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When Bad Customers Love Your Brand

A curious situation concerning Donald Trump’s beloved Proud Boys highlights several novel trends in US culture. A clothing supplier has expressed its consternation because of the public behavior by some of its paying customers. The story demonstrates how the quintessentially American science of branding has reached a new level of sophistication.

In an article with the title, “LGBT-owned kilt maker denounces kilt-clad Proud Boys,” the BBC reports the disgust of a Virginia kilt company with the fact “that their yellow kilts were worn by the far-right Proud Boys.” Most people would be surprised to learn that there are companies producing kilts in Virginia, but globalization and identity politics have produced all kinds of fascinating examples of what some might indignantly call cultural appropriation. So far, the Scots have not reacted to this incident, possibly because the American idea of cultural appropriation hasn’t yet penetrated their psyches.