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Thursday, August 02, 2012

Boycott to Buycott - or game changer?

Starting a post at 1:30 am is probably not a good idea, but I wanted to take a moment and post about some observations I've noted in the past few months.  We're still in the busiest time of year for my family and it won't slow down for a couple more months (at least I hope it will!), and I haven't been on top of things like usual.  Even so, I've still managed to hear about some of it.

I haven't been living under a rock enough to miss out on the Chick-fil-A fiasco, and it's been fascinating to see how things have played out.  Being in Canada, we have no Chick-fil-A's, so it's has no effect on us, but there's no shortage of Canadians weighing in on the whole thing anyhow.

What I find the most interesting is comparing the Chick-fil-A boycott is comparing it to others I've seen. Especially after I saw someone sharing this on Pinterest.

My first thought when I read this was along the lines of "that's not quite how things unfolded."  It's a pretty typical strawman response, though; portray an alternate to reality, then attack the alternate as if it were the reality.

Right off the top, in the above example, whoever made this used the term "anti-gay rights organizations", which in itself is a strawman.  Gays have the exact same rights as everyone else in Canada and the US.  What gay "rights" activists and their supports want are for the restrictions of granted rights to be removed so as to accomodate a tiny sub-group - plenty of whom disagree with the activists that claim to speak for them - forcing the rest of society to redefine it's foundational institutions while at the same time endorsing their proclivities.  This isn't about equality - we have that.  It's about special treatment and recognition.

Now, let's take the list at the top.  Right off the top, we can write off the Electronic Arts one, which was faked.   The end statement is accurate.  They (whoever "they" are) are indeed exercising their free speech.

Let's use the JC Penny example, simply because I'm more familiar with it.  JCPenny hired Ellen Degeneres (or, uh, "Degeneress").  Personally, I don't see understand what the big deal is with her; my few attempts at watching her show left me decidedly unimpressed, but so does most TV.  I don't find her funny or interesting.  Actually, I find her boring and bland and, quite frankly, I think more people watch her show because she's a lesbian and want to prove they're not haters then out of any real interest, but that's just me.

Now, JC Penny can hire whomever they want.  They are free to do that.  The One Million Moms (OMM) group made a statement and called for a boycott.  I thought that was a rather bad idea, but again, they are free to do that.  You know; freedom of speech and all.  What was interesting was the fall out from that.  The level of pure, head exploding hatred levelled against this group was pretty amazing.  Of course, anyone who disagrees with anything gay activists demand are labelled "anti-gay", "homophobe", "bigot", "intolerant" and "haters."  Which is really funny to see, considering the terrible things they themselves were saying against the group or anyone who doesn't cave in to their demands.  Now, if someone actually called for gays to be hung (as in one of the images above), I would have a problem with that.  For someone to say that gays are "possessed by demons," well, that's free speech, too, and I'd just laugh and think they were idiots.  I don't actually see the context of any of the images across the top of that graphic, though, except for the first one with Ellen, and the use of the term "anti-gay moms" is just another illustration of what I'm talking about.

The point is, however, people who support traditional marriage are allowed to say so.  Doing so doesn't make them "anti-gay" or "haters," but hey, that's free speech, too.  One group can call for the boycott, others can condemn them for it.  And condemn them, they did, with a level of hatred far exceeding the perceived hatred coming from the OMM, and that's when things started to cross the line.

JCPenny, however, seemed to enjoy their notoriety and went a step further.  Hiring Ellen, after all, had nothing to do with her being a lesbian.  For Father's Day, they were more blunt.  Sort of.  That's when they put out an add featuring two guys with kids.  When I saw the add, I actually just assumed it was a couple of male models posing as dads with their kids.  The image I saw was difficult to read, so I completely missed the bit at the end that revealed that the two guys in the photos were a couple, posing with their own children.

At this point, I think JCPenny was counting on OMM, or some other group, to object, because of the surge of support they got with Ellen.  I saw plenty of people condemning OMM, and again, the level of pure hatred aimed at them was startling.

I also saw plenty of people claiming they would shop at JCPenny to support them.  I'm not sure that that actually translated into increased sales for JCPenny.  I've read claims that their sales dropped significantly as a result of the boycott, but I've also read claims that their sales soared.  I don't think either is true.  I expect they got a modest increase, and then everyone promptly forgot about it.

Then there was Oreo.  This was interesting, because the ONLY reason I found out about the rainbow Oreo cookie ad was from people who posted about it or shared the image, slagging "homophobic" groups that were calling for a boycott of Oreo because of their support of gay activists.  I actually had not seen any of these calls for boycotts at all.  I'm sure they were there, but whoever they were, they got more publicity from those condemning them then they ever would have otherwise.

As soon as I saw the ad, though, my thought was that the marketers at Oreo saw what happened with JCPenny and figured publicly stating they supported gay activist causes, inviting controversy, would result in a surge of supprt - and sales - from gay activists and their supporters.  I don't know how well that worked out for them.  The people I saw voicing their support for Oreo say they planned to buy more Oreos, but there were so few of them, and I didn't see anyone claim they already had, because of this.  Personally, I think Oreos are kind of gross, unless they're in ice cream. ;-)

Now lets go to the second part of the graphic, where is points out the percieved hypocrisy of how the call to boycott Chick-fil-A is "infringing on... free speech."

That's where the maker of this little bit of catch phrase activism gets it wrong.  Gay activists are free to call for a boycott.  Likewise, others are free to condemn them for it, just as the activists were free to condemn OMM for wanting to boycott JCPenny.

Calling for a boycott was never the problem.

The first problem was that the boycott was based on a lie.  Many lies, actually. The owners of Chick-fil-A are well known for being supporters of traditional marriage.  This is not news.  Of course, the activists translate this as being "anti-gay" and "hate speech," etc.  This recent controversy, however, was based on the CEO of Chick-fil-A saying "guilty as charged" in an interview, which was re-written as him saying he was against gay marriage.  The thing is, he was never even asked about gay marriage.  The conversation had nothing to do with gay marriage.  If anything, it was anti-divorce.  No one it going around saying he was "anti-divorcee", however, or that he "hates divorced people."  Becuase that would be a lie, too.

So the whole thing was a manufactured controversy, right from the start.

The other problem is the claims by pro-gay activists that Chick-fil-A - the company - was discriminatory.  It was claimed that their policies were discriminatory and anti-gay.  That's just plain slander.  If, as a company, Chick-fil-A refused to hire gay people, they'd have a case, but they *do* hire gay people.  If, as a company, they refused to serve gay customers, again, they'd have a case.  Of course, they do no such thing.  What these activists and their supporters have done was not just twist around the actual statements made by the CEO of the company into something else entirely, but they're outright lying about the company itself.

That still isn't quite restricting the free speech of the CEO.  What *is* restricting free speech is the demands of activists to punish the company for the personal beliefs of the CEO.  When politicians promise that they will not approve new restaurants in their areas because the personal beliefs of the CEO is not what their own personal beliefs demand, it's actually illegal.  Yes, even fascist.  This is government officials abusing their powers to force private individuals to change their beliefs, or keep those beliefs to themselves.  Many of these activists, who so loudly claim they are for "equality", "equal righs" and "tolerance" not only fully supported this abuse of power, they demanded it. To them, this dictatorial behaviour was "noble" and "brave."

To be fair, I saw some people who started out supporting the boycott of Chick-fil-A draw the line here.  This, however, is where the gay activists lost the game.  This is on top of the most vile and hateful attacks being aimed at Chick-fil-A, all because of something the CEO didn't actually say.  Foul language is pretty standard for these sorts and, unfortunately, so is wishing death and all manner of terrible things (Rosanne Barr's tweet being the most infamous) on the CEO, his family, his employees and their customers.  There have even been bomb threats.

It was the same level of vitriol aimed at OMM, but this time, the attackers were the ones calling for the boycott.

So, first was have the "anti-gay organization" calling for a boycott of a company because of their corporate level support of gay marriage (I have no idea what the private beliefs of anyone involved are).  Yes, that's free speech.  Then we have the pro-gay activists and their supporters condemning the boycotters, while claiming they are haters, bigots, homophobes, etc. for supporting traditional marriage.  That is also free speech.

Now we have the pro-gay activists calling for a boycott of a private company because of personal opions of the CEO, which were misquoted and misrepresented, in the process declaring him anti-gay, homophobic, a hater, etc.  It is falsely claimed that the company discriminates against gays.  When people step up to support the company, they too are called haters and bigots and homophobes, along with wishes of illness, pain and death, even though the people supporting the company and its CEO includes gays.  These people absolutely tried to infringe on the free speech of the CEO through bullying tactics, and some were willing to do so illegally through dictatorial abuse of political power.

What's the fall out?

Well, the calls to boycott JCPenny and Oreo seem to have fizzled out of the limelight, as have the calls for a buycott to support these companies for their support of gay activist demands.

The Chick-fil-A boycott seems to have backfired completely!  The bullying tactics used by the pro-gay activists were stood up against.  I began seeing comments everywhere from people saying that they had gone to Chick-fil-A to support free speech.  I saw people saying they'd never gone before, and even some who said they'd spent the last of their money before payday, to support the company and stand up to the attacks against it.  I read people describe how they went several times a week - some every day - when they had only occaisionally gone before.  I heard from others saying that they were gay, but they still went to Chick-fil-A because of the what the boycotters were saying and doing.  Over and over again, I heard people describe restaurants packed, some so full they couldn't get in at all, with drive through line ups that wrapped around the block.

(h/t Blazing Cat Fur)
Then there was Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, and the response is out of this world!

Watching all this has served to confirm some of my other observations.  For all that SSM is legal in Canada now, and polls in the US supposedly show that support for SSM has increased over the years (this despite the fact that ever state that put it to a vote has maintained the definition of traditional marriage), the tide may be turning.  Just as the abortion issue, which was supposed to be a done deal, is now seeing a resurgance of opposition as more and more people recognise the damage it does to society, people are starting question the notion that accepting SSM is benign.

It had been my belief that SSM would eventually be accepted in general, though at the cost of personal and religious freedom for anyone who dared challange it.  I thought it would follow the typical pattern I see elsewhere.  After acceptance, it would take years - probably a generation or two - before the damage we were told would never happen would be recognise, and then eventaully a backlash would begin.  That is the state the abortion issue is at now.

Oddly, I think the Chick-fil-A fiasco has become a game changer.  There is an unexpected momentum in the backlash to the gay activists.  We've already got evidence showing that SSM hasn't resulted in sunshine and roses for all, and that there is, in fact, quite a lot of damage resulting from even the most stable of SS relationships.  Now, as the totalitarian behaviour of pro-gay activists crawls out into the open, people have noticed, and large numbers are standing up to it.  Not by protesting or becoming angry, but by going out, having fun and buying chicken.

Is it possible that the humble chicken sandwich can become the final straw that revealed the hypocrisy of activists who are trying to redefine our society into their own image?


Check out Bigotry and Chick-Fil-A

Give this a watch, for those still under the delusion that allowing gay marriage won't affect everyone else.

Also, When hating on Chick-fil-A, try to hide it better.

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