This has been on my mind for quite some time, ever since I wrote that I was a “Free Range Mama.” It’s only weighed more on me since adding a Blog With Integrity button to my sidebar, which is a reaction many of us had to the controversy over the heightened presence of sponsorships/commercial interests competing for the attention of bloggers at Blogher ’09. There, the murky and emergent ethics of blogging for pay or in exchange for “gifts”, along with anxiety over a pecking order of blogger desirability, found expression in heated discussions of swag.
In my “Free Range Mama” post I said I’d made peace with not ever being a “WalMart Mom” or having certain corporate advertising, sponsorship or other commercial interests affiliated with my blog. But even after crossing off several companies that to my eyes have sketchy ethical practices or support political organizations I don’t agree with, there’s still a large gray zone that’s left. I mentioned that I patronize JC Penney stores, until recently I shopped (stopping when its CEO made stupid remarks about health insurance reform) at Whole Foods, and I like Target a bit too much relative to some probable unsavory labor practices that I haven’t Googled yet. And what’s complicating is that the grey zone quickly gets subjective.