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Nov 13 2012

Your Waffle Fries

[Content note: aggravated homophobia]

You might remember when Chick-Fil-A was in the news a few months back. WinShape, the ‘charitable’ arm of the corporation had been donating to anti-LGBT groups for a while, but Dan Cathy, CEO, had just reaffirmed his inability to understand the meaning of charitable in a few paragraphs of biblical-family-and-tradition nonsense.

You might also remember it from the way your facebook lit up with people FREEZEPEACHing like it was going out of style. (Extra discount available if you add in claims of hypocrisy and constitutional ignorance!) It wasn’t okay to boycott CFA! Cathy was just expressing his opinion! You can’t change your behavior based on what people say! It’s FREE SPEECH and I/we/’Murica have to support it!

Overlying this constitutional illiteracy (tl;dr: Anyone can have their opinion; it’s also totally fine to say it’s a horrible hateful opinion and you don’t get my money if you hold it.) was some sort of belief that it wasn’t that bad. I mean, it’s really hard to find a chicken sandwich, and those waffle fries! To die for, amirite? Besides, who cares where a little money goes–so many corporations are unethical, and you can’t expect me to avoid all of them!

I would hope that when I tell you that Uganda is about to pass their ‘Kill the Gays’ bill as a vile ‘Christmas present’ for the population, you are repulsed. Enraged. I would like to think that you consider the death penalty for so-called Aggravated Homosexuality–being gay and a parent or HIV positive included in this definition–to be immoral and unacceptable.

But if you’ve been arguing for treating CFA as any other restaurant you can’t say you didn’t help it happen. You can’t say that you know that a few cents of your delicious vanilla milkshake didn’t go to a campaign that would make it okay to murder someone for their sexuality. You cannot say you didn’t know. You can’t say it was an accident–WinShape is well aware where their money goes. And one of those places is the Family Research Council which has spoken in support of the Ugandan bill.

So…what if there’s other horrible businesses? I know there are. I know that they will have business practices that appall me. When I find out about them, I will avoid them too, most especially if they shamelessly brag about their commitment to stripping the rights of others. You get a fixed amount of choices in this world. When your chargrilled chicken sandwich with a side of waffle fries (only $4.95!) is worth more than the right of people to just live, you’ve lost me.

18 comments

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  1. 1
    smrnda

    I recall a lot of naysayers making the point that ‘there are other horrible corporations out there’ but it wasn’t like the people making that criticism were actually interested in boycotting any other bad businesses, they just wanted to cynically disparage people who wanted to boycott 1 bad business without doing anything constructive at all.

  2. 2
    Miriam, Professional Fun-Ruiner

    When your chargrilled chicken sandwich with a side of waffle fries (only $4.95!) is worth more than the right of people to just live, you’ve lost me.

    Applause.jpg

  3. 3
    Ross the Boss

    Jen Peeples of the ACA said something similar to your choice final line a months back. Apparently her mother (if I recall correctly) continued to patronize CFA knowing full-well that her daughter was gay. And Jen simply stated that she hoped the sandwich was very, very good, because it cost her mother a daughter.

    Now it’s obviously worse, but it is worth noting that I haven’t seen any continued support of these anti-gay groups from CFA. Don’t know how long it will take for me to get the bad homophobic taste out of my mouth. Do y’all think that taking a neutral stance is acceptable? Should they have to reverse their position to regain credibility in the future?

  4. 4
    Kate Donovan

    Here’s evidence of the continued support!
    http://www.advocate.com/business/2012/09/20/chick-fil-raising-money-very-week-anti-marriage-equality-group
    So no, I don’t think discussing whether they’re even taking a neutral stance is worth it. If they had….I’d be suspicious, but (if I hadn’t gotten out of eating fast food) less inclined to boycott.

  5. 5
    Leo Buzalsky

    I believe it was her step-mom. But a woman who had been her step-mom for some time. I also got the impression that Jen didn’t feel so bad about losing a relationship with her step-mom as much as she felt bad for son, who was losing a step-grandmother.

  6. 6
    jamessweet

    but it wasn’t like the people making that criticism were actually interested in boycotting any other bad businesses, they just wanted to cynically disparage people who wanted to boycott 1 bad business without doing anything constructive at all.

    Yeah. For me, it would be a big step if people who want to eat at Chik-Fil-A anyway would just, you know, quietly do it, instead of being all like “the boycott is stupid and I am totally awesome for not participating and you are lame for participating!”

    (For the record: I have no desire to eat there, I don’t even think they have them around here anyway, so I didn’t have to make a choice. If some favorite restaurant of mine did something like this, I can’t honestly say if I would have the ethical wherewithal to modify my behavior or not.)

  7. 7
    Brad

    Johns Papa and Jimmy CEOs both whinged and moaned about AHCA. Not as bad as kill-the-gays, but I won’t be eating their food either, if I can help it.

  8. 8
    F [i'm not here, i'm gone]

    And one of those places is the Family Research Council which has spoken in support of the Ugandan bill.

    This and other orgs have supported – in fact, incited – the creation of such bills. What I cannot figure out is how this is even legal for a US organization or individual to do. These people should be treated as, e.g., material supporters of the IRA were treated in the 70s.

  9. 9
    DJMankiwictz

    I’m against it in theory, it is only in practice that I eat there.

    Because there’s not that many options sometimes.

    Because that’s life.

    Because it’s not worth telling your kids no.

    Because it’s not worth having coworkers think you’re a self righteous person who can’t play ball.

    I don’t actually eat there, but people really can be excused for it a bit more than this opinion piece gives them credit for. Believe it or not, there is a HUGE section of the population that had NO IDEA this was even a thing. Yes, it was all over the news for about a week. How many people didn’t watch the news that week? It’s more than you think. Some people are just more involved in world events, while others are too busy keeping their own lives in order to be “bothered” by it. Are they wrong?

    At some level, you can’t really blame them for what the management does with their money. They just wanted a sandwich… They had a quick break today, nothing else seemed good, they only heard about this thing when they got back and some coworker pointed out their support. Even so, the sandwich is bought, they can’t just throw it away, right?

    I dunno, the whole thing leaves me conflicted. I won’t be eating there, but I understand those who still will. It’s too distant an issue to actually connect the dots. Besides, it’s not like a few pennies LITERALLY go towards that cause from every individual purchase, right? Budgeted another way, maybe a few more pennies from that OTHER person’s order are taken, and your’s go, guilt-free, towards the wages of the person who took your order. Money is magical!

  10. 10
    N. Nescio

    “Because it’s not worth telling your kids no.”

    Seriously? That and most of your other “excuses” are bullshit.

  11. 11
    Nathaniel Frein

    I find their attitude that they should use their workers as hostages to fight better access to health care while (at least in the case of “Papa” John) living in a palatial estate to be downright disgusting, but in a very different way from what Cathy and CFA are doing.

    Either way, neither Cathy nor these other folks will be getting my business any time soon.

  12. 12
    DJMankiwictz

    Yeah, those excuses are bullshit. But it’s already 8:47, it’s late, you’ve just been out shopping all day and had the kids with you, you gotta get the kids to bed, and you still have a lot to do before you go to bed at 1 in the morning. Chick Fil A’s right there and really, do want to be driving around for the next hour looking for something else?

    Life happens.

  13. 13
    N. Nescio

    So…more rationalizations? That’s it?

  14. 14
    DJMankiwictz

    Yeah, pretty much. Never said they were good excuses (they’re terrible), and this isn’t some hidden way to justify going there all the time because it can be excused “sometimes”, but I gotta ask, do people have to always be “on” all the time? Every moment calculated for maximum worldwide happiness? Can’t people occasionally just take the easy way out without the guilt trip? Yeah, that’s still just admitting I’m lazy if I used that argument. All the same, that’s life, and that’s how everyone works all the time. Are you really saying that there’s never been a single moment where you’ve caved in and just shopped somewhere you find morally awful in normal situations? Never been a time when you’re just morally exhausted and, just this once, ignored the homeless person at the corner with a sign? You’ll get one tomorrow. It’ll be fine, right? /rationalization

    To be honest, I’m actually disgusted with that part of myself, but I don’t know how to fight it, and it exists in the hearts of every person on the planet. No one fully lives up to their own standards 100% of the time. They should, but they don’t. I recall a study some time ago that says people really do have a limited amount of, and I’m paraphrasing, “will power” for these sorts of things. Everyone has a point in the day where enough is enough, and they just want to get on with their day, guilt trips be damned. How exactly do we fight that? Yeah, I know “just give up” isn’t any good option, but pure exhaustion isn’t easily fought, because you’re exhausted, you see, and can’t fight it well in that state. Catch 22 and all that.

  15. 15
    DJMankiwictz

    This is related to the problem of what the difference is between people who do stuff ALL DAY LONG until they sleep and people who get exhausted and can’t do anything more after an 8 hour work day, just sitting around the house until they’re tired and fall asleep. The motions, and all that. Ever get home and were too tired (mentally, not physically) to do things you actually love doing? That’s me all the time. I’m not sure how other people DO it all, but when someone shops at a Chic Fil A late at night because it’s the only one open and they don’t want to hear about moral issues, they just want a frickin’ sandwich, I GET that. I have a hard time really getting mad at them.

    Sometimes I also wonder if close personal relationships are inherently irrational, skewing personal perspective irreparably and making people forgive otherwise unacceptable transgressions…

  16. 16
    Lorddingaling

    So using your theories, Hitler made a mistake not taking out all those pesky Jews, because, well, Jews are a blight on humanity and all, and they just are the worst, hey, I GET it man…

    People like you will use anything that reeks of being different to justify being ignorant.

  17. 17
    DJMankiwictz

    I’m sorry I’m not sure I understand. I’m very bad at hidden meanings, so I wasn’t attempting any. I’m literally just talking about someone not necessarily being guilty of supporting an anti gay agenda when in some moment of weakness they end up eating a chicken sandwich. Nothing further.

  18. 18
    DJMankiewicz

    So I thought I’d make my positions clear, since I failed to communicate myself properly before diving into a failed attempt at self deprecating humor and thus I got myself confused for a typical troll “just asking questions” with some end goal of convincing people, let’s say, that “the gay” is scientifically evil or something stupid like that.

    I believe Chic Fil A’s position is unjustifiable. I don’t want to shop there any more, nor did I ever actually shop there before. I agree with the post’s message quite well. Anyone against gay marriage is on the wrong side of history, and no argument I’ve yet heard makes any sense. I don’t believe in the notion that “state’s rights” are any defense of it either. If a federal law establishes gay rights, and I want it to, then I’m all for that. Repealing “don’t ask don’t tell” was a great thing, but it’s only the start.

    The main point I was making, which I failed to get across, was simply that while my position on Chic Fil A lines up with the above post, it isn’t absolute. I don’t think Donovan intended it to be an absolute all or nothing thing, but I thought it could be worth pointing out amongst all the fully justified voices of agreement (of which I’m a part). The only, very small in the grand scheme of things, point I wanted to make was that not everyone attaches buying decisions with political statements. In a very literal way, they really are. I do attempt to buy from more morally upright groups, but I don’t work very hard at it. If I did, I wouldn’t own a smart phone and gaming systems most likely made at FoxConn (sp?). Heck, I really didn’t even do the research to find out what’s made in a horrific sweat shop and what’s not. To those working at that sweat shop, gee, aren’t I privileged? The answer, is yes, I am very much so. My best argument is a lame one “well, this phone’s interface is snappier than those made somewhere else, it’s so shiny”. To be painfully clear, that excuse is one I fully realize is complete nonsense. I’m making fun of myself, because while at the same time I realize how utterly self serving such an “excuse” is, I still use it to justify getting that lovely practically slave made phone.

    It’s an ability to distance one’s self from the results of purchasing decisions. It’s a sort of apathy that I wish I knew how to fight. Well, the solution is obvious, but I want the BEST! Shouldn’t I, consumer supreme, have a neat phone? I mean, I do stuff with it! Stuff!

    To that end, I “get” why someone buys a Chic Fil A sandwich after these things. Two things, firstly, most people are ignorant of MOST of the evils various big companies do. Check some interviews on that big “buy some chicken” protest day by those bigots supporting Chic Fil A’s position. Most of the interviews were of people doing the protest, but look along the edges and you’ll see very confused patrons who had NO idea any of this was going on. I suppose they COULD throw their sandwich away in disgust, and then walk out and despawn back into NPC memory never to be seen again, but the reality is they came there to eat on their lunch break, they had no time to get something else, and they weren’t going to go hungry just because “someone else” decided to turn their lunch into a political cause. They didn’t agree to that symbolism, and to them that’s all it is, symbolism. There’s also the person who chewed out an employee working the register. I’m not sure what they hoped to achieve there. That person needed the money. Ever needed the money? That employee did, and they’ve got no control over anyone higher up. Quitting would have made a stand and sent a message, but for those people, it would have been irresponsible and reckless, especially if they’ve got family to support.

    Now, the easy thing to do here, the chicken filled thing to do, is to “extend” these edge cases to conclude it must therefor be alright for EVERYONE to eat there. Nope, I’m not going to say that.

    Heck, what I’m saying may already be something everyone else here fully acknowledges, already thinks, it’s just plain obvious, and the only reason I might possibly be bringing it up is to make some “deeper” point. Nope, my point is very shallow indeed. It’s just this. If everyone else already agrees on it, call me out on my social stupidity. I’m very bad at gauging public opinion in groups anyway, so it’ll be nothing new.

    Lastly, basic apathy, that’s the heart of it. Most people that are eating there continue to eat there because, as I’ve said, they are either ignorant of this entire issue (excusable, there’s too much going on for everyone to know every horrid thing that happens) or they have simply distanced themselves, “I’m not supporting their agenda at all, I just want a sandwich, and I refuse to believe I’m supporting anything by just being one person buying frickin’ lunch”. That’s rationalization every single person everywhere uses. I don’t know how to fix that problem, but I think either we come up with something that’ll make people actually want to set up a proper boycott (which I should add, popular conception these days is that boycotts “don’t ever work”), or we try to at least acknowledge the difference between those who don’t think their purchase matters and those actually trying to make a statement when they buy a sandwich.

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