Commodification

Those dog days of summer, remember last August? Remember the brouhaha from the protests and counter protests about Chick-fil-a’s president Dan Cathy’s statement regarding family? His original statement which started the whirlwind, according to the Baptist Press:

Some have opposed the company’s support of the traditional family. “Well, guilty as charged,” said Cathy when asked about the company’s position.

“We are very much supportive of the family — the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that.

Though he made no mention of homogamy or homosexuals, yet the news media headlines and bylines ran his comments as “anti-gay”, “against marriage equality”, “homosexual bigotry”. Similarly, neither side in the row were listening to the claims of the other.

Soon the nature of the argument became more about Chick-fil-a food than about homosexuality or the homogamy thereof. People weren’t arguing about rights, but the failure or success of Chick-fil-a product represented the vindication of their ideological position. First a boycott called for by the LGBT crowd. Then Chick-fil-a Appreciation Day promoted by former Gov. Mike Huckabee. It had more to do with Cathy’s restaurants than anything Cathy said.

Post-modern America is in an age of the rights of human beings. Civility is no longer practiced as duty because individual rights and societal benefits trump all. Intangibles like virtues and ideas, including faith, have become commodified. In his book, The Divine Commodity, Skye Jethani makes this statement about the current state of Christianity:

The reduction of even sacred things into commodities also explains why we exhibit so little reverence for God. In a consumer worldview he has no intrinsic value apart from his usefulness to us. He is a tool we employ, a force we control, and a resource we plunder. We ascribe value to him (the literal meaning of the word “worship”) based not on who he is, but on what he can do for us. (Pg. 37)

If that is true of the view of God by Christians then I would suggest the same is true of unbelievers, whether they submit to another god or no god at all. It stems from the misguided belief that life is significant based upon the usefulness which can be derived from the rights being ascribed to it. This is why arguments devolve from ideological positions into pragmatic utilitarianism. Principles and virtues have no worth of themselves unless there is demonstrable benefit to society. Homogamy, therefore, isn’t the simple moral issue people pretend it to be. On the contrary, the benefit of homogamy has to be portrayed in “loving, committed relationships” to demonstrate its ideological superiority. If god is a relative concept in society, and if one god isn’t sovereign above all others, then virtue, principle or even concepts such as nobility have little meaning.

The events of last August have apparently long been forgotten, but a little development more recently with Chick-fil-a reveals that even though all that “hate speech” and protest and counter protest has died out, signs of commodification have morphed into something more commonplace.

Dozens waiting in line for a chance to get free food at Chick-fil-A, but the first customer won’t even be served until tomorrow. It’s got that Black Friday feel out here with tents and coolers and chairs for people all waiting for a tasty treat. More than 100 people set up camp at the new Granite Bay Chick-fil-A.“It’s crazy,” said Natalie Woodmass, a Chick-fil-A customer. People starting lining up in the dark. “It’s fun, it’s free food for a year,” said Darek Daszynsky.

There is nothing wrong with people lining up for food, so long as they remember what they’re selling to get it.

When Jacob had cooked stew, Esau came in from the field and he was famished; and Esau said to Jacob, “Please let me have a swallow of that red stuff there, for I am famished.” Therefore his name was called Edom. But Jacob said, “First sell me your birthright.” Esau said, “Behold, I am about to die; so of what [use] then is the birthright to me?” And Jacob said, “First swear to me”; so he swore to him, and sold his birthright to Jacob. Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew; and he ate and drank, and rose and went on his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.  – Genesis 25:29-34

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About elmoshangnaster

The name's a dodge simply because 1) on the internet I can be whomever I choose, and 2) I'm just paranoid enough to keep scoundrels and government out of my business and don't care to sort 'em out from the decent folk. My blog, my opinions. Don't like 'em? Sure, kindly tell me about your far-fetched, idiotic beliefs...kindly. In the end we'll neither of us change the others mind, but I will take the time to read your arguments if they're thought out in a rational fashion and not full of hyperbole. I'm a Christian human being. It's not a flavor or color preference, it's who and what I am. Don't like it? The above considerations apply. I'm not about to waste anyone's time or mine shoving Christianity down their gullet if they demonstrate even the least resistance. When someone's ready to hear I'm only too glad to share. The Gravatar? It's Jenny Lake in the Tetons near Jackson, WY. If God had a house that's where it would be.

Posted on 03/29/2013, in Commentary, Spirituality. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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