Musings on L’Affaire du Poulet Filet

Taking it into my head to go to the local Chick-fil-A last Wednesday was another one of those odd things, like getting involved in the Tea party which happened because of a friend. In this case, a purely on-line friend; the friend who inveigled me into attending an early San Antonio Tea Party planning committee meeting was a blog-friend whom I had actually met on a couple of social occasions, so when he said, ‘Hey, we need someone to write press releases and stuff, and you’re a writer and you were a broadcaster, so can ya?’ And being a stubborn independent libertarian-conservative sort, it seemed like a good idea. That the planned event very shortly turned into an all-Texas blow-out with 15,000 to maybe as many as 20,000 in attendance … well, I didn’t have anything much to do with that … I just kept my head down and sent out the press releases and made myself available for local media interviews.

So, I got caught up in Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day in the same manner, when Sarah Hoyt, another writer-blogger (who is in favor of same-sex marriage) wrote a long post condemning at length the way the militant pro-same-sex marriage advocates were going about it. She held that ganging up on Chick-fil-A was an appallingly bad move, being based upon not much at all save a mild remark by the president of the firm regarding favoring traditional marriage in an interview published in an relatively obscure denominational publication. She predicted that this would alienate and infuriate people across the political spectrum, and that it would backfire hugely … which seems to have been the case. It is only fitting that she would be a writer of science fiction, a genre which lends a boost to ones’ powers of accurate prophecy.

I wonder myself if the better than huge turn-out in support of Chick-fil-A isn’t at least as much of a cultural seismic shock as the various Tea Party gatherings in 2009 were to the political arena. Certainly there was the same air of friendly cheerfulness and purpose about the other customers in the Chick-fil-A outlet where I went on August 1 as I remember from the first huge Alamo Plaza Tea Party rally. No kidding – it was a fun gathering, like the world’s biggest and happiest block party. There were whole families there – and it was as if the plaza was full of good friends whom you had never met before. So was the Chick-fil-A; and from the comments and posted reports on the internet it was pretty much like that all over. The illusion that it was some kind of grotesque grotesque and hateful mass exercise in gay-bashing must be difficult to maintain, in the face of so many actual participants who saw nothing of the sort. Just so the Tea Partiers were constantly accused of being dumb, disorganized, violent red-necked racists. This meme was so constantly pushed by mainstream media over the last three years – against considerable evidence to the contrary as well as the experience of actual participants – that a good portion of the public now readily believes the worst of the Tea Party. It goes without saying, such is the weary cynicism of experience, that the mainstream news organs of course painted the militant gay advocates who responded to Support Chick-fil-A Day in the most favorable colors, in spite of vandalism, harassment and generally distasteful conduct … just as the Occupy Whatever Street activists had breathlessly positive press in spite of turning their various occupied locations into unsanitary, lawless and repellant hellholes. I’m not even surprised by this tendency on the part of the mainstream media any more.

It is interesting that this all happened just as the self-organized, social-media savvy Tea Party adherents are managing to elect more and more fiscally-responsible, free-market favorable strict Constitutionalists into political office. I disagree with those commenters who hold that the Chick-Fil-A thing was brief distraction from the series matters at hand; this might be one of those huge turning points. The chain may be just another national fast-food outlet – but their local franchise owners are deeply-embedded in their communities, where apparently they do a lot of quiet good works, and are looked upon favorably by loyal customers, and their employees. To cynically and carelessly malign and insult them, just as the Tea Party is maligned and insulted is every bit as much a blunder as Sarah suggested. Beware the cold anger of quiet and patient people who have been pushed once too many times. Those who stood patiently in line for hours for a chicken sandwich and waffle fries to make a point will also be standing in line to vote in November. Depend on it.

(cross-posted at

7 thoughts on “Musings on L’Affaire du Poulet Filet”

  1. Thanks for what you’ve done.
    I think it was a turning point, because it signalled that libertarians should take notice of what was happ;ening to Evangelicals and it signalled to Evangelicals how precarious their rights are. So both groups acted.

    Rationally, any one should see permit problems like those Rahm would enforce or HHS standards Obama would or tax audits that plague Republican donors and Gibson as unjust, unAmerican – but also scary. And do these people really want a half century ahead like the last one after Roe v Wade. States can through the ballot reflect the will of the people. I suspect gay marriage will not too far off become legal – but maybe it won’t. I do know that if it is left up to the vote it will reflect popular (uncoerced) sentiment – as would be appropriate in a democracy.

  2. In San Antonio, there was already a pretty good overlap between Evangelicals and libertarians when it comes to the Tea Partiers, so the local turnout was pretty much as I expected. I also sense maybe there was kind of a cumulative effect, for Obama also pressuring the Catholics on the matter of providing birth control and abortion through his lead balloon of a universal health plan. Ordinary people of faith are being made to feel as if they are being pushed to participate in or to express approval of something that goes against their deepest beliefs. Not just pushed, but hectored, insulted and maligned and they are sick of it.

    My daughter’s motivation was that she personally was infuriated when she read Roseanne Barr’s tweets, wishing death from cancer on owners and customers of CFA… tacky, classless and nasty. And so my daughter said it was great to feel that we were administering a big F-U, just by going for dinner on that day.

    The biggest fallout from last Wednesday will be that a lot of people suddenly realized that others shared their feelings. Wretchard at Belmont Club has said several times that this is when totalitarian governments totter and fall … when ordinary people realize that their private dislike/unhappiness with that government is widely shared. That they are not alone.

  3. One rather uninformed liberal (but I repeat myself) made a remark about them “Giving away free chicken”. He couldn’t imagine that people would stand in line for hours, unless someone was giving something away for nothing. But, then, that’s the liberal mind set for you!

  4. The “silent majority” has been thoroughly lampooned and completely discreditted in the eyes of the mainstream media. Somehow the mainstream media feel a government needs to lead the masses; the captain needs to control the ship; the brain needs to control the body.

    The People don’t want to be led. They want to be left alone and they want their independence honored and protected. The ship of state never floated because it is not a ship. The Body Politick is not a body. The ruling class – the establishment – think they are the brain of the Body Politic. They are not the brain, they are a cancer of the colon. They are the cells that form an incontinent a$$hole.

    Left unchecked, they will slowly, painfully kill us.

  5. Well said. To me this whole thing is emblematic of two very different approaches to life in general. During my latest visit to Chik-fil-A I realized how it goes so much deeper.

    The restaurant was clean and the staff upbeat, friendly and positive. The manager was a dynamo, oscillating between her staff and the customers, in both cases effectively providing help and a positive word.

    I will say, McD’s does a pretty decent job, but stop anywhere else; Arby’s, BK, KFC, Taco Bell, Hardee’s, etc. and it’s a night and day difference. The physical plants are filthy. Customer service … what’s that? Maybe they have something positive to say, but I can’t tell since they can’t be troubled to open their mouths when they talk or say more than three words per customer. And there is no evidence whatsoever of leadership.

    During a lull in the action at Chik-fil-A, one of the staff members set to work cleaning the glass entry doors. At the other places, I just count myself lucky if they observe that I ordered a drink and put two and two together to conclude that I’ll need a straw in my bag (and then execute on that conclusion).

    This may seem very anecdotal, but like I said, it paints a picture of two entirely different mindsets.

  6. But but but … Truett Cathy, the founder, “did not make that happen”, so why do they blame Dan, his son?
    Where is the congruence of thought process? It seems as if someone gets an idea, and throws it in the hopper, it gets full blast coverage by the “media”, and then it is realized what a terrible message it carries, underneath the words used.
    “Free speech for me, but not for thee” was the sub-vocal message of the several Mayors decrying Chik-fil-A as being ‘evil’. We can say what we want, shut you down, and at the same time call for freedom of speech.
    Does. Not. Compute. That is, if you have a brain, and happen to put it to good use.

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