A little diversion for a lazy Friday afternoon on which absolutely nothing is happening news-wise. The worst part of this isn’t the casual hostility towards Christians or the fact that the author seems so much a caricature of the tedious, ostentatiously right-thinking liberal intellectual that populates the New Yorker readership that the piece plays like parody for the first few paragraphs. (It’s overwritten and his author bio notes that he lives in Brooklyn, deepening the parody suspicions.) Although both of those things are obnoxious in different ways.
The worst part is this sentence, which made me pause to pray for an asteroid to come and let our world start anew: “Its expansion raises questions about what we expect from our fast food, and to what extent a corporation can join a community.” What we expect from our fast food.
Cleanse this planet with fire.
New York has taken to Chick-fil-A. One of the Manhattan locations estimates that it sells a sandwich every six seconds, and the company has announced plans to open as many as a dozen more storefronts in the city. And yet the brand’s arrival here feels like an infiltration, in no small part because of its pervasive Christian traditionalism. Its headquarters, in Atlanta, is adorned with Bible verses and a statue of Jesus washing a disciple’s feet. Its stores close on Sundays. Its C.E.O., Dan Cathy, has been accused of bigotry for using the company’s charitable wing to fun anti-gay causes, including groups that oppose same-sex marriage. “We’re inviting God’s judgment on our nation,” he once said, “when we shake our fist at him and say, ‘We know better than you as to what constitutes a marriage.’ ” The company has since reaffirmed its intention to “treat every person with honor, dignity and respect,” but it has quietly continued to donate to anti-L.G.B.T. groups. When the first stand-alone New York location opened, in 2015, a throng of protesters appeared. When a location opened in a Queens mall, in 2016, Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed a boycott. No such controversy greeted the opening of this newest outpost. Chick-fil-A’s success here is a marketing coup. Its expansion raises questions about what we expect from our fast food, and to what extent a corporation can join a community.
There are more important things to write about this afternoon so I’ll leave you to the rest — there are multiple paragraphs devoted to the problematic-ness of the Cow mascot, if that whets your appetite — but note how it shifts from a whinge about the owners’ views on gay marriage to a whinge about the damnable faux-authentic corporate uniformity of chain restaurants. Both arguments are stale to the point of tears; it’s embarrassing that the New Yorker would insist on finding room for either when more creative submissions are surely floating across its desk. But a piece that combines both gives me the feel of Frankenstein rising from the operating table and stumbling around the lab. All the component parts are dead and rotting, yet some sick bastard thought to stitch them together and reanimate them for God knows what reason. Now we’ve got Woke Frankenstein roaming the literary countryside, moaning “JESUS BAD, GASTROPUBS GOOD.” Do better, New Yorker.