On Slate’s lousy Chick-fil-a article

A friend of mine brought an article in some rag named Slate to my attention. He thought it was somehow “good” and well, I don’t. I think this article is one of the most ridiculously written pieces I’ve read in a long time. If this is the quality of articles written at Slate then I shall continue my long standing policy of just not reading their mush. (I once had a vigorous multi-email exchange with a Slate writer over a Post-Katrina New Orleans article he wrote. It was similar to this – pure emotional mush coupled with lack of history, knowledge and geography, poor English, and this aggravating tendency of this rag to proclaim itself speaking for everyone.) Let us parse the article, to see the mush thought. (I promised my friend I would examine this article, and lo, here we go, yeesh.)

The article opens with this statement: For several tense weeks, our nation has been broiling unpleasantly in the cultural equivalent of polyunsaturated fat.” I note several things. First, every week is tense. No week of humankind’s existence has ever not been tense. Why then this week, or several of them, should be any different I don’t know. You want a tense week? Oh, go to Syria. Second – you cannot “broil” anything, unpleasantly or otherwise, in “polyunsaturated fat.” Broiling does not involve sinking anything into a vat of fat. Broiling is, if anything, the lack of frying, and fats are used to fry. Don’t believe me? Coat or submerse something in fat and try to broil it (get ready to call the fire department.) Chick-fil-a, by the way, is a fry-zone, with nary a broiled anything. Third – since Chick-fil-a and gay folks are both within the culture I dare say we can’t have a “cultural equivalent” of anything, but instead what we have is culture itself. Still, when a writer starts off with a misuse of the word “broil” in relation to “fat” and the weird phrase at the end of the sentence, it does not bode well. And I was right.

The second sentence has this: “I think we’ve all gotten a bit burned.” Not all of us have gotten burned, broiled or fried whatsoever. Some of us just laughed hysterically, and some of us, we Americans, had entirely different emotions and outcomes. I dare say, there’s so many “feelings” related to this that is it utterly impossible to say “We’ve all …” anything, other than “we’ve all …” expressed some opinion. Perhaps. No, I would say that the vast majority of Americans didn’t give a damn one way or the other. Then the writer says “As everyone now knows, this entire ordeal…” Well, no, not everyone knows. Many are clueless, and wish to remain so, as is their right. Now, if “everyone” read a word of Mr. Cathy’s statements, and read everything else written, and if “everyone” read this article, then perhaps one could say “Everyone” – and this imparting of universal knowledge to the populace is quite ridiculous.

The sentence continues: “… from the Mike Huckabee-orchestrated “Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day,” – well, I’m not sure Mr. Huckabee “orchestrated” anything, not to mention that to hyphenate this is rather silly. He might have joined a bandwagon launched by Rick Santorum, or any number of other people involved in this very day. Who is to say who started the “day.” There were many people “orchestrating” the day. It seemed to be quite a committee. To put credit to just one man is giving him way too much credit.

Then this author (who name I didn’t bother to copy, and now, having read his mush, I don’t care to promote him, actually,) gives us a long laundry list of where people may or may not have commented: “that came after, [this punctuation mark here I don’t like, it’s pointless, and wrong even, but that’s really quibbling.] the talking heads, the relentless stream of articles and opinion pieces on the controversy, the thousands upon thousands of online comments, the vitriolic tweets, impulsive Facebook statuses, and equally tart replies, the strained friendships, heated arguments with family members, all of it …” Once again, the author is trying to tell people what they were doing, and writes as if everyone in the nation was involved with this. Presumptuous little fellow, yes? Plus, does this man get paid by the word? Whatever happened to something like “With many comments from all sides”? And were all “tweets” “vitriolic”? Doubtful. Some were perhaps thoughtful, no? Or vacuous, stupid, or plain Jane. I don’t know, I don’t tweet. And how does this author have any clue that there were “heated arguments with family members”? I know within my own family I didn’t have any heated arguments; in fact it didn’t come up at all. “Strained friendships”? Ditto. Perhaps this fracas has even brought family and friends closer together, who is to say? Maybe some gay 20-something used it to come out to his family and love be found, right? Yet, this all-knowing author is quite clear that all these things happened to everyone, and he’s quite “tart” about it. Or perhaps he thinks he’s the only one without a “tart” reply? I don’t know.

He writes: “Several days later, on the Ken Coleman show,” – who on earth is Ken Coleman? Where does he have his show? Does he have more than a few viewers/listeners? Inquiring minds want to know the source of this Coleman. Aren’t reporters supposed to give information about obscure references?Why am I expected to know who this man is?

He segues to: “When I first read about this story, it was actually mildly amusing to me. At least, it was amusing in the same way that the Crouches, …” and well, who are they? Perhaps one must be in the know of something or other to understand the reference. Though, why bring them into this, whoever they may be? Did they opine on the matter? What were their words? He doesn’t say. Ah, he tells us, sort of, who they are. They’re on: “TBN, unexpectedly paralyze my index finger while channel surfing.” First, what is TBN? What do the initials stand for? Aw, I’m sorry, I don’t “channel surf.” I never have seen the show or the network. Perhaps if the author would spend less time channel surfing and more time writing cogently and getting to the point he’d be better off. Perhaps his paralyzed index finger is the problem? Oh, so the author tells us: “You may know the Crouches: She with Pomeranian on her lap, a towering pink wig on her skull, and tarantula lashes affixed to her face;” and then he gives an equally, um, “tart” description of Mr. Crouch. Well, no, I don’t know the Crouches. I would think that 99% of America are clueless too. Why is having a lapdog emblematic of anything? Does a Pomeranian have a political or cultural meaning I’m unaware of? Maybe if I spent any time channel surfing I would know. And if the wig is on her skull, ergo eliminating any face that might have once adorned it, how could “tarantula lashes” be affixed on her face? Must not the face be affixed to the skull first? Hmm.

Then, back to the matter at hand: “As with these anomalous Crouches, with Cathy there was something so, what’s the word, absurd;” Ah, a point! Though a question “what’s the word” without a question mark, (oh paralyzed finger find the question mark on keyboard.) Yes, Cathy is “absurd” – but in a completely different way than this author supposes, and in a way which I pointed out: Cathy gave money to failures, poseurs and con-men (and con-women, too.) That’s the absurd part. And what’s with “anomalous” – I know of the word, but I don’t quite know its meaning, and I would say a good 95% of Slate’s readers don’t know it either. If one is going for the Bill Buckley shtick, then at least have an audience who would either know it, or deign to look up the word. I wouldn’t believe that Slate’s readers would lunge for their dictionaries. But if what Cathy says is the issue, then stick to him, and don’t bring in the unknown Crouches.

In the midst of his promotion of the unknown Crouches’ no doubt dreary show (all TV is dreary, I do believe,) on the unknown network this author puts a bit of nastiness of any almost, um, Cathy-esque proportion: “while fleecing arthritic widows in Alabama whose most meaningful daily interactions are with expressionless, alabaster-faced dolls.” My first quibble is with the comma after “expressionless,” – it’s an adjective. Since when do modifying adjectives get separated from their noun phrases? This is just poor writing. He’s a professional writer who is comma happy in all the wrong places. Bah. But more important: why impugn poor little old ladies in Alabama? Is TBN only seen in that state? Perhaps then TBN is the “The ‘Bama Network”? Are all widows in Alabama arthritic? Are they all “fleeced”? Are their “most meaningful daily interactions” really with dolls? Are all viewers of the Crouches such women? No wonder I never heard of these Crouches, they only reach arthritic widows in Alabama. The writer is quite sure this must be so. On the other hand, perhaps the Crouches also fleece robust factory workers, and errant teens too, and those from Brooklyn or San Francisco too! Who knows whom they might fleece? But really, lay off Alabama widows. I have met a few who were neither arthritic or fleeced by anyone, and were quite gay friendly.

Then this fluff-mush continues: “There’s nothing particularly new under the sun about Cathy’s religious beliefs concerning homosexuality, of course,” – well, then why would this week be any more “tense” than any other? Surely he’s been on the Coleman show before? Surely he’s been public about his beliefs for decades? Hey, for all I know he was on the Crouch show too. Then, “but for him to be such a perfect caricature of scornful, Americanized Christianity, was a welcome diversion from whatever it was I was writing at the time.” Well, I sure hope whatever he was writing at the time was written better than this mush. 3 or 4 paragraphs into the article and I haven’t had a clue yet as to what this author’s problem is with Cathy, the protagonist of his angst. Though I have learned a bit about Coleman, Crouches and any family discussions I might have had. And too that something has taken place on the rather vapid Twitter, where I understand comments are limited to 136 characters or something, thereby debasing both spelling and deep thought on weighty matters. Or maybe he forgot what he was writing because it was so poorly done like this stuff here.

Though, I don’t believe that Mr. Cathy is a “perfect” anything. I would think that Mr. Cathy himself would admit faults. He is a Christian, after all, who is almost certainly quite sure that only God is perfect, and even Jesus falls a bit short of His father. Meanwhile, there’s that damned comma after the modifying adjective – “scornful,” – hey, dude, I don’t mean to scorn, but truly, it’s “scornful Americanized Christianity” if one is to write it. Learn English for heaven’s sake; put down the remote, get a book on grammar, see “adjectives” and “commas” and uses thereof. Meanwhile, while debasing Mr. Cathy as “scornful” he um, is scornful of Mr. Cathy. Well, two scorns don’t do much to enlighten anyone’s mind, I tell you.

Meanwhile, what on earth is “Americanized Christianity”? Some would argue that it is quite gay accepting – what with the Episcopal Church in New Hampshire having a gay bishop. Or is that church in that state, (where I’m sure no arthritic widows are ever fleeced like they are in Alabama, ahem.) not part of the American Christian experience? There are some 1400 denominations of Christianity in this nation. Are they all the same? Nope. And are the Armenian and Coptic Christians Americanized yet? And those Catholics! Egad, they’re ruled by the Pope in Rome, when they bother to listen to the man. I know there’s a Rome, New York, but that’s not where the Pope is. And is European, South American, Mexican, Canadian, Asian and African Christianity oh so much different than “Americanized Christianity”? Perhaps so. I don’t think so, at least not that I can tell by my paying attention to those brands of thought. But those aren’t on any channels, one actually has to read about them. Still, all Americanized Christianity is not scornful of gay folks.

The author then goes to his next bit of buffoonery: “But then the story became more worrisome than comical.” Well, no, it did not. Not to me. It was never “worrisome,” and remained quite comical to me at all times. To some it remains “worrisome” and was never “comical.” And to many people it was never either one of these, but instead something far more serious, or something far more what they don’t give a damn about. What is it with this author and his all-seeing knowledge of what everyone thinks? Still, Mr. Cathy has been doing the same thing for years. And he’s not the only one trying to “preserve traditional marriage” by blaming gay folks for the divorce, adultery, wife-swapping, unwed mothers and abandoning fathers. Why, the nation is filled with such people. Newt Gingrich comes to mind, Donald Trump infects my thoughts too (comical indeed, eh?)

Ah, then, a dash of real thought: “This decades-old private foundation is fueled by Chick-fil-A revenue …” Yes, well, now, a decades old foundation (all foundations are “private” bub. That’s the very definition of the thing. If it was public it would be, oh, an “agency” or something,) and now of a sudden it turns worrisome for this author? What, for decades he thought it “comical”? And for how long has this author even known about said foundation? I would bet a buck that this author never heard of the Chick-fil-a foundation until the past “few tense weeks.” I doubt this man knew that Chick-fil-a even had a foundation “fueled” by anything. I did not, that’s for sure.

Ah, more “I’m all knowing, don’t part the curtains” mush – “distressingly so for those in the LGBT community.” Never once in over 35 years in gay bars or with gay friends have I ever heard a single word about Chick-fil-a or its foundation or what they may do or not. And in my two recent forays into the “gay community” (aka, two Tucson bars,) not a single person brought up this issue for more than for a brief few moments – it was concluded, by those there I spoke with: it’s farcical, not worrisome, it’s same old same old, Cathy is a fool, and he’s got every right to be so. I suppose this author is in high dudgeon, but no real gay person is, that’s for sure. Maybe one has to be a comma happy adjective abusing writer to be upset.

And what on earth is the “LGBT community?” Lord, I despise this term. I’m not part of a sandwich. I cannot be clearer, and I’ve stated this repeatedly: I have nothing in common with Transgendered people. They are heteros in the wrong body, and after they go through surgery they seek people of the opposite sex. Case in point: Cher’s daughter/son was a woman, became a male, and promptly sought a woman. Can anything be more clearly “Heterosexual” than a man and woman together? Even if the new man is sort of um, ill equipped, he’s still seeking a woman. Christine Jorgenson, supposedly the first transgendered person, who was a man who became a woman, and promptly got married to a man as a woman. What this heterosexuality has to do with gay men I still have no idea. I argued against it, I shall continue. Not only that, in my some 35 years in gay bars (many of which despise the one down the street, to spur their own profits to fuel their own foundations, which is not exactly in the spirit of “community,” but I digress,) I have never met more than ONE transgendered person. Her/his name is Pittypat, and he/she despises me, and has for nearly two decades. Seems I’m too conservative. She wants me out of any alleged community.

And why on earth does this author presume to think that I’m part of some “community” that has so many different facets, opinions, and just plain ol’ differences, that it’s a community of separatists. Why, I even know arthritic old gay men with Pomeranians on their laps who are fleeced by charlatans on the Logo channel (a gay cable channel, for hetero readers who haven’t channel surfed past the sports channels,) claiming they represent all gay folks. HRC comes to mind. They used to be the “gay” something, but changed their name. I opposed the change, and told them: “not another dime, you morons.” Meanwhile, I know no lesbians as friends, (though I have met one or two who have dropped my tranny in order to repair it.) And I know no “bisexuals” except young hustler guys in dancing bars who 10 years later become chatty queens with Pomeranians of some sort or another. I somehow don’t think I’m part of any “LGBT community” whatsoever. Apparently not being in adoration of Obama and ever more government does cause some community strife. (Try to stick up for Sarah Palin in the “LGBT Community” and these community organizers go all, shall we say, “cathy” on you.) Not only that, as I say of “the gay lifestyle” > if this term is to be used, then there are but two lifestyles: gay and straight. That’s nuts. And so if there’s a “LGBT community,” I would gather than that there is a “HMST Community,” (heterosexual, married, single, transgendered) community, yes? Egad.

Ah, a vain attempt at comedic erudition: “it’s been promiscuously using high-profit margins from the sale of all those slaughtered cocks to further anti-gay causes” – egad, what a snarky moronic comment. I don’t know, but it seems to be to perhaps debase the capitalist who provides jobs (which the writer doesn’t, and Mr. Cathy does,) while throwing in a vague (well, not very,) reference to sex. But, I don’t know. Maybe this author thinks this phrase means something important. I am, however, almost in shock that there’s no comma between “slaughtered” and “cocks.” Not to mention, that Mr. Cathy, and all the recipients of his largesse, are not “anti-gay” so much as they are “no gays.” These people have made it clear: They want gay folks gone from this earth. Let us be frank, we in this vaunted and alleged “community.” One can be “anti-taxes” and still not want them totally gone. One might be “anti-fried chicken” and still not care that chickens are fried.

But, as the author says in his next phrase: “funding notorious groups such as Exodus International and Focus on the Family.” These two groups are not “notorious” whatsoever.” I’d say that 99% (OK, 95%, who know?) of Americans have never heard of these two groups. Mae West was notorious. Jesse James is notorious. One must be well known by a broad segment of the population to be notorious. These two groups labor in obscurity so deep that when discussed by supposedly intelligent authors they should be labeled as to what they are for: No gays. Indeed, the very purpose of Exodus is to sell its product of “gay-be-gone” to the gay public – and yet they’ve never even taken out an ad in a gay publication to seek customers. They are so un-notorious that even gay folks never heard of them. Oh, go to a gay bar and take a survey. “Ever heard of Exodus International?” You’d be amazed at the blank stares of “who?” one would get. Maybe they thought it a show they channel surfed through. Say, does Slate even have an editor to parse the words of its writers?

 …once these facts became widely known.” – alas, these facts are not widely known. They are known only by political mavens, which is a small, um, community, indeed. “I’ll paraphrase en masse for both sides what I understand to be the central points of each.” Who the hell asked you to paraphrase my central points? Egad, sir, have you at long last no shame to keep up your pretense of knowing what people think or believe to be their central points? Why, just the other night the “central point” in a conversation between some of us gay guys was plumbing and dry wall in fixer-uppers, and chickens and decidedly un-notorious frauds didn’t come up at all. “… countered the other side.” Once again, presuming to speak for all. “It’s about our troubling willingness to patronize a company” – for the record, again, I have never patronized this company, so please remove me from this “our” bit, OK? But somehow I think that since the foundation funded by Mr. Cathy is doubtfully even mentioned in their stores, that the vast majority of fried in fat (not “broiled”) chicken eaters have not only no earthly clue as to where any profits might go, but don’t give a damn. Indeed, even “supporters” “orchestrated” by Huckabee and others are still completely unaware of where any moneys might go. And I’m on far safer ground when I say “vast majority” of Chick-fil-a’s patrons are clueless and uncaring, for after all, they are most probably “arthritic widows from Alabama” or some variant thereof. As no doubt this man would say, “everyone knows” that.

Oh, this man blathers on, in arrant self-aggrandizing mush, lack of history, lack of logic, and lack of good English. I have not the heart nor time to continue parsing the man’s words this morning. Alas, because he segues to “African-American” issues, while calling “European-Americans” “whites” – another abhorrent thing – for equality, which the author is demanding, I think, if we are to be colors, let us all be colors; if we are to be geographically described, let us all be so – which has nothing to do with gay folks, I might, just might, take the time tomorrow to teach the man a few things about what he is so wrong about.

How self-aggrandizing is he? Get a load of this: “In my first book, The Belief Instinct, I explain how scientific studies are revealing how the human brain conjures up the subjective feeling of a morally concerned God that ‘communicates’ his displeasure to us through natural disasters and other misfortunes.” I dare say, when one lambastes the earning and use of promiscuously high profits of chicken magnets one should not seek promiscuously high profits from one’s own book in an article that is not about your book, and link to the sales point even! And if, sir, you are such an expert on this “science” pertaining to Cathy’s views, why not use that as the central point of any wisdom you’re trying to impart instead of bringing up the Colemans, Crouches, slaughtered cocks, and arthritic widows of Alabama? And given the man’s English, why isn’t it “The Belief, Instinct.” Worrisome comedy indeed, as mush usually is. 


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