Elton John, D&G and the $500 T-shirt

Story highlights

  • Elton John called for D&G boycott over IVF remarks
  • LZ Granderson: Who can afford their products anyway?

LZ Granderson is a CNN contributor, a senior writer for ESPN and a lecturer at Northwestern University. He is a former Hechinger Institute fellow, and his commentary has been recognized by the Online News Association, the National Association of Black Journalists and the National Lesbian and Gay Journalists Association. Follow him on Twitter @locs_n_laughs. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

(CNN)Legendary fashion designers Domenico Dolce and Stefano Gabbana are in a public spat with pop music icon Elton John over some eyebrow-raising comments the pair made about gay parenting.

Long against same-sex marriage, the Italian designers -- who are not only openly gay, but were once a couple -- took their counterintuitive rhetoric to the next level this weekend when Dolce said in an interview:
"You are born to a mother and a father -- or at least that's how it should be. I call children of chemistry, synthetic children. Rented uterus, semen chosen from a catalog."
    John, who along with his husband David Furnish is raising two children that were conceived through IVF, took to Twitter to essentially say "Oh no he didn't," followed by "#BoycottDolceGabbana" because nothing expresses anger quite like a hashtag.
    Not to be outdone, the pair responded with #BoycottEltonJohn.
    So what should we make of all this boycott talk?
    Combined, the three men are worth an estimated $3 billion. The openly gay Ricky Martin, who is raising two boys via a surrogate mother, sided with John (but he's only worth an estimated $60 million, so I'm not sure if anyone noticed).
    Regardless, while I find the archaic thinking of Dolce and Gabbana disappointing, the truth is my budget boycotted their clothing years ago. Some of it's really nice. But I just can't afford to spend $500 on a T-shirt. And even if I could, I don't know how I would justify doing so with a kid to put through college. That's why I find this whole ultra rich on ultra rich violence so disconnected from the reality most of us on Twitter are living.
    Boycott? Besides the 1%, who the hell is buying Dolce and Gabbana regularly enough to actually call the act of not buying their clothing a "boycott"? That's a little like me saying I'm upset with the way James Dolan is running the New York Knicks so I refuse to play for him.
    Even misguided consumers wallowing in debt and living way above their means likely do not have enough credit cards to keep up with the purchasing power of the Elton Johns of this world. (No lie -- the online store has a pair of "Polka Dot Print Slim Fit Denim Jeans" for $795. And you still have to pay for shipping. And there's also a cotton vest on sale for $795. A COTTON VEST!!)
    Here's an idea: Considering it can cost about $20,000 for each attempt at IVF, and the procedure has roughly a 40% success rate, I would say the vast majority of people who were the direct targets of Dolce's words are not using their expendable cash to buy their clothing anyway.
    If John, Martin, Courtney Love and other ultra-rich celebrities really want to leverage their celebrity to ignite a movement we can buy into (pun intended) take that would-be Dolce and Gabanna money and start an endowment for those who can't afford IVF treatments. Or consider "Modern Family's" Jesse Tyler Ferguson, who tweeted he wanted to unload his Dolce and Gabanna suits in a way that would help those who can't afford the IVF treatments.
    Retweeting a hashtag is a great way to publicly shame. But crowdsourcing among the 1% could make a difference in the lives of people who so desperately want to be parents that they mortgage their homes trying. It also creates a medium in which us regular folks can legitimately express our disappointment in the designers' words and not take the convenient route via blogs and hashtag activism.
    And yes, I realize I'm criticizing myself as well. But I have some self-awareness. When you tweet "Je Suis D&G" -- thus comparing your PR nightmare to the one of the deadliest terrorist attacks in recent Europe history -- you don't.