Telling shit from Shinola… It’s not as easy as you might think

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I don’t think I’ve ever weighed in one way or the other on Shinola, the somewhat controversial Detroit-based marketer of expensive watches, bicycles and notebooks. As I recall, I may have once noted how incredibly douchey I found the spectacle of four economic development professionals, at some point during a public forum on the future of Detroit, all pulling back their sleeves in turn, and pointing toward their $675 Shinola watches – watches which they clearly saw as signifiers of the new, more dynamic, brand-savvy Detroit they’d helped to create… But, douchiness aside, I don’t think I’ve ever really come out swinging against Shinola. As much as my gut might tell me that I should join the chorus of people calling them out as opportunistic carpetbaggers looking to cash in on a “Made in Detroit” brand that they didn’t help to create (by selling items that are merely assembled in Detroit, and not actually made here), I’ve never been able to convince myself that, all things being equal, their existence in Detroit isn’t a net positive, given the fact that the company employs a few hundred people a city that could very much use the jobs.

As for the number of jobs that Shinola is responsible for, it’s hard to tell. According to a late 2014 article in the Washington Post, the company employs 320 in Detroit, but lower numbers cited elsewhere would seem to indicate that those might not all full-time employees. Regardless, the company is either hiring citizens of Detroit, or bringing new workers into Detroit, in numbers far greater than other startups that have set-up shop downtown over the past decade, and I feel as though that should count for something… even if their list of offenses is long.

With all of that said, however, I’d like to share a very thoughtful analysis of Shinola by artist Rebekah Modrak, who, as you might recall, we talked with not too long ago about the marketing of perceived authenticity to the wealthy, who are apparently starved for meaning in their lives. The following clip from Modrak’s article, titled Bougie Crap: Art, Design and Gentrification, comes from Infinite Mile Detroit. If you find it at all of interest, I’d encourage you read the entire piece on the Infinite Mile Detroit site, where Modrak has gone to a lot of trouble to extensively reference her comments and provide links to other sources.

Start with a neighborhood or city that lacks economic incentives or that is populated by minority groups, which are underserved by municipal services including education, transportation, street lighting, police response time and maintenance. Enter a mainly white, middle-class population. Investors clamor to underwrite new businesses, sponsor grants or to secure real estate. This triggers a spike in real estate prices and a flood of new commercial ventures that sell expensive bougie crap that only the new residents can afford. Services are improved and capital investment flows, directed primarily to the now “safe” and shoppable neighborhoods.

In this scenario, one of the first signs of gentrification is the bougie crap. If you use the term, we may have different definitions, and mine is entirely subjective and, regrettably, intimately linked with art and design.

Bougie crap is expensive consumables that evidence wealth, power and discriminating taste under the pretense of an evolved palette, a demand for higher quality and the development of a social conscience that values local goods. Bougie crap contributes to the economic strength of the bourgeoisie and distinguishes this group because the failure to consume such elaborate products would be, in the words of Thorstein Veblen (speaking of conspicuous consumption), a “mark of inferiority.” The brands encourage us to see these products as an extension of our worth; though the exorbitant expense is profit driven, paying the high price deepens our sense of self. Bougie crap uses the design aesthetic of “calculated authenticity” and elements of hand-craft or personalization to suggest that the product is motivated by these values and not by crass economic gain.3 Bougie crap often claims connection with rural or urban traditions of manual labor and work, evoking the mirage of the artisan in his studio, the farmer hard at work, the pioneer tending his wilderness campfire or the grittiness of life in Detroit. For that reason, Bougie crap isn’t the Rolex watch or the Gucci bag, luxury items that act as luxury items. This is key for me in defining bougie crap. Bougie crap sells itself as a product inspired by manual labor, either related to the work of a craftsman, artist or designer or to the physical exertion of, say, a farmer, woodsman or rancher. Yet, bougie crap’s high sticker price ensures that only those with significant discretionary income may participate.

Bougie crap uses the pretense of “quality” to create a two-tiered system: the people who can afford to buy these products and the people who can’t. In that sense, bougie crap is a “means of laundering privilege,” of determining who has access and who does not. When immigrants move to a new country and neighborhood, they bring with them the products of their culture, which, eventually, everyone partakes in, and the city is a more enriched place. When middle-class people move to a lower-class neighborhood, they bring bougie crap that is accessible only to themselves.

One of the scary parts of this equation is the increasing mutual dependence between bougie crap and aritsts/designers. What you’re really buying is the mirage of a “special,” “authentic” experience created by savvy, contemporary design.

A prime example of bougie crap is Shinola’s products, especially their watches ($500 – $1500) and bikes ($1950 – $2950) that undergo “precise, custom-level assembly by experts in our Detroit Flagship retail store…. Because we believe there’s only one way to properly build” a watch or bicycle and that’s “one at a time, by hand, with rigorous attention to detail and using only the highest quality components available.” Shinola’s French style bicycle (with American-made frame and fork) is designed for “urban riding, commuting and running errands … in any weather” and costs $757 more than the $2,193 Detroit 2013 median household monthly income. But, they reassure you, if you care for your bike, you can “pass it on to your children and grandchildren”; bougie crap promises a legacy of permanence via consumer culture in contrast to the decay of Detroit.

Wandering through a new independent bookstore in New York City a few months ago, I looked down to see stacks of stylish black journals emblazoned with the words “SHINOLA … DETROIT.” The surprise of this union froze me for a second. In the sixteen years that I’ve been visiting family in New York, this was the first time I’d seen the word “Detroit,” and, now, here it was, as part of Shinola’s branding. Texas-based Bedrock Manufacturing notoriously attached their Shinola venture to Detroit after test studies showed that consumers would pay three times as much for a product associated with the tenacity of a bankrupt city. What do you call the adoption of one culture by a second group whose only culture is profit? “Cultural appropriation” sounds too innocent and even potentially transformative (like a cool mash-up) and doesn’t convey the imperialism at play. A better description is consumer culture scholar Jeff Pooley’s “the colonization of the apparently earnest”…

And Modrak goes on from there to talk about the impact of Shinola on the cultural landscape of Detroit. It’s fascinating stuff, and I’d encourage you to read it from start to finish.

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For what it’s worth, Modrak isn’t exaggerating when she says that Shinola chose to locate their assembly operation in Detroit as a result of market research showing that people would pay a premium for the sense of authenticity that comes with a product made by the hardworking people of Detroit. The following clip comes by way of Wikipedia: “In 2001, the name, Shinola, was acquired by Bedrock Manufacturing, a venture capital firm based in Dallas, Texas. The management at Bedrock Manufacturing chose the name ‘Shinola’ when the World War II era colloquialism, ‘You don’t know shit from Shinola,’ surfaced in a conversation. Unexpectedly, the joke generated a serious discussion about restoring the Shinola brand. Market surveys established that consumers—when faced with a choice of paying $500 for a product from China, $1,000 for one made in the United States, and $1,500 for one made in Detroit—would be willing to pay a premium for the latter.” And, it would seem, Tom Kartsotis, the founder of the company (who had also founded the watch company Fossil in 1984), was right. Shinola produced 55,000 watches in 2013, 170,000 in 2014, and plans is to sell 250,000 this year, though an ever-expanding network of company-owned boutiques and high-end stores like Barneys New York, Nordstrom, Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus. The handmade in Detroit brand, it would appear, does have monetary value… at least when articulated by a high-dollar marketing operation willing to take out multi-page ads in Vogue featuring the lovely, hardworking, now-saved artisans of Detroit assembling watches.

One more thing… while it’s true that Shinola is presently importing almost 100% of their watch parts from oversees, that doesn’t mean this will always be the case. Just a few months ago, Shinola’s parent company announced that they would be opening a watch dial factory in Detroit, allowing them to stop importing watch dials from Asia. Again, this may not, in the minds of many, sufficiently offset the cultural appropriation of Shinola, and the wave of increasing gentrification we’re seeing in the wake of their setting up shop in Detroit, but I think it’s worth at least acknowledging that their continued success could mean bringing more manufacturing back to Detroit.

In conclusion, I’d like to say that it’s a damn complicated issue… and I still don’t know where I stand. I can see arguments both for and against them. Would Detroit be better off without them, though? I’m not so sure.

Regardless of where you might fall on the “Shit or Shiola” continuum, though, I think this is a good conversation for us to be having. And I look forward to hearing what you have to say.

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91 Comments

  1. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:46 am | Permalink

    I find Modrak’s article interesting but it seems like if she is going to attack the quality and price of the product she would want to include the opinions of people who are qualified to comment on the the relative quality of the products as well as an analysis of Shinola’s operating costs that may or may not be higher because of USA assembly, partial USA manufacturing and/ or any fair trade agreements they may or may not have with parts suppliers.

  2. Jcp2
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:13 am | Permalink

    It’s the J. Peterman catalog without the self-deprecation. But that’s still okay in my book, as jobs are jobs, and money is money. The alternative would have been unknown. It’s like somebody looking at a Jackson Pollack and saying that they could have painted that. Maybe or maybe not, but they didn’t.

  3. Posted February 11, 2015 at 5:53 am | Permalink

    Why do things have to be made in Detroit?

    No one calls out record labels when they don’t get their records pressed at Archer.

  4. Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:11 am | Permalink

    In general, I find arguments that products universally must be made in Detroit, Michigan or the US to be flimsy at best.

    As someone who once ran a business which sold products that had to be manufactured in factories, I can tell you that I would have happily paid less money to a Chinese firm to produce records. At market value (retail prices for music products are not elastic to manufacturing costs), my margins would have been vastly higher if would have had to pay less for manufacturing.

    This would have meant that I could have put our more records and been able to absorb more risk with each release. There’s a lot of music that would exist that otherwise would have not and a lot of bands might have had more records to sell at shows, making their own business far more viable.

  5. emma
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    I haven’t seen any of their other products or ridden their bikes but the bikes are incredibly beautiful, to the point where it seems like a shame to get them wet or dirty. Not sure if you’ve been in a bike store recently but they were also not the most expensive ones there. Seriously what is the point of hating on people who manage the be successful in an environment where everyone isn’t?

  6. TheBigPicture
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:13 am | Permalink

    interesting — but the truth is you just wanted to write a headline with the words “shit” and “shinola” — right? lol

  7. Meta
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 9:58 am | Permalink

    From Four Pins.

    What I can’t take is the white knighting of Shinola’s promotional campaigns. The company insists that “Detroit isn’t as bad as it seems”—that there are happy and proud people here too. To demonstrate just how optimistic and amazing Detroiters are, Shinola enlisted Bruce Weber and Carolyn Murphy—both out of towners, both white—to shoot the company’s latest ad campaign. The accompanying video, subtitled “A snapshot of life in the Motor City,” features photogenic models pedaling two thousand dollar bikes through the city. Photos of adorable black kids with a beautiful, benevolent white woman seem to be the centerpiece of Weber’s campaign for the company. They even have a video of one of the little girls rapping. Bruce Weber is quoted saying, “People were really friendly. They looked you in the eye when they said hello on the street, and they greeted you with a smile.” Detroit may be bankrupt, but that doesn’t mean its citizens aren’t normal, functioning human beings, Bruce.

    Read more:
    http://four-pins.com/style/shinola-detroits-misguided-white-knight/

  8. Posted February 11, 2015 at 10:43 am | Permalink

    @Peter

    People don’t complain when “Detroit” records aren’t pressed at Archer because it takes 3 months to actually get something back from them.

  9. small photo
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    The way I look it it, it’s a win/win. Detroiters get jobs and the chance to rally in righteous indignation against the occupying force that is Shinola. Plus, we have an easy way now to spot douches. We don’t have to talk with them. All we have to do is look at their wrist.

  10. Steve Pickard
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

    The “grant funded recordstore” annoyed me more than Shinola for some reason…I don’t know how successful it has been, but it seemed like a slap in the face to actual Detroit based record stores for someone to fly up from Texas and open one using a grant. http://www.detroitnews.com/story/news/local/wayne-county/2014/10/25/detroit-record-store-paramita-west-village/17918361/

  11. Anonymous
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:21 pm | Permalink

    I think it just pisses people off that it took at venture capital firm from Texas to come in and say, “You’ve been sitting on a goldmine and didn’t even know it.”

  12. Lynne
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 12:40 pm | Permalink

    I guess I am bougie because I really want one of those Shinola watches. I like the designs they have and I like that they were assembled by hard working people in Detroit. I can’t bring myself to spend that much on a watch though.

    I agree that there is a class issue at play and that many areas of Detroit are gentrifying and thus, imho, losing some of their character. That isn’t Shinola’s fault though. The real problem is our income inequality. I have some very selfish reasons to want a more egalitarian society. I know that if Shinola was bringing in lot of jobs and paying people well enough to afford their watches, I would be able to enjoy my bougie proclivities in peace and without criticism.

  13. HH
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 1:37 pm | Permalink

    Ween should take them to court.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BOBkm6g_nuc

  14. Posted February 11, 2015 at 2:42 pm | Permalink

    The grant funded record store is extremely infuriating.

    Why was that a good idea? How about just investing in existing record stores?

  15. James Williams
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

    Modrak is a professor at UM Art school.

    “Bougie Crap: Art”: 1k Shinola watch.

    “Somehow Not Bougie Crap: Art”: 100k 4yr Art degree from the University of Michigan.

    How is Modrak not a willing participant in the same type of behavior that she finds objectionable in the case of Shinola?

  16. site admin
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 4:35 pm | Permalink

    If you’re interested, James, we had an interesting conversation here on the subject of art school not too long ago.

    http://markmaynard.com/2014/03/emu-makes-the-atlantics-list-of-u-s-colleges-and-majors-are-the-biggest-waste-of-money-and-its-total-bullshit/

  17. Posted February 11, 2015 at 11:18 pm | Permalink

    Bougie Crap: I guess this person believes that the only products businesses should sell are soviet style, functional objects.

    Who cares about expensive bikes? If you don’t like it or think it’s too expensive, don’t buy it.

  18. Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:05 am | Permalink

    I went to their site.

    I sort of fail to see what the huge controversy is here. The site is very clear that they moved to Detroit from somewhere else. It is also entirely clear where products are assembled from where parts are sourced. There is no implication that Shinola is a home grown company. In fact, it is even clear that Detroit was strategically chosen. It is also made clear who Shinola’s owners are. One doesn’t have to dig for any of this information.

    If Detroit’s best sales point is its image, I say that’s a good thing. I would encourage more businesses to come to Detroit and set up shop here. We need the influx of capital, Detroiters need jobs and Detroit itself needs to have its name spread across the world as a place where things happen.

    I’m sorry that you don’t like expensive bikes, Mark. I’m sorry that you don’t like expensive watches. I’m also sorry that you don’t retain ownership over the Detroit name. While I recognize that your personal views are much more nuanced, it would appear that you are simply anti-business, particularly businesses which appeal to high end consumers.

    While I don’t think it is true, it would appear that you only support businesses which lose money. While I appreciate your support for the underdog, I think in Michigan’s troubled economy, we should be supporting everyone. While your views of Shinola are more nuanced than this art professor (who seems like a twit), I don’t think it productive to bash on new businesses in Michigan.

    I won’t buy any of Shinola’s products (outside maybe a notebook), but I’m happy they are here.

  19. eno laget
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    Could it be? Y’all missing the point of this “Crap” essay? The mission of InfiniteMile appears to be this: Build a landing strip for critical thinking about art and design in Detroit.
    “Calculated authenticity” arguments are not new. (The Sundance Catalog has been around since 1969). The “trews” being mined here may be buried in examining the relationship between CCS (Center for Creative Studies) and Shinola as “partners.” For well-endowed art/design students at CSS what could be better than practical experience working for a “real” company that makes things? The writer, Modrak, appears to be reminding us that artists in Detroit now, more than ever, need to question the priorities of an industrial culture that emptied out a city chasing after profits. The developers are back to make the most of planed rent gap that has been 50 years in the making. Who else, except artists, have agency to challenge the status quo of an exhausted narrative about the idea of Detroit? Detroit has always been about making a buck. We have an opportunity to envision what sustainable city living looks like. Skinny jeans on expensive bikes are broken dreams of a dying middle class invented here.

  20. Kit
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:48 am | Permalink

    “Skinny jeans on expensive bikes are broken dreams of a dying middle class invented here.”

  21. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:00 am | Permalink

    I might be missing the point (maybe not).

    The thing I find laughable about Modrak’s little essay, which cynically paints Shinola as fraudulent and purchasers of their products as douchebags experiencing identity crisis, is the total failure on her part to evaluate the product or show any knowledge of the industries in question. Are the bikes overpriced crap? Where are 95-99 percent of all bike frames made? Where are vast majority of bikes assembled? Are leather sadles, leather hand grips, internal hub gears, disk brakes, fenders, bells, racks, Schwaub tires, etc, high end components driving up the cost?

    What Modrak does give us is a reason to not buy a bike: If you buy it you will be perceived as an inauthentic dupe. Why does Modrak put so much emphasis on perception? The bike might be a sweet ride….

  22. Ytown
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 12:13 pm | Permalink

    I will never get those 5 minutes back. That was the most irrelevant story involving an irrelevant professor try to become relevant. Since when do we criticize companies for making quality products and bringing jobs to Detroit?

  23. kjc
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 1:53 pm | Permalink

    “I will never get those 5 minutes back. ”

    wow you’re a fast reader. i mean liar.

  24. Ytown
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    kjc, that’s your response? You are so witty!

  25. Posted February 12, 2015 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    Interesting.

  26. Greg Thrasher
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

    Super narrative and of course this elevates the quality of the post comments….I no longer live in the ‘D’ so all news from my birthplace is sucked up by me… Living here in DC it is surreal how so much of the urban discourse and malaise is similar everywhere in urban America.

    At end of the day I want to grow the entire city and despite my reservations about many ventures in the city I support this endeavor and others which generates employment and opportunities ….

    I can with life and all of its flaws and imperfections…
    Peace
    Greg Thrasher-Director-Plane Ideas-Alternative Think Tank-Washington DC

  27. Posted February 12, 2015 at 5:22 pm | Permalink

    Speaking as a working class laborer who has spent a good deal of his working life assembling products for others consumption. I would be proud to work for any company who produced a quality product and treated its workers with dignity and fairness.

  28. Al McWilliams
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 9:05 pm | Permalink

    So, I fall somewhere in the “I see what you’re doing there, and FINE but I’m gonna roll my eyes REALLY hard at you,” camp when it comes to Shinola. Like, when I see a kid suckering his parents into feeding him a ton of cupcakes. “good on you kid, but c’mon Mom, you gotta see through this by now? No? Okay.” Which brings me to the only real contribution I can make to this discussion; as a bike dude, I can speak to the bikes. They’re Waterfords (http://waterfordbikes.com/w/) … which are 100% amazing, lusted-after-by-bike-dudes-forever, authentic, sincere, American bikes. … but they’re Waterfords. Buying a shinola bike is like buying Ford brand coffee that was really intelligentsia but you bought it cuz Ford. I’m not going to judge Shinola for selling it, but I might judge you for buying it. Check out waterford. They’re great bikes.

  29. Junie M.
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

    “One of the great debates of history has been over the whole question of ends and means. All the way back from the days of Plato’s dialogues coming on up through Machiavelli and others, there have been those individuals who argued that the end justifies the means. But in a real sense, the nonviolent philosophy comes along and says that the end is pre-existent in the means. The means represent the ideal in the making and the end in process. And so that in the long run of history, immoral means cannot bring about moral ends. Somehow man must come to the point that he sees the necessity of having ends and means cohering, so to speak. And this is one of the things that is basic in the nonviolent philosophy at its best. It gives one a way and a method of struggle which says that you can seek to secure moral ends through moral means.” Martin Luther King Jr., Dec. 7th, 1964

  30. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 12, 2015 at 11:31 pm | Permalink

    Consistent with Peter’s point, Shinola’s does not hide the fact that their frames are made by Waterford, in fact, if you check Shinola’s website they promote their partnership with Waterford and offer video tours of the Waterford factory.

  31. Frosted Flakes
    Posted February 13, 2015 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    Adding to Julie M, I beleive it was Jesus Christ himself, reading from the golden tablets that exclaimed: “Where there are spokes, there is Sodomy”. Amen.

  32. Posted February 15, 2015 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Haven’t read the article– just Mark’s entry and the comments here– interesting thoughts. Two quick thoughts to add:

    * As a middle-aged, well-educated, securely employed, upper-middle-class white guy who would also like to see Detroit succeed, it looks from my pov like a sort of “damned if you don’t, damned if you do” situation. When folks from “outside” (especially folks with money to invest) attempt to ignore and/or write-off Detroit, long-time Detroiters et al accuse them of all kinds of bad things. When folks from “outside” (especially folks with money to invest) decide to take a chance and set up shop in Detroit (partially as a “service” but also to make money), Detroiters et al accuse them all kind of bad things.

    * Consumer goods that are over-priced based on logos and brands aren’t exactly a new thing– my favorite being the $120 Kanye West t-shirt. But these things are all relative to consumer interests and desires. Take those watches, for example. I used to be someone who never would spend more than $30 for a watch at Wal-Mart. Now I have two decent watches that are on the low-end of something you might buy in a jewelry store in the mall–I can’t remember, but I paid something between $125-$200 for each of them– and I don’t think I’d get another super-cheap watch again.

    And $700 or so for a good watch that is also a piece of jewelry isn’t that crazy– if you’re into that sort of thing. Lots of watches cost about that much, and many cost a lot more than that. I was in a jewelry store in downtown Ann Arbor the other day (one of my previously mentioned watches was getting repaired) and this store happens to sell Rolex watches. They’re quite nice; and they start at $5000.

  33. Rastas Margold
    Posted February 22, 2015 at 11:57 am | Permalink

    Seems to me Shinola is a brand and a brand only. How much does the company import vs actually manufactures? If I want Asian goods I will by from Asia. Rhonda watch movements are really quite inexpensive and can be had for some models less than $10. The tug at the heart strings and marketing are the biggest value adds in my opinion and I won’t pay for that.

  34. anonymous
    Posted February 25, 2015 at 8:54 am | Permalink

    And now they’ll be on Main Street in Ann Arbor.

    http://www.mlive.com/business/ann-arbor/index.ssf/2015/02/shinola_to_move_into_former_se.html?ath=1a2b9195dc89240610728fd30f2cbd27

  35. Posted March 14, 2015 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Apparently the folks from Shinola were at UM yesterday. Here, with her permission, is Rebekah’s FB post.

    Screen Shot 2015-03-14 at 3.31.04 PM

  36. Lyra
    Posted January 24, 2016 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

    I have just received my Shinola Runwell and I have to say it’s amazing. I also admit, I love the packaging and the narrative they’ve created. They may have launched a little over the top, but I think they are beginning to hit their stride two years into production. As for the watch itself, the most meaningful element in the brand, it is far better quality than the name-brand made in China watch it replaces. I appreciate that it was built by American workers and don’t mind that they have used quality Swiss parts for the guts. From dial to strap to assembly, unlike other quartz watches on the market, this one helps improve the US economy by employing US workers. It would be even better if those workers were also shareholders in the company of course. An important element that none of the company detractors have mentioned is the lifetime guarantee that comes with these watches. I’ve been through a number of $100 watches over the years that just weren’t worth repairing or replacing the mineral crystal. I expect I will have my Shinola repaired if it is ever needed. I am thinking about saving up for a second one that will serve as my dress watch.

  37. Peter Larson
    Posted January 25, 2016 at 4:57 am | Permalink

    All business is evil. We should stop it wherever it happens.

    Only small places which hire very few people, provide them no benefits and pay them under the table, will be excused.

  38. Peter Larson
    Posted January 25, 2016 at 5:50 am | Permalink

    That was snark.

  39. Posted January 26, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

    Break it down in a simpler form
    Is it a quality product that couples pleasing aesthetic with quality build?
    The marketing suggests this is what they have, and while I don’t own one, they are handsome products. My old Movado (at one point haut fashion) has been to the shop more time than a Detroit automobile. If they are producing a quality product more power to them.

  40. John Gatsios
    Posted June 2, 2016 at 6:41 am | Permalink

    I purchased a Shinola Runwell 36mm Men’s Watch recently. It shipped with a Women’s watch band. 36mm is the most common size for every Men’s watch in the history of watches. Shinola insists that it’s a unisex watch and that it always is made with a Women’s watch band, although it was listed as a Men’s band on the website. They offered me a discount on another band ($50 for a band that retails at $95), which is an insult at best. It’s a $500 Men’s watch—it should come with a men’s watch band. I wanted to help this fledgling watch company succeed. If I had to do it over again, I would have bought another company’s watch. Shinola doesn’t stand by its products.

  41. Marielle
    Posted February 17, 2017 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    I’ve got one of those two-thousand dollar Shinola bikes, and I absolutely love it. As someone else pointed out, if you have been to a bike store lately, they are not the most expensive — and bikes costa lot these days. I ride my Shinola bike in regular clothes — no Bougie bullshit crap Spandex costuming, helmets. and generally ridiculous posturing in order to ride an expensive bike. My bike is gorgeous, American made, and aptly comes from the Motor City. That you actually have a problem with that, dear douchie author (the only douche I’m seeing), speaks volumes about your crazy liberal brainwashed self than it does about Shinola. Why does it bother you so much that they are successful? Why does it bother you so much that many Americans can afford their products? You don’t attack foreign brands with high end prices. Instead, you choose to attack an American success story, simply because the people who were smart enough to have the imagination and creativity to buy the Shinola brand and build on it in a great city for building products came from outside of Detroit. Wow. That is really pathetic. Go get in your little Smart Car and go home now, cheapie.

  42. Benjamin Lewis
    Posted November 14, 2017 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    To be talking about employment, artisan brands and a quality product when mentioning Detroit is surely a positive thing in my humble opinion. Particularly when considering for years the main subject matter was corruption, financial woes, the legacy of mismanagement, and a general sense of negativity and despair…
    The green shoots of recovery are welcome as I see it, and rather than a negative spin let’s get behind the city and the fledging businesses that are contributing to the changing landscape in Detroit. There is a palpable buzz downtown with these types of artisan businesses and this brings opportunity! The reality is the city had no real choice but to reinvent itself and I for one am looking forward to seeing it reach its potential!!! The only way is up!!!

  43. Sad
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 6:25 am | Permalink

    Where would a University of Michigan education fall on the spectrum of Bougie crap?

  44. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 6:28 am | Permalink

    One day someone is going to post who all the anonymous poster on this blog are, for real.
    Maria Huffman

  45. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    posters… not poster…until then, we will just have to wait and guess…and continue to wonder, why does Mark Maynard tolerate them?

  46. Maria E. Huffman
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 6:33 am | Permalink

    Maybe I should bow my head in prayer and thank god I have never met rick snyder personally, so as to not id him on a lineup one day. or talk to him anonymously through mark maynard.

  47. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 7:16 am | Permalink

    To date, this is by far one of the most ridiculous articles on this site.

  48. Jean Henry
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Rebekah is a friend, but we very much disagree on her understanding of enterprise. She really doesn’t understand how businesses and economies function. We desperately need critiques of capitalism, in its current iteration, that understands how to make it better, not just condemn it outright.
    We need capital to flow to people of color and into the cities they occupy. But, more than that, we need to promote and support Black-owned businesses. And Black-owned home ownership. That’s not just a matter of funneling capital but of also helping people learn to run their businesses effectively. And this kind of self- inflating (‘I’m superior because I don’t like fancy stuff’) BS, ignores the real solutions. It’s just another form of puritanism. More importantly, it’s self-distancing from the problem. Mark, you live and work in Ypsi. Please focus on black-owned businesses and how to support them. Rebekah works at UM, which has become a plantation-level example of Fordism, but she critiques businesses that serve the wealthy but situate themselves in underserved communities and train and employ people there. By all accounts, the Shinola employees are happy, so what is there to critique that rises beyond hating people with money? I have noted the limited enthusiasm that professors have for criticizing the system they occupy, especially when it comes to active protest. They do not scrutinize their own departments with the same care and persistence that they do any other business or employer. If Shinola went away and failed because this kind of criticism took hold, would Rebekah feel any responsibility to the employees? I don’t care what people sell or to whom. I want to know how the staff are treated. And the environment and the community they impact after that.

    Who the fuck cares why people buy what they buy? Obviously, it’s all aspirational in some form, even if its fair trade, blah blah blah…. Why do we care?

    PS–I know I have no right to tell you and Rebekah what to do or not with your own site and time and work, but when you critique others for not being progressive enough, then you open yourselves to critique on all the counts you bring up.

  49. Jean Henry
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    PS I have spent some time working in Detroit with entrepreneurs and the barriers are intense and the work to get them up and running successfully and then keep them running through growth is really intense hard and frustrating work on many levels.

    Criticism is WAY too damned easy. I value critique but at some point everyone who engages in it, especially those who do so at a ‘professional’ level, should be tasked with implementing effective change. That’s where the rubber meets the road. Until one does that, one is critiquing form a position of considerable ignorance.

  50. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 9:34 am | Permalink

    “I have spent some time working in Detroit with entrepreneurs and the barriers are intense and the work to get them up and running successfully and then keep them running through growth is really intense hard and frustrating work on many levels.”

    Then you have to go through the Ypsilanti/Ann Arbor purity testing, yet another hurdle.

    I don’t know Rebekah but her writing here is seriously elitist nonsense. And Mark’s, in this post.

  51. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 9:46 am | Permalink

    Do we really need UM academics, the greatest beneficiaries of capitalism to protect us from capitalism?

    This was particularly strange. The art school has gone religious. “We can be rich, benefit entirely off the capitalist machine, live opulent lives of leisure and privilege, but we are can feel good about what we do if we just make ourselves appear humble.” What is she criticizing here? Herself?

    The implied romanticization of “farming communities” (whatever that is) is perplexing.

    “Studying consumption habits in farming communities and in the increasingly affluent city of Ann Arbor led to questions about the role of humility. I put together a collaborative team including faculty from Marketing, Philosophy, and the Library at the University of Michigan to create and host a colloquium on the nature of humility, its benefits and costs and its role “in the age of self-promotion.” In October 2017, twenty-six participants — including artists, philosophers, a farmer, spiritual leaders, psychologists, a journalist, a lawyer, … — convened in Ann Arbor to discuss the implications of humility in our practices, and these conversations are developing into a book. “

  52. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 9:53 am | Permalink

    Pictures of educated white people trying their best to look “humble.”

    https://www.facebook.com/humilitycolloquium/

  53. Lynne
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 10:24 am | Permalink

    Who the fuck cares why people buy what they buy?

    Interesting statement coming from someone who is so judgmental about where other people buy their egg mcmuffins.

  54. Iron lung
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 10:45 am | Permalink

    I like McDonalds.

    Best of the fast food places.

  55. Anonymous
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 10:47 am | Permalink

    Lynne with the knock out.

  56. Jean Henry
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 11:16 am | Permalink

    Omg Lynne. One more time. You asserted some kind of bring one with the people pride in eating st McDonald’s and judgment (yours) of those who judge McDonald’s the corporation and their practices.

    I don’t care where you eat, but when you tell me you are proud to eat fast food, I feel comfortable telling you that where and what you eat should not be a point of pride, and, in this case, as in the case of many fancy joints, why.

    You chose to feel judged personally. And your paranoia escalated the whole thing. I often get paranoid that I’m being judged, even when I’m not. My reasons for that fear may be legitimate (ie im legitimately the subject of bias) but that doesn’t mean I’m right in every case. And if people assure me over and over again that my impression is wrong, I usually take them at their word.

    Ps I recently learned that the average McDonalds customer makes over 70k a year. More than I do.
    I know lots of people from poor backgrounds and who are still broke from working in the food business that enjoy higher end food a great deal and prioritize it or make it their profession. And lots of rich folk like Romney who like hot dogs Best…

    Again, I don’t care what you as an individual eat. I don’t think it should be acpoint of pride and yeah I’ll judge you on it if you think any of your tastes really matter much in terms of your worthiness as a person.

    On the other hand, I feel comfortable also critiquing the business practices in the food industry (in which I have worked for decades) at anywhere along the price spectrum.

  57. Jean Henry
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    Basically I accused you Lynne of humble bragging about your McDonald’s consumption. There was no further judgment.

    I stand by that.

  58. Iron lung
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 1:25 pm | Permalink

    McDs customers make that much because they are old.

  59. Posted May 5, 2018 at 3:02 pm | Permalink

    I think, when you reboot a brand with a history like that of Shinola, you should be prepared to answer questions.

  60. Posted May 5, 2018 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

    This is especially true when your ad strategy is built around the idea of a sexy white model exploring the world of black Detroit.

  61. Iron lung
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    When you start raking local ypsi and ann arbor small businesses over the coals for their shitty business and labor practices, i will start taking your ideas about business seriously.

    Until then, this just screams of easy populist pickings and a lot of “so what.”

  62. Posted May 5, 2018 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

    You’re the one who brought it up, Mr. Lung. I just responded. As for local small companies with shitty labor practices, who’d you have in mind? And, for what it’s worth, I actually have a business. It’s called Landline, and I think we’ve got a pretty good track record. We don’t really have employees, though… just tenants.

  63. Jean Henry
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Missing the point there, Mark. Your business, which, as you know, I support wholeheartedly, could easily be accused of the same kind of gentrification impact. It’s cool that you are a decent landlord offering reasonable rents and I know you are not profiting from the whole thing… yet. But taking on the responsibility of meeting a payroll and managing staff is a whole different kettle of fish. A lot more work and a lot more risk and responsibility. Apples to oranges. The creative class, queers, millennials, tech are all first wave gentrifiers. And yet they are often the first to externalize blame on others. I don’t think gentrification is inherently bad. It’s all how it’s done. Employing people at a living wage with benefits matters. Moving capital and economic development focus to people of color matters even more.

    Re the name, why is it a problem that the business then using the name had a racist advertising platform in a time when that was very common? Do you know how many brands that still exist had racist advertising 100 years ago? Do you believe Shinola, the current company, is racist and negatively affects people of color in ways other than ‘gentrification?” If so how?

    This business of wagging fingers at business when drawing a salary from U-M is super ridiculous. I still don’t understand the problem. Shinola’s Glass Door reviews are pretty solid and they offer full benefits to people working 20 hours and more and reasonable hourly rates. https://www.glassdoor.com/Reviews/Shinola-Reviews-E678762.htm I’m sure they could be doing more but, IL is correct, it’s still much more than most local businesses offer. Although given the issues with capital flow to larger businesses v smaller I’m not sure it’s fair to compare the labor practices of both.

    One can choose to work for a large corporation or a small business. Many jobs are available at both scales Small business has limited access to capital and different economies of scale, room for negotiation on health care costs etc, so they will rarely offer the same level of remuneration. And yet many people still prefer to work for small business. I do and it cuts my wage in about half of what it would be for the same work elsewhere. I guess I’m stupid, but I also know I don’t jibe well in big corporate culture. I like to be able to have a meaningful impact in my work. I know most (not all) small business owners would love to offer better wages and benefits to their staff. They simply don’t have the resources available to do so. They also often don’t have access to the kind of training necessary to run their businesses efficiently in other areas, so more money is available for wages. I’m doing my best to amend that in my work, but as in all things that run against the current of capital flow, it’s not easy.It’s an interesting problem. There are many.

    Maybe it’s better to talk about how hard it is to run a business well, and why, than to wag fingers. And I’m once again going to point up that without a LOT of attention paid to moving capital to communities of color, they are going to continue to be further marginalized overall by the success of the rest of us. It’s the critical work. Period.

    And too few people on the left, right or center are interested in doing anything about it. Those that do meet mostly critique. Like this post. Whatever. I’m cool with criticism coming from communities of color. (That’s part of the learning curve and to be expected, even welcomed.) White academics, not so much.

  64. otherMark
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 5:03 pm | Permalink

    As the Mollies often said, “It will be a grand day in Ireland, when all the landlords are dead.”

  65. Lynne
    Posted May 5, 2018 at 9:45 pm | Permalink

    Jean, I don’t believe I ever expressed that I was proud to eat at McDonalds. I dont recall ever feeling that way. If I expressed pride, it would have been pride that I can eat whatever or wherever I want without shame, despite the attempts of many, including you, to shame me for my choices. It took a lot of work to get there so yeah, I am proud of the result.

  66. Sad
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 6:36 am | Permalink

    I’ve decided that I need to cough up ten thousand dollars to the University to study humility with Professor Modrak . I feel it would the ultimate combination of conspicuous consumption and Bougie crap and spirituality. Wish me luck.

    When I complete my studies I promise to help you all settle these disputes about what you put in your mouths. It’s the least I can do.

    P.S. while up at the art school I’m hoping to sit in on some classes with the new Dean in the school of Architecture. I’ve heard he wants to lead the staff and students to more actively participate in the gentrification of Detroit. The University really is leading us into a bright new future.

  67. Jean Henry
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 8:07 am | Permalink

    Lynne– Here is my recollection of the original exchange. I said something about McDonald’s being a bad company. I said I don’t eat there.
    You took that as me bragging and accused me of being a snob who didn’t like Mc Donalds because poor people eat there. You then went on to assert how much you love McDonald’s. I suggested that your eating at Mc Donalds was not an indication of your moral and ethical superiority. And my refusal to do so was not indication of any moral failure on my part.

    All the paranoia about fat shaming etc etc came afterwards. I dont know what to tell you except that you misinterpreted my point. I know a fair amount about Mc Donalds and a lot more about the food business. I even tried to detail a few positive things the company has done as a huge actor in the food business. I tried to balance and redirect, but you insisted this was about snobbery and fat shaming. The reality is eating at McDonald’s a lot is unhealthy. But lots of food at all price points is unhealthy. And there are better options elsewhere. At all price points. That doesn’t mean I judge people for their unhealthy behaviors. I have plenty of my own. Like spending time here arguing about this endlessly. I do feel comfortable holding major corporations to account for their impact. Because the impact is huge. And moving them towards better choices and business practices is effective action that causes shifts downstream as well.

  68. Jean Henry
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 8:28 am | Permalink

    Speaking of corporate impact, maybe the energy used to critique Shinola’s marketing and very existence would be better used pressuring it to be a more engaged supporter of businesses of color as well as neighborhood revitalization and homeownership outside of midtown. There is a desperate need for investment in community development loans mechanisms etc, Use that capital to become a better Detroit corporate citizen. That would be a story worth selling.

  69. Lynne
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 9:50 am | Permalink

    I have a very different recollection, Jean. I dont remember who brought up Mcdonalds first but I do recall bringing up some of the class issues related to the shaming of eating at McDonalds that is common among upper middle class liberal white people. I also remember bringing up some connections of perceptions between obesity and class issues. They are related and I remember how sanctimonious you got that I, as someone raised in a upper middle class family would even dare to think I knew anything about class issues. I remember trying to explain how fat shaming is very related to class shaming and feeling frustrated because you were denying that and accusing me of not really understanding class issues in the same “church lady” superiority shtick you take so often. I remember you arguing with me that MY choice to eat at McDonalds could not possibly be part of a healthy diet.

    Jean my “paranoia” about fat shaming is much like the “paranoia” of other marginalized groups. I get it, you are a bigot on this issue and you are accusing me of seeing oppression that isnt there. I experience this often from men who think that when woman talk about discrimination, they are just being paranoid. This is not the first time I have been called paranoid when talking about oppression that I have experienced or witnessed. *shrug* I have seen white people say similar things to black people when they try to talk about their own experiences too. I get it that we all often have a hard time seeing our own biases but for many reasons people in oppressed groups are better at seeing it than those who would oppress them.

    Just something to consider before you choose to say any more shitty things to fat people.

    And perhaps something to consider before you get on someone else’s case for caring about what or where other people buy things.

  70. Frosted Flakes
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 10:44 am | Permalink

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  71. Jean Henry
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    ‘What’s a black man without his paranoia?’
    Dave Chappelle
    What I said Lynne, is that the persistent experience of legitimate bias can lead us to see bias where there is none. I certainly on occasion believe men are being sexist when they are not, because they are either making points or acting in a way that mimics sexism. It’s wntirely possible to be wrong about bias directed at you.

    I’m not a bigot about body size. I assure you. I have tried to explain myself over and over again, but You are deeply invested in your perception of what transpired.

    That’s your burden not mine.

    Good luck.

  72. Jean Henry
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 3:58 pm | Permalink

    My sanctimony in our first conversation about this was re you letting McDonalds off the hook as a corporation for intentionally making a profit off of poor people by offering them unhealthy food cheaply) yes the corporation has other options . But the poor in many neighborhoods don’t have many. You bragged about how much you love McD’s and called me a Food snob.
    I replied that viewing eating at mcDonakds as an expression of solidarity with the poor is stupid, since the corporation is predatory on poor populations (and it is).

    I never mentioned your size and in fact didn’t know about it until you brought it up and I never passed judgment on anyone who eats at McDonald’s unless they think it’s worth bragging about. And I’m the snob… Who is the bigot?

  73. Jean Henry
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 4:01 pm | Permalink

    I’m not going to engage you on this any more, Lynne. It obviously hurts you which is not my intent or my desire. But it’s not ok to keep hammering at this and trying to prove you were right about the fat shaming etc. You weren’t. I understand you can’t accept that.

  74. Lynne
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    Jean. I have accepted that you are unwilling to examine your biases on this subject. I think you are a snob on the subject of McDonald’s. I also think that even as you chide others for denying that what they said could be seen as racist or sexist when a person who experiences such discrimination tells them so, when you are in that position you engage in the exact same defensive denilism. While it is of course possible for an oppressed person to see prejudice when there is none, even in those cases, there is usually a valid reason. I mean some people who called Obama articulate were probably just expressing the same opinion they would have if his skin were white, it doesn’t mean that black people were wrong to get offended.

    So it is true that I can’t see into your heart. All I know is that I felt what you said was bigoted and your response was denial, defensiveness, gaslighting, and further argument. When marginalized people point out that things sound prejudiced to them, in many ways they simply are in a better place to judge the impact of such statements, if not the intent. I get it. I had a black man call me a racist in a context where I think he was seeing something that wasn’t there. I wanted to react just like you have but instead, because I acknowledge that he is in a better position to see racism than I, I just said that I didn’t see it but that I would give it some thought. And then I apologized for offending him.

    You really have just chosen to take an extremely different approach and have done that consistently and somewhat obnoxiously. My favorite was that one time on FB when some innocent person wandered into the conversation to say that they liked getting coffee at McDonald’s. You tore into them about it! It was pretty funny. And also a big reason why I find it ironic that you are currently taking a position that you don’t think it is ok to be critical of other people’s consumer choices.

    Which is it Jean? Is it ok to be critical of people’s choices or not? Do you have trouble with anyone feeling pride about a consumer choice or does it only bug you when you think a fat person might be proud of eating at McDonald’s? God know people lose their minds on the regular when fat people aren’t ashamed of their choices or bodies. Some even misinterpret a lack of shame as pride.

  75. Lynne
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

    JH, you don’t have to actually answer those questions, they are rhetorical.

  76. stupid hick
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 5:30 pm | Permalink

    “You bragged about how much you love McD’s and called me a Food snob.”

    This is something I’ve repeatedly trolled Jean about here, so why does Lynne get all the credit?

  77. Jean Henry
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    Stupid Hick– You did not call me a bigot and willfully misinterpret my perspective, no matter how many times I clarified. You simply talked about how much you like fast food, especially the dollar menu… at length. This is something Lynne has not been willing to let go. So I’m going to have to.

  78. Jean Henry
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 8:01 pm | Permalink

    Lynne– I dont recall tearing into someone for buying coffee at McDonalds. I have a hard time imagining myself doing that. Please find the example. I try to keep my criticism to the corporation.

  79. stupid hick
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    Oh, come on, don’t I deserve some credit? I suggested you were an elitist liberal snob and un-American for refusing to eat at McDonald’s! Well, at any rate I can no longer be as sanguine about McDonald’s value menu in light of how much has changed in 5 months. “Pick 2” McDoubles and small fries for $2.50 has been discontinued. Their sausage biscuit is now $1.50 instead of $1, and although they brought back the $1 cheeseburger, it is a crap cheeseburger, I am sorry to report. With McDonald’s stumbling in the “value” category, Burger King’s 80 cent sausage biscuit sets the pace, and even Taco Bell is starting to show life after a long slump. I know, I know… but check out their dollar menu with an open mind and be prepared to be pleasantly surprised.

  80. Lynne
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

    I wish I could find that post, Jean, but iirc you said something shitty and then deleted the post while I was composing my reply. Presumably to ensure you got the last word. I remember it because this woman just wandered into the conversation with something like “what is so bad about McDonalds, I like to get coffee there” and you launched into a whole rant about the evils of McDonald’s coffee that I am sure you thought of as just expressing your personal reasons for not drinking coffee from McDonalds and keeping it to the corporation. You may not have thought about or realized how judgmental you sounded. But God Damn, it was funny! You practically told this woman straight up that it was her choice to get a cup of coffee that was causing whatever human misery you were yammering on about.

    I also think it is funny that you are accusing *me* of willfully misinterpreting you perspective. You are all “How DARE you be proud to eat at McDonald’s” to me but not to others mentioning their eating at McDonalds. Me. As far as I know the only significantly fat person in this discussion. Even that is you misinterpreting a lack of shame for pride.

    Trust me, this is often how anti-fat bigotry manifests itself. People get offended when fat people are ok with themselves. They are more quick to be critical of a lack of shame and pride makes them go off the deep end. I can literally troll people into losing their shit on the internet by saying things like “I am fat and I sometimes eat McDonalds (or ice cream, or bacon, or cheesecake or whatever food items they see as sinful for fat people to eat.” So yes, here you are, much like many many others I have encountered telling me that what bothers you is that you think I take pride in eating at McDonalds?

    So what if I did btw? I mean I am sure there are people so poor that McDonalds has some status to them. I am thinking of Eddie Murphy’s famous bit. Does that they make them bad people if they get pretentious about McDonald’s? Isn’t everyone a little pretentious about something?

    Whatever your conscious intentions you first misinterpreted a lack of shame for pride and then got upset that I might feel pride about eating such food. You would have to be working from a premise that I should not be ok with feeling good about my choice in order to find my lack of shame to be upsetting. I might add that in addition to ignoring others’ statements about their choice to eat fast food, you specifically mentioned that you are ok with your working class neighbors eating fast food because THEY weren’t being prideful about it. Neither was I. So why were you treating me differently? Maybe you, like most people, believe that fat people are not entitled to eat “bad” foods? Or maybe you just dont like me personally and never find your buttons pushed by other fat people expressing satisfaction with their choices? . I admit that while you are far from the first person to act as if I am not entitled to be OK with my choices, I actually havent seen you interact with other fat people. But yeah, 30+ years of having many people get upset with any displays of my being ok with my food choices has led me to see that kind of assessment as very much related to obesity prejudice.

    And no, this is not something I can let go of. I will probably experience this kind of attitude from people for the rest of my life. That is how discrimination and prejudice work. There are no braks from it. It is a constant day-to-day thing. It is never ending. I actually would LOVE to have the privilege to let it go. It wont let go of me. However, if what you mean by letting go is that you will stop saying crappy mean things to me even after I have told you that they sound rooted in prejudice to me, then I am all for it.

    How about if instead, we talk about Shinola. Why do you find it bad for people to care about why people choose to buy things in this context when you so clearly care about why people choose to buy things in another context?

  81. Lynne
    Posted May 6, 2018 at 10:09 pm | Permalink

    stupid hick, I dont go to McDonalds any more on my way to work because the one on my way closed. Boo Hoo. LOL

    I tried to get breakfast once at Burger King but it wasnt very good. I have had to skip breakfast when I dont have the 15 min to make my own breakfast of toast and hard boiled eggs. What can I do? Taco Bell’s coffee is terrible! Tim Horton’s line is always too long. Doms is on the wrong side of the street and I find it impossible not to order a donut because they are so good. The fast food drive thru situation on my route to work is dire indeed. I suppose I could go down Washtenaw to Hogback instead of Clark to hit up that one McD by the SOS. I am very privileged to have such problems though. And McDonalds just mailed me some coupons.

  82. Sad
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 7:22 am | Permalink

    Professors are thick skinned types? Right?

  83. stupid hick
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 8:18 am | Permalink

    Huron River Drive McDonald’s? RIP. For $1, Taco Bell’s breakfast burritos and breakfast quesadillas are not bad. For $2, their naked egg tacos (or the dressed version if you prefer) are an interesting option to “mix it up”. Burger King’s croissan’wich will probably disappoint anyone who is used to real, good, croissants, but they’re passable if you can get your mind in the right place, and with a coupon on hand they become more attractive if you have another mouth to feed a second croissan’wich to. Obviously something that won’t work on your way to the office, but here’s a Burger King pro tip: the 80 cent sausage biscuits, as plain as they are, make good raw material for taking home to disassemble, and with a little flour and milk, you can recombine them into an improvised biscuit and sausage gravy breakfast. Even better if you have a couple strips of bacon.

  84. Jean Henry
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 8:22 am | Permalink

    Lynne— I don’t delete posts… ever. And I can assure you I would not judge someone for buying McD Coffee. It’s mlre likely I said the only thing I buy from McD is Coffee because that’s true.
    Re lack of shame v pride. You asserted here on MM that Criticizing McDonald’s was a sign of Food snobbery. And you asserted that your eating there on the regular was a sign that you were down with the people.
    I said that an upper middle class woman eating McDonald’s (a corporation that is predatory on poor populations — fact) is not in any way indication of moral high ground.

    You got defensive and started calling people bigots and you aren’t letting go. But my choices in food and thinking about Food is very well developed. I know what I’m likely to say. You are the person flinging shame and pridefulness here, not me.

    There is absolutely nothing you have said here re body size politics/fat shaming that is new to me. I understand the issue. I don’t need to be enlightened about body positivity.
    Thanks for the lectures though.

    I’m glad I amused you so much. Usually when people are amused, they can let things go.

    I don’t find any of this amusing. It’s ridiculous and painful. I don’t relish the obvious sensitivity you have to this issue that you keep bringing up… But I have my own sensitivities— you are ascribing beliefs to me that I don’t have. And you know damn well that matters. No matter how many times I address that misperception, you insist that your reaction at the time was warranted. But you aren’t producing evidence. You aren’t allowing for correction. You are insisting on your own victimization in this case and lashing out and flaring this up over and over again. What’s your investment in that? Is it impossible that your perception of being the subject of bigotry is ever wrong? Why do you imagine that being wrong in this case somehow negates the larger truth of anti-fat bias— something I have never denied. Do you ever examine your own biases and where they originate? I know why I have a hard time letting this one go when it comes back up. Do you know why you do?

    .

  85. Iron Lung 2
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 8:36 am | Permalink

    I don’t eat fast food because I lived in a trailer park and associate everything about processed and fast foods with poverty. I eat salads now because I like to convince myself that I am no longer a part of that awful world.

    So, for me, food is a class issue because, like most poor people, I hated being poor. It might be disingenuous, it also might not be much healthier in the end, but it is what it is and I am happy to admit it. Being poor is awful, there’s nothing noble about it, nothing romantic about it and if you can get out of it, you just do and you never go back.

    If you are white, you also don’t go back to the cuisine, because it sucks, because it’s just some post war crap to fatten you up for the next war on the cheap. If you are black in the South… well that shit is amazing. Sorry, not sorry, but it’s true. Southern soul food is fantastic.

    That being said, McDs is by far the best of the traditional fast food places. Now, the fast food burrito places are far better than that, though the calories and salt content are probably the same. The upside is that you can easily avoid meat and cheese at Chipotle or Qdoba and the food is tastier (to me.)

    A rambling response.

  86. Lynne
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 10:13 am | Permalink

    Jean. I am sorry that your bigotry and prejudice and bullying of me are hurting YOUR feelings. OMG you are a shitty person.

  87. Lynne
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 10:16 am | Permalink

    I suspect that you are bullying me about things because you still don’t have an answer to this:

    How about if instead, we talk about Shinola. Why do you find it bad for people to care about why people choose to buy things in this context when you so clearly care about why people choose to buy things in another context?

  88. Jean Henry
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

    Lynne– I’m not moralistic, despite what you presume about me. I’m not interested in monitoring people’s personal choices. I don’t think criticism of consumerism (as in this article) is really that interesting or constructive. I do think what people buy v what they say they want is interesting. Anyone involved in food or retail knows consumers are unreliable narrators of their own preferences. If this article has addressed Shinola’s business practices more directly, rather than what they sell and who they sell it to, that would be more relevant to progressivism. And more interesting to me and would bear more weight on my personal consumer choices re the company, if I could afford anything they offer…

    If I criticize a company on their practices and someone wants to take that as a personal affront because they patronize that business, there’s nothing I can do about that. I think businesses should be critiqued on their social impact and product. Not because of who they sell to unless that’s relevant to the former.

    I have personal preferences in terms of consumption as well as all my other appetites. I do apply ethics (as well as other concerns and affinities) to those choices. “Conscious consumerism’ does have an impact. I would never deny that. But I respect anyone’s choice not to bother themselves with that. Believe it or not, I dont like lectures on personal choices of any kind. I try not to make them.

    I’m sorry if you find that inconsistent. Or see it differently. I’m comfortable with where I draw the line. I admit the line is not clean or easy to parse but it’s very considered. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about the intersection of class, taste, food, craft, desire, denial, entertainment, health, moralism, economics, communities, ethnicities, etc. You want to see me as ignorant about all of that. That’s cool. Clearly, there’s nothing I can do to counter your misperception.

  89. Lynne
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 6:14 pm | Permalink

    Jean you remind me of the Trump voters who will deny up and down that there is anything sexist or racist about their acceptance of things that man has said. The will deny up and down that they have any racist or sexist thoughts and sound just like you do here. “I am not racist/sexist, you are just being paranoid!” “I dont see this bias in myself so I know that there is no way it is true and you are just playing the race card” You are the white person who argues that it wasnt racist for those guys to get arrested at Starbucks because white people would get kicked out too.

  90. Jean Henry
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 6:30 pm | Permalink

    No. I’m not. You simply got this totally wrong and are not willing to even consider that possibility. Please note that your perspective requires you to discern my intention and thinking. Whereas mine only requires me to examine my own mind, not someone else’s. What you are saying is that you better understand my intention than I do. While this might be true if I had bias blinders on, I do not. I have spent a lot of time thinking about these issues and a lot of time scrutinizing my bias. I know what I was thinking and what I wrote. Your resistance to even imagine that you could be wrong about my perspective is something you might want to consider.

    I seriously know no one else who experiences bias of any kind on the regular who is unwilling to ever admit that sometimes they get it wrong. There are endless scenes in plays and books and comedy sketches and films about just this, penned by people of color, women, etc. I’m sorry you cant embrace complexity or the possibility of being wrong about what someone else thinks and believes. That’s a serious limitation. I suggest rather than insisting that your perception of what I said and thought is right, you go back and review our exchanges. I have tried and tried. IL tried and tried to explain that talking about fast food’s impact on public health in America is not the same as shaming. We have to talk about it. You can choose not to participate or to offer your perspective, but you are beyond your bonds when you yell bigotry at someone’s criticism of fucking McDonalds.

  91. Lynne
    Posted May 7, 2018 at 7:36 pm | Permalink

    Except that I HAVE acknowledged that I cant know for sure what your intentions are. Still because so many prejudices are negative implicit associations, in the same way that I can look at Donald Trump and conclude he is sexist based on things he has said despite his assertions that he has looked into his own heart and found that he isnt sexist, he still probably has some negative feelings about women. So can I make conclusions about you based on what you say. Not for sure but probably.

    For instance regardless of your original intentions, I know you are the kind of person, much like many Trump racists, who when told why something you are saying is harmful and could come across as showing prejudice and bias, will argue about it, try to deny and trivialize the marginalized person’s experience (by claiming it is paranoia for instance), and will even further attack by accusing them of being too simple to understand complexity. I guess I have different values, although will note that in past discussions about prejudice and bigotry, you have expressed similar values. You just dont live them apparently.

    FWIW, I give IL great credit for not being such a person. After I explained why I found criticism of my individual food choices harmful, I havent heard any more criticisms of my food choices. He has been able to talk about food in a way that is respectful to fat people. I really appreciate that. Deeply.

    Why do you find it bad for people to care about why people choose to buy things in this context when you so clearly care about why people choose to buy things in another context? <— I expect you are not answering this because it would force you to examine some biases you would rather deny. But really. Why DO you have such a problem at the thought of a fat person feeling good about their choice to eat fast food while simultaneously appearing to think that criticism of choices is wrong in this other situation that doesnt involve body weight or food? Do you really not see how that, while not proof of, is evidence of a potential bias on your part. Perhaps it is too complex of a thought for you? (see how obnoxious that is?)

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