The Week's Inanity: Billy Graham and Chick-fil-A, Olympic Silliness, and Giant Urban Catfish

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Here is a statement issued by my wife:

“Today, my husband is sporting a lime green polo shirt from Old Navy and blue jeans. The shirt is too small and the pants are too short. While I feel that he is his own man, I cannot support today’s choice of clothing. His closet is a diverse place, with Hawaiian shirts and hockey jerseys and dozens of terrible baseball caps. While I am in favor of his longtime ownership of such items, I cannot condone his continued use of them, and I hereby state that I had no influence over what he is currently wearing. I plan on visiting Goodwill next week, where I will donate some of Jeremy’s unfortunate clothing items while showing my support for traditional couture.”

I have no doubt that my wife feels this way. She has expressed the ideas in the paragraph above many times. She would just hate what I’m wearing today. And I will freely admit: past trips to Goodwill have been, uh, emotional.

Problem is, she didn’t write the above statement. I’m not going to say who did. But was somebody who lives in our home. It’s based on her sentiment for and solidarity with conservative fashion.

Here’s what this has to do with chicken sandwiches and Billy Graham.

People flooded Chick-fil-A’s across Charlotte and the nation on Wednesday, showing their support for both lunch and the biblical definition of marriage. Chick-Fil-A owner Dan Cathy gave an interview last month endorsing the “biblical definition of the family unit,” a unit that Cathy had endorsed for a long time before that. But then somebody decided to post it on Facebook, ever the impartial arbiter of national discourse, and then GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH NATIONAL OUTRAGE! Charlotte’s native son, the Rev. Billy Graham, issued a statement, saying he planned to celebrate Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day (a proper noun) by making the journey to one on Wednesday.

About that.

Graham’s statement read, in part: “As the son of a dairy farmer who milked many a cow, I plan to ‘Eat Mor Chikin’ and show my support by visiting Chick-fil-A.” It goes on to use the word “I” five times.

Mark Oppenheimer, a religion columnist for The New York Times, asked around. First, he called A. Larry Ross, Graham’s spokesperson. Did Graham actually say that? Well, no.

Graham never went to Chick-fil-A on Wednesday. Alas, Montreat, where Graham lives, has no Chick-fil-A. The closest one is in Asheville. The idea for the trip was more of a sentiment and statement of solidarity, Ross said. Not so much a commitment to make a run through the drive-thru.

Then, Billy’s son Franklin weighed in on the wording of the statement. Franklin runs the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which issued it. Franklin said he talked with his father last week. In the conversation, Billy said he supported the Cathys. Franklin then, according to Oppenheimer, “took his father’s sentiment to a ‘group’ who prepared a statement.” Franklin didn’t say who was in the group. He also said Billy wouldn’t be talking about this further.

To be fair, people don’t write everything they say. When many people make public speeches, they may often be reading words that speechwriters have prepared for them. Even when I write, there’s a chance that an editor has cleaned up my copy just a bit (After all, I seem to have a hard time with the spelling of definately definitely). In both of those cases, there is some level of control. A speaker, obviously, has to speak the words that were written, in which case any quote is attributed to him or her. If an editor changes my copy, it’s to clarify what I had already written.

This is part of our media landscape. Statements are issued on behalf of people. Groups come up with quotes that are approved by the people who are supposed to be saying them. “That sounds like something I’d say,” is good enough when “that’s something I said” is too hard to get. Even government press offices are starting to demand veto power over what officials have already said, as demonstrated in this New York Times story from Jeremy Peters. Now, it’s possible for you to say something, and then later, not have ever said it.

So, in short, don’t hate the player, hate the game. While it’s entirely possible that Graham did have an inkling to grab lunch at Chick-fil-A this week, he may never have actually said so, and so any quote that ends with the words “said Billy Graham” may not be, uh, 100% true. It’s kinda true. Sorta. He meant to say that. Probably.

Graham did eat Chick-fil-A for lunch on Wednesday, Ross told Oppenheimer. Somebody brought him a chicken sandwich, waffle fries, sweet tea and a chocolate milkshake. He ate at home.

I ate lunch at home today too. I had a turkey sandwich, carrots and a glass of water. Unfortunately, my wife is at work, and couldn’t join me. “That’s too bad,” she said in a statement issued by the Markovich family, “but I probably wouldn’t want to see what my husband is wearing anyway.”

Zombies are so hot right now.

Charlotte has Frappuccino deserts.

We missed something in our list of things to fix before the Democratic National Convention: You know those things at Seventh Street Station that light up and make noise when you touch them? Some of them are broken. One possible fix: Volunteers with flashlights that say “ooo-eee-ooo-eee-ooo” when you poke them in their stomachs. h/t Susan Stabley (@CBJgreennews)

Here’s an animated GIF of Charlotte’s Nick Thoman recreating his facial expression for his official Olympic ID badge.

“We have a security plan in place.” Good!
“But I’m not going to share it with you.” Oh.

Somebody reeled in a 21-pound catfish from the Freedom Park pond. Keep your maltipoos out of the water.

The Borg assimilates Charlotte’s water system. Resistance is futile.

DNC Whee! The New York Times has found the best place for DNC attendees to misuse PAC funds: Charlotte’s Paper Doll Lounge.

Jeremy Markovich (@deftlyinane) is a regular contributor to Charlotte magazine, and a producer at NewsChannel 36 in Charlotte. He also blogs at deftlyinane.com.

 

 

Categories: The Buzz, Trade & Tryon