Seth Brown | The Pun Also Rises: For love or money
I am trying to live with love, instead of hate. This is difficult for me, because as you may have noticed, it is February, and I haaaaaaate February. T.S. Eliot was a famous liar who said that April is the cruelest month, but I think we all know it's February. Valentine's Day is cruel to everyone, reminding those without a significant other of that fact, while foisting expectations upon those who do have a significant other. Although I personally did not get anything for my girlfriend for Valentine's Day, because I do not always live up to expectations, as you know if you are a regular reader of this column.
Okay, sometimes I live up to expectations.
Anyway, my point is, February is terrible. It's also terrible weather out, where if it's not snowing, it's freezing rain, which bothers me even more now that I live on a hill. I guess the good news is that it's very easy to get to town in the winter if I have a sled and a death wish. But getting back up the hill would require some sort of arcane magics, superhuman fortitude, or a car, and I have none of the above. Although I've been strongly considering finally joining the 21st century and getting some arcane magics.
Meanwhile, however, it's easy for me to be filled with hate. And I'm not alone; it seems like a lot of the world is filled with hate these days. But while I think my antipathy for February is relatively harmless, a lot of the more recent hate seems to be directed at people, which is not so harmless. And I've decided the best way to counteract hate is the two things that everyone always wants more of: Love and Money.
So, for example, if you happen to learn that the proprietor of a local restaurant has said some hateful things about immigrants, it's easy enough to stop going there. But I've decided that the best thing to do in order to counteract it is to also bring some love and money to some local immigrants by going to their restaurants instead. This not only feels like a morally good thing to do, but has the added benefit of providing you with much better food. (It's a well-known fact that people who hate immigrants make bland and terrible food.)
Likewise, if you hear that one of the barbers at your local barbershop had some unkind words about black people, it's a simple decision not to spend any more money at that establishment. But I think the best way to deal with this is to patronize a barbershop owned by a black person instead, providing some support to a group being targeted with some hate. (Besides, you're never going to meet Luke Cage otherwise.)
This love and money concept pretty much works across the board. Author exhibiting misogyny? Read more books by women. Religiously bigoted fabric shop? Buy from Muslins and Satinists. Homophobic theater director? WHY ARE YOU IN THEATER, GENIUS?
All that being said, not every hate-filled utterance is a business proposition. Sometimes showing love is just as important even when you're not spending any money.
At least, that's certainly what I told my girlfriend on Valentine's Day.
Seth Brown writes a regular column for the Banner.
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