That title would be better if I was, in fact, a chick. But despite my being neither female nor fluffy and yellow, the title stays, because I think it’s funny.
What’s not funny is the boycott Chick-Fil-A nonsense. I’m not a big fan of censorship in general, and trying to shut people up via boycott is a convoluted means of usually ineffective censorship. I am a firm believer in free will, however, and so if you feel that the best thing you could do given this situation is to never eat a Chick-Fil-A food item again then you go right ahead, sir. However, trying to form an organized movement out of it? Trying to guilt other people or persuade them to join you? That seems a bit too hasty with the torches and pitchforks to me. It seems especially hair-pulling to me every time anyone brings a “think of the children” argument into a boycott over a fast food joint because they sell a Happy Meal that may come with a toy from a movie that some parents may find offensive, but not because they sell a Kid’s Meal to kids that has something like one hundred grams of fat in it. Maybe it’s because grams are metric, and Americans don’t really know how much a gram is. Maybe they think it’s a colloquial phrase of measurement. Like a snippet.
Understand that, as high up as COO Dan Cathy is in the Chik-Fil-A organization, his stated position on marriage doesn’t reflect those of everyone who works there and is grateful to have a job, or reflective of the chain as a whole. I mean, it’s not in the company handbook. Or maybe it is? I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. But I’m playing the odds. It’s not company policy to refuse gay couples service the way Woolworth’s “White Only” lunch counters denied black potential patrons when the sit-ins occurred during the 1960s. Under those circumstances, now you’ve got a talker. Woolworth sit-ins were “fight the power.” Strong-arm boycotts feel like they’re trying to harness power, and swing it in a wide arc with little to no discipline. And believe me, Dan Cathy is not going to be financially or socially hurt by any of this. The seventeen-year-old who just wants to pass through the impromptu same-sex kissing booth protest performance art to go make some French fries without being compared to Hitler is a bit less insulated.
But while some may be shocked to find my stance on hair-trigger boycotts remains the same even when it stands in defense of someone I don’t agree with, I want to take a moment to point out that those people who are presently “freedom of speech,” “first amendment,” and “right to express opinion,” might want to punch back in the next time…
….someone calls for a boycott on a movie company because one or more of a pair of krill may or may not be gay.
….someone calls for a boycott on PBS because a TeleTubbie may or may not be gay.
….someone takes time out from calling for a boycott on anyone and everything that could possibly be perceived as gay-friendly to call for a boycott on everything Kraft makes because Oreo ran a rainbow cookie ad on Gay Pride Day. And speaking of cookies….
…..someone calls for a nationwide boycott on Girl Scout Cookies because one troop accepted a transgendered child into their organization.
….or when someone…oh yeah…CALLS FOR A BOYCOTT ON A FAST FOOD CHAIN OVER THEIR LEADERSHIP’S STANCE ON HOMOSEXUALITY.
Remember that? When McDonald’s joined the Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce in 2008 and people went batshit crazy because they felt corporations should remain neutral on “these things”? I’m willing to bet a heat-lamped chicken sandwich that none of them are demanding Chick-Fil-A “remain neutral” today.
I’m sure that there is a long line of people ready to tell me why all those things are different somehow, but these things almost always boil down to the same thing: someone using some medium covered by the First Amendment conveyed a message that somebody else who didn’t agree with it happened to notice (or these days, went looking for…). And then it’s straight to pitchforks and torches because if they saw it, the impressionable childrenfolk might see it and, God forbid, MIGHT NOT BE OUTRAGED BY IT!
Look, people — the battleground over homosexuality will, as it always has, ultimately take place in the human heart. And although they say the quickest way to a [person’s] heart is through the stomach, I’m pretty sure the sentry to this particular battle does not wear a crown from Burger King, or any other place with a dollar value menu.
Full disclosure: Despite this blog post, the media firestorm over Chick-Fil-A has in fact changed the way the author thinks about Chick-Fil-A, which is to say that he has now heard of the company and can therefore think about them at all. As of about two weeks ago, the author, having never lived in a town with a Chick-Fil-A, was just learning about the company’s existence and making a genuine fool of himself mispronouncing the name as “Chick Fill-ah”until he finally heard someone say it on the radio.