Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Feeding the Culture War

It makes me sad that people hate or are afraid of gay people.  I don't know quite why they are.  Maybe they're insecure and overreacting, as I once did.  Maybe they place too much value on old books, detached from context and filtered by generations of agendas and biases.  Maybe it's what they learned growing up and couldn't quite challenge it, whether due to a lack of intellectual ability* or fear of challenging their beliefs.

I'd love to live in a world where people shared my view: not caring.  Maybe that's not entirely accurate.  I do care.  I'd hate it if gay people took over the world and made all the porn gay and had naked man statues everywhere.  But beside that absurd extreme, I don't care.  Why should I?

The whole Chik-fil-A debacle is stupid.  Boycotting it won't change anyone's mind, or even cost the president of the company anything.  Similarly, those who are going out of their way to buy it are doing the exact same thing: using random third parties as symbols in their culture wars.  It's ridiculous.

Let's not pretend that this is all just some innocent comment that got taken out of context and blown up into a fake scandal.  He knew what he was saying.  He could have evaded, toned-down, or refused to talk.  Instead he decided to go ahead, guns blazing.  And why not?  It's a quick and easy way to start up the culture wars and get people rallying around random symbols.  A boycott just feeds the absurdly ironic persecution narrative of bigots.

Eat where you will get the best mix of taste, nutrition, and value.  If it matters to you, add to that things directly-related to the business, such as company policies on worker pay and rights, material sourcing (fair trade, organic, local, whatever else), or even where the company sends its money (such as which super-PAC they steal shareholder profits to fund).

But however you feel about gay marriage, refusing to, or clamoring to, buy chicken from a particular fast food chain is just silly.  It doesn't teach anyone anything and it doesn't advance any cause except a sense of self-righteous superiority for driving a block to a different fast food chain.  Let's hope Ronald McDonald doesn't come out of the closet.

[edit] After reading a bit more, I'm starting to see a point to a boycott, since company revenues go to fund hate groups.  It's not merely a problem of an individual citizen being a hateful bigot.


Liore said...

"He knew what he was saying. He could have evaded, toned-down, or refused to talk."

Right. But did he know his company would take a huge hit to their social value and their bottom line by him saying it? Probably not. And yet..

And that's the power of boycotting: if people realize that being a bigot will impact the bottom line (arguably the only thing that companies care about), then they'll stop being a bigot in public. They'll let gay people own their franchises, they'll hire gay people.

The only say we normal people have over companies is our dollars.

Klepsacovic said...

He might have learned from Occupy, where the reckless indifference of the banks promoted a backlash. Not that it affected their ability to rob the country.

In terms of say, we also have the governments we elect to regulate those companies. Supposedly.

Ephemeron said...

It makes me sad that people hate or are afraid of gay people. I don't know quite why they are.

They fear the incoming retribution, payback for all those millennia of gay-bashing.

As we can see from human history, oppressed groups have a notable tendency to become oppressors once they are no longer kept down. From Christians to Communists, this unfortunate pattern recurs again and again.

Your vision of a world filled with naked man statues everywhere and gay-only pron may be absurd, but a world where anyone can be arbitrarily labelled as "homophobe" and be instantly and irrevocably turned into an unperson (stripped of all rights, fired, ostracized, beaten, jailed, killed or driven to suicide) is less so. That's what they're afraid of.

Klepsacovic said...

It is a sad sort of irony that to prevent a dystopian fantasy of oppression, they create a dystopian reality of oppression.

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