2015 is down to its bitter end. And yet, I still manage to find things to make me feel bitter.
Yesterday, I read an extremely annoying piece on Upworthy. It was entitled "5 incredibly delicious chain restaurants you should never, ever eat at and 1 you should but can't". Written by Eric March and published in June of this year, this article is all about fast food/casual dining restaurants that March and others deem to be morally bankrupt. For that reason, March apparently thinks you and I should choose not to eat there.
I have to say, after reading the guy's article, I couldn't help but be irritated. It's not that I don't think people should boycott places that are corrupt. I think it's perfectly justifiable not to eat at, say, Chick-fil-A, because you disagree with the company's right wing Christian policies. Hell, I haven't shopped at Walmart in years, partly because I object to some of their corporate policies and partly because shopping there is a perpetual exercise in sensory overload. I don't fly Southwest Airlines for the same reason. And I swore off IKEA last year, too, mainly because I had such a horrible shopping experience there that the idea of going back in one of their stores fills me with panic and dread.
It's just that I don't need some half-witted millennial telling me where I should and should not spend my money, based on his or her own left leaning ethics. I have my own ethics, thank you. And when you attempt to sway me to your viewpoint by insulting my intelligence, I am inclined to dig my heels in and resist.
Eric March claims that he visited several different restaurants in order to "research" his article. He writes that the places where he chose to eat: Papa John's, Cracker Barrel, Wendy's, Sonic, and Chick-fil-A are "so, so, so, so, so, so delicious" but "you can't eat there. You just can't." Really? And why not? Because he says so? Mr. March goes on to list his "reasons" why he thinks people should boycott dining at certain places. His reasons are all based on his own ethics and beliefs. March explains that some corporations are greedier than others and we shouldn't support them with our hard earned cash. He's trying very hard to be persuasive and attempts to use humor to achieve that end.
Listen, pal, I don't need you to tell me about corporate greed or bigotry. You don't need to help me find a moral compass. I sure don't need to read drivel written on the level of a brain dead frat boy to change the way I feel about things. And if I want to eat a fucking Wendy's single cheeseburger, I'll eat one. You can just shut up about it and leave me alone.
I am not influenced when I read patronizing twaddle written by someone who is trying much too hard to be funny. I don't need some stranger who's probably half my age to tell me what I should or should not be doing. You can present facts to me if you want to. I will read and consider them. Then I may decide to make up my mind. You don't tell me "I can't" do something. I alone make that decision.
There is one fast food restaurant Eric March claims is okay, and that's In and Out. Alas, most people probably can't eat there because In and Out is only available in a few states. I have to admit, I am curious about In and Out. I have heard they serve good burgers there. Bill claims they aren't as good as Five Guys. I may never know. I don't know when we'll be back in the States and even if we do get back there, I doubt we'll be out West. And, someone like me probably shouldn't be eating any fast food. That stuff is really bad for you and my ass already gets enough presents. But I can make the choice where I want to eat. If you're trying to convince me otherwise, I'm going to require much more than a lame article written on the level of a hormonally charged tenth grade boy.
It's not that I don't value simplicity. There is great value in effectively writing something in simple terms that even a kindergartner can understand. Eric March didn't even manage to do that. To get to the point of his article, I had to wade through a bunch of gimmicky writing, photos, juvenile commentary, and cutesy wisecracks. I found March's techniques obnoxious and vaguely insulting to my intelligence. I think I might have been more accepting of his ideas had he approached me using "I" language. Instead of declaring, "You can't eat there!", he should have written, "I don't eat there and this is why." When you tell someone they "can't" do something, it has a tendency to bring out their inner rebel. Most competent adults don't want to be told what they can and can't do.
So... when a guy like Eric March writes "You can't eat there. You just can't.", I am inclined to say, "Yes, I can eat there and I will if I want to. You're not the boss of me. Shut up and color, Junior. The adults are talking." And I know that mentioning this means that I'm somewhat guilty of group think, but based on the comments left on Facebook, I can see that I am not alone in my opinions about Eric March's article. Upworthy obviously liked it. Maybe it's time I unsubscribed from Upworthy and its annoying quest to make me a "better" human. Fuck that.