Saturday, 12 October 2013

Times: Barilla no more?
Friday, September 27, 2013, 09:42 by Ramona Depares

Guido Barilla, the founder of pasta Barilla, apparently feels secure enough in the market dominance of his brand to say that “gay people can buy someone else’s pasta”.

Well, fine he didn’t actually say that in as many words. You can read the whole thing here, but what he actually said was that he believed in the idea of a “classical” family (does the term really have significance any more in today’s society?) and that gay people who didn’t like that could jolly well stay away from his pasta.

Which, they jolly well will, I’m sure.

When making such a deliberately provocative statement, Mr Barilla was presumably thinking along the lines that his pasta is so popular that even if all gay people went elsewhere, the financial bottom line was still secure.

Which is probably true enough.

However, what Mr Barilla failed to take into account is that his statement is going to push away not only gay people, but also straight ones who believe in minor details like, you know, human rights. The online wave has already started and really, can you blame us for looking askance at someone who targets particular sectors of society in a negative way?

We’ve already seen what happens when that sort of thing is allowed to go on unchecked. It was called the Holocaust. Am I exaggerating? I don’t think so. Encouraging discrimination – on whichever basis, whether it is gender, race, sexual orientation or whatever – can only lead to trouble.

It is bad enough that homophobia seems to be raising its head again in countries that should know better. And it is legitimised by government, no less. Just look at Vladimir Putin’s anti-gay laws, and his institutionalised indoctrination of school-children to make them believe that “gay is bad”.

As an aside, I hate using the term ‘gay’ as it smacks of ‘them’ and ‘us’ and only serves to encourage more compartmentalisation of people. But saying ‘homosexuals’ is equally weird and I have to make the distinction somehow for the purpose of writing. Ideally, in everyday life there wouldn’t be a necessity to use the terms ‘gay’ and ‘straight’. Who cares, really?

Now excuse me while I go find a new favourite brand of pasta.

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