I’ll Miss You, Chick-Fil-A
By Chez Pazienza: I’ve never been one of those people to let a little corporate malfeasance stand in the way of getting what I want. Call me an asshole, but the fact is that I’m cynical and realistic enough to understand that every company is probably engaged in some kind of behavior I’d find reprehensible were I to look closely enough. So, no, I don’t avoid shopping at Target and Best Buy because they occasionally funnel money to the Republican party and I haven’t hacked my Mobil card up with a kitchen knife, even though Exxon Mobil was behind one of the worst oil spills in history and has a lengthy record of inequity when it comes to how the it treats its employees. I’m not saying that I won’t try to avoid giving money to companies that engage in particularly egregious activity, but in a pinch convenience and selfishness will generally trump ideals. It’s just how it is.
That said, I kind of have no choice but to not eat at Chick-Fil-A from here on out, barring any sort of sudden and absolute change of heart on the part of its management; current Chick-Fil-A President and COO Dan Cathy has all but dared me and a hell of a lot of other Americans to ignore his restaurant and he’s done it in a way that’s so audacious from a business standpoint that no matter how hard I might try, I know that I wouldn’t be able to rationalize giving his company my money.
Now keep in mind that unlike many of those on the left who bitch incessantly about the dangers of fast food and who probably wouldn’t be caught dead stuffing one of Dan Cathy’s chicken sandwiches into their faces anyway, I actually really like Chick-Fil-A. Love it, in fact. When I moved to Atlanta to work for CNN about ten years ago and found out there was a Chick-Fil-A food court outlet in the CNN Center, on the bottom floor, I practically did cartwheels. I think their chicken salad sandwich, especially, is the food of the freaking gods and during my time in both Georgia and Florida I probably grabbed one at least once every couple of weeks. (Since moving out to Los Angeles the only Chick-Fil-A I know of is on Sunset in Hollywood, but seeing as how there’s an In-N-Out right up the street, when I want to grab something quick it’s just no contest.) I ate there knowing full well that the company’s founder, Truett Cathy, was a lunatic Southern Baptist who believed so strongly in the infallibility of the Bible and was so dedicated to making sure he never offended Jesus that he was willing to risk a massive hit to his bottom line by keeping every one of his restaurants closed on Sundays. The food, as it turned out, was just too good for me to forego simply because I happened to disagree entirely with the Cathy family’s beavershit crazy worldview.
But, yeah, you’ve gotta draw the line somewhere — and Dan Cathy essentially saying, “Screw gay people because they’re an affront to God,” is as good a place as any.
It’s not even worth getting into how, in the year 2012, there are still people with semi-functional cerebral cortexes willing to grovel at the altar of a mythology invented two millennia ago by people who literally knew nothing about anything, and to allow it to inform their prejudices against men and women who haven’t done a damn thing to hurt them. We could be here all day with that one. But what Cathy’s doing is throwing down the gauntlet because he believes not only that he’s right but that his business won’t suffer one bit by demonizing a large segment of the population. Judging by guys like Mike Huckabee, who’ve rallied around Chick-Fil-A and its, I suppose, God-given right to discriminate against gay people, Cathy may be at least partially right. He knows even a chicken sandwich can be a weapon in the culture war these days; that’s how far-gone we are. I’d like to believe, though, that Chick-Fil-A’s brazen stand against gay America will hurt it in both the short term and the long run. Maybe if enough people really do publicly and privately ostracize businesses that pull crap like this, it will make a difference.
The Jim Henson company has already severed its relationship with Chick-Fil-A — and in response Chick-Fil-A has concocted a bullshit story about how safety issues with Muppets toys in its kids’ meals were to blame for the split, which is odd for a company that’s been so surprisingly up-front about some of its less politically correct opinions. You’d think the company would be chomping at the bit to shout its biblical worldview from the rooftops and to revel in the sacrifices it’s had to make because of that.
Among those sacrifices: that people like me won’t eat there anymore. And it’s my own sacrifice as well because, as it turns out, I’m going to miss Chick-Fil-A. Oh well.