Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Chick-fil-A stuff that happened today, in increasing order of difficulty of predictability:

1. Rick Santorum jumps on Mike Huckabee's bandwagon (if that sounds dirty to you, it's not my fault) and declares that he too is going to eat at Chick-fil-A on August 1st-- as well as today with his entire family, which took three tweets to explain-- in support of that beleaguered Christian business which is just standing up for what's right by doing their level best to prevent marriage equality. 
Predictability difficulty level: 0. Santorum never met an anti-gay cause he didn't like.

2. Dan Savage decides that Chick-fil-A totally sounds like a euphemism for the act of a woman rectally penetrating a man with a strap-on. 
Predictability difficulty level: 1. You know that Savage was the force behind the re-definition of "Santorum," right? 

3. Eugene Volokh patiently and calmly explains why banning Chick-fil-A from establishing a business in a city because you disapprove of their support for a political cause is not only an unconscionable abuse of power but also un-freaking-constitutional:
But denying a private business permits because of such speech by its owner is a blatant First Amendment violation. Even when it comes to government contracting — where the government is choosing how to spend government money — the government generally may not discriminate based on the contractor’s speech, see Board of County Commissioners v. Umbehr (1996). It is even clearer that the government may not make decisions about how people will be allowed to use their own property based on the speaker’s past speech. 
And this is so even if there is no statutory right to a particular kind of building permit (and I don’t know what the rule is under Illinois law). Even if the government may deny permits to people based on various reasons, it may not deny permits to people based on their exercise of his First Amendment rights. It doesn’t matter if the applicant expresses speech that doesn’t share the government officials’ values, or even the values of the majority of local citizens. It doesn’t matter if the applicant’s speech is seen as “disrespect[ful]” of certain groups. The First Amendment generally protects people’s rights to express such views without worrying that the government will deny them business permits as a result. That’s basic First Amendment law — but Alderman Moreno, Mayor Menino, and, apparently, Mayor Emanuel (if his statement is quoted in context), seem to either not know or not care about the law.
Predictability difficulty level: 2. As Popehat remarked,

4. The Jim Henson Company severs their relationship with Chick-fil-A as a consequence of the latter company's support for anti-gay causes. Chief Executive Lisa Henson opts to affirm the company's standpoint on this issue by donating their payment to GLAAD (The Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation).  Jim Henson toys are pulled from Chick-fil-A kids' meals. George Takei posts the following on his Facebook wall:

Predictability difficulty level: 5. That's a pretty decisive move for the muppet makers, and cements the understanding that Chick-fil-A's actions are anything but personal and simply supportive of "traditional biblical marriage."

5. Roseanne Barr tweets that Chick-fil-A customers deserve to get cancer.
Predictability difficulty level: 7. Of course, I don't know if Barr has a habit of wishing mortal illness on people who decide not to protest businesses which oppose civil rights, or if she simply has a bet with Thomas Menino on who can make those businesses seem most sympathetic. Note: there certainly are ethical and health concerns to be had in eating meat from animals who were fed antibiotics, but a) that kind of meat sure as hell isn't exclusive to Chick-fil-A, and b) it isn't likely to give you cancer. 

6. Chick-fil-A claims that the Jim Henson toys were pulled from kids' meals for safety reasons. But apparently they're concerned about being believed in this claim, because it sure looks like they created a profile on Facebook for a non-existent teenage girl to defend their honor. "Abby Farle" turns up on a post made on Chick-fil-A's wall doubting the reasons given for pulling the Jim Henson toys, quoting bible verses and claiming that the toys were pulled long before the company divorced itself from the pushers of biblical-marriage-only. Only thing turns out "Abby Farle's" pictures are actually of a redheaded teenager in Shutterstock stock photos

I dunno. It could, of course, still be legit....
Predictability difficulty level: 9. This seems like a desperate move, or a move made by someone particularly unfamiliar with the Streisand Effect. 

It's hard to say what wackiness remains yet to come. 


  1. Politicians blocking Chick-fil-A openings spread to Chicago's aldermanic council today. There's one franchise in Chicago at Loyola's downtown campus, but it was only a matter of time before an alderman would announce plans to block any attempted openings. Difficulty of predictability: 1. I was surprised that it hadn't already happened.

    I agree that it's wrong for politicians to try to block openings and, I assume it's unconstitutional (but IANAL), but Chicago aldermen rule over their wards like dictators. They do whatever they want to do. They have virtually no legal authority over their wards, but the actual power they wield is extraordinary.

  2. And that franchise owner is apparently trying to fight back. I don't blame her, though I think she's deliberately missing the point in saying how good her business is for the community in response to an accusation that Chick-fil-A's behavior as a corporation is not beneficial. She's not responsible for what Dan Cathy does, and I'm guessing she wishes he'd cut it out.


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