Wednesday, June 30, 2004

Dear David Bowie,

I heard you have been hospitalized!

I get my news about you from a Yahoo! news reminder service that I subscribed to after beginning my economic (but not cultural) boycott of your products. When I stopped paying for BowieNet, I didn't know how I would get regular information about you; but the news wires are filthy with David Bowie news and you are so internationally popular that it's easy to keep tabs.

A trapped nerve. OUCH! How does something like that happen? Sounds really sore. Sounds worse than a lollipop in the eye! I hope it doesn't hurt too much, and I pray it is not a symptom of a more serious problem.

Sadly, today's news is that you have decided to cancel the rest of the tour. It must be frustrating to have to cancel so many shows. I know you adore your fans as much as they adore you, and I know your press releases present sincerity when they state your sadness and understanding of the hardship this causes those who planned expensive travel and purchased expensive festival tickets. With ticket prices being as insulting as CD prices, some people will have lost quite a tidy sum. Too bad!

I was at a party with some of your big fans and professional compatriots in New York last week. One of the young women started telling others that I'd left the BowieNet community because you and Iman endorse Tommy Hilfiger.

I hope you know that is untrue.

I do not find a Hilfiger endorsement offensive. I think it is dull and mediocre and middle-of-the-road, and I consider you none of those things, and the endorsement is therefore a disappointment, but it is not offensive, and it is not the reason I am boycotting your products.

I boycott you because you have sold all of your images (which were a HUGE part of my cultural coming of age) to endorse a Nestle product.

Some say that you didn't know Vittel was a Nestle product; but I don't buy that. A man in your business position, surrounded by advisors and bean-counters, knows what-is-what in the business world. Not knowing who owns the products you endorse might be worse than endorsing offensive products, so I hope this is not true.

Others insist you couldn't possibly know about the international boycott of Nestle products. But, you know about the release from prison of obscure Tibetan nuns, and your wife is from Africa, so I find it hard to accept that you know nothing of the Nestle problem and the 30-year campaign to stop Nestle from marketing over-priced breast-milk substitute to healthy women in developing nations.

The more clueless of your fans insist that corporate boycotts and political discussions have no place in the arena of rock-god worship. I doubt you would agree with that. After all, you donated the proceeds of your 50th Birthday Bash to a children's charity, which is a political statement. And the mission of an artist is to comment on his/her surroundings, which is what you do, so endorsement of a Nestle product is a very direct statement about your position on that boycott.

I know you endorse products to earn money, and I do not begrudge anyone any money. I think everyone should have money. I have adopted the philosophy of a mutual friend of ours when I say: "I am an American socialist; I think everyone should have nice things." So, it's not the money that offends me.

It is this: You have been a champion of children's charities, given them time and money, and then you accept money from a corporation who is known for jeopardizing the health of children in developing nations whose parents can least afford to protect them. The entire world health community condemns Nestle's marketing of breast-milk substitutes in developing nations, yet you endorse them. You give money and ink to Save The Children. They spend money and ink to fight Nestle. This contradiction is too hypocritical for me, and it is in this conflict that my boycott of your products is rooted.

With all that said, I return to your health: Will you return to New York for medical treatment? Will you take a long, restful cruise home? I hope the doctors make you well, and you get some well-deserved rest.

Here's to a speedy recovery.

Dick Mac

P.S.: Can you explain why are you endorsing Nestle?


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