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A Politics Straight Out of French Lick, Indiana
January 5, 2010 2:38 PM   Subscribe

Clothes Make the Man: Jonathan Valania writes on the political conversion of Urban Outfitters founder Richard Hayne, whose disenchanted co-founder and ex-wife is a "diehard liberal activist" and restaurant owner while he runs a bi-continental hipster clothing chain which has supported controversial former US Senator Rick Santorum (h/t the Phawker).
posted by l33tpolicywonk (63 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite

 
[Regarding Rick Santorum's views about gay people.] "I'm not going to comment on it," he says, irked. "I have my own opinion, but I am not going to share it."

Given your support for Santorum and your general politics, I think we can put two and two together, Dick.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:53 PM on January 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Not that I really needed any extra reasons not to buy their ridiculous garbage, but hey, it's nice to have backup.
posted by Skot at 3:01 PM on January 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


Isn't Urban Outfitters basically the new Hot Topic?

I always wanted to point and laugh at people who fetishized the place as posers, but this is a new reason to not like the place.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:06 PM on January 5, 2010


Clothes may make the Man, but the Man appears to make Santorum in this case.
posted by sebastienbailard at 3:06 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Isn't Urban Outfitters basically the new Hot Topic?

Not according to the FPP's first link to a June 2003 Philadelphia Weekly article. I'd say it's an old topic.
posted by ericb at 3:18 PM on January 5, 2010


Hot Topic being old hat ten years ago, of course.
posted by dunkadunc at 3:19 PM on January 5, 2010


posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:53 PM: "...Santorum.........Dick."

You can say that again.

It's hard to talk about Santorum (and dicks) without getting all frothed up.
posted by nickjadlowe at 3:19 PM on January 5, 2010


Urban Outfitters Pimps Obama, Your Love
"Liberal politics and mass consumption are difficult, if not impossible, to reconcile....So it should come as quite a bore to learn that Urban Outfitters, is actually run by an evil conservative genius named Richard Hayne, who takes the 28 bucks you spend on an Obamaniac shirt and parlays it into a fatty donation to the Republican Party. Beneficiaries have included former Senator Rick Santorum. How truly ironic!"
Square Who Got Hip to Urban Chic
"It seems unlikely that many of the staff or the customers know much about the owner and boss of Urban - a brilliant retailer called Richard Hayne whose views would be a serious risk to sales were his profile to rise.

Hayne started the business in the 1970s, taking it public in 1993 and bringing it to Britain in 1998. He is still the biggest shareholder and a seriously rich man - a billionaire by some estimates. You only have to look to see that there is nothing remotely hip about him. There is surely a bigger gulf between Hayne and his customer base than any other High Street retailer.

Shopping in Urban makes you feel like you are somewhere radically Left-wing, an antidote to the corporate blandness of The Gap. But Hayne is a stanch conservative who donates money to Republican politicians, not least Rick Santorum, a now failed Senator whose views on homosexuality are both bizarre and old-fashioned.

Hayne doesn't give many interviews precisely because he's afraid that college slackers who get to know him will suddenly realise that buying his clothes is like giving cash to George Bush.

Once described as projecting a 'Dick Cheney-esque aura of no-nonsense grayflannel gravitas', Hayne must be the only retailer whose expansion plans depend on no one finding out who he really is.

Despite the strife in the sector, Urban just beat Wall Street profit expectations yet again. So far, the illusion is holding up perfectly."*
posted by ericb at 3:22 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


(oops...note to self: keep an eye out for the tricky every-word-is-a-link links. sorry all.)
posted by nickjadlowe at 3:25 PM on January 5, 2010


Eh, it's Whole Foods again.

What if you buy products made by liberal-owned companies sold at Urban Outfitters? Would that cancel out?
posted by mullingitover at 3:31 PM on January 5, 2010


Sure Urban Outfitters has some tacky shit. But if someone has actually stepped inside and taken a look instead of just jerking their knee while foaming at the mouth, they would find that there's a lot of plainish or solid colored separates. And it's the only place that has jeans that fit me right.
posted by MaryDellamorte at 3:31 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Man Makes the Clothes
posted by Flashman at 3:35 PM on January 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


What if you buy products made by liberal-owned companies sold at Urban Outfitters? Would that cancel out?

The mark-up cancels out your attempt at "doing good." A couple years back, I got some shirts from my sister, and she forgot to remove the price tag. I was annoyed that a record label I liked would charge $28 for a t-shirt with a logo, and annoyed would anyone would pay that much. Just to check, I looked on the label's website, where they were selling the shirts for $20. Yes, Urban Outfitters charged an extra $8 for the status/privilege of getting merchandise in their store, walking out with the item in their bag. I knew they were mainstream production of faux-thrift items, but this made me really annoyed.

One tip of the hat to them: They've sold a number of compilation CDs that feature exclusive tracks and most of the price paid goes back to the non-profit organization.
posted by filthy light thief at 3:52 PM on January 5, 2010


Urban Outfitters also owns Anthropologie, so when you outgrow your ironic teeshirt/lovebead door curtain phase, you can go support the GOP with your faux shabby chic candles and sweatshop-crocheted shrugs.

I will never understand why people don't just shop at real thrift stores, instead of these two bullshit simulacra. Germ phobia?
posted by padraigin at 4:28 PM on January 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


Apparently there's some confusion here: Purchasing consumer goods is not changing the world for the better no matter how nice the people who make them or sell them to you are. Mass consumption is not the answer to any question worth asking and the number of people who've been sold on the idea that we can save the world through shopping is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:30 PM on January 5, 2010 [35 favorites]


Wait, the guy who runs Urban Outfitters is an asshole?

This is my not-surprised-whatsoever face. I couldn't even gin up enough of a reaction to give you my surprised face.
posted by Horace Rumpole at 4:30 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


padraigin, I get the whole "Just shop at a real thrift store" thing, but having done quite a bit of that myself, I find that people tend to be willing to pay for reliable inventory. I've scored some truly awesome clothes from thrift stores--my greatcoat, for example--but the amount of time it takes to find said awesome clothes far outweighs the time I'd have spent in a traditional retail outlet. If you've got more time than money, thrift stores are the way to go. If you like shopping as such, it's definitely the way to go. But if you're ambivalent about shopping and have more money than time, or think you do anyways, then UO would seem to be a logical choice.

Of course, to even get to that analysis you have to be willing to admit that fashion does not signify anything much beyond personal preference. Pope Guilty would seem to have beaten me to that particular punch, but yeah, buying consumer goods, whether new or used, does not constitute some kind of symbolic moral act. Get the clothes you want for a price you're willing to pay.
posted by valkyryn at 5:04 PM on January 5, 2010


Apparently there's some confusion here: Purchasing consumer goods is not changing the world for the better no matter how nice the people who make them or sell them to you are.

I understand what you're saying. But is it not possible to change the world for the worse by deliberately shopping only at corporations that have awful track records of supporting causes that you're opposed to or say by purposely living a massive carbon footprint "lifestyle"? e.g. only eat at McDonald's, Outback Steakhouse, KFC and Starbucks, only buy things at Home Depot, Walmart, other big box stores. Never buy organic produce nor shop at farmers' markets, co-ops, thrift stores, etc. Buy the biggest non-hybrid SUV possible, commute to work 100 miles away daily in stop and go traffic, with a bumper sticker that reads "fuck the environment." Run the A/C or heater constantly with all your doors and windows open, other stupid things, etc. Can it not work this way?
posted by peppito at 5:19 PM on January 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


I used to quite like going into Urban Outfitters to have a look at the wacky (non-clothing) shit they sell (boxing nuns anyone?). Nowadays though, looking at the clothes really puts me off. I'm always struck by the fact that most of the styles they carry look cheap, whilst being ridiculously expensive. Why the hell would anyone pay £85 for a cheap looking flannel shirt? I guess if that's what the market will bear...
posted by jonesor at 5:19 PM on January 5, 2010


I'd love to be able to say "I'll never shop there again!" But I've never shopped at that shit hole in the first place.
posted by tkchrist at 5:19 PM on January 5, 2010


But is it not possible to change the world for the worse by deliberately shopping only at corporations that have awful track records of supporting causes that you're opposed to or say by purposely living a massive carbon footprint "lifestyle"? e.g. only eat at McDonald's, Outback Steakhouse, KFC and Starbucks, only buy things at Home Depot, Walmart, other big box stores. Never buy organic produce nor shop at farmers' markets, co-ops, thrift stores, etc. Buy the biggest non-hybrid SUV possible, commute to work 100 miles away daily in stop and go traffic, with a bumper sticker that reads "fuck the environment." Run the A/C or heater constantly with all your doors and windows open, other stupid things, etc. Can it not work this way?

The impact that you personally have is microscopic compared not only to the rest of humanity but to the impacts generated by the industrial and business sectors. Yes, it feels good to be able to say "Well, I'm not contributing to all that as much I might otherwise be!" No, it doesn't have much of an effect on anything beyond that.

The narcissistic obsession with personal moral purity is a distraction from the more necessary occupation with the structure of our society.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:24 PM on January 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


No, it doesn't have much of an effect on anything beyond that.

God damn. That is not only recklessly cynical it's just not true at all. The cumulative effect of forty years of an increasing number of individuals buying organic foods has directly contributed to a society wide discussion of sustainability and massive change in many food industries.

I'm all for focusing on institutional progress. But most of the time it starts from the ground up. From the Civil Rights area right on up to Anti-war movements. Just crossing your fingers waiting for the man to change everything for you, no matter how much you lobby for it, is lazy as hell. It's still expecting somebody else to do all the heavy lifting. What you DO matters.
posted by tkchrist at 5:36 PM on January 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


The narcissistic obsession with personal moral purity is a distraction from the more necessary occupation with the structure of our society.

Yes, I hear what you're saying, but I don't believe it's absolutely true. The conclusion doesn't necessarily follow from how I understand modern commercialism to function (and is evolving into).
posted by peppito at 5:40 PM on January 5, 2010


"era"
posted by tkchrist at 5:46 PM on January 5, 2010


Seeing this in front of the brand new Urban Outfitters in my neighborhood made my day.
posted by nowoutside at 5:49 PM on January 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


God damn. That is not only recklessly cynical it's just not true at all. The cumulative effect of forty years of an increasing number of individuals buying organic foods has directly contributed to a society wide discussion of sustainability and massive change in many food industries.

I am not talking about these things at a societal level. The idea that you, personally, are making the world better or worse by choosing where to shop based on the owner's political preferences is self-aggrandizing.

Just crossing your fingers waiting for the man to change everything for you, no matter how much you lobby for it, is lazy as hell. It's still expecting somebody else to do all the heavy lifting.

That you have internalized the idea that choosing to shop in the patterns that you shop in is in and of itself "doing something" is a perfect example of my point. You don't have to actually do anything challenging whatsoever, but you get to feel good about yourself as if you are making a real difference in the world- much like those guys in my town who set up by the courthouse and wave signs about the Iraq War in front of nobody who has any power to change the situation. It satisfies the (very noble and important) "do something good" need that we mostly seem to have as human beings without actually doing anything useful, like filling up on bread and skipping the proteins and vegetables.

If you really want a better world, take all the time you spend researching who owns the stores you shop at and instead spend it working at a soup kitchen, organizing for a political goal, or lobbying.
posted by Pope Guilty at 5:53 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Can't we all forget about economics for a second, and just agree that Dan Savage hit a fucking home run with 'Santorum'? Seriously I had to remind myself that he's a real person and not just ass foam.
posted by oinopaponton at 5:56 PM on January 5, 2010 [13 favorites]


I can understand that the guy himself might not do it (since it might constitute admitting defeat in some way) but I'm surprised that other Santorums across the country aren't changing their last names.
Dan Savage hit a fucking home run- the name "Santorum" will never, ever be cleaned.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:06 PM on January 5, 2010


That you have internalized the idea that choosing to shop in the patterns that you shop in is in and of itself "doing something" is a perfect example of my point. You don't have to actually do anything challenging whatsoever

Whether this is true depends on (a) how much money you have and (b) where you live. Big box stores have become successful by making themselves ubiquitous. They also tend to sell the same shit as other places, only they often sell it cheaper. If you live in an area that hasn't been invaded by big box stores, you're either in a yuppie enclave that has actively resisted such invasion or you're someplace so poor that the big box stores won't bother with you. If it's the former, you can afford to shop somewhere else, and indeed shopping at a Wal-Mart, etc., would be more trouble for you than not. But if you live within close proximity to a big box store -- that is, if it's down the street -- then yeah, you may have to go out of your way to shop somewhere else, and probably pay more for your trouble. This isn't challenging the way operating a soup kitchen is challenging, but it is an inconvenient pain in the ass. Most people, obviously, would rather not bother.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 6:08 PM on January 5, 2010


Also: My home state of Maine is so hip, we don't even have an Urban Outfitters.
posted by dunkadunc at 6:10 PM on January 5, 2010


Apparently there's some confusion here: Purchasing consumer goods is not changing the world for the better no matter how nice the people who make them or sell them to you are. Mass consumption is not the answer to any question worth asking and the number of people who've been sold on the idea that we can save the world through shopping is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.

Favorited so hard I cracked the fucking screen on my monitor.
posted by jason's_planet at 7:19 PM on January 5, 2010


Believe it or not this nutcase Santorum is exploring a run for president in 2012.
posted by any major dude at 7:21 PM on January 5, 2010


Purchasing consumer goods is not changing the world for the better no matter how nice the people who make them or sell them to you are. Mass consumption is not the answer to any question worth asking and the number of people who've been sold on the idea that we can save the world through shopping is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.

I disagree. I believe many of the issues that face the world can and have been changed by altering what and how we consume. It's naive to think that laws or political pressure have any effect on multinational corporations that can pick and choose any of a dozen nation's legal systems of which to abide. The only way to get them to change is the make it profitable for them to change.
posted by any major dude at 7:34 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I too want to publicly challenge the assumption that a person needs to shop in the first place. You're doing the world a much bigger favor, and burnishing your halo to a far greater extent, if you simply don't buy things.

The problem is that we like to buy things. Then we kid ourselves into thinking that where we buy things makes a difference in the world. Marketing departments tend to encourage this rationalization.

It reminds me of my 400lb great aunt who used to claim that eating pumpkin pie bars was a sensible dessert choice. Because they have pumpkin, see? Fiber! The truth - obvious to everyone but herself - was that she should have skipped the dessert altogether.
posted by ErikaB at 7:37 PM on January 5, 2010 [2 favorites]


Years ago, I went to a friends house and noticed she had recently acquired a good number of votive candle holders. I asked her where she got all the candle holders and she said " I found them in an alley by these dumpsters. Someone must have been throwing them out." She wanted to go back to see if there were any more and I tagged along.

We get to the spot and sure enough there are two more boxes of candle holders right next to a large roll away dumpster. After she put the boxes in the trunk of her car, we walk around to the street parallel to the alley. Two things later occur to me. One, right about where the boxes and the dumpster was an Anthropologie. Two, I don't think they were throwing those boxes out. So, in short, I think a friend of mine stole like five cases of votive candle holders from Anthropologie
posted by zinc saucier at 7:47 PM on January 5, 2010 [10 favorites]


Should I admit that I occasionally find cool things on the clearance rack at UO for $5 or $10?

Great post, by the way. I find it fascinating that this guy who was so inspired by seeing Dylan and Baez in '64 would end up being such a Republican tool.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 7:57 PM on January 5, 2010


any major dude, it's even more naive to think that individuals, or even groups of individuals, have any effect on multinationals. I mean, if we're going to attribute vast, extra-legal powers to them, shouldn't we also give some shrift to the idea that they manipulate our spending patterns for their own interests? Either corporations exert some kind of irresistible, uncontrollable power over us or they don't. If they do, then nothing you can do will have any effect. If they don't, laws and regulations will get them to change their behavior just like anyone else. Besides, I doubt you can give me even one example of a boycott exerting real, meaningful change on a corporate entity that is complying with the law.

As to your other point, many if not most corporations are quite paranoid about legal compliance. Sure, they exert tons of clout to get the laws they want, but most also take great pains to ensure that they comply with the laws on the books. I'm a corporate attorney, and I spend all day making sure my employer does just that. The penalties for inadvertent failure are so grave to make deliberate disobedience too hideous to contemplate.

Face it: your symbolic consumption is nothing more than a gesture. You want real change, you get involved in the political process. It doesn't always work--sometimes you just lose--but nothing else will.
posted by valkyryn at 8:17 PM on January 5, 2010


valkyryn, where did I mention boycott? I'm talking about changing the things we as a society value. Did a law force Walmart to start selling organic food? No, profit did. Corporations can always get around laws, either they buy politicians to change them, move production to a willing country or they pay actuaries to figure out if paying the fines are actually cheaper than complying. What they cannot get around is a shift in values. I don't know of one law in the US that has made high fructose corn syrup illegal yet every day I see food producers making the decision to use a more expensive sweetener not because they care about the health of their consumers but because consumers demand its removal from their food. Same goes for hormones in milk. No laws, no political pressure, just awareness and a shift in the things individuals value.
posted by any major dude at 8:48 PM on January 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Should I admit that I occasionally find cool things on the clearance rack at UO for $5 or $10?

Hey, I'm with you. Once I got a pair of pants knocked down to $5 on the 50% off rack, so they were actually $2.50.
posted by deanc at 9:53 PM on January 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


I love thrift stores. The unpredictability is exciting, and now I find I'm just bored shopping anywhere with a set merchandise selection.

Also, thrift store clothes always have that lovely, ineffable thrift store smell. I hate when I have to wash them.
posted by jb at 10:27 PM on January 5, 2010


…the number of people who've been sold on the idea that we can save the world through shopping is simultaneously horrifying and hilarious.

Nonetheless, I shall continue to do most of my shopping at Mark's Work Wearworld, and will try to get Canadian- and American-made stuff when I can.

Mind, I essentially live in t-shirts and jeans, so it's not really like I need a fashionable store.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:35 PM on January 5, 2010


The impact that you personally have is microscopic compared not only to the rest of humanity but to the impacts generated by the industrial and business sectors.

At the same time, this is absolutely true in all regards. Big changes only occur when Big players change. The rest of us are minnows in the ocean by comparison.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:38 PM on January 5, 2010



Hey, I'm with you. Once I got a pair of pants knocked down to $5 on the 50% off rack, so they were actually $2.50.


Thanks Deanc. That sounds like a great deal! The clearance rack is the only reason I go in there.

I looked at the article again, and wow this guy is a douchebag. Irony of ironies, Hayne now is far to the right of my father, who actually fought in Vietnam.
posted by suburbanbeatnik at 11:39 PM on January 5, 2010


The impact that you personally have is microscopic compared not only to the rest of humanity but to the impacts generated by the industrial and business sectors.

At the same time, this is absolutely true in all regards. Big changes only occur when Big players change. The rest of us are minnows in the ocean by comparison.


Pfft and the 'Big Players' don't change until the 'Small Players' start making head way in their markets, or when a society/culture is forced to evolve when the population reaches a tipping point - which mostly occurs when a new trend/idea gains so much momentum that it can't be reversed with bribes. This happens constantly - it's supposed to happen - small changes/efforts usually precede big changes (political, economic, cultural, you name it). It's so obvious I feel stupid for pointing this out.
posted by peppito at 12:41 AM on January 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


The narcissistic obsession with personal moral purity is a distraction from the more necessary occupation with the structure of our society.

Well, I don't have to participate, and I don't have to give my money to someone who's going to use it against me and everything I value. Does that mean I'm not concerned with, and not trying, in my own small ways, to change society for the better?

If we don't put our shoulders to the wheel it won't turn. Giving money to someone who's trying to push the wheel the other way is self-defeating, especially since the efforts on the other side of the wheel are so dependent on money.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 1:31 AM on January 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


I think that's a very silly metaphor, but to play into it, you seem to be in complete agreement with the man on the other side of the wheel about the geography of the path it's rolling on, and yet consider yourself his opponent simply because you disagree about which end of the path you should be on.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:37 AM on January 6, 2010


Believe it or not this nutcase Santorum is exploring a run for president in 2012.

Yes, YES! The 2012 Republican primary is shaping up to be some quality entertainment! Fox couldn't throw together a sleazy reality show as juicy as the blood bath that will ensue between scum bags like Palin, Santorum, and Gingrich. The massive douchbag that survives in the end (Romney) will be so scarred by teabaggery and rumors (true or not) of extramarital dalliances with transgendered, illegal alien, drug dealing, terrorist commies that Michelle Obama could smash out the back window of the Presidential limo ala Elin Nordegren on November 5th and Barry'd still cakewalk into a second term.

Run Rick Run! Drill baby drill!
posted by Pollomacho at 5:00 AM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


I bought a pair of slippers there for someone I don't like.
posted by Mister_A at 5:08 AM on January 6, 2010


peppito wrote:

Pfft and the 'Big Players' don't change until the 'Small Players' start making head way in their markets

Exactly. Does anyone think that Walmart would have started selling organic food if Trader Joe's didn't start cutting into their profit margin? I would like some examples from those who believe change actually comes from the head down. Tell me one positive change of the 20th century that was first proffered by a political representative. These people are cowardly followers who never make any decision unless their ass is covered by a groundswell of constituents and campaign dollars. Corporations are chartered to be profitable, fines and laws are nice but we in the real world know that regulations and laws are only as good as the size of the back door that is ALWAYS included in the bill. There is no back door when the right thing is actually more profitable. We need to stop calling our representatives "leaders" and start calling them servants - that one tiny semantic gesture will make a world of difference toward changing the culture in this country and put the onus on the individual to create change.
posted by any major dude at 6:27 AM on January 6, 2010 [3 favorites]


> Isn't Urban Outfitters basically the new Hot Topic?

Urban Outfitters was founded in 1970, Hot Topic in 1988.
posted by ardgedee at 6:39 AM on January 6, 2010


I'm glad you liked the story enough to post it, it's an oldie but a goodie. Jonathan is a very close friend of mine who has produced quality stories (like last week's story about the 1969 Liberty Bell Bomb Plot that never existed) very consistently for a long time now.
posted by The Straightener at 6:59 AM on January 6, 2010



Well, I don't have to participate, and I don't have to give my money to someone who's going to use it against me and everything I value. Does that mean I'm not concerned with, and not trying, in my own small ways, to change society for the better?

If we don't put our shoulders to the wheel it won't turn. Giving money to someone who's trying to push the wheel the other way is self-defeating, especially since the efforts on the other side of the wheel are so dependent on money.


For me personally, it's not even a question of efficacy any more. I know that I'm just a very small fish in a gigantic ocean and that my purchasing choices are essentially meaningless to these big companies. It's just that I cannot tolerate the idea that my money (even just a small portion of it) going to individuals who fund the anti-gay marriage movement, "pro-life" terrorists, or several right-wing noise machines.

I know no corporation can ever be perfect, but some corporations -are- less noxious than others. And those are the ones that will be getting my dollars.
posted by longdaysjourney at 7:37 AM on January 6, 2010 [4 favorites]


I can't believe this isn't a double.
posted by box at 7:54 AM on January 6, 2010


Well, this certainly wasn't The Feel Good Story of 2010 I was looking for.*


*Yes, I know it's early but I could use one.
posted by tommasz at 8:08 AM on January 6, 2010


Urban Counterfeiters

No recent updates, but pretty much everyone I know in the craftycrafty/design world calls them Urban Counterfeiters all the time.
posted by bitter-girl.com at 10:40 AM on January 6, 2010


I always wonder why liberals want to pick this fight. It's not like it's going to end well for them if taken to the logical conclusions. With some notable exceptions -- contemporary art dealers, hip-restaurateurs, etc. -- the people who actually pay for the goods and services that liberals produce to earn their livings are at least as often conservatives as liberals. (And, yes, that includes government work, when you consider who is actually paying the taxes.)
posted by MattD at 11:24 AM on January 6, 2010


I can't believe this isn't a double.

I feel the same way, Box. But I think I found out about this over at the 'chat. For once, we were ahead of the game. Take that, blue!
posted by msali at 6:44 PM on January 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


the geography of the path it's rolling on

Please forgive me for living in the world.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 7:00 PM on January 6, 2010


Please forgive me for living in the world.

Would "the shape and direction of the path" have been clearer?
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:58 PM on January 6, 2010


The wheel won't get out of the rut unless we push it out, and giving money to a guy who's trying to keep it in the rut just makes the job that much harder.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 12:38 AM on January 7, 2010


I always wonder why liberals want to pick this fight.

Because the head of Urban Outfitters is a particularly odious example. Liberals aren't picking the fight. He picked the fight by supporting a rather odious and offensive political philosophy. When someone's slapping you in the face, over and over again, you don't hand them money for their time.

I wonder why you don't ask the question, "Why is the head of Urban Outfitters supporting such an offensive political movement and backing politicians that are so offensive to his customer base?" Why is he picking this fight?

And, as is not particularly surprising, he's not exactly proud of his beliefs, either. But it works in both directions-- part of his political conversion is no doubt do to socialization over time with other investors and business partners: in short, his colleagues picked a political fight with him and won-- for for social purposes, he became more conservative over time. Why did those conservatives want to pick that fight? But they did, and they won, because he definitely may have paid consequences for espousing liberal causes but pays no consequences for supporting rather destructive right-wing causes. It's interesting that you're not worried about the fight that was picked in the other direction, particularly given that among many in his community, such right-wing beliefs and repetition of talking points are basically a social affectation.

that includes government work, when you consider who is actually paying the taxes

The sort of political activism that government workers are allowed to participate in is constrained by law. Unless you're Monica Goodling.
posted by deanc at 6:10 AM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]


"padraigin, I get the whole "Just shop at a real thrift store" thing, but having done quite a bit of that myself, I find that people tend to be willing to pay for reliable inventory. I've scored some truly awesome clothes from thrift stores--my greatcoat, for example--but the amount of time it takes to find said awesome clothes far outweighs the time I'd have spent in a traditional retail outlet. If you've got more time than money, thrift stores are the way to go. If you like shopping as such, it's definitely the way to go. But if you're ambivalent about shopping and have more money than time, or think you do anyways, then UO would seem to be a logical choice."

Charity shopping is a marvellous thing - you get cool new clothes, something different to what's in the shops, and you're keeping things out of landfill. But I'm a 5ft10 woman with US size 11 feet - I simply can't buy everything used.
posted by mippy at 9:13 AM on January 7, 2010


Once, while I was living in Philadelphia my friends Frank and Kelly invited me to one of their fabulous parties. I drank too much, and by the time I was introduced to one of their friends, my opinions were turned up to 11. I asked their friend what he did, and he told me he worked at Urban Outfitters. I groaned and said:

"God damn Urban Outfitters! Do me a favor, will you? Tell them that I hate their designs? I think they're offensive. $80 for a shirt made of gingham that looks like Mammy back on the plantation made it out of an old tablecloth? It's offensive that privileged white kids from the suburbs spend so much money to look homeless. Pass that little tidbit along to the design team, will you? What department are you in anyway?"

To which, he replied, "Oh, I'm a designer."
posted by greekphilosophy at 8:58 PM on January 9, 2010 [3 favorites]


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