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'VW Microbuses of self-righteous fervor...'

For many reasons - including my belief in socially conscious investing and my ownership of an old VW bus - the Post's column about Ben & Jerry's ice cream being taken over pissed me off. By the third or fourth draft, I had edited out the reference to the author as a 'crackhead high on capitalism'. They didn't publish the letter, maybe because I left in 'capitalist pig'. Liberal media, my ass (as Jim Hightower says)...

Click on the VW pictures for full sized ones. None of them is my van, but there's a picture of it here

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VW microbus hippie style

14 April 2000

Editor, Washington Post

I was sorry to read about Ben & Jerry's ice cream being bought by multinational Unilever (13 April), and surprised that the Post would disseminate the news through Frank Ahrens column (C01) that happily danced on the grave on socially conscious business practices.

"Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha!" is both an inappropriate and unprofessional tone, and I find its repetition with caps and exclamation points
("HAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!") to be offensive. Certainly he has no right using 'sanctimonious' in his column, especially after deriding egalitarian pay scales as an 'airheaded policy' and a 'do-gooder socialist salary structure'. 

People who support Ben & Jerry's are not just 'self-satisfied limousine liberals' who are 'eating your way to world peace'. We believe that in consuming you can give something back & not save the world but show a glimmer of social conscience.

I'd rather be a 'hippie-dippy, lefty-loony' consumer than a bedfellow of this author, who can only be described as a capitalist pig. I have no intention of pulling my 'VW Microbuses of self-righteous fervor into the parking spaces of global capitalism', especially when it means parking on top of exploited peoples from other countries to buy goods made in sweatshops that have pay scales appropriate to modern business.*

'Give peace a chance' is not pretentious, and is a better statement of values than anything spewed out by the robber-baron business ethics of Ahren.



Dr Paul Leighton
Dept of Sociology, Eastern Michigan University

*Since I originally wrote this letter, Adbusters reported on a Nike advertising campaign trying to make fun of their sweatshop labor problems.  There's more at

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