A few chunks of news have broken in the last week, some big and some merely irksome. The following responses are by those that have become targets of the stories in question. And, of course, I respond.
Or, Riot, as it were.
In Chik-Fil-A News: I love Chik-Fil-A. The delicious, breaded chicken breasts are second-to-none in the fast food industry, and possibly in the entire breaded chicken breast food industry at large. Though, to be fair, I'm a southerner - despite my inability to admit it - and I am biased. Growing up in an exceedingly conservative, Christian part of the country - East Texas - it was common knowledge that this franchise is pretty Christo-centric. They are closed on Sundays. If you're a group that wants to have, say, a car wash in a public area, Chik-Fil-A will match all donations you receive if you're a Christian organization. They are big proponents, and have been for years, of Christian organizations, etc. etc. etc.
So, it didn't come as a shock to me when, last week, news broke that Chik-Fil-A had donated food to an event put on by an organization called Pennsylvania Family Institute. You can almost be a brain-dead piece of under-grown broccoli and still guess what kind of 'Institute' the PFA is, especially the way organizations are naming themselves these days. They're uber-conservative, Christian, against abortion, pro-marriage, anti-The Gay, etc. etc. etc. Thus, Chik-Fil-A has caught a bit of flack over this donation because some gay blogs got together and decided that this was just unacceptable.
Have they never heard of Chik-Fil-A?
Here's the response of Dan Cathy, the president of the company:
Now, notice the guy doesn't back down from his company's involvement with the PFA. They're proud of it. And, honestly, I see no reason why they shouldn't be. They DONATED FOOD. They didn't picket a gay wedding. They didn't go on a gay witch hunt and fire all the homos from their restaurants. They donated food to an organization they like. It's their prerogative.
It would be a different story if Chik-Fil-A was militant about their Christianity. It would be different if they were openly, blatantly, angrily against gay marriage, abortion, racial minorities, civil rights, pro-guns, etc. They're not. They're a business that makes good food, tries to give their employees good perks, and happens to be run by folks unwilling to compromise their Christian values. Hey, y'all... These are the 'GOOD' Christian values you hear about, but don't see very often. Build a bridge. Get over it. And enjoy the hell out of those waffle fries.
In Sarah Palin is a friggin idiot news: I'll try and keep this one brief. After the massacre involving Gabrielle Giffords, Sarah Palin - and the conservative media in general - has come under a lot of fire for their literal and rhetorical speech involving anger, bias, incitement, and generally dangerous tone regarding Democrats and liberals. Specifically, her involvement was due to a list she posted on her Facebook account with shotgun crosshairs over the faces of 9 members of the Democratic party that voted for healthcare, Gabrielle Giffords being one of them. As well as Mrs. Palin's repeatedly dogged attempts to make her base unbelievably fearful of Washington, D.C., Democrats, Liberals, and anybody that makes more money or comes from a bigger city or otherwise looks, smells, acts, or is different from them.
This is her response:
I'm going to make the joke and get it out of the way, and all of my conservative or Republican or Palin-loving readers can just skip over this part: Does anybody else get the feeling that she doesn't know most of the words she just said? Like...seriously, somebody give her speech writer a raise!
Ok...that's out of my system. I would just like to add - because this will be a much bigger topic for another day - that I am becoming a bit desensitized to the folks that spew such violent rhetoric - We don't need to retreat; we need to reload./crosshairs over faces/2nd amendment remedies/Tiller the baby killer/etc. - backtracking immediately after one of the targets of their hate speech gets killed or injured. Sarah Palin is just one of a myriad of commentators and pundits - talking heads, if you will - that cannot politely disagree. They seem bent on using the strongest, most violent language possible to instill fear and distrust in their audience. (Possibly the reason why a recent poll showed that, for the 2nd time this decade that I know of, Fox News' audience members are well behind the rest of the country on the actual facts of the news.) They seem shocked that after, for instance, Bill O'Reilly - among many others - called for someone to 'do something' about Dr. George Tiller (dubbed Tiller the Baby Killer by the conservative media) that someone finally went and shot him.
The backtracking and finger pointing disgusts me. No. They didn't pull the trigger, and they have the First Amendment right to say whatever the hell they want, but...shouldn't there be a limit?
I'll save the rest of that rant for another day.
In Succinct Bumper Sticker News: The blog Imagine Katrina has a very insightful piece on a bumper sticker that reads I learned everything I need to know about Islam on September 11th. It's a great piece, and I highly recommend you read it. I just wanted to add one thing: this is exactly how a first impression is made.
Yes, the bumper sticker is extreme, but it should be used as a lesson on first impressions. Just think about if the message had been I learned everything I need to know about Paganism from my first festival. Since beginning Project Pagan Enough (click the link above to learn more about that) I have gotten - literally - hundreds of emails in the past year regarding such sentiment. The first impression many of you, according to your messages, had of paganism was quite terrible, and it was all due to someone treating you poorly at an event, a shop, a meet-up.
We're told that we should always judge a person's actions individually and not relate them to the greater wholes of which they are part. The player should be blamed for his bad pitching, not the entire team. The cook should be blamed for your undercooked steak, not the waiter. Etc. But, how quickly we ignore this sentiment when the impression we have is negative. Positive action is rewarded quickly, usually, and individually. If the player pitches a perfect game, he is celebrated as a hero, not the entire team. If the steak is perfection on a plate we give our compliments to the chef.
But we have to watch that negative. So, great blog Katrina! I hope to see more like it in the future.
That's all for now! Remember, YOU can respond to everything you read on the blog by emailing FireLyte@IncitingARiot.com. (Yes, it's different from the podcast email address. I just get so much feedback, I like to differentiate it for time's sake.)
Love and Lyte,