A friend of mine has recently gotten herself into a bit of an internet kerfuffle by stating that when you eat Chick-Fil-A, not because of their delicious fried goodness, but because they hate the gays and you support that and then subsequently post on your favorite social networking site that you feel this way, you are being hurtful to those who do not adhere to Chick-Fil-A’s vision of proper family values. She asked not that people stop eating their chicken. She didn’t even ask them to stop spewing bigoted shit on their page. She just asked that she be blocked from seeing such messages because it makes her want to puke and cleaning that up several times a day is just too much of a burden (paraphrase).
Because it’s the internet and people love to miss the point and subsequently get pissed off and (unfortunately) vocal about their misplaced pissed-offedness, a bunch of people read her statements as “You are an asshole for eating Chick-Fil-A, you bigoted sons of beetches.”
She’s being pretty nice about it, repeating over and over again that this is not what she’s saying. She has repeated over and over that these people can feel free to go gorge themselves on all the chicken they want, but that if you support their politics and blab about it online where she can see it (and you KNOW she can see it), that’s hurtful. The response has generally been, “So what if I like chicken? You can’t tell me what to eat! What am I supposed to do, not eat Chick-Fil-A just because they’re a bunch of douchebags?” Her response has been to repeat herself and likely bang her head against a wall.
I have a different answer to all of this though. Look, people, you are being assholes if you say that you support gay marriage and equal rights for the LGBTQ community but don’t support it enough to stop giving money to a company that is openly working against these things. Sure, you can eat whatever you want. No one is saying that you’re not allowed to eat Chick-Fil-A. But, as with all controversial decisions and actions, you don’t get to eat it guilt-free. I mean, you can not feel guilty about it, but if you DO feel guilt about it because someone points out what giving money to a particular company means, that’s not really the pointer-outer’s fault. It is because you have a conscience and it is at odds with the deliciousness of the fried chicken.
This is a central theme to life on Planet Earth.
No, not being at odds with fried chicken. Having to negotiate between getting what you want and the effects on everything else when you get it.
I am an omnivore. I eat meat. I eat meat because I really like it. Chicken and beef are delicious to me. I am also too cheap/often too broke to buy cage-free chicken or grass-fed beef. Do I feel superior because I eat animals? No, not particularly. I just acknowledge that I am prioritizing my love of meat over the politics/moral realities of eating it. Yes, by purchasing and consuming standard animal products, I am supporting factory farming. I am part of the demand. It all comes down to how important this is to me. Like I said, priorities. At present the guilt over the plight that these animals have does not outweigh my desire to eat them. And yeah, that pushes me a little more towards the asshole side of the spectrum.
Every day we prioritize our “wants” and “shoulds”. When we reward ourselves with the food we want, with saving money, with taking part in all the conveniences of modern American life, you make choices. Some people deny themselves these things to take the “moral high ground”. They are also often full of shit, so just because they do something that appears to be “good” doesn’t necessarily mean that their motivations are “good” or “well informed”. Other people don’t deny themselves any of these things because the issues connected to these choices don’t really matter to them. Not every cause is important to every person. The rest of us are somewhere in between. A lot of people, I think, are aware of the social/political/moral effect that their choices may have and they weigh their desires against those implications and decide which is more important to them.
What strikes me as kind of hilarious about this entire Chick-Fil-A debacle is that it’s a bunch of people screaming that they will NOT BE DETERRED FROM THEIR CHICKEN, DAGNABBIT! I guess we should add “Denial of Delicious Chicken to the General Public” to the “Gay Agenda”, right? I just don’t understand why it has to be Chick-Fil-A. There are lots of places to get fried chicken that have not (yet) made their anti-gay stance plain. Then again, none of them are paragons of Moral Awesomeness either. I mean, look at KFC. The rumors about that place alone are hilarious. “They changed their name to KFC because it would be a lie to have ‘Chicken’ in the name…because they’re not selling chicken ZOMG!” or “They genetically engineer chickens to be beakless”. But their advertising campaigns often seem a little racist to me (that might be white guilt saying that, I don’t know…but the advertisements always seemed off to me). As for Crown, who knows. Maybe they have a sordid origin story where the first things fried at Crown were a pair of royal testicles or something. (Note: There is no evidence to support this outlandish claim, though as an American I am forced to assume its founders are terrorists). Clearly the answer is that we should all invest in our own deep fryers. That’s American independence right there.
*Shudder* This just reminds me of how I used to visit friends at their apartment and one of the housemates was frying something every time I went over there. The kitchen seemed to be bathed in a thin film of grease and the dude was always shirtless, standing in front of the fryer. “Do you want some wings?” “No, thanks…”
In the end, this is all fast food. None of it is good for you and it would probably make the most sense to cut it all out of your diet for health reasons before political ones, but again, these are choices we make. This is how vices work. Indulging one here and there isn’t inherently terrible, but recall that we are not isolated. Our actions have consequences, both positive and negative. When you eat a Chick-Fil-A sandwich you are satisfying a vice (fatty, bad for you food) and it also has political batshittery attached to it too. You’re consuming something that’s not only bad for your body but something that helps support a company with ideas that are bad for society as a whole.
So, yes, eat it if you really want to, but don’t be surprised if someone thinks that this pushes you more to the asshole side of the spectrum, especially if your response is something like, “I just want to eat my chicken in peace. I don’t want to care about what it MEANS!” No one is telling you that you MUST CARE, but if you care enough to get mad about being called out on it, then that’s on you.
As for the reading comprehension failure here and on the internet in general, well, that’s a whole other post. Oy.