By Jonathon Van Maren
The definition of a “crybully” is someone “who engages in intimidation, harassment, or other abusive behaviour while claiming to be a victim.” In other words, they use their claims of victimhood as a club, insisting that it gives them unique insight into an injustice being perpetrated on whichever identity group they hold membership in, and that as such, the target of their wrath must be “cancelled,” or must atone in some grovelling, public way—or must simply display the fear that many of these activists badly want to trigger in their enemies (as all bullies do). A great example of this sort of person is Andrew Wheeler, who is apparently “the editor of Shout Out, an anthology of comic book stories for young queer readers.”
I don’t know much about Wheeler, but his recent op-ed in the Toronto Star, which discusses the much-protested opening of a Chick-Fil-A joint in Toronto, is a classic case study of this phenomenon. For those of you who have not been keeping up to date with the various indicators that we live in a homophobic hellscape (while Pride has now swallowed the entire month of June and politicians fall all over themselves to hug as many LGBT persons in front of as many cameras as possible during this time), the fact that the founder of this chicken sandwich fast-food outlet supported the traditional definition of marriage and donated to Christian organizations made Wheeler feel “unexpectedly queasy” when he spotted “a young woman slurping soda out of a fast food cup.” The cup was—you guessed it—a Chick-Fil-A cup (Chick-Fil-Hate, amirite?)
Wheeler apparently attended the ridiculous protest at the Chick-Fil-A’s opening, not realizing that the people “cross[ing] the protest line” were doing so because, as one fellow put it, “It’s just sandwiches!” Your average, everyday Canadian (including most of the protestors) doesn’t consider the fact that his shirt was made in a sweatshop in the developing world, and are certainly not concerned with the fact that the founding family of a fast-food operation holds the same views on marriage that nearly everybody did prior to the year 2000. And when people scream and berate other people for trying to grab a delicious chikin sandwich, they really aren’t doing their cause any favors. They’re just making people hungrier, more irritated, and nearly guaranteed to take you less seriously.
But Wheeler’s take on the hungry customers is much different. “I will not support a company that is ideologically opposed to my existence,” he wrote, assuming anybody would have any idea what he’s talking about, “and that uses the money spent there to campaign against my existence. If I really want fried chicken, there are more than a dozen places to get some within a 10 minute walk of Chick-fil-A. Downtown Toronto is the Vatican City of fried chicken.” (An interesting metaphor to use, all things considered.) And the problem here, Wheeler added, is that those people buying sandwiches are hateful bigots, even if they are also satisfied customers.
“Of course, people are not just going to Chick-fil-A to eat fried chicken,” he wrote with more than a hint of delusion. “They’re eating fried chicken spitefully. They’re defiantly standing in line with all the other freethinkers because they’ve been asked not to. They know that going to Chick-fil-A hurts queer people, but they’ve never thought much about queer people before and they’re not going to start now. It’s a strange form of identity politics where the identity is “a–hole.” The line to get into Chick-fil-A is the a–hole pride parade.”
Yeah, okay then.
But Wheeler takes it a step further. The Chick-Fil-A logo on Toronto streets, he says, “will serve as evidence of how cheap our existence is; a sign that we’re easily dismissed if we come between people and their lunch. Queer kids’ lives are worth less to them than the wrappers they toss out. Chick-fil-A has released a poison into this city that tells queer people we’re less welcome here. We’re less safe. We’re always surrounded by people who hate us, but now those people can show us how easily, how thoughtlessly, they reach for their hate.” (To translate this for the non-woke: The hate they are reaching for is their chicken sandwiches.) So apparently, eating Chick-Fil-A food means that you don’t care if LGBT people die. In fact, if Wheeler’s thesis is correct, you kinda want them to.
So if you’re one of those crazy people who doesn’t think that vast swathes of the population want LGBT folks like Wheeler to be less safe and believe lives like his to be less valuable, you need to check yourself: If there are lineups at Chick-Fil-A, be aware that they lead straight to A Handmaid’s Tale. And don’t for a second stop to consider the fact that Wheeler kind of accused Chick-Fil-A of promoting violence and definitely accused those buying sandwiches there of being bigots worthy of stigmatization in Canada’s largest newspaper–because that might lead you to conclude that he was engaging in a little attempted bullying of his own.