part of the debate.

Erm, they ran screaming into the debate by issuing that press release.

Lowe's made an offensive, chickenshit decision. They could have even just quietly pulled their ads, but instead they released an offensive, chickenshit press release. My heart would grow three sizes if they got a hotter burn from caving to hate groups than if they had either supported the show or just ignored the hate group.
posted by Sticherbeast at 1:42 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I found it pretty boring and lazy. It's also mostly Arab-centric (given that many Muslims in Dearborn are Arab). There are plenty of interesting stories to be told about Islam in America, but TLC seems to be assiduously avoiding those people.

I actually thought that the kind of low-key ruminations about faith, and the embedded messages about feminism, were really thought-provoking, though I've known people who feel the same way as you.

Then again, I also thought that this last season of Sister Wives was fantastic, and took it from a trashy guilty pleasure to a really interesting exploration of polygamist faith and integration (the episode about Kody visiting an old LDS friend, particularly). My tastes in reality TV tend toward the pensive.
posted by PhoBWanKenobi at 1:47 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


What's with the people spelling it "CHRISTmas" to emphasize that it's their holiday?


Some people apparently feel that a holiday greeting is a good opportunity to indulge in some good ol' fashioned passive-aggressive tribalism.


I tend to think that this sort of mindset indicates an imperfect understanding of what Christmas is supposed to be about. And Christianity, too, for that matter.
posted by DiscountDeity at 1:48 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The world is just lucky we didn't get saddled with "15 Muslims and Counting" -- though I'd love to think about how terrifying THAT would be to the assholes.

I've been saying this for years, that if the Duggars were black or brown that show would have collapsed from the weight of the hate mail. But because the 19 kids are white and middle-class people just love them: "Oh they must be doing something right because all of the children are so happy!" little knowing that their deranged cult leader has decided that children must smile all the time or be punished. Well we will see how smiley they are when TLC airs the funeral of the miscarriage.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 1:49 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Not much to say about Lowe's that hasn't been said already. I watched a couple episode of AAM last night and was very pleasantly surprised by it. It maintained a great balance between implicitly answering questions an uninformed viewer would have about Islam while still portraying the utter normalcy of the daily activities and beliefs of these families. It also made a point to address the discrimination against Muslims that the families had to deal with--a very pregnant wife left standing for twenty minutes at the hostess stand, bigoted protesters at a Muslim American celebration, etc. I really didn't expect something this thoughtful out of TLC.
posted by schroedinger at 1:50 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also: I think in a way the kind of boring normalcy of it was a strength--because by pointing out how boringly normal these families are it underlies how little difference there is between them and any other non-Muslim-Arab-American family.
posted by schroedinger at 1:52 PM on December 13, 2011


Is there a way to check if any of my facebook friends have commented on that page?
posted by Aizkolari at 1:57 PM on December 13, 2011


PS: We wouldn't be having this discussion if Lowe's had done the right thing and pull all of their advertising from TLC for TLC being a piece of shit channel.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Does freedom of choice not go both ways ?
posted by butchseaman at 1:08 PM on December 13"

Oh, it goes all the ways! Lowe's can be run by bigots, and you can shop there and support bigotry, and sane people can boycott them and not support it, and we can all talk about it and no one is forced by the government to do anything! Freedom

The system is working, you just don't like that there are consequences to bigotry.
posted by a_girl_irl at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


*pulled. Me fail English? Unpossible!
posted by Mister Fabulous at 1:58 PM on December 13, 2011


I didn't take the Nascar-demographic point as bigoted and slandering Nascar fans (and I have a Dale Earrnhardt-autographed tire from his racecar to prove I'm one of 'em!)

Feels safe to say that a relatively high number of Nascar fans would be okay with Lowe's pulling its advertising from this show.

At least that's my sense, having been to races in Sonoma, Southern California, Las Vegas, Phoenix, Daytona and Talladega.
posted by ambient2 at 2:00 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


what does this even mean? the freedom of choice usually refers to women's struggle to have legal autonomy over their own bodies. i don't see how it relates.
I think "freedom of choice" simply means the freedom to choose different things. I think 'choice' here simply meant freedom to choose different hardware stores.
posted by delmoi at 2:14 PM on December 13, 2011


the same used by many liberals in the debate over California's Prop 8: Find the money, and shame it.

Hey now, don't leave conservatives out of it: the pro-prop 8 folks called businesses who were listed as being donors to No on 8 and said "We saw you on this list as being a No on 8 donor; if you donate more money to us, we won't publish your name on the list of companies that should be boycotted!"
posted by rtha at 2:31 PM on December 13, 2011


brundlefly: "We're afraid of everything but we act tough and manly about it."

It was about half way through the past decade when I really realized what Jello Biafra meant when singing this song.
posted by symbioid at 2:34 PM on December 13, 2011


Erm, they ran screaming into the debate by issuing that press release.

It reads as defusing to me. FFA threatened to throw a Molotov cocktail, and Lowe's tried to extract themselves from the calculus so they wouldn't get burned. Now, if Lowe's misjudged the degree of response on either side, that's a problem—but not a fundamental one, and very different from what's been painted here.

Lowe's can be run by bigots

When the CEO of Lowe's donates $10,000 to the United Brotherhood for Force-Feeding Hand Grenades to Brown People, then okay, "bigot" away. But the definition of "bigot" is not anyone and everyone who chooses to dissociate themselves from an issue you feel is really, really important. For the record, the flip side is also true: Just because the CEO of Toyota is not donating money to the KKK, that doesn't mean he's on your side. Maybe he cracks racist jokes all afternoon at Thanksgiving.

If Lowe's had released a statement saying, "Today we received a complaint from the FFA asking us to withdraw our advertising dollars from All-American Muslim. We declined. We support the show and believe it represents an important perspective." ...Then, in that case, you could chalk up Lowe's as proven non-bigots. But it isn't true that anything short of that gesture equals bigotry.
posted by red clover at 2:36 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


The United Brotherhood for Force-Feeding Hand Grenades to Brown People will not stop sending me address labels. They are handy though, once you cut off their logo.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:39 PM on December 13, 2011


You watch commercials?
posted by Brocktoon at 2:48 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


It reads as defusing to me. FFA threatened to throw a Molotov cocktail, and Lowe's tried to extract themselves from the calculus so they wouldn't get burned.

FFA's request on their Take Action form was "I encourage you to stop supporting this show with your advertising dollars." Lowe's did just that. Is that defusing or capitulation?
posted by smackfu at 2:51 PM on December 13, 2011


What's with the people spelling it "CHRISTmas" to emphasize that it's their holiday? Is this a new thing? Are they concerned that the Jews and Muslims (and other godless heathens) are somehow diluting the majority's holiday by existing?

I think everyone who is not named CHRIS is diluting the holiday of CHRIStmas.
posted by vidur at 2:58 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm gonna go with Feast of Sol Invictus.
posted by Artw at 3:00 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


From the NYT: A Personal Take on the show by Porochista Khakpour link:

I tried out for the Wicked Witch, knowing I’d settle on Flying Monkey (the other brown girl, the class’s sole South Asian, was immediately cast as Toto) and was crushed when I became a Kansan extra. I knew by then that heroines and ingénues were “fair,” as fairy tale convention dictated. Darkness — dark hair, dark eyes, dark skin — always equaled trouble, as if it actually implied a dark side. This expanded as I evolved into a teenage thespian of school drama festival circuits, where, if not Medea or Antigone, I could be the comic relief: the zany psycho at worst and the wisecracking best friend at best.

This is, frankly, heartbreaking. It is an experience I have shared in Australia.

It's why you need shows like All American Muslim. Because brown people aren't strange and exotic and mysterious. They are just people. And it's frankly obscene that these racists nutjobs, and the non-nut job mainstream, can't or won't understand this.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 3:07 PM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


This might be a good time to start shopping at your locally-owned "home improvement store." Lowe's made a business decision; I'm making a moral one.
posted by Not The Stig at 3:16 PM on December 13, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think there are good reasons to shop at your local home-improvement store irrespective of racism, bigotry, TV shows, etc. But if you're going to choose to shop there instead of at Lowe's based on this issue, have you first confirmed who owns your local store and what political positions they may have taken? It would be silly to boycott Lowe's just for not actively sponsoring a show about Muslims and instead take your business to a smaller store where your shopping has bigger effect, only to discover that the owner donated money to a planning-board candidate who opposed the construction of a mosque across town.
posted by red clover at 3:37 PM on December 13, 2011


It's kind of shitty that we have to depend on the benevolence of corporations for tv shows to get made.
posted by empath at 3:38 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


That would be why I will always be a staunch defender of the BBC.
posted by Artw at 3:42 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


Here's a level-headed suggestion from ex-Consumerist blogger Ben Popkin:

Everyone should visit Lowe’s Facebook wall, select “Report Page” on the bottom left, select “Hate Speech,” and hit “Submit.”

Seriously, if they're not proud of the bigots giving them their enthusiastic approval, why are they letting them on their page?
posted by oneswellfoop at 4:18 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


It would be silly to boycott Lowe's just for not actively sponsoring a show about Muslims and instead take your business to a smaller store where your shopping has bigger effect, only to discover that the owner donated money to a planning-board candidate who opposed the construction of a mosque across town.

And how do you know this other guy isn't one of the saucer people?
posted by Space Coyote at 4:27 PM on December 13, 2011


I'm noticing something on many of the Facebook comments as well as on the FFA website: using "Muslim" as a noun when you really mean "Islam." Is this a conscious decision, like the Democrat party vs. Democratic party business?
posted by roll truck roll at 4:30 PM on December 13, 2011


the Florida Family Association

Is anybody besides me irked at the fact that these people always give themselves innocuous names with the word 'family' in them? If they hadn't noticed this show is explicitly about families. Just not their kind.
posted by jonmc at 4:44 PM on December 13, 2011 [4 favorites]


Is anybody besides me irked at the fact that these people always give themselves innocuous names with the word 'family' in them? If they hadn't noticed this show is explicitly about families. Just not their kind.

Look at it from their perspective: There aren't any families other than their kind of families.

Only people have families.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 4:54 PM on December 13, 2011 [2 favorites]


furiousxgeorge: "What's with the people spelling it "CHRISTmas" to emphasize that it's their holiday? Is this a new thing? Are they concerned that the Jews and Muslims (and other godless heathens) are somehow diluting the majority's holiday by existing?

The annual War on Christmas is a storied tradition at this point.
"

Well lord knows Rick Perry is doing his utmost to destroy Christianity, he even has Happy Holidays greeting photo on the Texas Governor's site.

Growing up I remember being told it was bad bad bad for people to write Xmas (which I imagine is what the whole CHRISTmas is about, as well as the ridiculous "they're attacking it by saying happy holidays" bullshit).

Then I learned that X stood for Chi (the first greek letter of Christ) and that it's a convenient shorthand, as we all know many folks online use the word Xian as shorthand to type, and when I used to be a believer, when I first got online, we used "xian" to refer to ourselves, and had no problem and it was hip and ok and we were just fine with it.

Speaking of growing up, one of the things we learned in our indoctrination sessions was that it was Madeleine Murray O'Hair that caused America the Great to fall because in 1963 "Prayer was taken out of schools" (nevermind that forced prayer was taken out, not private prayer, as ruled by subsequent rulings). I know, the power to not be able to force people to do your bidding is removing your right - and it's kind of funny cuz that's what the whole right-wing's bitching about losing rights tends to be, loss of privilege masquerading as loss of right.

But carry on with your persecuted christian meme.
posted by symbioid at 5:09 PM on December 13, 2011 [1 favorite]


Because I am an VERY PROUD CONSTITUENT, I am just going to take this opportunity to post Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison's statement on the subject.

“Lowe's Corporation has chosen to uphold the beliefs of a fringe hate group and not the creed of The First Amendment, which guarantees the free exercise of religion. This is disappointing since the success of 'All-American Muslim' shows how ready the country is to learn about Muslims as Americans. This probably makes hate mongers uncomfortable--as they should be. Our nation's history is full of examples demonstrating how we have repeatedly torn down false divisions hate groups choose to create. But the struggle against bigotry and hatred must continue so we never give in to intolerance like Lowe's Corporation has done. Corporate America needs to take a stand against these anti-Muslim fringe groups and stand up for what is right because this is what it means to be an American."
posted by triggerfinger at 6:36 PM on December 13, 2011 [9 favorites]


This fiasco reminds me of Aristotle's assertion (via Corkyagain) that "it’s impossible to have a productive debate with someone who shares none of your premises or who refuses to concede any of the premises you want to work with." The left and the right speak different languages practically, so the measure of success is not "what consensus can we come to?" but "what cultural battles can we win?"

Also, LOL at conservatives and leftists boycotting Lowe's. How will they tell who is not shopping there and for what reasons?
posted by mekko at 6:37 PM on December 13, 2011


How will they tell who is not shopping there and for what reasons?

Because those of us who are boycotting are telling them.
posted by activitystory at 6:35 AM on December 14, 2011


The so-called "discussion" on this page is one of the reasons why I am glad I don't live in the US. Has fact-based thinking gone out of fashion? A large portion of the fact-free comments I see consist of labels such as "hate" (hate-monger, hate-filled, hate group, hate speech), "bigot" (bigoted protesters, hateful bigot [is there any other kind?]), and "right" (far-right, right wing crank). Anyone who disagrees with the people who wrote these comments

Nobody bothers to actually discuss why some people object to AAM's portrayal.

Here is a quote from FFA's letter: "The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish." So where is the hatred and bigotry?

Why not discuss the "agenda" instead of using meaningless insults such as "right wing" (which presumably makes somebody a friend of the Nazis, and therefore not fit for polite company).

Yes, it is true that some Muslims choose to ignore (or pretend to not know) that their holy book commands the subjugation of non-Muslims and approves the murder of anyone who disagrees (with the approval of their community, unlike people like Timothy McVeigh, who received NO approval from the Christian community). I'll refrain from naming the book or making exact quotes lest someone ban me because of "hate speech," but the details are available to anyone who likes to read and think for themselves.

In Europe, Australia and the US, Muslim communities are involved in some very disturbing religiously-sanctioned violence. The reason why many people object to AAM is its whitewashing of these ugly realities.

Check out the French government's Atlas des Zones urbaines sensibles (ZUS), a listing of the 750 urban no-go areas where French people are afraid to go, where ambulances and fire services are attacked. The violence starts in kindergarten. These are not isolated cases. Almost every Western European country has similar problems. Incidents like this are coming to the US as well.

The problem with AAM is that it reassures viewers and gives them a false sense that everything is OK in the good ole USA. Muslim-American women have been murdered by their own families for the "crime" of trying to live their own lives as they see fit, but the mass media gloss over or ignore these incidents. How many people have heard about the Muslim woman in Tampa, Florida, for example, who shamed her family by asking for a divorce? She then supposedly committed suicide by banging her own head against a coffee table?

Why does protecting women's rights count as hate? Why can't young Muslim girls have boyfriends? Why can't they be allowed to walk around without a scarf on their head without fearing violence? Why do we have to keep pretending that these are isolated incidents?

AAM is part of the mass media cover-up. That's why some "bigots" object to it.
posted by juifenasie at 7:55 AM on December 14, 2011


Holy shit!
posted by Burhanistan at 7:57 AM on December 14, 2011


Wow. Flagged.
posted by kafziel at 8:00 AM on December 14, 2011


Word.
posted by box at 8:01 AM on December 14, 2011


That mass media cover-up is also the reason that I object to 'Full House.'

There are more leather men in San Francisco than just Uncle Jesse! Why aren't they on the show?
posted by box at 8:04 AM on December 14, 2011


How will they tell who is not shopping there and for what reasons?

But that's not really the bigger point, now, is it? I mean, sure, it's good to "hit them in the pocketbook" inasmuch as a beach can theoretically be moved, one grain of sand at a time...but the reason to boycott a business is and should be personal.

I love Chick-fil_A's chicken sandwiches. Love. And their waffle fries with the addictive-as-crack Chick-fil-A dipping sauce? Total mouthgasm, and enough so that for years I was able to kind of let them be with their policies that I didn't so much as agree with.

That all changed several months back when Chick-Fil-A explicitly stated, in no uncertain terms, that LBGT individuals were more than welcome to spend their money at any of their fine locations, but not to work there.

I now find myself completely unable to support their business. And I don't really care about whether they miss my money, because it's not about that. It's about where I feel good about putting my money.

Same goes for Lowes. This TV show (despite being on shitty, vapid TLC) is innocuous, harmless, and basically a positive thing. Their decision to pull out of the show is their own. Their decision to not remove blatant hate speech from their facebook page is also their own (and no, privately moderated online fora do not count as public spaces and therefore first amendment issues). Their decision to offer a spineless, mealy-mouthed statement of intent after the fact is their own.

And my decision to not shop there anymore is my own.

Look, there are a million good reasons to no longer buy ad space on any given show. There are a million more reasons that aren't necessarily good, but are basically neutral. This was done to appease a mindset that sees fault with portraying people of a faith other than Christianity as anything other than...well...other.
posted by kaseijin at 8:06 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


I used to live near that big mosque, while they were building it. It is in a row of pretty religious buildings. Right down the street is a Home Depot. I remembered it as being a Lowe's, but was wrong.

After 9/11, I watched various white men in suits (some FBI, some police, some I don't know what) jump out of cars and grab young brown men. There have been Arabs in Detroit since the 1880's, and some of those grabbed were 4th generation Arab Americans, some were Christian (about half of the Arabs in the Detroit area are Maronites, Chaldeans, etc.). I watched these "law enforcement personnel" throw my neighbours against walls, hard, while screaming hateful anti-Arab and anti-Muslim things at them.

I was scared. My neighbours were more scared.

Living in Warrendale (a part of Detroit that borders on Dearborn and that is very ethnically and religiously mixed), having Arab and/or Muslim neighbours meant great, inexpensive restaurants that always seemed to be open, wonderful, cheap greengrocers with all kinds of tasty treats, incredible bakeries full of Arab and French delicacies and helping to judge the science fair at the local Muslim private school in return for a marvelous dinner. It meant the cashier at CVS who wore a Red Wings sweater with a hijab (and who, being a native, spoke perfect Detroit English). It meant little local businesses where I was always treated well (no Home Depot for me).

Muslim Americans make great neighbours. So do Arab Americans.
posted by QIbHom at 8:10 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


The so-called "discussion" on this page...

Wow. Can I flag something as completely ignorant?

The fact that social and political reformation has, for the last two centuries, tempered Christian theology and brought it (kicking and screaming at times) into a more modern context does not negate the fact that there is very nearly just as much violence and intolerance in their holy book as in the Koran. The main difference here is not in theology, so much as in that the Middle-East has largely spent these last 200 years or so under the yoke of theocracy, while the western world has not.

If anything, your point is an argument against religion as a whole -- not against Islam.
posted by kaseijin at 8:12 AM on December 14, 2011


Here is a quote from FFA's letter: "The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish." So where is the hatred and bigotry?



The bigotry is in the implicit notion that one is obligated to balance any positive portrayal of a Muslim with a negative portrayal; that some of our fellow Americans are not deserving of the minimal respect or dignity of being portrayed honestly without being constantly compared to the fanatical fringe of their religion.



The problem with AAM is that it reassures viewers and gives them a false sense that everything is OK in the good ole USA.

I often see TV shows that seek to entertain me, rather than make me fear for the future of my nation. I'm sure you do, too. I'm unclear on why this suddenly becomes a problem when combined with a positive portrayal of a religious minority.
posted by DiscountDeity at 8:18 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


A few years ago the Florida Family Association sent my father a letter about the news that 7-Elevens would allow their stores to carry pornography. They told my dad that if he dared carry porn at his store they would picket and boycott. He responded by telling them that he had no interest in selling it until he received their letter. Now, every month, a stack of Playboys are delivered to my dad's store. My father has more guts than Lowe's.
posted by MaritaCov at 8:27 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


juifenasie: "Here is a quote from FFA's letter: "The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish." So where is the hatred and bigotry?

By this inane logic, every single show on television that portrays Christians as reasonable, god-fearing people who are deeply invested in charity, tolerance, kindness and goodwill towards their fellow human beings should also include representatives from the KKK, just to make sure the message gets across that to some folks, the Christian religion teaches that being black, gay or a member of numerous other religious or racial minorities marks one as subhuman, and deserving of lynching, murder, stoning, rape, forcible conversion, etc.

If the FFA is so incapable of understanding that not every Muslim is an extremist, and that the extremists don't even make up a majority of Muslims in the US, and that Muslim ≠ Terrorist then I'm sorry, but they're total fucking morons.

Why not discuss the "agenda" instead of using meaningless insults such as "right wing" (which presumably makes somebody a friend of the Nazis, and therefore not fit for polite company).

Because the idea that all Muslims must be subversives, intent on undermining our country and its values is also totally fucking moronic and ignorant of the history of Islamic faithful in this country?

Give us a fucking break with your 'Wake up sheeple! They're all savages!' racist, ignorant, bigoted bullshit please.
posted by zarq at 8:30 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Hm. I was too harsh in calling your statement "ignorant", juifenasie, and for that I apologize (and it was meant in reference to the comment, not you as an individual).

After coming to my senses, I realize that -- as somebody who does not live in the US -- you may not be privy to all of the sociopolitical nuance in the country. The discussion around balancing positive portrayals of Group-X with factual negative aspects that also exist within Group-X as a whole is, on its surface, sensible.

The bigger issue comes when you actively single out Group-X for this treatment, and do not apply it across the board. That is what is discriminatory, and that is what triggers people's reaction to point and cry bigot.

You mention the OKC bombings, and how that act was not condoned by Christian society. "Christian society" is a large, amorphous, fractious beast composed of sects and subsects and individuals of every conceivable political stripe. Islam (especially in the west) is much the same. The vast majority of Islamic groups, churches, and institutions came out in public opposition to the 9/11 attacks in the same way that Christian groups denounced OKC.

In response to your illustration of other Islamic issues that we would consider alarming, extreme, fringe, or just generally bad, I would in turn direct you to observe the tacitly approved murder of physicians in the US who perform abortions. Some evangelical Christian groups openly support such acts as heroic. Many more play coy and won't openly condemn these murderers.

Shall we balance all positive portrayals of Christians against a discussion of the acts of these fringe groups?
posted by kaseijin at 8:33 AM on December 14, 2011 [4 favorites]


"In Europe, Australia and the US, Muslim communities are involved in some very disturbing religiously-sanctioned violence. The reason why many people object to AAM is its whitewashing of these ugly realities."

"AAM is part of the mass media cover-up. That's why some "bigots" object to it."

So what you're saying, juifenasie, is the that the families on AAM are secretly participating in religiously-sanctioned violence, and the media is covering it up. That portraying a normal Muslim family as anything other than what they really are - bloodthirsty, oh, I don't know...vermin, let's say, is an attack on good old American (Jewish and Christian, of course) values.

Or alternately, THOSE PEOPLE, these moon-worshipping vermin, have no right to go about their lives pretending that just because they themselves are "normal" and non-violent and love their kids and don't honor-kill their daughters, that they are welcome in the U.S., even if they were born here and are citizens here. Any Muslim, no matter what they personally do, are liable, morally and ethically, for what the worst members of their religion do, and must be punished.

That's awesome. Thank you for lettering me know that that is a cool and just way to judge people. I look forward to seeing you in the next post about the Israeli military using bulldozers to kill innocent women, or a home-grown Christian terrorist murdering doctors or planting bombs at the Olympics.

Let's make a date of it! See you there!
posted by a_girl_irl at 8:49 AM on December 14, 2011 [5 favorites]


Here is a quote from FFA's letter: "The show profiles only Muslims that appear to be ordinary folks while excluding many Islamic believers whose agenda poses a clear and present danger to liberties and traditional values that the majority of Americans cherish."

So where is the hatred and bigotry?

In the statement you quoted.
posted by juiceCake at 10:03 AM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The Daily Show: Kabulvision - A New Lowe
posted by homunculus at 10:53 AM on December 14, 2011


"there is very nearly just as much violence and intolerance in their holy book as in the Koran." Your statement sounds very convincing, and when 9-11 occurred, I used to say the same things. "You Christians just as violent as they are, so you are hypocrite!"

Since then, however, I have visited many churches and mosques, interacted with Christians and Muslims and I have actually read BOTH books. One book describes sickening violence (murder, rape, human sacrifice etc.) that took place about 3000 years ago (and was typical of warfare in those times). This sort of violence shocks westerners because we have internalized the ethical code that replaced it (including the Golden Rule, which applies to all of humanity). We do our best to see that everybody gets a fair trial, even people accused of sickening crimes. We run orphanages, and soup kitchens, and we offer medical care even to people we actively dislike because it's the right thing to do (some religious people even devote their lives to doing this for free). We also criticize people for NOT following the Golden Rule. Believe it or not, all of these ethical rules we follow originated in that book (I won't say the name).

The other book also describes horrifying violence, but it has no Golden Rule (go ahead and look for it!). Instead, it has a rule that says believers should be kind to each other, but show no mercy to non-believers. This is an eternal duty of all believers.

The problem, then, is not specific Muslims. I have known some wonderful people who are Muslims, and Middle Eastern food is one of my favorites. Truly peaceful, law-abiding Muslims are not a problem.

The problem is an uncompromising ideology. We would like to believe that people in the Middle East are just like us. Even if they actively hate us, it must be our fault. When they see how nice we are, everything is going to be OK.

We would like to believe in a minority of "bad people," a fringe ideology, but all you have to do is think for yourself. Go to the sources: read the fatwas that come out of al-Azhar University (the highest Sunni authority) and Saudi Arabia, watch Palestinian TV, read what the Ayatollah Khomeini actually said and did. Make up your mind after you go to the sources. You don't need to learn Arabic or Farsi. It's available in English. Browse Arabic websites using Google Translate. You will find that they say nice, soothing things when they talk to foreigners, but say something quite different in Arabic. Violence against others is cited with approval; very few people dare disagree.

Yes, AAM is entertainment. When we get home from work, we want to relax. But is it possible that too much entertainment is crowding out something essential?
posted by juifenasie at 11:12 AM on December 14, 2011


"observe the tacitly approved murder of physicians in the US who perform abortions. Some evangelical Christian groups openly support such acts as heroic." Interesting! Isn't this illegal? Can you cite some examples of this open support?
posted by juifenasie at 11:20 AM on December 14, 2011


> Yes, AAM is entertainment. When we get home from work, we want to relax. But is it possible that too much entertainment is crowding out something essential?

Jesus, then watch another channel or turn off the TV. Save your stupid soapbox for your Facebook friends.
posted by Burhanistan at 11:25 AM on December 14, 2011


"observe the tacitly approved murder of physicians in the US who perform abortions. Some evangelical Christian groups openly support such acts as heroic." Interesting! Isn't this illegal? Can you cite some examples of this open support?"

Enjoy.

"We run orphanages, and soup kitchens, and we offer medical care even to people we actively dislike because it's the right thing to do (some religious people even devote their lives to doing this for free"

You don't say? Well, these "Hamas" people must be all sunshine and roses, then.

"I have known some wonderful people who are Muslims"

I'm sure they're thrilled to know that you forbid yourself from saying any nice about them without also adding that all Muslims must be portrayed as bloodthirsty terrorists, even little American Muslim girls who didn't ask for your opinion.

It is fucking insane, by the way, that you're stroking yourself raw over a Golden Rule (by the way, neither Judaism or Christianity invented it) while you are simultaneously trampling all over it. I'll try to explain it to you like you are a child, and please let me know if you need help understanding this:

You are saying that because some Muslims do bad things, that no discussion of Muslims is complete, worthy of airing, or accurate without ALSO saying that Muslims in general are a Bad Thing and that we must always be wary of these devils and their violent, incorrect religion. BUT you do not want to be lumped in the with "bad" Jews or Christians who shoot kids and blow up civilians. You are, right now, breaking the Golden Rule. Look. Look at how you are doing that. Do you see? You don't want to be lumped in with all the bad people who do bad things in the name of YHWH or Jesus, BUT, you insist on lumping 8 year-old Muslim kids and their peaceful, loyal American parents with radicalized, grown adult terrorists and criminals thousands of miles away.

Do you see? Are you capable of seeing this?
posted by a_girl_irl at 11:27 AM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"Now, every month, a stack of Playboys are delivered to my dad's store. My father has more guts than Lowe's." Pressure tactics sometimes have unexpected consequences. Bravo for your Dad!
posted by juifenasie at 11:29 AM on December 14, 2011


Yes, AAM is entertainment. When we get home from work, we want to relax. But is it possible that too much entertainment is crowding out something essential?

So shows that feature Italian Catholics should also feature buggering boys and the Mafia too lest we miss out something essential about Catholics and Italians? Jesus Christ, AAM is not The Wire.

We would like to believe in a minority of "bad people," a fringe ideology, but all you have to do is think for yourself. Go to the sources:

Fox News? If people watch that and get an impression of the States it will seem like a country gone completely mad. Logic, reason and tolerance have been exchanged for medieval style bigotry and hatred.
posted by juiceCake at 11:30 AM on December 14, 2011


In other news:

Lowe's nuked the original Facebook post that had 20k comments and decided maybe they should moderate their comments:
However, we have seen a large volume of comments become more pointed and hateful. As a result, we have taken the step of removing all previous posts and will more tightly filter future comments on this topic.
Kayak.com also has gotten sucked into this. They are going for the "we didn't mean to advertise on a controversial show" line too. Seems damn stupid of them.
posted by smackfu at 11:30 AM on December 14, 2011


This sort of violence shocks westerners because we have internalized the ethical code that replaced it (including the Golden Rule, which applies to all of humanity).

You do know that Jews don't adhere to the New Testament, right?
posted by shakespeherian at 11:50 AM on December 14, 2011


I have known some wonderful people who are Muslims, and Middle Eastern food is one of my favorites.

Thanks for that.
posted by BJE at 11:57 AM on December 14, 2011


Civility seems to have disappeared. Is there any point trying to have a discussion with people who make unwarranted assumptions and comments like this?

"Save your stupid soapbox for your Facebook friends"
"It is fucking insane, by the way, that you're stroking yourself raw over a Golden Rule"

I've never even looked at Facebook, and I don't know what "stroking yourself raw" means, but it sounds rather ugly.

Nothing further to say.
posted by juifenasie at 12:00 PM on December 14, 2011


The problem is an uncompromising ideology.

I've read both books as well (though I will admit that it's been, what...10+ years? since I have cracked either open), and I would argue that, taken as gospel, all Abrahamic faiths can be construed as violent and uncompromising. The Bible may not spell it out in exactly the same way as the Koran, but it's all there -- consider the recommended treatment of apostates and heretics, the endorsements of slavery, the mentality that women are tantamount to cattle...

Our contemporary understanding of Christianity is largely the product, as I mentioned, of a few hundred years' worth of temperance and social pressure. Literacy, women's rights, education have all contributed to this shift in the way the western world views their religion. The Christian faith has largely (though not entirely) had its teeth pulled since the days of Cotton Mather, Oliver Cromwell, Sixtus IV, Urban II, etc, etc. Islam has not.

And therein is the difference, really -- not in religion, but in the temperance thereof. It is patently discriminatory to cherry pick only the pleasant portions of "Faith A" on the one hand, while insisting that we consider each and every odious passage of "Faith B" on the other. Further, by putting the emphasis on what is or is not in a given book, we obfuscate the actual issue: modern versus regressive cultures, and the use of religion as a means of control (which Christianity has certainly been in the past, and would gladly again be in the future).

Understand that I say this not to defend anybody here, so much as to illustrate how we have an obligation to apply the same standards across the board and that to do otherwise is a significant source of bias and prejudice. Either we allow everybody the opportunity to cherry pick passages and adapt their faith to more modern times, or we open discourse allowing every faith to be put under the microscope. The latter would raise some interesting conversations, I think -- though culturally, that will never happen in the US. At least not in our lifetimes.

Full disclosure: Myself? I'd do away with the whole lot of religions. I tend to feel by and large that their time is past.
posted by kaseijin at 12:02 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


You know... I don't agree with juifenasie in this discussion, and I know that he is taking an unpopular viewpoint around here, but he has not adopted any sort of vicious ad-hoc posturing. I have to agree with him here, though.

I know that I knee-jerked against his original comment too...but we can neither run off people of opposing viewpoints, nor fear to engage them in civil dialog, and still hand-wring about MeFi being an echo chamber.

Though always leaning to the left of center, time was that MeFi was open to intelligent discussion.
posted by kaseijin at 12:06 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


If Lowes had just said "the media buy wasn't performing as we expected, and ad dollars were shifted to a different campaign.", this would have blown over in seconds. Whomever was responsible for their messaging is no doubt unemployed now. What a PR disaster of their own making.
posted by dejah420 at 12:09 PM on December 14, 2011


"Nothing further to say."

That's very convenient. Heated euphemisms shock your delicate sensibilities, but your repeated, unsupported, incorrect assertion that all Muslims are dangerous vermin is "civil."

I submit, instead, that you are engaging in this discussion in a cowardly fashion (I'll refrain from calling it "chickenshit," to paraphrase your first comment), by ignoring the many cogent and accurate rebuttals I and others have made.

I do, however, hope our fun planned date still stands, and I see you in the next post featuring any Christian or Jewish person doing anything, so we can discuss the problems with all Christians and all Jews.
posted by a_girl_irl at 12:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


"My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God's truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. Today, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice... And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people . . . . whoa why is every1 calling me mean names. Super rude y'all!!!! Just giving you my opinion in a civil and mature way. Be respectful! Namaste."
posted by a_girl_irl at 12:21 PM on December 14, 2011


kaseijin: " Though always leaning to the left of center, time was that MeFi was open to intelligent discussion."

When I see intelligent comments, I respond to them. Those were not intelligent comments. They were a defense of some pretty nasty racist and stereotypical ideas about Muslims, and simultaneously promotion of falsehoods about both Judaism and Christianity. I'm sorry, but while I regret saying "fuck" so much in my earlier comment, they truly deserved the responses they provoked.
posted by zarq at 12:26 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


shakespeherian: " You do know that Jews don't adhere to the New Testament, right?"

Only the St. Krazy Glue Editions.
posted by zarq at 12:29 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


I've never even looked at Facebook, and I don't know what "stroking yourself raw" means, but it sounds rather ugly.

It means masturbating yourself vigorously to the degree that you have inflicted minor skin damage on your genitals.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 12:37 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


...and the best way to engage viewpoints that raise our hackles is to respond to them in a manner which allows that person to dismiss us?

I mean...In terms of substance, I agree with a_girl_irl, you, and others here...whole cloth. I wrote a nice long letter to the CEO of Lowes myself, just yesterday. And some fantastic points have been made. But -- while it may rack up favorites on the blue -- being churlish and aggressive when presented with an opinion or viewpoint that you may personally find distasteful, ill-informed, or what have you isn't going to sway anybody. It's just going to make people combative.

And maybe being nice wouldn't, either. Who knows, really? But I do think that in cases like this it would stand a better chance. Something about being the change, yadda yadda...
posted by kaseijin at 12:39 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


kaseijin: " But I do think that in cases like this it would stand a better chance. Something about being the change, yadda yadda..."

True. I've made the exact argument you're making in threads where antisemitism was discussed. And no one is irredeemable.

But good lord, those comments were offensive as hell.
posted by zarq at 12:49 PM on December 14, 2011


Only the St. Krazy Glue Editions.

Hush up, O Violent One.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:04 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Though always leaning to the left of center, time was that MeFi was open to intelligent discussion.

Time is we should drop this left/right nonsense but that's like hoping we can all float at will some day.

I am curious though, how is MeFi not open to intelligent discussion now as opposed to before? I've only been on it a short time (about 7 years I think) and the level of discussion, at least in terms of civility, is better these days. As for the level of intelligence, I really can't say but I don't get the impression it has declined or increased. Was it some sort of intellectual civil oasis before 2004?

Civility seems to have disappeared.

Your comments are a prime example of that really.
posted by juiceCake at 1:22 PM on December 14, 2011


The other book also describes horrifying violence, but it has no Golden Rule (go ahead and look for it!).


I don't own a copy of The Book You're Too Coy To Name. But Wikipedia's entry on The Golden Rule cites the following:



The Golden Rule is implicitly expressed in some verses of Qur'an, but is explicitly declared in the sayings of Muhammad.

From the Qur'an: the first verse recommends the positive form of the rule, and the subsequent verses condemn not abiding the negative form of the Golden Rule:

“...and you should forgive And overlook: Do you not like God to forgive you? And Allah is The Merciful Forgiving.”
— Qur’an (Surah 24, "The Light," v. 22)

“Woe to those... who, when they have to receive by measure from men, they demand exact full measure, but when they have to give by measure or weight to men, give less than due”
— Qur’an (Surah 83, "The Dealers in Fraud," vv. 1–4)

“...orphans and the needy, give them something and speak kindly to them. And those who are concerned about the welfare of their own children after their death, should have fear of God [Treat other people's Orphans justly] and guide them properly.”
— Qur’an (Surah 4, "The Women," vv. 8-9)

“O you who believe! Spend [benevolently] of the good things that you have earned... and do not even think of spending [in alms] worthless things that you yourselves would be reluctant to accept.”
— Qur’an (Surah 2, "The Calf," v. 267)

“They assign daughters to Allah, Who is above having a child [whether male or female] and to themselves they assign what they desire [which is a male child]; And when the news of the birth of a female child is brought to one of them His face darkens and he hides his inward Grief and anger... They attribute to Allah what they dislike [For themselves] and their tongues assert the lie that the best reward will be theirs! Undoubtedly, the Hell fire shall be their lot and they will be foremost [in entering it].”
— Qur’an (Surah 16, "The Honey Bees," vv. 57-62)


From the hadith, the collected oral and written accounts of Muhammad and his teachings during his lifetime:

A Bedouin came to the prophet, grabbed the stirrup of his camel and said: O the messenger of God! Teach me something to go to heaven with it. Prophet said: “As you would have people do to you, do to them; and what you dislike to be done to you, don't do to them. Now let the stirrup go! [This maxim is enough for you; go and act in accordance with it!]”
—Kitab al-Kafi, vol. 2, p. 146

“None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself.”
—An-Nawawi's Forty Hadith 13 (p. 56)[49]

“Seek for mankind that of which you are desirous for yourself, that you may be a believer.”
—Sukhanan-i-Muhammad (Teheran, 1938)[50]

“That which you want for yourself, seek for mankind.”[50]

“The most righteous person is the one who consents for other people what he consents for himself, and who dislikes for them what he dislikes for himself.”[50]

posted by DiscountDeity at 1:36 PM on December 14, 2011 [10 favorites]


The problem, then, is not specific Muslims. I have known some wonderful people who are Muslims, and Middle Eastern food is one of my favorites. Truly peaceful, law-abiding Muslims are not a problem.



Apparently they are if they're portrayed on TV without a disclaimer warning that they might be Evil America-Hating Terrorists.
posted by DiscountDeity at 1:44 PM on December 14, 2011


We would like to believe that people in the Middle East are just like us...read the fatwas that come out of al-Azhar University (the highest Sunni authority) and Saudi Arabia, watch Palestinian TV, read what the Ayatollah Khomeini actually said and did...



Try to keep in mind that this discussion is about a TV show featuring American Muslim families. Asserting that the behavior of these other parties you cite is relevant to those families is kind of what people are objecting to in your comments.
posted by DiscountDeity at 2:07 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Civility seems to have disappeared. Is there any point trying to have a discussion with people who make unwarranted assumptions and comments like this?



I thought my response was pretty civil. You seem to be overlooking the more reasonable responses in your haste to make a sweeping judgment about everyone who disagrees with you.

This seems like it may be a pattern.
posted by DiscountDeity at 2:10 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Heated euphemisms shock your delicate sensibilities, but your repeated, unsupported, incorrect assertion that all Muslims are dangerous vermin is "civil."


Not to defend juifenasie, but I think their actual point is not that all Muslims are vermin, but that enough Muslims are (allegedly) vermin that it is dangerous to not remind ourselves of that when confronted with those who are not.

That having been said, the latter doesn't strike me as any better than the former. I actually kinda find it more disturbing and offensive.
posted by DiscountDeity at 2:17 PM on December 14, 2011


That "some of my best friends are black" line is pretty convincing to me that we're being played.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


Is there any point trying to have a discussion with people who make unwarranted assumptions and comments like this?

That was exactly what I was wondering about the unmitigated line of nonsense you have been spouting.

There's nothing I can say about your frankly idiotic comments that hasn't already been said above. However, I note that you conveniently decided that you have 'nothing more to say' when confronted with cogent rebuttals to your numerous bigoted (yes, bigoted) and ignorant assumptions and allegations.

Your intellectual cowardice is astounding.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 2:38 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


That "some of my best friends are black" line is pretty convincing to me that we're being played.

Seriously. I'm not a hateful bigot; "Middle Eastern food is one of my favorites!" Cannot be for real.
posted by naju at 2:49 PM on December 14, 2011


Nothing further to say.

We can only hope.
posted by empath at 2:51 PM on December 14, 2011


It is very easy to make assumptions about people you don't know and I will probably be attacked again, but here is a rejoinder from an "intellectual coward." Sigh ...

1) ""Middle Eastern food is one of my favorites!" Cannot be for real.""
Would it help if you knew that my family was Moroccan on my mother's side (extending back several hundred years)? Do you know a lot about Morocco? Does your Mom cook Moroccan food?

2) ""We would like to believe that people in the Middle East are just like us...read the fatwas that come out of al-Azhar University (the highest Sunni authority) and Saudi Arabia, watch Palestinian TV, read what the Ayatollah Khomeini actually said and did..."

Try to keep in mind that this discussion is about a TV show featuring American Muslim families."

I did. What about keeping in mind that the growing American Muslim population emigrated from these very areas in recent years and brought their culture with them?

3) DiscountDeity's quotations sound very peaceful. I didn't want to get banned for veering off on a tangent (this is about a TV show), so I didn't provide any quotations myself. However, are you familiar with the principle of Naskh? Do you know the difference between Mecca verses and Medina verses? The lovely peaceful verses were mostly discarded in favor of decidedly unpleasant material. Something that American talking heads don't often mention.

OK, time to be attacked again. Sigh ...
posted by juifenasie at 7:46 PM on December 14, 2011


OK, time to be attacked again. Sigh ...

Don't mistake refutation and criticism for 'attack'. It's called debate.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:05 PM on December 14, 2011


OK, time to be attacked again. Sigh ...

Discussion is attack? Look at your own statements, by your own standards you're attacking a whole lot of people. There is no monoculture from people immigrating from the Middle East, it is as varied as "American" culture and yet time and again we see American reality shows that don't show Americans going on vacation to fuck underaged Thais, or rich New Yorkers who exploit the workers in their factories, etc.

What doesn't American television show about the Irish, Ethiopians, Chinese, Fins, etc. and what sort of conspiracies are going on there? What media cover ups?
posted by juiceCake at 8:20 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


> Do you know a lot about Morocco? Does your Mom cook Moroccan food?

Argument from authority (and poorly done), and doesn't really have anything to do with what you're saying.

> I did. What about keeping in mind that the growing American Muslim population emigrated from these very areas in recent years and brought their culture with them?

The show portrays very banal and ordinary situations for the most part. Are they supposed to only show militant jihadis? Maybe they should show all the displaced Iraqis and Palestinians in the Detroit area struggling to find their place.

> The lovely peaceful verses were mostly discarded in favor of decidedly unpleasant material.

What? Muslims don't discard any of the Quran...Kids today are still learning to memorize the entire thing. Where are you getting your talking points from?

> OK, time to be attacked again. Sigh ...

Oh, get off your cross you silly git. How was that?
posted by Burhanistan at 8:31 PM on December 14, 2011


"Don't mistake refutation and criticism for 'attack'. It's called debate."

Refutation, criticism and debate are great. I've been mistaken before and I'm always happy to learn from others, but name-calling, remarks about masturbation, putting words in other people's mouths (I have never thought of anybody as vermin, much less said such words) are not helpful. Aggressive talk just inflames people's emotions.

If we don't talk and listen to each other politely (left and right wing, Christian and atheist, gay and straight, etc.) our society starts to deteriorate. Some voices are predicting a second Civil War. Does it have to come to this? Please!

I come to MeFi because I enjoy the chance to share ideas and learn from lots of very thoughtful people. Keeping the discussion civil doesn't seem like too much to ask.
posted by juifenasie at 8:35 PM on December 14, 2011 [1 favorite]


Aggressive talk just inflames people's emotions.

I think you'll find that ignorance and racism inflame people's emotions around here more than the occassional swear word.

Before you attempt to mount that rather large civility horse, recall that you entered this thread by insulting everyone in it - e.g. "so called 'discussion'" and your references to "fact-free comments".

I concede that personal attacks are not desirable or productive. You will note that I, personally, have commented only on your statements, and not your character. That's because i don't know you. Your statements, however, are not sacrosanct. If you say something stupid in a open forum, people will call you out on it.

I'm stepping out now, because I'm getting that old sisyphean feeling. Thanks everyone.
posted by His thoughts were red thoughts at 8:56 PM on December 14, 2011 [2 favorites]


The so-called "discussion" on this page is one of the reasons why I am glad I don't live in the US. Has fact-based thinking gone out of fashion? A large portion of the fact-free comments I see consist of labels such as "hate" (hate-monger, hate-filled, hate group, hate speech), "bigot" (bigoted protesters, hateful bigot [is there any other kind?]), and "right" (far-right, right wing crank). Anyone who disagrees with the people who wrote these comments



I'll refrain from naming the book or making exact quotes lest someone ban me because of "hate speech,"


Civility seems to have disappeared. Is there any point trying to have a discussion with people who make unwarranted assumptions and comments like this?


It is very easy to make assumptions about people you don't know and I will probably be attacked again, but here is a rejoinder from an "intellectual coward." Sigh ...


OK, time to be attacked again. Sigh ...



Keeping the discussion civil doesn't seem like too much to ask.




If you're interested in having a discussion, may I suggest you ease up on the martyrdom? Almost every comment you've made here has included self-pitying melodrama, almost as if you were trying to make the discussion more about you and how mean everyone is to you (or how mean you expect them to be to you) than the actual subject.

If you are engaging in a controversial discussion, and taking a stance that you presumably know will be unpopular, you should be prepared for a certain degree of emotion in the reactions. Now, I don't approve of or endorse some of the harsher responses you've gotten, but your pattern of playing the victim is basically a derailing tactic.

Feel free to argue whatever position you wish, feel free to ignore or respond to rude or emotional reactions as you see fit. But please don't act like the harsh reactions you have provoked somehow justify or support your side of the discussion.
posted by DiscountDeity at 6:40 AM on December 15, 2011


What about keeping in mind that the growing American Muslim population emigrated from these very areas in recent years and brought their culture with them?

The Muslims I've gotten to know in America largely left to get away from that theocratic culture, not because they were so enthusiastic about it that they were dying to bring it here.
posted by empath at 6:43 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


What about keeping in mind that the growing American Muslim population emigrated from these very areas in recent years and brought their culture with them?


What about keeping in mind that some American Muslims may have come to America because they wanted to escape the more objectionable aspects of their culture?

What about keeping in mind that some American Muslims may have immigrated from an entirely different region, or may not even be immigrants at all?

What about keeping in mind that an individual deserves to be judged by their own beliefs and actions, rather than by their ethnicity, religious views, or others who may have either of those things in common with them?
posted by DiscountDeity at 6:45 AM on December 15, 2011 [1 favorite]


DiscountDeity's quotations sound very peaceful. I didn't want to get banned for veering off on a tangent (this is about a TV show), so I didn't provide any quotations myself.


I don't understand how providing quotations in support of an argument is any more of a tangent than making the same argument without any supporting evidence.


However, are you familiar with the principle of Naskh? Do you know the difference between Mecca verses and Medina verses? The lovely peaceful verses were mostly discarded in favor of decidedly unpleasant material. Something that American talking heads don't often mention.


I will be honest: I am not familiar with Islam. It seems likely you are more familiar with the theology more than I am (even though I was apparently able to find passages in "The Book" that you implied did not exist). If you are saying that there are objectionable teachings or beliefs within Islam, I'm not disagreeing, or even particularly surprised.

However, I am familiar with Christianity, and Christians (though I'm currently agnostic). My experience there has been that there is a wide range of beliefs and attitudes and behaviors within Christianity. Believers have varying degrees of passion and intensity about their faith. Believers have drastically varying interpretations of key scriptures or teachings. Believers, like anyone, have all sorts of political and social baggage, and it gets mixed into and incorporated into their religious beliefs, further complicating matters.

Bottom line: my experience has been that reading selected Bible verses, or studying the history of any region, culture, or nation that is currently or historically predominantly Christian, tells me absolutely zero about the beliefs or attitudes of any specific individual Christian I might meet. Michele Bachmann is a devout Christian. So is my mother. But my mother is almost the exact opposite of Michele Bachmann, in all of the many ways all good people desperately want their loved ones to be the opposite of Michele Bachmann. If my mother found herself living in a culture where Christians were misunderstood, distrusted, and discriminated against, and made her way onto a reality TV show, it would be extremely unfair and misleading for that show to incorporate anything about Bachmann in its portrayal of my mother.

Now, yes, if the point of the show was to give a balanced look at Christianity as a whole, both perpsectives, and numerous others, should be accounted for. And if AAM were a show about the entirety of Islam, I would agree that some mention of violent extremism would be appropriate.

But this show, insofar as I can gather (never watched it), is simply meant to show a certain specific segment of Islam, one that is not substantially different than most other Americans. This could be useful in helping to combat the hostility and bigotry suffered by the peaceful Muslims whose existence you have already acknowledged.

This doesn't strike me as a show meant to create the impression that ALL Muslims are peaceful and friendly. I would kind of be amazed if it were possible to create that impression in the mind of anyone in post-9/11 America. This show seems to me to be meant to communicate that not all Muslims are crazy bloodthirsty jihadists...something that you have already acknowledged. While you have asserted that AAM is part of a "coverup", I have heard no compelling reasons to believe this to be the case, nor have I heard why you apparently believe this to be the case. Your awareness of violence in Islamic theology, or within certain segments of the Islamic population, proves nothing at all about the intent of the show's producers (which seems to have been your primary objection to the show).


You are, of course, welcome to have an unfavorable view of Islam; I'm not the biggest fan, myself. But if you are sincere in asserting that peaceful American citizens who happen to be Muslims should not be portrayed on TV without the audience being reminded of the crimes of others who share their ethnicity or their religion (ostensibly), then I have to say I don't think I've heard a reasonable or compelling defense of that rather offensive notion from you yet.
posted by DiscountDeity at 7:35 AM on December 15, 2011 [2 favorites]


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