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Comment: The Russian vodka boycott is an example of passive gay activism

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Richard Smith believes we are living in an era of “passive gay activism” – and he points to the much-publicised boycott of Russian vodka by some in the LGBT community as proof. 

A Facebook invite from an ex-flatmate just about summed it up.

He invited everyone he knows to a protest outside the Russian embassy in London, because of the country’s homophobia.
This was odd, I thought.

I lived with him for several years, and he’d shown no sign of any interest in politics.

Of course, he won’t be going himself.

I guess he just wanted to show he cares, because homophobia is bad – or didn’t you know?

That’s why he sent out an invite on Facebook.

Maybe he’ll go further and take all of two seconds to click on an online petition?

They always make a difference – if only Hitler could have been brought down by the mighty power of an e-petition. Or perhaps we could have tweeted about it.

I’ve got so many tweets about this Russian anti-gay thing – mainly from queens who are about as radical as a wobbly pink blancmange.

Oddly. And boy, are they pissed.

So angry they went on Twitter and said something banal.

Or maybe my ex-flatmate could stop buying vodka he never was buying before in the first place.

He must really care.

Like all those gay bars – that really care about The Gays – and have pledged, or rather press released – not to sell Russian vodka they weren’t selling anyway.
Way to go, dudes!

Welcome to the new age of passive gay activism.

Where NOT doing something – or doing as little as possible – is mistaken for “campaigning”.
One of the great things about passive gay activism is you don’t even have to think about an issue. You just click a mouse.

Do Russian gay campaigners think there is no point to a western vodka boycott? Yes, but who cares? And I clicked on it!

What would a vodka boycott or an online petition actually achieve? On a scale of one to nothing?

Would it be completely counter-productive as President Putin revels in silly macho posturing where he likes standing up against being told what to do by people in the west? Meh.

It’s hard to fathom why this issue has become so hysterical, particularly amongst people who – let’s be honest – don’t really give a f*ck.

Are they merely showing they’re so indoctrinated with old ideas of Empire, Orientalism and right-wing hegemony they’re literally incapable of knowing what’s going on in the world? Who cares!

“Russia bad! Backward foreigners! Ugh!”

Passive gay activism will however give you an all-over feeling of smugness at having done nothing, and pretending that you really, really, really do care.

Well done!

Richard Smith is a freelance writer. He blogs about gay men politics and the media at fagburn.com

The views expressed in this article are privately held are not those of PinkNews.co.uk

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