From the sublime to the ridiculous, David Hogg, Parkland's most prominent media fixture, has a doozie of a stunt planned for us on Friday.
The young man, a student at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School during the Feb. 14 deadly shooting, apparently has the promise of media attention. That can be the only explanation.
Initially, Hogg called for just a boycott of Publix (he mentioned getting his chocolate chip muffins elsewhere). Maybe he thought the boycott idea was being ignored. After all, in spite of quotes to the contrary, shoppers still show they love the Lakeland-based supermarket chain and Publix officials never stopped donating money to gubernatorial candidate Adam Putnam. Putnam, remember, had the audacity to call himself "a proud NRA sellout."
Well, now Hogg has racheted up his anti-NRA/anti-Publix vitriol, and he's called for a "die-in." That's what happens Friday. A die-in. Have a look at his call to action. He wants students and activists to stage die-ins starting at 4 p.m. for 12 minutes inside Parkland's two Publix stores.
Others can join in, too, says Hogg. All they have to do is pick out a Publix, go in and hit the floor.
"I don't know whether to laugh or throw up," said Donald Klein, a high school senior in St. Lucie County, when he read Hogg's Twitter announcement.
The rise of this fabricated outrage came from the Tampa Bay Times, which detailed the backing of Putnam by the giant grocer, which also happens to be the state's largest employer.
Kids lying on the floor tantrum-style when they don't get something they want: As if Publix and its customers have never seen that before. This involvement of the Parkland activist has of course generated other attention-grabbing, pseudo activists. News reports have circulated of people claiming to be lifelong Publix customers who declare they will never shop at the stores again.
Really? Anybody believe that?
It is rather likely these folks are spouting balloon juice, and will be back to nabbing BoGo items by next month. If they were, in fact, so politically active about their produce providers, they would have curtailed their patronage of the chain decades ago. The company has been supporting Congressman and Agriculture Commissioner Adam Putnam since 1996, not because of his Second Amendment stance, but because Putnam’s home district is where the Publix corporate headquarters is based, and because supermarket officials believe in his leadership for Florida.
Hopefully, Publix will continue to show its class and will not back away from Putnam.
This is where we are in contemporary America: Everything has to be politicized, and even the products on the shelves carry a party bias that must be exposed. Taking the ridiculousness to the extreme, what is a shopper to do when faced with a consumer paradox? Look at Roku boxes, for instance. They were targeted for not removing the NRA TV channel, but they also carry HULU, which boycotted the Laura Ingraham show over comments about Hogg. Do I support or boycott HULU?
As the “news” first broke last week, the company issued this statement through a spokesman: “As the hometown candidate, Publix has had a long-standing relationship with Commissioner Putnam. We support pro-business candidates, and believe Commissioner Putnam will make a great governor.”
This has done little to quell the flashy media reports. As more customers are quoted in editorials, or trotted out in front of the 6 O'Clock News cameras, the store chain has been compelled to come forward with additional comments. “We regret that some of our political contributions have led to an unintentional customer divide instead of our desire to support a growing economy in Florida. ... As a result of this situation, we are evaluating our processes to ensure that our giving better reflects our intended desire to support a strong economy and a healthy community.”
Honestly, the company needn’t worry too much about appeasing its customer base. While Hogg has been a media darling, with the press hanging on his every utterance (as informed, or ignorant as those may be), he has proven himself to be the opposite of a motivational force. In spite of the fawning media, his calls for action have largely yielded reaction.
Since ramping up his gun control prolix, the months of March and April saw gun sales, permit applications, and donations to the NRA swell to higher levels, some in record amounts. His ballyhooed advertiser boycott of the Laura Ingraham program resulted in her enjoying a spike in her ratings, and many advertisers returning to her show.
Hogg also called for investors to drop the investment management corporations Blackrock Inc., and The Vanguard Group, because they had holdings in gun manufacturers. Both firms had no comment about the boycott -- largely because the 18-year-old investment guru is driving up gun sales and benefitting the portfolios of those firms.
Media cameras will be out Friday. We'll see how it goes.
Brad Slager, a Fort Lauderdale freelance writer, wrote this piece exclusively for Sunshine State News. Slager writes on politics and the entertainment industry and his stories appear in such publications as RedState and The Federalist.