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Mayor, Just Hug a Hoodie

It was a big news week, and I let a lot of things fly by again. Because that seems to be what I do well here on B&E lately: Let others do the commentary on events.

Just over a year ago, I wrote a “Fuck You — For the Cure” post about Susan G. Komen For the Cure going after smaller nonprofits for copyright infringement over the phrase, “For the Cure.” Which was pretty fucking stupid of them.

But their work this past week was spectacular. First, they said they weren’t going to fund Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening programs anymore, technically because Planned Parenthood is under investigation by Congress. It was a rationale that smelled just a little bit too much like bullshit. They clearly didn’t think through the inevitable backlash because no matter their intention, their defunding became about the abortion issue.

In the nonprofit communications world (in which I have a job), there was much discussion about how quickly and easily and thoughtlessly they hurt their own brand. This article was one of the best I saw and is totally worth a read if you’re interested in branding in the nonprofit world.

I would just like to say that, although Komen eventually apologized, they didn’t actually reverse course with the policy they laid out at the end of the week. But most people seem to think they did. The fact is, we won’t know if they reversed course until the next funding cycle, when they either fund or don’t fund Planned Parenthood’s breast cancer screening programs for low-income women. I predict that they won’t. And I hope the outcry continues then.

The other story from this week that is just stupendous came out of my hometown of Topeka, Kansas. The mayor apparently asked the City Council to consider regulations on hoodies and caps, so that the wearers can be seen by video cameras in stores.

Great idea, Mr. Mayor! Because if someone’s about to rob a store, and they’re wearing a hoodie, they’ll totally take it off when the store owner asks, before they rob the store, so that the security cameras can see them more clearly while they rob the store.

But Mr. Mayor, didn’t you listen to Prime Minister David Cameron (before he was PM)? He argued that hoodies are more defensive than offensive, and that the wearers simply need love. Mr. Mayor, you need to hug a hoodie today.

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