So I just saw that Kellog, famous maker of cereals and snacks, has decided not to renew their contract with Olympic medalist Michael Phelps (the contract expires at the end of the month), citing as their sole reason the picture of him smoking pot that recently surfaced.
I have some problems with this. The other day I saw that another of his sponsors, one that makes watches, I think, stated for the record that they saw no connection between the picture of Phelps that surfaced and his contract with them, and that they were proud to have him on board with their company. I thought that was classy.
Kellog, on the other hand, is being cowardly. But the truth is, I can't blame them entirely. Because as far as I'm concerned, this whole country is cowardly. I don't know anyone at Kellog, so I can't really say where they stand on the issue as individuals. And as a company, they have shareholders to answer to, as well as a very vocal and conservative public to deal with, even if all of the noise is being made by a minority of the population. So yeah, I guess in that sense, I understand Kellog doing what they did. Yet I still disagree.
If they had kept Phelps on, would it have hurt their sales in a measurable amount? I can't imagine it would. But then, I've often been surprised at how the ultra-conservative can hold the rest of the country hostage with their strict ideals.
The thing about pot is, it's not bad. I know it's illegal, but really, it shouldn't be. Not if alcohol is legal. Alcohol is actually much worse than pot. Give me a room full of pot-heads over drunks any day. I mean, if we are to look at stereotypes, what are drunks known for? Starting fights, being rowdy, talking excessively loud (I'm especially bad with that one), falling, knocking things over, etc. Pot-heads, on the other hand, are known for watching TV, playing video games, and eating tons of snack food (that's right Kellog, you may have just offended one of your bigger customer bases). And clearly, it doesn't have to impede your progress towards setting or reaching your goals, as Phelps has proven.
Pot doesn't make you waste your life away anymore than listening to Marilyn Manson makes you turn to murder or suicide. The folks who are going to do that stuff, they're going to do it with or without pot, or Marilyn Manson. And pot doesn't lead to harder drugs. The ones who turn to harder drugs, they were going there anyway. In fact, so many normal, everyday, upstanding citizens smoke pot that it's almost impossible to not start there if you're intent on doing drugs. But if all you want is pot, you won't find yourself reaching for the needle.
The thing about the ultra-conservative base is, they're really a small group, but they've got everyone convinced that their numbers are massive, and through this false reality they keep companies like Kellog in line. Kellog, you had a chance to stand up to the ridiculous right, and you chickened out. Shame on you.
But there's one more angle to this whole thing, and it has to do with the boom in technology which has completely decimated a person's right to privacy. Phelps was in his off-season, with literally weeks and weeks and weeks of nothing to do, and he was blowing off a little steam, being a 23 year old guy. But some douche bag had to post pictures of Phelps enjoying himself at a private party, and now because of that, Phelps is losing out on what was probably a lot of money. All for what? So kellog can woo the religious right some more? It's all bullshit. These public stances that are made in the name of purity and goodness, they don't usually fall in line with the general public, they bow down to the extremists. And I'm tired of it. If more companies and organizations and groups said enough is enough to those ultra conservatives, and saw that there really was no backlash other than some temporary shouting in the headlines, we could eventually be free of these ridiculous restraints. But Kellog won't be in the front of that rally.
Well guess what kellog, the next time I smoke pot, it won't be massive amounts of your cereals that I eat. But I might buy a bunch of watches.