There was a social critic, can't recall the name, who wrote years ago about the canny ability of Western capitalism to mediate and emasculate any confrontational social movement by merchandising it. Co-opt and reward. When Hip Hop leaves mean streets and wins Grammys, it's something else altogether. Take the blandly cheery "eep-opp" of Italy, for example.
The author meant this in a good way, as he was writing during the tumultuous early 1970s. Don't worry, he implied. We won't have a revolution because consumerism will make protests entertaining, not angry, events.
The merits of this argument can be debated. But it came to my mind as I read about the Fundamentalist Latter Day Saints and the success of their Internet sales. If Fashion Avenue does embrace the prairie outfit, will that mean we won't see FLDS as the exploitative and unlawful force it really is? Will 12 year old girls continue to be married off to middle-aged church leaders?
Because it seems the law against polygamy is already pretty toothless when these communities have been allowed to thrive and prosper despite being illegal. And while we're debating the issue, what does this state of affairs say about what the US electorate supposedly believes about marriage -- one man, one woman?