You know, it’s a bit of a toss-up for me over which is the worst element of the Memories Pizza/RFRA/Gay Marriage debacle. Yes, this is what TV reporters do, when they start putting together a story, especially when fishing for comments from real people to punch up a story that doubtless was already written even before the reporter hit the road. Yes, you pretty much already have the story written in your head; the quotes from the person-in-the-street are the pretty and eye-catching frosting on top of the already baked cake, and usually a small portion of what was actually shot. That’s how it works, people, and don’t anyone try to tell me there’s a difference between a teeny military TV station in some overseas locale and the national save scale, the number of staff members, and the cost of the gear.
So, our fearless reporterette goes fishing in a small town, chatting with local eatery owners, and a polite and helpful local gives an honest – and to be honest – relatively innocuous answer. Nope, no problem with gay customers, but wouldn’t cater a gay wedding. As it turns out, this little storefront pizza place doesn’t even have a catering sideline, anyway. But somehow, through the miracle of modern communications, this innocuous small-town pizza place has attracted the hate of an internet mob. This, when Muslim militants are hanging, stoning and throwing gays off tall buildings, the LGBTWXYZ militants in the western hemisphere devote themselves to shrieking and defacing the Yelp reviews for a teeny pizza joint in a town that likely they couldn’t have found on a map without the aid of Google three days ago. This is a loss of all good sense, not to mention a sense of proportion. (By the way, when it comes to doing these friendly person-in-the-street interviews? I would be willing to bet that more and more people will quietly demur being interviewed on camera when it comes to anything remotely controversial. There may be fools who will do anything to get on the TV, but I’m thinking there will be fewer of them, seeing what happened in this case.)
Way to establish yourselves as levelheaded and tolerant good neighbors, LGBTWXYZ militants and sympathizers. Violent death threats against the owners of the place, x-rated vandalism of web pages associated with the business, and threats to burn it down are a really effective means of alienating people who might otherwise once have been just a tiny bit sympathetic. Why, yes – destroying a tiny business, which provides a living for a family and a nice gathering-place for local people – is just the ticket for winning friends and influencing people … to quietly go and have a Chic-fil-A sandwich, or send a contribution to GoFundMe to support the owners of Memories Pizza. Seriously – was there not just an article published a couple of weeks ago, about the damage done to individuals by internet lynch mobs? Oh, yes – and I linked to it then. I link again, for the edification of readers who might have missed it. This is much the same sort of social-media driven destruction of an individual, picked almost at random. At least in Shirley Jackson’s “The Lottery” – there was an actual lottery involved, not this kind of media/ internet lightning striking down at random.