Wednesday, August 1, 2012

I Swear to the Ghost of Dorothy Parker this is Not About Chick-Fil-A

Well, it's a little about Chick-Fil-A, although I'm embarrassed because the word "Chick-Fil-A" is a kind of embarrassing word. Is it even a word?  And why is it "Fil-A"?  What is with the hyphens?  It's a lot less weird to say than to write, because then you think "fillet," only I guess that would wreck their chances of franchising in England because I'm pretty sure they pronounce it like "fill-it" since they talk weirder than us and "Chick Fill-It" just doesn't sound as good as "Chick Fil-A." Less French, which is good on the one hand because the fucking French but also bad because I think their food is supposed to be better than ours and also because apparently there are no fat French people.  There. I just figured it out. Skinny gustatorial Frenchiness outweighs smug superior Frenchiness.

Anyhoo, a friend of mine from way back asks a question about whether or not it's intolerant to boycott Chick-Fil-A because the owner disagrees on a moral issue. This is a guy I'm happy to engage because while his politics are not mine, he is also unfailingly civil and always wishes a happy birthday to aging rock stars which I find totally sweet.  I think he's wrong on this issue, but I also take his point.

An anecdote (yay!  anecdotes are the BEST):

Many moons ago, Don and I were on a road trip and pulled off to spend the night. The hotel on our left looked kind of shitty.  The hotel on our right looked a little less shitty but had put on their marquee, "This hotel is American-owned."  Now, I'm a big advocate for buying American whenever possible, but this marquee really meant, "White people own this hotel."  So we stayed at the shittier looking hotel which was owned by an Indian family and was, while shitty, clean enough and the continental breakfast was the same as it is at any roadside motel, which is to say shitty, but certainly no less shitty than the continental breakfast the white people across the way were serving.

This was an easy one.  The actual owners of the hotel had decided to appeal to their consumers via xenophobia and bigotry.  So we had a clear moral choice and gave our $59.99 to the other guys (Don and I always stay at the nicest hotels).

The Chick-Fil-A thing is also easy.  The owner of the business decided to make a point of announcing his homophobia because he is proud of it.  This is his right but it is also my right to think he's a bigot and a doof for being proud of his own bigotry.  But, it's not just easy, it's too easy.  The gay rights culture war is all but over and the good guys won.  When the famously cowardly Democratic leadership decides to put gay rights on their plank, dude, it's over.  I'd put good money down that gay marriage will be the law of the land within 10 years. It's all but normalized and that's thanks to folks who fought the hard fight.

I wasn't one.  I was all "Hey you mean gays! Leave Barack Obama alone because if he supports you he'll lose and then President Palin." Other people took the prez at his word, put their passion to the test, decided against cautious equivocation and made him change.  

And the prez, along with most of the American people, changed.  And I felt like a big cowardly coward... mostly because I was.

But Chick-Fil-A?  The only awesome power Dan Cathy has is over chickens. Literal chickens.  If chickens want to take on Chick-Fil-A, I'm with them.  But, of course, as a vegetarian, I tend to be on their side.    

 If the good guys' victory in the culture war has taught us anything, it's that the only way to effect change is to take some risks.  So whaddya say?  Let's take some real risks. Let's start boycotting processed meats* all over the place!  Who's with me?

Anyone?  Hello?  Is this thing on?

*I am also a coward on this issue because I will totally buy Laney a Lunchable on our road trip Sunday.  Or McNuggets.