25 July, 2012

Chick-fil-A's Dan Cathy Wasn't Making A Bird-Brained Business Mistake, He Was Selling More Chicken To Republicans And Evangelicals

Christina Pesoli (of the Huffington Post) is wrong about Chick-fil-A President, Dan Cathy. He didn't make a bird brained, business-killing  comment about gays. He excited his base. He rallied the chicken-eating consumer base Chick-fil-A has always pursued: gay-hating evangelicals and Republicans.

When chicken king, Dan Cathy, became the object of The Left's scorn and derision, every fundamentalist Christian and every conservative Republican in America went to Chick-fil-A and bought chicken, which is exactly what Dan Cathy knew they would do.

Chick-fil-A has long been a darling of The Evangelical Right. Chick-fil-A offers special deals to churches and to chapters of the CBMC. They close on Sunday. Their franchisees are often pillars of their conservative churches. Chick-fil-A doesn't need to sell chicken to progressives and Democrats.

The truth is, this strategy of offending your non-customers to earn even more business from your customers is commonplace. If you watch TV you already know that there is a whole industry of issue advocates who need - yes, that's right, they need and even cultivate - enemies to help them attract contributions from their core constituencies. There's even a saying about "making the right enemies". That's what Dan Cathy did when he uttered what seemed like bigoted and socially tone deaf remarks against gays: he made the right enemies. The more the gays and the lefties complain about what he said, the more his core constituency stands in solidarity with him by buying more of his chicken.

None of the professional issue advocates will admit it but they have a symbiosis with their  ideological opposites. The smart ones cultivate the right enemies and then ask their ideological base for money. A few years ago I even wrote some fiction (loosely-based on a preacher who was once arrested for burning a gay flag at a gay pride parade) to show how it works.

Capitalizing on his new-found fame as a defender of the Christian faith, the gay flag burning preacher goes on Christian talk radio and conservative right wing talk radio and announces that the next time there is a gay pride event in his area he will walk through the crowd with a can of gasoline and that he will flick gasoline on the gay people. After he has flicked gasoline, he announces, he will then flick lit matches into the gasoline-moist crowd. After announcing his intention to assault gay people with gas and lit matches, this preacher then asks supporters to contribute money to his new "ministry". Every gay hater, conservative Christian and conservative Republican within the sound of his voice sends him $10 or $20.

Likewise, gay and lesbian groups use the preacher's promised gas-and-matches assault to ask for contributions from their base of gays and lefties.

Everybody makes money. Both "sides" made the right enemies and were rewarded with contributions.

This is what Dan Cathy did when he made insensitive remarks about gays. He made the right enemies. He knew exactly what he was doing.

Please note that, in the non-fiction and fictional stories above, nobody is being converted, nobody's mind gets changed. That's why churches and other Christian organizations don't do evangelism anymore. Evangelism is not the goal. Everybody is just trying to make the right enemies to keep the contributions rolling in.

And to keep conservatives eating chicken at Chick-fil-A.
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