Chick-fil-A, that alluring purveyor of delicious chicken sandwiches and waffle fries, has long been a target in certain quarters. These criticisms have nothing to do with the addictiveness of the chain’s food (a shame, really, because this is a real problem), but its perceived political stances. Most such attacks have stemmed from the chain’s indirect donations to groups that oppose same-sex marriage, and from CEO Dan Cathy’s comments on the subject . . .
That makes this recent New Yorker article by Dan Piepenbring—memorably entitled “Chick-fil-A’s Creepy Infiltration of New York City”—all the more incoherent. According to Piepenbring’s screed, which lacks content beyond Ewww-These-People-Aren’t-Like-Me, Chick-fil-A’s arrival in the Big Apple “raises questions about what we expect from our fast food, and to what extent a corporation can join a community.” Evidently, Piepenbring can’t understand why the restaurant is so popular with NYC residents, given the city’s progressive political and social leanings. How can this be? . . .
But Piepenbring is having none of it. In perhaps the article’s most ludicrous segment, he criticizes Chick-fil-A’s cow-driven advertising campaigns by “asking why Americans fell in love with an ad in which one farm animal begs us to kill another in its place. Most restaurants take pains to distance themselves from the brutalities of the slaughterhouse; Chick-fil-A invites us to go along with the Cows’ Schadenfreude.”
The rest of Piepenbring’s “argument” fares no better, although it’s certainly an illuminating look at its author’s unjustified neuroses. He writes that “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.” It must surprise the Christians of New York (or, for that matter, to erstwhile residents of the American South) that they are “infiltrators” in their own community. But in Piepenbring’s world, any outsiders must be shunned.
Not content with the language of “infiltration,” Piepenbring further claims “there’s something especially distasteful about Chick-fil-A, which has sought to portray itself as better than other fast food: cleaner, gentler, and more ethical, with its poultry slightly healthier than the mystery meat of burgers. Its politics, its décor, and its commercial-evangelical messaging are inflected with this suburban piety.” Elsewhere, he’s scandalized by the fact that “[t]he restaurant’s corporate purpose still begins with the words ‘to glorify God,’ and that proselytism thrums below the surface of the Fulton Street restaurant, which has the ersatz homespun ambiance of a megachurch.” (Read more from “New Yorker to Christians: We Don’t Want Your Kind Around Here” HERE)