Numbers are loaded with symbolism, and carry significance and power. They are often wielded to demand all kinds of preferential treatment and privileges by all sorts bodies and organisations that purport to represent people.
Sometimes numbers are not always representational; we under estimate and over estimate things on a regular basis, and like stocks on the exchange, value can be relative to any one single day.
I love the Towleroad blog for its round up of world news and gay issues. It recently reported that a fringe group in the US called 'One Million Moms', which one commentator on the site rightly noted would be more appropriately titled 'A few thousand women who can't count', attempted to start a viral campaign against JC Penny for what they deemed was the organisation's inappropriate use of Ellen DeGeneres as the brand spokesperson given that she was a lesbian and represented non Christian values.
I know many gay people who consider themselves Christian, or Buddhist or Muslim and have no issue in maintaining their values despite how their religions may interpret their teachings or doctrines, good or bad. I think they have grown tired of always having to defend their own faith because of the way other people with similar religious inclinations interpret their own faith. And to JC Penny's credit, they stood by Ellen and ignored the threats of boycott if Ellen wasn't from her post.
Despite that attempt, One Million Moms (their count, not mine) again have expressed outrage, staging an online campaign against Toys R Us for stocking an issue of the famous Archie comic series, whose recent issue depicted a same sex marriage celebration on its cover. Its one thing to ignore or choose not to purchase a product. It's a capitalist idea, and succinctly, the numbers will speak on their own behalf. Its another thing entirely to threaten mass boycotts.
Social media is a powerful tool, one which can be increasingly exploited for good or bad. People power via the internet is fast defining this new decade and powerful (and not so powerful) lobby groups are setting the scene.
Whilst to some extent these online petitions are a logical way in which people can create debate, express themselves and find comfort in like minded company, when they are used to curtail the hard won freedoms of other social groups I find them incredibly distasteful.
Click on READ MORE to continue the post