February 21, 2018

(Un)Popular Opinion: Sea World Edition

I’ll be the first to admit I don’t know much about Sea World and their treatment of animals. Prior to the backlash about Hanson playing there, in my experience as a non-activist average Joe, I had heard a few vaguely negative things about it, but my general disinterest in zoos as a whole was always enough to keep me from going there or seeking out more information. To be honest I’d heard more backlash against PETA than Sea World, so I sit somewhere in the middle with the understanding that you can’t believe everything you read and that every story has more than one side.

I strongly believe in keeping your mouth shut when you’re not educated about a topic, so I’m not here to argue why Hanson should or shouldn’t play Sea World. I don’t know enough to form a strong opinion much less push it on anyone else. I applaud anyone who has done their research and taken the time to examine a variety of sources and biases about a topic that means a lot to them. Hanson has taught us the importance of standing up for what we believe in time and time again, whether that means taking a symbolic barefoot walk or standing up for the underdog despite what others think. Silence will never evoke change, and I have a lot of respect for anyone that is willing to take a stand and speak out about something they feel passionate about.

Lately there have been several posts across social media and calls to action by fans advocating against Hanson playing at Sea World. I know it takes guts to stand up and call out a band that you love for doing something that you hate, and it’s encouraging to know that others feel the same. My issue with these campaigns is that most are being directed at Hanson and signed as though they represent the entire fan base. I’m not interested in quoting or calling out anything specific because there are several that fit this description, and I’m not looking to shame anyone. My point is this: keep standing up for what you believe in. If you truly care about something, don't back down. Write a compelling argument and put it in a public space; start a petition; re-tweet somebody you agree with; be open to a respectful discussion. Continue to protest Sea World long after this isolated Hanson show has come and gone. Things go viral for a reason, and if you have a good point that a lot of people agree with, spreading the word will become effortless. Stand up and shout it out, but while you’re doing it, please don’t claim to speak for everyone, don't exaggerate the number of fans involved, and please do not presume to speak for me or anyone else when you're addressing the band. Let the number of shares, signatures, or encouraging comments speak for themselves--but please, let other fans speak for themselves as well.



(and 2 or 3 friends that agree, and maybe a dozen or so more that will see this and feel the same…but I’ll let them decide if they want to be included)

P.S. Hanson still doesn't owe us anything.