Chain takes stand against group’s petty demands

This past weekend, I did something I haven’t done in quite a while.

I went shopping at JCPenney.

Generally speaking, I’m not a JCPenney shopper. It’s not that I have anything against this venerable institution. Heaven forbid. I simply don’t often need what they have to offer.

Look. I’m a thrift store kind of guy.

I like clothing that has already been broken in for me by some other guy my size.

Comfortable. A bit rubbed and stretched out in all the right places.

To be honest, I’m not the shopper in our family.

I don’t mind going grocery shopping with my Dearly Beloved, but if we go “looking for something” at any store, the thrill wears off pretty quickly.

This past weekend, however, I went shopping at JCPenney and bought a shirt.

A nice shirt.

I did so as a token of my appreciation for JCPenney’s corporate management.

Here’s the deal.

JCPenney recently contracted with Ellen DeGeneres to have her be its spokesperson.

I’m not sure if DeGeneres even made her first commercial before the battlelines were drawn.

An organization of good, upstanding women calling themselves One Million Moms demanded that JCPenney disassociate from DeGeneres because ...

Drum roll, please ...

She is gay.

Sigh.

DeGeneres is a very, very popular talkshow host and a very funny comedienne. She is also already a spokesperson for some line of cosmetics and has done commercials for everything from credit cards to ... whatever.

She’s wildly successful at what she does.

And she’s gay.

For some reason, JCPenney’s hiring of a this high profile celebrity as a spokesperson was deemed by the OMM team as “... jumping on the pro-gay bandwagon.”

Now, I’ve seen Ellen’s show. It’s OK, but I’m not a fan of the “one celebrity talking to another celebrity” format.

I’ve seen her commercials. I find them just as annoying as any other commercial (although even I can see Ellen has absolutely “radiant skin”).

I never thought the gay thing was an issue one way or the other.

She never promoted her show as the Gay Ellen DeGeneres show.

Her credit card ads were never gay-specific.

I kinda figure her cosmetics ads were geared toward women — not necessarily gay women.

Ellen DeGeneres being gay didn’t, and doesn’t matter to me in the least.

What does concern me is a bunch of self-righteous, pontificating people who think they can bully the rest of the country every time they feel some perceived attack on their own sexuality, some imaginary assault on their religious sensibility, or some illusional threat to the “fabric of American society.”

What bothers me even more is when some big corporate entity “folds” to the demands of a group of people who think they are in some way saving the country from doom and destruction.

Here’s what OMM says about itself:

“OneMillionMoms.com was begun to give moms an impact with the decision makers and let them know we are upset with the messages they are sending our children ...”

Ladies and gentlemen of the jury ...

When I was a kid, my mom WAS the “decision maker” and she didn’t need a million other moms backing her up.

She controlled our house and had a REAL “impact” on our lives via a smack wherever convenient if we didn’t respond to her “message.”

OMM brags: “OneMillionMoms.com is the most powerful tool you have to stand against the immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity the entertainment media is throwing at your children.”

Really?

So where exactly does Ellen DeGeneres and JCPenney fit in “immorality, violence, vulgarity and profanity” criteria?

They don’t. But OMM decided to flex their million mom muscles anyway.

And ... it didn’t work.

JCPenney’s CEO responded to the threat of boycott saying:

“ ...we stand squarely behind Ellen as our spokesperson ... Because she shares the same values we do in our company. Our company was founded 110 years ago on the Golden Rule, which is about treating people fair and square, just like you would like to be treated yourself. And we think Ellen represents the values of our company and the values we share.”

What are those values?

DeGeneres explained: “I want to be clear. ... I stand for honesty, equality, kindness, compassion, treating people the way you want to be treated and helping people in need. To me those are traditional values, and that’s what I stand for.”

Pretty simple actually.

What does OMM stand for? What are there “mom” values?

Fear and intolerance.

Take your pick.

I did.

Sunday I went to JCPenney and bought a shirt.

A pretty nice shirt.

I don’t suppose I’ll suddenly start watching “Ellen” any time soon.

It has nothing to do with her being gay, her religion, her political leaning or her hair color. I just don’t like her program style.

Truth be known, I’m pretty sure her work with JCPenney would not have convinced, and will not persuade me to either shop or not to shop at that store.

By that same token I won’t choose where I shop on the advice of any other celebrity spokesperson. Not Ellen. Not Oprah. Not even Billy Graham for that matter.

BUT ... the One Million Moms team’s ridiculous stand and their attempt at muscling JCPenney into compromising real values virtually guaranteed I’ll be shopping there.

Thank goodness there are still some corporate entities that don’t buckle to petty demands by every marginal Taliban group out there.

Thank you JCPenney.

And ... thanks for a good deal on a nice shirt.