As the Tolerati continue their Girardian Moral Panic in Indiana, an indispensible part of the kabuki of moral purification is to find a villain upon whom the community can lay its sins in purgative fury. Like this:
Yesterday, ABC supplied that villain in the form of a little family-owned pizzeria and, in particular this Designated Face of Pure Evil about whom it was misleadingly declared:
…making it sound as though they would serve no gay people. The headline on their website was slightly less garbled:
…but still misleading since it made it sound as though some gay couple seeking catering for their wedding had been turned away (and who would ask a pizzeria to cater their wedding?). But most of all, the headline left the impression that this belligerent Midwest culture warrior in an apron had thrown down the gauntlet to homosexuals, called a press conference, beaten her breast on camera, and shouted “Bring it, you queers!”.
Retribution was swift and terrible. Death threats like the one in the headline above were tweeted. A huge slew of nasty Yelp reviews from people longing to kill her business were unleashed. The Tolerance Gestapo rushed like stampeding beasts to crush, ostracize, and publicly humiliate and impoverish her for her supposed aggression against gays. It was full-on Pogrom Mode all day yesterday.
The thing is, the whole controversy was manufactured by ABC in order to gin up a mob (and ratings). Here’s what actually happened:
In short, a nice lady minding her own business and doing her job was interrupted in her busy day and artlessly said to the microphone shoved in her face that she’d serve anybody (including gays) but would not cater a gay wedding. In a sane world, people get that this means she recognizes gay people have a right to eat at her place, but not to force her to approve of gay marriage. They would also recognize that she had done nothing wrong and had never refused anybody service since nobody had (or would) ask her to cater a wedding, gay or otherwise.
ABC-57 reporter Alyssa Marino’s editor sends her on a half-hour drive southwest of their South Bend studio, to the small town of Walkerton (Pop. ~2,300). According to Alyssa’s own account on Twitter, she “just walked into their shop [Memories Pizza] and asked how they feel” about Indiana’s new Religious Freedom Restoration Act.
Owner Crystal O’Connor says she’s in favor of it, noting that while anyone can eat in her family restaurant, if the business were asked to cater a gay wedding, they would not do it. It conflicts with their biblical beliefs. Alyssa’s tweet mentions that the O’Connors have “never been asked to cater a same-sex wedding.”
In our world, however, it means ABC-57 torqued her words and offered edited reality in order to give the Ideological Police for Tolerance the sense of moral panic that justifies their belief that they can threaten her life and try to destroy her livelihood to punish her for Ungoodthink. And so: death, arson, and financial ruin threats are visited on a nice lady who was minding her own business and too innocent to realize that a network that was looking for somebody it could officially designate as the Face of Hate for the delectation of a mob of Righteous People.
Things might, of course, redound to O’Connor’s benefit. As the culture war heats up her business shows sign that it will be deluged with Chik Fil A style support. But then, it’s also possible somebody might make good on the death threats and shoot her in the head pour encourager les autres.
If the former, then I will thank God that an innocent took no harm from gotcha journalism of the lowest kind. If the latter, then I think the network who set this kid up should–pour encourager les autres–be sued by her survivors for $100,000,000 for inciting a mob and being an accessory to murder.
This is, in a minor key, the kind of moral panic and mimetic violence that Jesus suffered. Fitting that she should suffer it on Holy Thursday. God protect her, her family, and her business and surround them with holy angels through Christ our Lord.