The Ayn Rand/Lululemon predic-ridic-ament is gathering steam, with people in the yoga world outraged (and probably the same amount unfazed) over the “Who is John Galt?” shopping bags and subsequent alignment with what some deem controversial, or “non-yoga” philosophies. The quote is from Rand’s 1957 novel Atlas Shrugged, which is considered by some as the “bible of the Tea Party.”
The buzz has reached NPR’s ALL THINGS CONSIDERED where host Guy Raz interviews the Globe and Mail‘s Simon Houpt on the lulu lollies’ shopping bag tribute to Rand’s ideologies. (just re-reading that sentence gives us the ‘greatness’ heebs. ideologies of uniqueness, on shopping bags).
Here’s an excerpt covering the criticism from customers on lulu’s non-yoganess, our pitiful lives of mediocrity and Ron Paul fans in stretchy pants:
RAZ: Now, for some – many, actually – Lululemon customers, this is not sitting well. They are not happy about this. What have they said to you?
HOUPT: Oh, boy. They’ve said to me and they’ve said online, certainly at our website at the Globe and Mail, that this is completely contrary to the teachings of yoga, that yoga is, in fact, a core component of building community and that the notion of self-interest, in fact, runs completely against that.
RAZ: You mean, they don’t get into yoga after reading “Atlas Shrugged”?
HOUPT: I have yet to find a yogi who has done so.
RAZ: Right. Yeah. On the company’s blog on its website, they try to explain this, essentially saying, look, society encourages people to be mediocre. This quote urges people to break free of – and this is a quote – “the constraints and limitations on ourselves, which impede us from living our best lives.”
Explain why the company decided to put this on the side of their bags.
HOUPT: Well, I do have some trouble with that because, in fact, in reaching out numerous times to the company, they actually refused to speak on the record to offer their opinion to me. However, in the blog post you refer to, they do offer an explanation and they believe that this book inspires people to embrace greatness rather than this life of sad disappointment, which apparently where all the rest of us are leading.
RAZ: Two stories that whenever we do them on the air, I’ve done them on the air, get the most response. One, any interview with Ron Paul. And two, anything on Ayn Rand. So, I wonder if this is sort of a, actually a smart way to get more business, right, because you might get all these objectivists all of a sudden taking up yoga. We, by the way, also tried to contact the company to speak with Chip Wilson. He’s not available to talk about this.
HOUPT: That’s entirely possible. However, at least at the moment, it does seem – the evidence suggests that Lululemon has severely alienated its core constituency. Certainly here in Toronto, the moms in the fantastic-looking Lululemon pants are discussing this in the school yards and the yoga studios and they’re not at all possible. And so, it’s possible that Ron Paul followers will suddenly embrace yoga or may buy a fantastic-looking pair of pants. And at the very least, it just means that Ron Paul will have some followers who just look great from behind.
You can listen to the full interview at NPR.org
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