Why The Winooski Bacon Controversy Matters

bacon signLast week, Sneakers Bistro and Cafe in Winooski, Vermont removed a sign reading “Yield for Sneakers Bacon” from a garden at the Winooski Rotary after a woman who described herself as “a vegan and a member of a Muslim household” called the sign offensive in an online post.

“Given the large number of Muslim families in Winooski, as well as many others who do not eat pork for a variety of reasons, it seems unnecessary for this insensitive business sign to be at the city’s main crosswalk,” she wrote. Sneakers, obeying the growing U.S. cultural mandate that any individual has a veto over words and conduct that he or she finds offensive regardless of 1) whether it is offensive to anyone else and 2) whether the alleged offense is certifiably bats, apologized, and took the sign down.

I am happy to support that this decision did not play well, even in ultra-liberal Vermont, and under a barrage of criticism on the web and elsewhere, the Sneakers’ management posted the following message on its Facebook page, thus making their situation worse:

“We are here to serve people BREAKFAST, not politics. We removed the sign that was located on public property as a gesture of respect for our diverse community. There were also concerns raised about safety. Removing it was not a difficult decision. We still love bacon. We still love eggs. Please have the political conversation elsewhere.”

That idiotic statement was the disaster anyone conscious should have been able to predict it would be. And let’s be thankful this is still true. Tomorrow, Sneakers’ response may be standard operation procedure, even if ISIS doesn’t take over the country while the President is breaking par.

First of all, the safety concerns claim is insulting, and an obvious lie. Would “safety concerns” have prompted the Bistro to remove the sign if a political correctness bully hadn’t protested? No. The worst aspect of the message, however, is its acceptance of the ridiculous premise that the word “bacon,” used to describe an item on a restaurant’s menu, is by any sane measure “politics.” What made it politics is the bistro’s craven, pusillanimous, foolish and culturally dangerous capitulation to a single, unreasonable, presumptuous complaint, in the name of “diversity.”  For that surrender was indeed a political position; it is the political position of radical progressives who believe in prompting self-censorship by threats and the strict enforcement of bland public discourse, expression and communication, in which nothing can be permitted in the marketplace of ideas or commerce that may conceivably offend anyone at all—especially Muslims, because as we all know (ask Comedy Central), they might just kill you if they’re offended—and all statements of offense are equally valid,  except for the opinion that such  slavish kow-towing to claims of offense is itself offensive to free speech, free thought, and American values.

This is the political position being relentlessly sold by the Left, that its driving, divisive priorities of group grievances, group identification, and favored status for minorities most be advanced across the culture,  and that any ideas or sentiments not supportive of these goals, or in any way deemed uncomfortable by any of their designated beneficiaries, should be condemned, suppressed, shunned and punished.

Thus the U.S. Senate feels that it had the right to force a football team’s owner to change his team’s name. Thus ESPN suspends a commentator who dares to suggest that an abused woman who marries abuser after he cold-cocks her might be enabling her own abuse, and another for daring to use the term “chink in the armor.”  Thus Harry Reid has to apologize for acknowledging that a self-identified group of Asians has Asian names. Thus a web browser must be boycotted because its CEO dared to support a position not held by gay advocacy groups. Thus Hallmark Cards pulls a card that refers to “black holes” because the NAACP accuses the card of being racist.

And now Sneakers takes another step toward a Tyranny of the Tactically Offended  (TTO), accepting the premise that single citizen can dictate that a foodstuff not be mentioned in advertising, because of “diversity.”  This decision may take place in out of the way Winooski, Vermont, but a million such decisions are being made in schools, businesses, advertising agencies, entertainment mediums, colleges, government agencies and media outlets every day, under the relentless attacks by the enemies of free speech and thought, not to mention yummy BLT sandwiches. Sneakers’ cowardly and unprincipled surrender is a defeat, and every defeat counts. It is a particularly galling defeat, because it was so unnecessary. The woman who wrote the post should have been informed, clearly and sharply, that she had no right to dictate the fare of the restaurant or the ability of the establishment to advertise that fare to those in the community who might want to consume it, and for her to presume to be “offended” at the mere fact that food she doesn’t choose to eat is mentioned on a sign suggests an exaggerated sense of entitlement and quite possibly mental derangement.

Sneakers deserves every bit of bad publicity and criticism it is getting, and more. If Americans don’t have the fortitude and principles to stand up for their rights, which are also your rights and our rights, there are plenty of people out there, many who are in powerful positions, indeed high elected positions, who are working around the clock to relieve us of them.

Stop being nice, accommodating and understanding to political correctness bullies. They mean us and the nation no good whatsoever.

31 thoughts on “Why The Winooski Bacon Controversy Matters

  1. Why was the sign on public property to begin with? Once moved to private property they are free to put up whatever sign they like. Offensive or not.

  2. The decision was probably more about getting the light of controversy OFF the diner as quickly as possible because they are in the business of serving food, not getting in political debates. Not so some other places that give you a 10% discount for bringing in a church flyer (a separate discussion). I would guess they thought that if they quickly removed the sign and apologized, the controversy would die down quickly and they could move on. Obviously the idea backfired, and rightly so. The Jewish community has been in the US since the get-go, or almost since the get-go, and not once did you hear them objecting to any establishment serving anything non-kosher, although they themselves didn’t eat it, or serve it in their own (including some very notable) establishments.

    In the end this isn’t about being able to get halal breakfast or diversity. It’s about the manufactured grievance industry and certain people’s attempt to corrupt “diversity” into a situation where anyone offended can become Thoreau’s “majority of one” and impose his decision on everyone else. It’s a logical swinging of the pendulum from a situation where the majority religion and culture dominate, to one where they have to make accommodations to others, to one where they have to walk on eggshells, to one where they have to actively hide, lest they be accused of oppression of a minority simply for being present. When you can’t even advertise bacon for fear that the Muslims, who don’t even eat the stuff, will kick up a stink that they have to even know it exists, you are at that extreme swing. But, then again, when television shows are forced from the air and people are forced from jobs for daring to say something that deviates from the political thinking that’s in vogue, and towns need to worry whether they’ll get hit with huge lawsuits over crosses on war memorials that someone has decided he can’t stand the sight of, I guess I’m not so surprised.

      • Apparently it was enough of a controversy to provoke action by Sneakers, wrong as it might have been. I think that the owners saw the post, were afraid it might generate a whole long thread of posting with Muslims quoting the Prophet (pbuh) and others taking issue with Muslims, potentially in ugly ways, and thought removing the sign would nip that scenario in the bud. They turned out to be wrong, as you point out elsewhere in this thread, since they failed to stand up for freedom that is already imperiled.

        • She caused the controversy because she is an intolerant, snobbish, condescending muslim woman who doesn’t know how to walk away and not be such a know it all and have a little tolerance which they don’t. The muslim women are just as bad or worse than the men being as they are so pushy and high and mighty.

  3. “We are here to serve people BREAKFAST, not politics. We removed the sign **THAT WAS LOCATED ON PUBLIC PROPERTY** as a gesture of respect for our diverse community. There were also concerns raised about safety. Removing it was not a difficult decision. We still love bacon. We still love eggs. Please have the political conversation elsewhere.”

    I have no idea if they rented the space from someone or not, that info isn’t provided, but I am not too hot on the commercialization and cluttering of public spaces. Not a fan of billboards either. I support anyone’s right to put whatever they want, offensive or not on their own property, however let’s keep the marketing, political and religious crap off the public’s lands and spaces.

    • I don’t know why the stated locale of “a garden at the Winooski Rotary” would be considered public, and I think the meaning was “not on our property.” In any event, since that wasn’t why the sign was taken down, it’s a deflection of the real issue, and what the post involves. Your point is tangential, or less, to the political correctness, “I’m offended” issue, and the phony diversity excuse.

  4. Jack,
    I don’t get your ire. The women offended by the sign is a whiner, no doubt, but that doesn’t necessarily peg her as part of the “radical left (especially since, historically, more Muslims have identified as Republicans than Democrats). Nor does it make the business somehow cowardly for having taken it down. They’re a private business doing what they consider to be in their own best interest. That’s not censorship, that’s capitalism.

    This is entirely different than any of the other situations you mentioned because they weren’t forced or even severely pressured to do toe the line of correctness — they CHOSE to. The moment they became aware of a potential controversy, they tried to side-step it completely since, as they said, they’re in the business of food, not politics. However disingenuous it may have been to make the “safety” argument, there have also been enough frivolous lawsuits over such things, they might have likewise been doing themselves a favor in the long run.

    It’s not their job to throw themselves into the fray as to the finer points of free-speech, nor should they be condemned for deferring to the sensitivities of others (however silly and misguided they may be). Moreoever, you piling on just seems all the more petty.

    PS: I don’t understand how you suddenly seem to be taking the side of the offenders in cases like this when, in the instance of the Park 51 mosque, you defended the offendees? I realize one involved a war crime and the other involves breakfast but, in terms of one group trying to censor another, I would consider them linked.

    • Off the mark, I think, Neil.

      1. I didn’t say she was a member of the radical left. In fact, I didn’t use that term in relation to her at all. I said “it is the political position of radical progressives who believe in prompting self-censorship by threats and the strict enforcement of bland public discourse.” Note the absence of a comma. Not all radical progressives take this position, nor are the only people who take this position radical, or progressives. It is, however the position of the radical progressives who believe in prompting self-censorship by threats and the strict enforcement of bland public discourse.

      2. “Nor does it make the business somehow cowardly for having taken it down. They’re a private business doing what they consider to be in their own best interest. That’s not censorship, that’s capitalism.”

      No, Neil, that’s capitalism being cowardly, and using a flat out unethical principle to do so. Read similar positions on Cracker Barrel and the general Duck Dynasty flap.

      3. They chose to, making it even worse, because the principle their choice embodies underlies the political correctness threats of the others. First you toe the line out of fear, then out of habit. Surely you comprehend that the latter stage is the more alarming, and follows from the first.

      4.”It’s not their job to throw themselves into the fray as to the finer points of free-speech, nor should they be condemned for deferring to the sensitivities of others (however silly and misguided they may be).”

      Of course it is. It’s everybody’s job to uphold our liberties and Constitutional principles.

      5. What “offenders”? There was no legitimate offense. Mentioning “bacon” is not an offense in any community, including one that is 99% Islamic, if its objective is to attract the business of the 1%. You cannot seriously be analogizing that imaginary offense with the completely discretionary erection of a flamboyant mosque within spitting distance of the site where 2700 people were murdered by Islamic terrorists praising Allah. You don’t understand the difference?

      • And the more I consider your analogy, the more inexplicable your reasoniing it seems. The mosque had nothing to do with political correctness…in fact, the knee-jerk defense of the project was political correctness, with those objecting to a presence guaranteed to inflame lingering pain over a massive tragedy being labelled as racists and bigots when they were simply being human beings, and their response was completely natural. There were thousands of New Yorkers offended by the mosque, and one grandstanding Moslem offended by “bacon.” Unless her loved ones had recently been murdered by rampaging bacon, she has no basis for her aversion to the word at all. The political correctness mantra that a single person’s expression of offense mandates removal of the offending image, word or individual cannot be compared in any way to a wounded community objecting to a permanent reminder of the worst day in their lives.

        If the Washington Redskins proposed moving next door to a Cherokee reservation, I would regard it as the equivalent of the mosque.

  5. The women actually made two complaints; the first was the nonsensical one about the offense regarding bacon, and the second potentially legitimate regarding the cluttered signs. I reject the first, but would accept the second, as a reason to remove the sign.

    • Sure, except the order shows what her real concerns were, and the bistro cited the dumb one and “diversity.”
      How was the sign a real safety hazard? Were the old “Burma-shave” signs safety hazards?

  6. Political correctness equates political power. Every time you can cause someone or some organization to capitulate to your demands- no matter how unreasonable, and publicly- you have gained power through fear. Even something as seemingly small as this incident in Winooski is nevertheless multiplied in its effects by a plenthora of similar incidents previously and merely sets the stage for more. Political correctness may be the most destructive concept ever pushed on America and may yet be the weapon that destroys our freedom and culture… as it was intended to be from the onset.

    • I agree with your comments. As a woman, I am offended in what is disguised as “politically correct”. All of America’s rights are being slowly drained away by the few who will never be at peace until everyone is a zombie whose mantra will be “Sorry I did not consult my political dictionary” Please beat me until I can no longer speak.

  7. I’ve read about re-education in the Communist take over of China where people were turned in by their neighbors and even their family to be re-educated so that they developed correct thinking.
    How far off could it be when we see these kinds of examples daily?

  8. Jack,
    Good thing the world has moved on. You’re running head first into a brick wall and no one on the other side even has any idea.

  9. Jack,
    You misunderstand (a perennial problem between you and I). I meant only that the protests had failed to gain any traction. The center (which was a prayer space long before the controversy ever started) is now open and, by all accounts, has incited no negative repercussions, and further installations are soon to open. The world moved on.

    As to the rest, time (or lack thereof) prohibits me from crafting lengthy responses to what are otherwise silly digressions while I’m at work. Moreover, it’s clear neither of us is liable to change the other’s mind, much less cede any ground, so I decided to let it go.

    However, if closure is important to you then yes, I cede.

    -Neil

    • You get extra credit for using “cede.”

      Check your facts. The planned Park51 center, which was to include a 13 story tower, was never built. The size and flamboyance of the plan was a main part of the controversy….that the Center would be a loomimg shadow of Islam over the neighborhood where senstivities were raw.

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