Clowns, prophets and the Chick-fil-A Flustercluck

I suspect James McGrath is probably right when he says, regarding Chick-fil-A: “Satire is likely to be a more effective weapon in the controversy … than protests and boycotts.”

That calls to mind an exchange from Robert Wiede’s Directors Guild  interview with Mel Brooks:

Q: On the surface, The Producers is simply good, silly fun. But do you take personal pleasure in the subversive element of making fun of Nazis? There are Nazi jokes in many of your movies.

A: Yeah. If you can make them seem foolish and silly, then you’ve won. But if you get on a soapbox and go head to head with Herr Hitler and Goebbels, you’re not going to win. They’re good at that [stuff]. But they’re not good at comedy.

It isn’t just The Producers, Brooks is always making fun of Nazis — in everything from Blazing Saddles to his bittersweet remake of To Be Or Not To Be.

But Brooks applies the same approach to other targets as well, because the same principle that holds for superlatively evil tyrants also holds for incomparably lesser bullies and bigots, prudes and scolds, Comstocks and corporate overlords. None of them is any good at comedy. “If you can make them seem foolish and silly, then you’ve won.”

And the good news in all such cases is that you don’t need to do much to “make them seem foolish and silly.” Since they are foolish and silly, sometimes all you really need to do is point and laugh.

As the flustercluck swept through the news this week, Conan O’Brien introduced us to Chaz the Intolerant Chick-fil-A Chicken:

YouTube Preview Image

This is not what “winning” looks like for Chick-fil-A. And it’s really not good news for the chain that Chaz was popular enough that he’s becoming a recurring character with his own catchphrase: “Eat up you Godless Sodomites!

Meanwhile, at Funny or Die, we find the great John Goodman as Col. Sanders — icon of the rival Kentucky Fried Chicken. “I love gay people, always,” Goodman/Sanders says. “And we’re open on Sundays.”

Kristie Stremel chimes in with the beginnings of a song.

People are laughing.

People are laughing and Chick-fil-A cannot laugh with them because they are laughing at Chick-fil-A. The joke has taken hold and they are the punchline.

And people are likely to be telling this joke for a long time — or at least until the company gives them a reason to stop.

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  • http://kittysneezes.com revme

    For what it’s worth, it’s “Chik-fil-A”, not “Chick”.  But otherwise, you’re right as usual… though I don’t think you pulled the most hilarious bit out of the John Goodman video — “y’all just a bunch of money-mouths!”

  • EllieMurasaki

     Don’t say that; we only just got him to spell the restaurant’s name right.

  • reynard61

    “For what it’s worth, it’s ‘Chik-fil-A’Jack Chick-fil-A(…)”

    There! Fixed that for ya!

    (Yeah, I know that this is the third time in as many days that I’ve used that; but I’m trying to turn it into a meme.)

  • Ross Thompson

    For what it’s worth, it’s “Chik-fil-A”, not “Chick”.

    You might want to tell these people that: http://www.chick-fil-a.com/

    They’ve been spelling it wrong all over their logos, their website, their restaurants, their facebook account…

  • http://kittysneezes.com/ Rev. Syung Myung Me

    Well, daaang.  I’d always thought they had the misspelling.  I’m sorry, I’m totally dumb!

  • Nirrti

    That Chik-fil-A puppet needs to become a permanent Conan O’Brien skit…..now.

  • Matthew E.

    Or, as Pinkie Pie put it, “chortle at the kooky”. :)
    This was actually discussed a bit in Neil Gaiman’s Anansi Boys (and is part of the reason why it’s one of my favorite books): the ultimate power of Anansi is making people realize the sheer silliness of his enemy, who is an ancient spirit representing all power and oppression and unfairness.
    Gaiman makes a point of explaining why this is a Very Big Deal: first, now no one can be afraid of Tiger because he’s been reduced to a cartoonish lout in their minds, and secondly (perhaps more importantly), this means Tiger doesn’t have any more power over them either, because — like all the myriad villains who channel him — he’s the kind of person to whom being feared is itself really important. The mere realization that no, Tiger is wrong about how the world should work, so wrong that it’s honestly funny, takes away the things that Tiger values.
    Really, this is basically how the original Anansi tended to deal with things or people he didn’t like in general. I think it says something about human nature that one of those eternal, indestructible ancient narratives is Funny Little Spider Defeats the Forces of Evil and Everyone Laughs (at Said Forces, Because They’re Dumb). I guess as a species, we really are made to giggle at the ghostly.

  • Baby_Raptor

    And…Now I’ve got that stuck in my head. 

    Giggle at the ghostly
    Guffaw at the grossly
    crack up at the creepy
    Whoop it up with the weepy
    Chortle at the kooky
    Snortle at the spooky…

  • arcseconds

     

    I guess as a species, we really are made to giggle at the ghostly.

    OK, so there are a few stories making light of the supernatural.

    That, it seems to me, pales in comparison to the general awe and terror the supernatural usually inspires in humanity.  Exorcisms and witchhunts aren’t the sort of things one would engage in if creepiness was widely regarded as a laughing matter.

    I think the purpose of such stories is indeed to defang darkness with laughter, but defanging implies that darkness is initially dangerous, not amusing.

  • Jim Roberts

    There are entire cultural epics based around making light of the supernatural. Heck, you even see this in the Eddas. Before Marvel Comics made him into a superhero, Thor was pretty much a bumbling slapstick comic, with Loki as his crossdressing stage partner. Sure, some of the jokes were grim by our standards.
     
    And the point that Fred’s trying to make, perhaps less clearly than he could, is that it’s the people who make light of the supernatural. The liturgical Passion Plays were often written as being very sombre and staid things, full of admonishments to good deeds and righteousness.
     
    The peasant morality play? Punch and Judy. Let the stuffed shirts in the corporate office/Vatican/Family Research Council have their, “We r serius bigots, this r serius chikkens.” A good percentage of the country – a growing percentage, mind – is laughing at them.

  • Sagrav

    Dan Cathy has every right to be a bigot, and we have every right to point out that he is a bigot.  We also have every right to not buy food at Chik-Fil-A if we disagree with the groups to which they contribute money.  The MSM boogeyman has nothing to do with this.  I could care less what the owners of CNN, MSNBC, etc. think about gay people.  Believe it or not, but we on the “left” don’t actually work for the MSM, George Soros, or whatever people make you fearful.
    Also, I don’t care if you want to buy chicken sandwiches from Chik-Fil-A.  Spend all of your money on their fast food; I still won’t care.  I won’t suddenly say, “No!  I was wrong all along!  Fundamentalist Christian zealots were right, and the being who created all of reality really is obsessed with where we put our genitalia!  I must buy fried chicken!”

  • Jim Roberts

    Agreed – sorry if I came across as thinking that the poster I was responding to had a point.

    Most of the people here I’ve seen have been boycotting Cathy for his actions, not his words, but boycotting for words is certainly perfectly acceptable.

  • Tonio

    I’m not as optimistic as Fred on this issue, because CfA’s supporters tend to be the same evangelicals who think of themselves as persecuted. CfA will be easily able to spin the jokes above as elitist.

  • Isabel C.

    Yeah, but they’re gonna think of themselves as persecuted anyway, so fuck ’em.

    Keep crying and I’ll give you something to cry about, as the saying goes. 

  • Tonio

    True. My point was that the satire won’t work because they won’t feel shame at being laughed at on this particular issue. (adopting haughty voice) “I wear your scorn as a badge of honor!”

  • Isabel C.

    Some of the older and more set-in-their-ways ones, sure.

    Their kids, on the other hand? Not so much, probably. 

    It’s the Great Aunt Hattie effect: when blatant racism/sexism/homophobia is the sort of thing you associate with your GAH, who pinches your cheek at every family gathering and smells like bad perfume and incontinent cats, you’re a lot less likely to buy into it yourself. People, especially younger people, want to distance themselves from things that make them look stupid.  

  • Lori

     

    My point was that the satire won’t work because they won’t feel shame at
    being laughed at on this particular issue. (adopting haughty voice) “I
    wear your scorn as a badge of honor!  

    The point isn’t to shame them, it’s to neutralize them. They lose their influence in the culture at large when the enough people see them as the laughingstocks that they are.

  • arcseconds

    Do you think there’s something deeper at play here regarding the ability to laugh at oneself? 

  • Adevarul

     This is really a very transparent issue.  The “tolerant” left is VERY
    tolerant.  But only if your ideology
    meets their agendas.  When Dan Cathy
    exercised his constitutional right to an opinion, the leftists started ranting
    because he had the audacity to publicly disagree with a pet cause. As expected,
    the in-the-bag MSM howler monkeys, who use their media voices to blatantly push
    whatever causes they support (another story) jumped on the band wagon wanting
    to destroy Chick-fil-A’s business.  They
    saw it as a two-for-one.  They could
    silence a voice that disagreed with their gay marriage stand and bash
    Christianity at the same time.  Problem
    is, thousands showed up in support of:

     

    * Constitutional Right of Free Speech

    * Dan Cathy’s viewpoint

    * Christianity

    * Chick-fil-A’s business owners and workers who the
    left didn’t think about or care about in the trashing of Cathy

     

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

     

    Problem is, thousands showed up…

    (nods) Which was, of course, a huge surprise for those of us who had somehow not been aware of just how many people in this country are perfectly OK with spending their money to ensure that families like mine are not allowed to exist. I mean, really, that’s why we oppose Cathy and those like him: we think it’s fun, and easy, and that they have no support. It certainly isn’t because we think they’re powerful and dedicated to making our lives worse and thus morally deserving of opposition.

    Of course not.

    Dude: the left in the U.S. is willing to let me and my husband live, work, and love in relative peace. The right in the U.S. is willing to use the power of the state to prevent us from doing that.

    If you want to ignore the actual people involved and spin this as “who is tolerant of what ideologies?”, as though ideologies mattered more than people, you have every right to do that (and the tolerant left would agree).

    You’re just wrong, that’s all.

    Anyway: enjoy your chicken, and enjoy your civil rights. Perhaps some day the Christianity you so admire will move you to willingly share both with those who lack them.

  • Lori

    Oh look, another Constitutional scholar. The Right is truly blessed to have so many.

    It takes a special sort of genius to grasp that members of the general public disliking the fact that Dan Cathy financially supports hate groups is a violation of his right not to have the government unduly restrict his what he’s allowed to say. Because people declining to Eat Mor Chikin is exactly like being put in prison for speaking one’s mind.

  • Wesley Bourland

    It’s sad that the people who most easily cry “First Amendment” have no idea what it actually says.

  • JayemGriffin

    I’m afraid you’re slightly confused. Boycotts are also a form of free speech. You have the right not to have your speech censored by the government, and other people have the right to tell you what you said is stupid. It’s not freedom from consequences.

  • Lunch Meat

    thousands showed up in support of: * Constitutional Right of Free Speech

    Rosa Parks wants to talk to you about your discovery that boycotts violate the First Amendment.

  • Tonio

     Is the claim that free speech is being infringed referring to the boycott or the words of the mayors?

  • Jim Roberts

    Yeah, because the words of the mayors? That’s at least threatening to free speech, quite probably in direct violation of it.

  • Tonio

    My post wasn’t saying that the company’s supporters were correct. I was asking which group is getting the supporter’s goat, the boycotters or the mayors.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

    It’s probably both. I get the impression that some of these guys can’t tell the difference between being punished by the government and being opposed by ordinary citizens.

  • EllieMurasaki

    Yeah, because the words of the mayors? That’s at least threatening to free speech, quite probably in direct violation of it.
     
    My understanding is that Dan Cathy can say any damn thing he’s a mind to. This includes but is not limited to saying he’s going to open a restaurant that discriminates against LGBT folk in a jurisdiction that bans employee-discrimination against LGBT folk. What he’s not allowed to do is actually open that discriminatory restaurant in that nondiscriminatory jurisdiction. Preventing Cathy from infringing upon various rights of LGBT folk is not an infringement of Cathy’s right to free speech.
     
    Not, mind you, that anyone is actually doing anything to keep those discriminatory restaurants from opening in those nondiscriminatory jurisdictions. They’re just talking about it. Things that are most definitely NOT an infringement of Cathy’s right to free speech? Other people exercising their own free speech rights.

  • Baby_Raptor

    Remind me again how the government is now persecuting Cathy for what he said? 

    The First Amendment says NOTHING about other citizens reacting to what you say. It does not guarantee you protection from a reaction to your words. All it says is that the government cannot restrict what you say.

    The Right is such a HUGE fan of the First, and they scream about it so much….I’d think you guys would actually know what it says?

  • Müntzer

    Is ‘The producers’ such a good fit in this context?
    A satire were Hitler is mainly laughingstock because he is a gay hipster?

  • Jim Roberts

    I don’t think you’ve been reading this blog much, Adevarul. Most of the posters here agree that Mr. Cathy has the right to voice his opinions.

    The problem is Mr. Cathy’s contributions to organizations that cause real and reckognizable harm to people whose sole crime is being in love. Fred had a blog post to that effect quite recently.

    And, in the end, if we don’t want to go to a place because it’s associated with something negative (in this case, denial of civil rights), then isn’t that our right as well?

  • http://loosviews.livejournal.com BringTheNoise

    There do seem to be an inordinant number of people who seem to equate “freedom of speech” with “freedom from the consequences of speech”.

  • aunursa

    People are laughing and Chick-fil-A cannot laugh with them because they are laughing at Chick-fil-A. The joke has taken hold and they are the punchline.

    Chick-fil-A didn’t have time to laugh yesterday because they were way too busy.  We’ll see if the company displays a sense of humor for tomorrow’s Kiss-in.  I doubt it.

  • Tonio

    Apparently the event was spun as supporting free speech. To expand on BringTheNoise’s point about consequences of speech, just because one has the legal right to say something doesn’t mean that one should say it. One is entitled to enjoy one’s choice in music, but not to disturb others by blasting it at 120 dB. If Cathy’s principle were applied to music, he would be saying that people shouldn’t be allowed to listen to certain genres regardless of the volume.

  • aunursa

    On an earlier thread I surmised that more people participated in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day because they share the views of the owner, and fewer people participated out of a principled support for Cathy’s First Amendment rights.  I may have been wrong about that.  I have read from more than one source that informal polls taken by and of people waiting in line indicated that more people came to show support Cathy’s First Amendment rights  than to demonstrate opposition to same-sex marriage.  Several patrons indicated that they personally support SSM, but support the right of a company CEO to express a contrary opinion.

  • Tonio

    And while I agree with them in principle about the First Amendment, they’re missing the larger point.

    Even though I’m straight, this issue is deeply personal for me. It’s not my place to decide for anyone else who to marry or where to live or what religion to follow or what to eat. Even though these have different degrees of consequences for others, ultimately they’re personal enough where only the individual should be making the final decision. If I imposed my own judgment, I would be treating the person’s individual self-determination as null or void, even if I never voiced that judgment. (I’m talking here about moral judgments as opposed to judgments about whether specific actions are self-destructive.) Other people are not characters in my own personal Sims game. I strive to treat people this way because that’s how I want to be treated. 

  • Lori

     

    I have read from more than one source that informal polls taken by and
    of people waiting in line indicated that more people came to show
    support Cathy’s First Amendment rights  than to demonstrate opposition
    to same-sex marriage.    

    And why should be lend any credence to this self-reporting? It’s not like it’s a surprise that people who rather say that they’re supporting something that everyone is (generally) in favor of (at least for themselves), like the 1st Amendment, than acknowledge to those who aren’t of The Tribe that they’re bigots. See: every conversation we’ve ever had about how everyone knows that bigotry is bad so know one wants to own their shit, not matter how bigoted it is.

    The fact that this is not a 1st Amendment issue in any way, shape or form and that framing it as a 1st Amendment issue is nothing more than a Right wing talking point does not make me more inclined to take these people at their word.

     

    Several patrons indicated that they personally support SSM, but came to
    support the right of a company CEO to express a contrary opinion.  

    Which means that either the interviewers  found some homo cons buying chicken or they just talked to liars. See above re: folks not wanting to own their shit.

  • aunursa

    And why should be lend any credence to this self-reporting?

    Lori, I don’t really care whether you lend any credence or not.  If you want to believe that the patrons lied about their motive for supporting CFA; if you want to believe that the people who reported the opinions of their fellow patrons lied about taking informal polls or lied about the results; if you want to believe that I am lying about reading about these polls, then I have no desire to convince you otherwise.

    Which means that either the interviewers  found some homo cons buying chicken or they just talked to liars. Se above

    I know of two conservative bloggers who have frequently voiced their support for SSM — one of whom devoted a 2008 blog post to argue why his readers should join him in voting against Proposition 8 — and yet both of whom expressed support for CFA Appreciation Day.  But if you want to bury your head in the sand and reject the idea that a sizeable contingent of the overflow crowds were there to express a principled stand for freedom of speech, you’re certainly free to do so.

  • Lori

     

    But if you want to bury your head in the sand and reject the idea that a
    sizeable contingent of the overflow crowds were there to express a
    principled stand for freedom of speech, you’re certainly free to do so.  

    There is no free speech issue at stake. You can believe people’s self-serving (and woefully Constitutionally ignorant) yammering if you want, but anyone who was in a CFA to support free speech was in the wrong place.

  • aunursa

    Lori, Slacktivist commentator: There is no free speech issue at stake.

    ACLU: There is a free speech issue.
    Boston Globe editors: There is a free speech issue.
    Chicago Tribune editors: There is a free speech issue.
    Alan Dershowitz, Harvard law professor: There is a free speech issue.
    Eugene Volokh, UCLA law professor: There is a free speech issue.
    Nate Silver, New York Times: There is a free speech issue.
    Glenn Greenwald, Salon: There is a free speech issue.
    Kevin Drum, Mother Jones: There is a free speech issue.
    Adam Serwer, Mother Jones: There is a free speech issue.

    Your opinion is duly noted.  And rejected.

  • PJ Evans

     There is NOT a free speech issue. Unless you consider financial support of hate groups to be free speech.

  • Mark Z.

    That depends. Are they hate speech groups, or hate crime groups?

  • Lori

    The first amendment issue that the chicken chowers are going on about and the one that the people you listed are discussing is not the same. If you’ve read a couple blog posts from people who explicitly said that they were eating at CFA because a couple mayors said that CFA wasn’t welcome in their cities then I’ll grant that they may have been eating chicken to support free speech. However, if they didn’t explicitly, in so many words, say that the free speech issue was all about the mayors then I’ll retain my doubts.

    Because when the Right talks about free speech 99% of the time what they mean is the right to say shitty things and not face any consequences for it as long as they’re the “correct” shitty things. Virtually every person that I’ve seen talking about free speech (and I’ve seen a lot of them the last few days) meant that kind of free speech. You can tell because they don’t mention the mayors at all, but they sure do talk a lot about supporting traditional values and blah, blah, blah.

    You’re ability to find some non-representative thing and hang a whole case on it would amaze me if we hadn’t seen it so many times.

  • aunursa

    If you’ve read a couple blog posts from people who explicitly said that they were eating at CFA because a couple mayors said that CFA wasn’t welcome in their cities then I’ll grant that they may have been eating chicken to support free speech. However, if they didn’t explicitly, in so many words, say that the free speech issue was all about the mayors then I’ll retain my doubts.

    Three days ago on this blog I posted that most of the patrons would be there because they agree with Cathy.   I was wrong.  Even since we’ve begun this discussion , I’ve read several blog posts and articles and seen video interviews.  It’s certainly true that there were attendees who indicated that they were patronizing CFA to show support for Cathy’s position.  But many more people responded that regardless of their personal view on the issue, they were there to show support for his right to speak.

    Lori, if you want to retain your doubt, don’t let me stop you.  I’m only reporting what other people have said.  If you want to believe that they’re lying or that they are not representative of the customers as a whole, you go right ahead.

  • Lori

    Even since we’ve begun this discussion , I’ve read several blog posts and articles and seen video interviews.  

    So “several” blog posts and interviews have changed your whole view of the composition of supporters of CFA Appreciation Day? Sample problems, you have them.

    The interviews are especially unlikely to be representitive. People have to be interviewed voluntarily and what are they more likely to say on the record, that they support free speech or that they hate the gays? If a TV station or newspaper is covering the story because they feel their customers are interested due to general support for Cathy and CFA, who are they more likely to quote, someone who says s/he’s there to support sacred free speech or someone who say the Lord tells him/her that gays are an abomination? Which one of those people makes the Tribe look better in public?

    But many more people responded that regardless of their personal view on
    the issue, they were there to show support for his right to speak.  

    To borrow from cyllan in the other thread—would they go to a cross burning to support the Klan’s free speech rights? If not, why do they think this is different? They’re either lying about their reasons or they’re incredibly shallow thinkers. If you want to act like they’re not that is of course, up to you.

  • aunursa

    If you don’t want to believe that the blog posts and interviews are representative, then don’t.

    would they go to a cross burning to support the Klan’s free speech rights? If not, why do they think this is different?

    The opponents of SSM don’t view it as a matter of civil rights or equal rights.  Therefore, they don’t believe that they are denying anyone a civil right.  The proponents of SSM who support CFA do see it as a matter of equal rights.  But they believe that opponents are merely misguided and not bigots.  Those proponents believe that reasonable people can disagree.  One of the bloggers I mentioned wrote, “I support same sex marriage, but I am not self righteous in my condemnation of those who don’t.”

    That’s all I’m gonna say on the matter.  I’m not going to try to further explain SSM proponents who patronized and continue to support CFA.  If you want to believe that they are insincere or irrational, go right ahead.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     See, Protip: If you say “I support equal rights for gay people, but it is okay that other people feel differently,” then you don’t actually support equal rights for gay people. “I won’t personally oppress you but I don’t believe you deserve to be protected from oppression by others,” is a position that probablyt makes you a better person than Cathy, but you still fall on the “bigot” side of the spectrum.

    Because that’s part of what “rights” mean. When you say “I support equal rights for gay people, but it is okay that other people feel differently,” what you really mean is “I don’t think you deserve equal rights, but I am magnanimous enough to grant you the privilege of being treated the way the full-people are.”

  • EllieMurasaki

    The proponents of SSM who support CFA do see it as a matter of equal rights.  But they believe that opponents are merely misguided and not bigots.  Those proponents believe that reasonable people can disagree.  One of the bloggers I mentioned wrote, “I support same sex marriage, but I am not self righteous in my condemnation of those who don’t.”
     
    Okay, fine, I admit it, I was horribly wrong every time I said someone who opposes same-sex marriage is a bigot. All those people are merely misguided.
     
    THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY TO OPPOSE SAME-SEX MARRIAGE.
     
    THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY TO OPPOSE ENDA.
     
    THAT DOES NOT MAKE IT OKAY TO SUPPORT UGANDA’S ANTI-HOMOSEXUALITY LAW.
     
    Anyone who knows Chick-Fil-A supports the Family Research Council, which is at the very least everybody here, and who supports Chick-Fil-A anyway, is contributing to the opposition of same-sex marriage and the opposition of ENDA and the support of executing gay people in Uganda.
     
    THAT IS NOT OKAY.

  • Lori

    If you don’t want to believe that the blog posts and interviews are representative, then don’t.  

    And now we get to the heart of the problem. Whether or not the posts and interviews are representative or not is not a matter of opinion.

     

    The opponents of SSM don’t view it as a matter of civil rights or equal
    rights.  Therefore, they don’t believe that they are denying anyone a
    civil right.   

    So they support SSM as what? Some sort of gift that the straights might agree to give the gays or not, as they see fit?

     

    Those proponents believe that reasonable people can disagree. 

     

    Spoken like a person whose ability to exercise full civil rights doesn’t depend on marriage equality becoming legal.

     

    One of the bloggers I mentioned wrote, “I support same sex marriage, but
    I am not self righteous in my condemnation of those who don’t.”  

    This is such a load of self-serving crap. Is this wonderfully open-mined and tolerant blogger also not self-righteous about people who think that African Americans should still be sitting in the back of the bus?

    Oh wait, under some mystery logic marriage is not a civil right so it’s totally not the same. How ever convenient for that blogger.

     

    If you want to believe that they are insincere or irrational, go right ahead. 

    And if you want to participate in their self-congratulatory delusions about their beliefs you go right ahead.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    To add to your commentary: The coarsening of the US political dynamic from the 1970s to today is another reason I’m less sanguine about supposedly “principled” stances taken by people who write or speak for public consumption. Given how much of our views of the world can be shaped and molded by well-paid PR flacks who spend a great deal of effort deducing how to massage perceptions, on the one hand, and on the other hand, this affects even relatively ordinary people who start to have an eye on the camera or audience when they talk or write. Supposedly ‘straight from the heart’ is anything but.

    So self-serving fatuous rhetoric becomes the order of the day as society and culture, ever more attuned to the almighty dollar and instant gratification along with superficiality overlaying everything, rewards dishonesty towards oneself and towards others.

  • Delurker

    You are going to defend hatred and bigotry by claiming it as a free speech issue? Are you glad that me and mine had to witness huge lines of bigots, and feel that we are the lowest of the low in this country? Do you really believe it is a free speech issue? What the hell is wrong with you? I am so disappointed and hurt by the actions of my neighbors, I don’t really have the words to adequately express my feelings.

    Shame on you, aunursa.

  • aunursa

    I haven’t defended Cathy.  I have said that while many patronized CFA to express support for Cathy’s views, many others showed up in response to the threats by government leaders in response to his statements.

    Do you really believe it is a free speech issue?

    The patrons are the ones who said it is a free speech issue.  I tend to believe people.  If you want to believe that they are hiding their true, sinister, hateful motives, go ahead and don’t believe them.

    Shame on you, aunursa

    [Yawn]

  • aunursa

    Say, that SherryLevine is a piece of work, isn’t she.  She’s definitely the same bigot who has recently been commenting on the Volokh site.  If our host is alert, I’ll bet she gets banned by the time I return from my Shabbat break.

  • Kubricks_Rube

    That she is. The comment of hers you linked to earlier is tame compared to some of the stuff she’s been saying in the other thread. She’s posting elsewhere on the Progressive Christian Channel as well. (As is our old friend Frank, assuming it’s the same guy- his views and manners certainly suggest it’s him.)

  • Delurker

     Go to hell.

  • http://twitter.com/mikailborg Michael O’Brien

    Their opinions, should they be backed by citations, are duly noted and rejected. I have the right to say that I think Cathy is a jerk. I have the right to say his financial contributions hurt people. I have the right to say that because his financial contributions hurt people, people should stop buying his chicken. Absolutely fucking none of that takes away Cathy’s right to keep blathering on.

  • aunursa

    Except for the words “and rejected”, I agree with you.

    The free speech aspect came into play when local government leaders threatened to punish CFA because of Cathy’s expression of his views.

  • Wingedwyrm

    Really, the 1st Amendment does play in here.  The 1st Amendment is what makes what Cathy wants to accomplish, via his donations to Family Research Council, illegal.

    That’s right, at no point does his personal faith get to be codified into law that he can use to bludgeon homosexuals with.

    So, what we have here is people defending Chik-Fil-A’s right to do verifiable harm to people absent the consequence of other people deciding not to, even tangentally, support that and, in order to defend said right, they’re referring to an Amendment that does not enshrine said right but does enshrine a right that Cathy, in effect, wants repealed.

    It’s either Oceana’s perfect doublethink in action or people just being selfish and stupid.

  • OriginalExtraCrispy

    Yeah, there’s a Chik-fil-A near my gym, and yesterday the place was packed. Just getting to the gym was a challenge because of the crowds. It made me sad and disgusted to see so many people supporting hate.

  • Tonio

    I would hope that many of the supporters sought to simply condemn the mayors without agreeing with Cathy’s views on gays or SSM. While such people obviously ignore the company’s attempts to enact sectarian doctrine into discriminatory law, that’s not the same as holding a view that SSM is wrong. If true, this might cause me to re-evaluate my estimation at the company’s PR skill. It reminds me of how many voters in Wisconsin disagreed with Scott Walker’s union-busting but voted against the recall out of principle.

  • aunursa

    In 2003 I voted against the recall of California Governor Gray Davis as a matter of principle.  I had supported Davis in 1998, but rejected both major party candidates in 2002 because I thought that Davis had done a terrible job as governor.* But all of the reasons given by the recall proponents were known to the voters before the 2002 election, and yet they had still returned Davis to office by a slim 48%-43% margin.  The Republican recall supporters simply wanted another bite of the apple, and I wasn’t willing to give it to them. 

    * Ironically, the issue that bothered me most was that Davis tried to show himself as tougher on criminals than the Republicans.  One of the responsibilities of the governor is to approve or deny parole for inmates convicted of certain serious offenses.  However Davis automatically denied an early release in every case, saying that he would not second-guess the jury that had convicted the inmate.  The person the voters elected to act as their chief executive is supposed to consider all of the facts and use his judgment … but Davis simply acted as a rubber stamp.

  • Lori

    There’s also the fact that the issue that Republicans used to drive Davis’ recall was not in fact Davis’ fault.

  • aunursa

    The energy crisis?  No, it was by no means entirely his fault.  But he showed a lack of leadership in handling the situation.  As I said, the voters were fully aware of his handling of the energy crisis and all of the other issues, and yet they still  reelected him in 2002.

  • Lori

     

    As I said, the voters were fully aware of his handling of the energy crisis  

    No, they weren’t. The full story of the blackouts wasn’t clear until long after the recall. People were assessing Davis’ performance and “leadership” based on false information about the source of the problem and the remedies available to Davis at the time. If the blackouts hadn’t happened and people hadn’t blamed Davis the recall campaign would never have gotten off the ground, let alone put Arnold in the Governor’s mansion. I wasn’t a fan of Davis as Governor, but the whole thing was bullshit pretty much from start to finish.

  • aunursa

    The full story of the blackouts wasn’t clear until long after the recall.

    Not the full story.  But the public was aware that Enron played a central role in causing the blackouts by early 2002.  A great deal was known by the date of the recall election.

    Western Energy Crisis Chronology

    What would have happened if the blackouts never happened is a pointless question.  The price increases and blackouts did happen.  It was Davis’ actions in response to the crisis that demonstrated his poor management skills and lack of leadership.  One didn’t need to know the entire story to assess his performance, and to realize that a true leader would have done a better job of responding to the crisis.

  • PJ Evans

     No, it didn’t play a role in the recall. If that had been part of it, everyone in the state would have been aware of it. Instead, we got a lot of talk about the ‘car tax’ (that is, the mandated registration fees, which decline with vehicle age).

  • aunursa

    No, it didn’t play a role in the recall. If that had been part of it, everyone in the state would have been aware of it.

    CNN: Genesis of recall rooted in California energy crisis

  • Lori

    Oh for fuck’s sake, you don’t have to send me a link about it, I was there.

    And I have no idea who the hell this mythical “true leader” would have been, but it wasn’t anyone who was actually an option. It wasn’t Bill Simon and it most certainly wasn’t Arnold.

    And there’s really no point in saying anything else about a decade old election in a state neither one of us lives in any more.

  • aunursa

    Oh for fuck’s sake, you don’t have to send me a link about it, I was there.

    I’ll let ya in on a little secret, Lori.  You’re not the only one who reads my comments.  The link wasn’t just for you.

    And there’s really no point in saying anything else about a decade old election in a state neither one of us lives in any more.

    Speak for yourself. 

  • Lori

     Pardon me. I forgot that you’re still in CA.

  • PJ Evans

     The other issue they were making a big thing out of was him ‘raising the car tax’ – by which they meant he was ending the temporary reduction in registration fees, to which the GOP in the legislature had agreed when it was passed in the first place. Which made them two-faced liars, and they should have been called on it then, very very loudly.

  • fuchsialucia

    The devil… the prowde spirite… cannot endure to be mocked.

    Good old St. Tom did a pretty good line in intolerance himself, but on this he had a point. The bigots can spin it any way they want; I plan to keep laughing, including a wry chuckle at myself whenever it’s warranted. (I recently met a blonde from Tennessee. She is extremely bright, very kind, and neither religious nor Republican. Stereotypes, I haz them, but I’m working on it.)

  • Ouri Maler

    I dunno, Fred.
    I mean, it’s good that the bigots are getting mocked, but I don’t think it’s QUITE as effective as The Producers.
    Making fun of Nazis is effective because fascism tries to cast its partisans as hypermasculine ubermensch who are better, tougher, stronger, manlier than everyone else. There are SOME elements of that in the homophobia of the religious right, but their emphasis lies elsewhere – in some idea of moral purity, of being holier than everyone else.
    I suspect this will leave them somewhat less vulnerable to this tactic.

  • http://twitter.com/mikailborg Michael O’Brien

    I have long suspected that one of the extreme right wing’s problems with Halloween is that it encourages us to make fun of demons, devils, ghosts, and the like: all things we are supposed to Fear. FEEAAARRRRR! Stop laughing!

  • Wesley Bourland

    Mike Huckabee declared his support for Chick-Fil-A day on June 23.
    The mayor of Boston tried to violate the First Amendment on June 25.

    Chick-Fil-A Day was about homophobia and hatred, not the First Amendment.

  • Lori

    So, is anyone else getting the sidebar ad for KFC?

  • Ursula L

    Okay, now I’m imagining a Doctor Who sketch, with Rory sticking Dan Cathy in a cupboard, and suitable puns about being in the closet, and homophobes being gay folks in denial.  

  • JustoneK

    The Chik Fil As in my area ran out of chicken yesterday.  If I was in the area I woulda seen about getting the protestors some water.

  • Dragoness Eclectic

    I wish Chick-fil-A had kept politics out of my fried chicken. I like their chicken sandwiches, but now (a) I have the “joy” of knowing that money I give them gets funneled to a hate group (FRC), and (b)  the lines are packed when it used to be a quick run through an empty drive-through early in the morning for breakfast.

    Bleh.

  • Jessica_R

    And on the importance of making fun of bigots, it’s rare I’m proud of my home state but I knew you wouldn’t let me down Asheville, 
    http://wonkette.com/479708/street-preachers-shocked-by-naked-effrontery-of-rude-north-carolina-sinners

  • http://twitter.com/mikailborg Michael O’Brien

    Free speech infringed? Hell, Cathy’s words are all over the Internet now. Everyone with a web connection’s probably read them – isn’t that something like the complete opposite of censorship?

    Why, one might almost think Dan Cathy’s not willing to stand behind his own words.

  • Nequam

    Relevant.  Also.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Can someone please tell me how refusing to zone a business violates the First Amendment? Cities do it all the time and sure, there’s lawsuits after the fact sometimes, but this is not some great omgfreedom thing like the CFA supporters want to make it out to be.

  • Mark Z.

    Can someone tell me how refusing to approve a building permit violates the First Amendment?

    Oh, it’s for a mosque, and they dragged their feet approving it because some dumbasses made a lot of noise about not wanting a mosque in town.

    In this case we’re talking about threats (I don’t think anyone has acted on this yet) to deny permits based on the political speech of the owner of the business. Local governments have lots of discretionary powers like zoning, but they can’t use those powers to retaliate against someone for speech they don’t like, just like they can’t refuse to zone a business because they don’t like your skin color.

  • http://blog.trenchcoatsoft.com Ross

     But in most of the US, they *can* refuse to zone a business because the owners are gay.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Charity-Brighton/100002974813787 Charity Brighton

     I thought it was because the building permit was denied explicitly because of what Cathy said rather than because his business violated any regulations in those cities. If the government is penalizing his business because of (legal) speech, they can do it to anyone. You’re right though, there have been problems with the past with municipalities using zoning regulations to punish people that they don’t like for whatever reason (driving racial minorities away from economic centers, denying Muslims the right to build mosques and community centers, etc) but just because misconduct occurs in the past doesn’t mean that it was acceptable then or should be accepted now.

  • http://deird1.dreamwidth.org Deird

    Question for people who have superior Google-fu:

    I’ve seen a lot of people saying that the FRC are a hate group because they supported Uganda’s anti-homosexuality laws; and also people saying that, no, they didn’t support it. Alas, I am unable to find out one way or the other.

    Where can I find info about FRC’s opinion on Uganda?

  • PJ Evans

     I understand they supported it, and pretty much wrote it.
    here’s one list

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    So

    When cities say “Wal-Mart isn’t welcome” and point to Wally world’s bullying practices to their suppliers, their workers, and their customers, everybody applauds and Wally world just sort of mopes off, and nobody really seems to think this is news (even though the Wal-Martization of the USA should be a huge study in and of itself)

    But when cities say “CFA isn’t welcome” and point to the CEO of CFA openly endorsing discriminatory behavior

    all hell breaks loose?

    Ok, whatever.

    If ever Americans wanted to reinforce the “Americans are weird” stereotype? Well, they’ve done it in spades with this rally to support a homophobic bigot AND trying to cast it as some sort of divinely ordained right that any business shall do business whenever and wherever it pleases without the need to get permission from anyone.
     

  • aunursa

    Opposition to the opening of a Wal-Mart is based on Wal-Mart’s policies, actions, or the effect of a mega-store on the local economy.  Those are entirely valid reasons.  Threatened opposition by local government leaders to the opening of a CFA is based on the protected speech of the company’s owner.  The First Amendment does not allow government to punish a company because of the CEO’s protected speech.

    If the rest of the world cannot understand the difference, then too bad.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Question: If the owner of a company spends corporate assets on an outside agency that performs certain tasks, is that an example of “policies and actions” or an example of “protected speech”? Or does it depend on something else?

  • aunursa

    Question: If the owner of a company spends corporate assets on an outside agency that performs certain tasks, is that an example of “policies and actions” or an example of “protected speech”?  Or does it depend on something else?

    If the tasks are related to running the business of the company, then it’s “policies and actions.”  That said, if you could offer me a couple of hypothetical examples, then I could better answer the question.

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Sure. Suppose Sam, the CEO of HypothetiCorp, donates 5% of HypothetiCorp’s annual budget to Third Party Corp, an organization that devotes the majority of its budget to buying up public properties and painting them red.

    So if I’ve understood you, on your account whether we treat that as (protected) speech or (non-protected) corporate policy depends on whether having a lot of public properties painted red is related to HC’s business. If it is (for example, if HC is a paint manufacturer), then it’s the latter. Otherwise it’s the former.

    Yes?

  • aunursa

    Question: If the owner of a company spends corporate assets on an outside agency that performs certain tasks, is that an example of “policies and actions” or an example of “protected speech”? Or does it depend on something else?

    Suppose Sam, the CEO of HypothetiCorp, donates 5% of HypothetiCorp’s annual budget to Third Party Corp, an organization that devotes the majority of its budget to buying up public properties and painting them red.

    I’m sorry, I misunderstood the question.  I was thinking along the lines of a tasks directly relating to the corporation, like an outsource or subcontractor.  I don’t know why I was thinking that … I must have been spaced out.

    If the task is not related to the running of the HC business, then it’s a donation, and does not constitute “company policies and actions.”  Companies are allowed to donate money and items of value.  The government may not punish individuals or companies for making a donation. 

    If I’ve understood you, on your account whether we treat that as (protected) speech or (non-protected) corporate policy depends on whether having a lot of public properties painted red is related to HC’s business.

    No.  If the task is related to HC’s business, then the action is “policies and action.”  Depending on the task/expense, it may also be protected speech, since the categories are not mutually exclusive. 

  • http://dpolicar.livejournal.com/ Dave

    Just to make sure I followed that… on your account, if I run a company and spend corporate assets on a donation to a second organization which performs a task with that money, that’s not “company policies and actions,” no matter what the task is.

    If, instead, I spend corporate assets on hiring a second organization to perform a task (like an outsource or a contractor), it might be “company policies and actions” (if the task is related to my company’s business) or it might not.

     And none of this determines whether it’s protected speech or not.

    Did I get that right?

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    Oh, please. Governments have punished and prevented all kinds of businesses. Cuban tobacco. Drugs of various kinds. Child labor. Pornography (in the past). Gambling.

    The only difference between ‘punishing’ CFA and punishing a numbers racket is that the numbers dude isn’t socially regarded as a member of the favored class.

  • http://apocalypsereview.wordpress.com/ Invisible Neutrino

    I refuse to believe anyone is that ‘principled’ these days. Anyone who is srsly claming to wear a halo on their heads regarding being virtuous supporters of QUILTBAG people but also being virtuous supporters of ‘free speech’ is likely just grabbing for convenient cover to have an excuse to keep eating their favorite food without feeling guilty about it.

    If this was 1972 instead of 2012, I’d give more credence to the notion that people claiming to have complex reasons for their outward simple expression of support for something ostensibly distasteful are telling the truth.

    Why?

    Because people were taught their civics in those days, for one thing.

    For another thing, people at least grudgingly accepted the idea that governments had a responsibility to more than just the corporate bottom line.