A Brief Engagement With Some of the Inanimate Entities Imploring Me to Vote

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Photo: Aiyana Leong

“It’s clear that this election is unlike any other,” says Everlane. “That the stakes are high.”


“Cast your ballot. Use your voice. Pledge your time,” as the clothing retailer that sells pale alpaca sweaters and laid off most of its unionized workforce this past December notes. “VOTE,” say Gwyneth Paltrow’s stud earrings, which cost $70 a pair and sold out in less than two days, though I hear you could still pre-order them at some point. “Fuck people, not America,” exclaim the condoms manufactured by Okcupid, a company that describes people who go to the polls as “voters I’d like to fuck.”

“At AirBnB, we believe that every vote is important,” says the company that regularly infuses friendly politicians’ campaigns with half-million installments of cash in the hopes of evading regulation. “Luckily getting the resources you need is as easy as booking a trip.” “VOTE!!! It matters,” Crocs exclaims in the ad copy for its red, white, and blue charm, the cost of which can be split across “four interest-free installments” using Afterpay, which in turn will reroute you to a landing page where you can buy more tote bags and T-shirts that also say “VOTE.”

“At Glossier, we believe in the power of self-expression and personal choice—in beauty and beyond,” remarks a pricey makeup brand that donated $1 million to racial justice causes but whose former employees describe being the target of unecessary racist harassment from customers who visit its stores. “One of the most impactful ways you can use your voice is by voting, and encouraging others to vote, too.” “Post a picture of your voting outfit,” implores a famous Instagram Pekinese.

”Ya gotta VOTE,” the New York Mets write in a string of emails each more full of exclamation points than the last. “Up the Vote,” says Reddit. “VOTE” says a $26 Anthropology mug. “Vote,” adds the Star Wars franchise, which is owned by a media conglomerate set to devour the world. “Amplify your voice” by voting, say the marquees at Live Nation venues, which have shuttered countless small concert halls and exploit a vulnerable labor force to do dangerous jobs. “All in for voting,” writes Amazon Studios, whose eponymous parent company is refusing to grant employees time to get out their own vote. “Vote responsibly,” adds Absolut.

“Voting is self-care,” says a mail-order company that sells natural deodorants and probiotics. “Election season means taking care of your community, Self-Care 2020 means taking care of yourself.” It’s almost as if everyone agrees there’s something very pressing happening here but no one can say exactly what.