Gone to the Dark Side, I have

I feel dirty now. I’ve been boycotting Wal-Mart since they banned Sheryl Crow’s 1996 self-titled CD because of the lyrics in “Love is a Good Thing,”: “Watch out sister/Watch out brother/Watch our children as they kill each other/with a gun they bought at the Wal-Mart discount stores.” I was ok with them banning music for adult content – that’s a choice, but for me, that crossed the line into censorship.

But this week, Star Wars Episode III was released, and Wal-Mart has an exclusive bonus disc. So I went in, got it, bought it, and was out in 5 minutes. It felt wrong, though. Not wrong enough not to have the bonus disc, though. Ok, being the best of the prequels still doesn’t mean that much, but the reviews I’ve read say the audio and video quality alone is the new benchmark by which to measure DVDs, and the bonus disc has a look back at the classic trilogy (ok, I’m still addicted).

Interestingly, Sheryl’s reconsidered since:

Griffin Dunne: [laughs] I remember when you took on Wal-Mart in the lyrics to your song “Love is A Good Thing” (“Watch our children while they kill each other I With a gun they bought at Wal-Mart discount stores”) a couple of years ago. That was really cool.

SC: You know what’s weird about that? I read recently in the L.A. Times where Wal-Mart has kind of readdressed their position on it [gun sales]. They’re being tighter than the laws actually require, and [Attorney General John] Ashcroft is up in arms. What used to happen is that if your approval, or whatever it is, didn’t come up in the allotted time, they’d just give you a gun anyway. They’d assume you were going to clear, or that the delay meant it was clearing. Now Wal-Mart’s saying that if the approval doesn’t come through, they’re not going to give you a gun at all, and Ashcroft is having a hissy fit about it. It’s a really responsible position for Wal-Mart to take. And in a weird way, it’s kind of validating that song.

GD: It really put a focus on them.

SC: It did. But unfortunately, a huge amount of record sales were lost, because in towns like my hometown, only Wal-Mart sells music.

On the other hand, they’ve also banned Jon Stewart’s America (The Book) because of the Photoshopped nude picture of the Supreme Court lineup. And there’s that whole killing off mom and pop stores and not paying their employees enough to afford their own health care plan. I don’t know, maybe I’ll shop there if I have to, but I’m used to doing most of my offline shopping at Best Buy and Target these days.