The Plague Of Corporate Weenies: Crackerbarrel Strikes Again!

cracker-barrel-noose

When last we left Cracker Barrel restaurants, the chain’s management was flip-flopping like mad as it tried to figure out which “principles” would alienate the fewest customers.

In 2013, reacting to A&E’s craven PC punishment of Phil Robertson of cable’s Duck Dynasty clan for expressing the basic religious convictions of millions of Americans regarding homosexuality in response to an GQ interviewer’s question, Cracker Barrel pulled its products with Phil’s likeness, saying in a statement,

Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture…. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.”

My translation of this weaselly screed: :

‘We at Cracker Barrel have no principles whatsoever. We are a blank slate; we go with the flow. There is no right or wrong for us: whatever position we feel we have to hold to get the most people to buy our products, you can count on us. If 51% of America begins worshiping Baal, hey, sacrifice a goat for in our name, because we’re all in. If the majority want to ban, hey, anything or anyone, we’re in full agreement. We aim to please, in any way that helps our bottom line.’

Sure enough, as soon as it looked like the tide of public opinion was turning against GLAAD and other LBGTQ activists in their effort to “cancel” a member of a large religious community for expressing his beliefs, Cracker Barrel turned on a dime, and bleated,

When we made the decision to remove and evaluate certain Duck Dynasty items, we offended many of our loyal customers. Our intent was to avoid offending, but that’s just what we’ve done. You told us we made a mistake. And, you weren’t shy about it. You wrote, you called and you took to social media to express your thoughts and feelings. You flat out told us we were wrong. We listened. Today, we are putting all our Duck Dynasty products back in our stores. And, we apologize for offending you.”

Continue reading

Ethics Dunce: Food Lion

I suppose the silver lining in our various corporations and businesses groveling to anti-American groups and movements is that their owners and leaders lack any convictions, values, principles or integrity, so they will abandon stupid decisions as  thoughtlessly as they made them. Remember how quickly Cracker Barrel  did a mid-air double backflip when it first condemned “Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson, then changed its corporate mind the second it realized its original position would forfeit more profit that the reverse? That’s Food Lion. That’s most of these spineless, weasel-wired organizations.

Yecchh. Continue reading

On Boycotts, Vendettas, Grudges And Principles: The Unethical Theater Group And Me

Over the weekend I attended a local theater production at the behest of an old friend who was involved in it. I did so with great hesitation. You see, several decades ago, I directed a show for this company, an old and popular community institution. Not only was I treated as miserably as I have ever been treated by an organization in my life; my cast and staff were abused as well. I encountered perpetual arrogance, nastiness, pettiness and hostility, all of which is common in the theater world and especially the amateur end of it, but not on this level.

I would enjoy itemizing the particulars of my indictment against this organization, but it would be an indulgence, and would necessarily lengthen the post. I’ll just note that the fact that an African-American member of my cast and her family were harassed more than once by the venomous seniors running the company like their own private East Germany was not an indispensable part of my conclusion that the company was  a special gift from Hell. I would have come to the same conclusion even if the group hadn’t been racist as well as venal, exploitive, dictatorial, mean, incompetent, vindictive, and stupid.

So I attended the show, which was not bad at all, though I felt like Jeff Goldblum making a visit to Jurassic Park. (The tickets were comped: it I had to pay a cent for them, I would not have gone.) My last time in that building—the group owns its theater facilities–I vowed not only that I would never return, but that I would take every opportunity to undermine the company’s strength, viability, reputation and existence. I had, too, until I attended the show. I take pride in the fact that I have warned many previously naive artists away from getting involved in the group, and I have kept many theater-goers away as well. It is my theatrical Moby Dick, I suppose: to the last I’ll grapple with it; from hell’s heart I’ll stab at it; for hate’s sake I’ll spit my last breath at it.

During the performance, which had its boring and annoying features, I found myself reflecting on this state of mind. Is it ethical to hold a grudge that long and that strong?

It certainly can be, to be sure. In cases like this, however, I believe that staying the course is a matter of integrity. Continue reading

Comment of the Day: “The Destruction Of Doug Adler : Guerillas, Gorillas, ESPN And The First Niggardly Principle”

 

I am not in the business of jeremiads, being an optimistic sort, but now and then a post here triggers an articulate and persuasive allegation of existential ethics rot. Such is the latest Comment of the Day, courtesy of reader slickwilly, his first. It was prompted by another commenter’s rueful observations on slickwilly’s earlier musings (sparked by the ESPN reporter whose use of the term “guerilla” was mistakenly attacked as a racial slur, losing him his job) on the public school system, in which he wrote in part,

I pity the teachers (and I live with one) who are afraid to offend a parent by reporting the “perfect little angel’s” latest misdeed, upon pain of possible job and pension loss. (I know of a school district that does not allow a student to flunk… writing a name on an assignment guarantees a passing grade. Butts in seats are how districts are paid, here) I agree with the ‘confronted and taught’ idea in principle, but how do you put that into practice, when doing so can destroy your ability to put food on the table for your family?

To which Zoltar Speaks! replied:

“Have we become a society of wimps unwilling to stand up for our convictions? At some point responsible adults must unite and take a stand regardless of the possibility of negative consequences. Even ignorant people know that there is power in numbers; so choose your battle, gain numerical support, focus on right and wrong, be on the side of right, and stand up for your convictions.”

Here is slickwilly’s Comment of the Day in response, on the post, The Destruction Of Doug Adler : Guerillas, Gorillas, ESPN And The First Niggardly Principle:

Have we become a society of wimps unwilling to stand up for our convictions?

Short answer: yes.

In many cases, there are no convictions to stand up for.

We are seeing the Republic die of apathy. There was some awakening when Trump was elected, but the majority of ‘normal’ folks I interact with each day (work and socially) just cannot be bothered to understand the issues, much less get engaged enough to have an opinion at all. If they DO have an opinion, it was usually delivered to them via meme or the MSM, and they cannot defend it.

Americans as a society have had things good for too many generations now for people to believe in an existential threat unless and until it directly impacts their lives. We live atop a thin veneer of civil behavior and mistakenly believe this crust is miles deep and the natural order of things. Continue reading

Unethical Quote Of The Week: SunTrust Bank

pop weasel2

“SunTrust supports the rights of all Americans to fully exercise their freedoms granted under the Constitution, including those with respect to free speech and freedom of religion.”

—-SunTrust Bank, doing its best Cracker Barrel imitation by reversing its decision, announced  earlier in the day, to pull all of its listed properties with the Benham brothers’ bank-owned property business.

SunTrust was following the lead of craven, political correctness bully-enabling HGTV, which a week ago announced it was canceling a planned home renovation show hosted by the Benhams as punishment for their conservative views on same-sex marriage, because, as we all know, gays are the heart and soul of the home renovation business. Thus emboldened, the bank decided that citizens opposing same-sex marriage as taught by the faith they had been raised to embrace deserved to have their business harmed, since that’s what the SunTrust suits’ moistened fingers in the wind told them their sensitive, right-thinking customers wanted.

But the announcement turned that wind into a roaring hurricane of protest from conservatives, and, we can at least hope, some actual liberals among Democrats who comprehend that banks should not be enforcers of the growing, un-American movement to make life nasty, brutish and short for anyone who dares to see the world differently from the news media, the universities, and the rest of the thought-crime legislators among us. Thus the quick reversal, and the noble words above.

So why is SunTrust’s impeccable affirmation of their iron-clad support for our precious freedom unethical? Continue reading

A&E Does A Cracker Barrel

spine poster

The fecklessness and lack of core principles exhibited by our corporations is often breathtaking.

A&E has now, like Cracker Barrel, stuck its pusillanimous finger in the air and  decided that their “strong sense of integrity and deep commitment” to principle means that they do what whatever interest group has the most profit potential for them down the line wants them to do. Thus Phil Robertson is back on “Duck Dynasty,” and his “indefinite suspension” has been disclaimed by his employers. You can read A&E’s nauseating statement here…I considered posting it, but I don’t have the heart.

Everything I wrote previously about Cracker Barrel’s reversal on this same incident applies to A&E, but let me add this.

An organization with no core principles distinct from the profit motive is capable of anything, including outright evil. It is not worthy of trust. I would not and could not work for such an organization, and this episode makes me wonder if the entire concept of corporate ethics is a lie.

__________________________

Pointer: ablativmeatshld

Facts: Hollywood Reporter

 

On Cracker Barrel’s Poll-Driven “Principles”

Well, they got the color right...

Well, they got the color right…

Cracker Barrel just proved that integrity and principle are alien concepts, if not to the entire corporate sector, then at least its cheesy, weaselly corner of it. Watching a company so blatantly hold its wet finger to the wind waiting to see where the “principles” with the most profitability lie is revolting, but instructive to those of us who like to believe there are such things as ethical corporations. I think we’re probably fooling ourselves. I think they are nearly all like the spineless, pusillanimous, grovelling Cracker Barrel, but just smarter about it. But then, a box of hammers could be smarter about it.

First, reacting to A&E’s craven PC punishment of Phil Robertson of cable’s Duck Dynasty clan for expressing the basic religious convictions of millions of Americans (they think homosexuality is voluntary, and a sin) in response to an GQ interviewer’s question, Cracker Barrel pulled products with Phil’s likeness, saying in a statement,

“Cracker Barrel’s mission is Pleasing People. We operate within the ideals of fairness, mutual respect and equal treatment of all people. These ideals are the core of our corporate culture…. We removed selected products which we were concerned might offend some of our guests while we evaluate the situation.”

I thought this was unusually weasel-worded, and I was right. The translation, in retrospect:

‘We at Cracker Barrel have no principles whatsoever. We are a blank slate; we go with the flow. There is no right or wrong for us: whatever position we feel we have to hold to get the most people to buy our products, you can count on us. If 51% of America begins worshiping Baal, hey, sacrifice a goat for in our name, because we’re all in. If the majority want to ban, hey, anything or anyone, we’re in full agreement. We aim to please, in any way that helps our bottom line.’ Continue reading

Ethics Note To Senator Cruz: You Can’t Begin A Principled Stand With A Lie

Little is more damaging to the public’s trust and faith in government than when elected officials engage in gratuitous lies—statements that can only convince those who don’t bother to check the facts underlying them, made for their momentary impact on the theory that the effect is worth the eventual exposure of the lie for what it is. Such lies are detestable, because they not only reinforce the impression that politicians lie when their lips are moving, they also convey the message that lies are merely tools of the politicians trade, and not even particularly shameful or worthy of criticism. When a politician engages in such transparent dishonesty, he or she is saying, quite literally, that lying is no big deal.

It is a big deal. It is especially a big deal when the point of the lie is to fool the public into believing something the politician is doing is a big deal itself, when it is really a sham.

Welcome to Sen. Ted Cruz and his fake filibuster, also known as Ted Cruz’s Bad Jimmy Stewart Impression.

"Ted, I knew Mr. Smith, and you're no Mr. Smith. You're not even Rand Paul..."

“Ted, I knew Mr. Smith, and you’re no Mr. Smith. You’re not even Rand Paul…”

Evoking memories of the Frank Capra classic, “Mr. Smith Goes To Washington,” Sen. Cruz told the world that he was going to talk on the floor of the Senate against Obamacare until he couldn’t stand any more…you know, just like the Jimmy’s idealistic junior Senator in the film, who finally collapses of exhaustion to end his filibuster but whose courage makes the corrupt, manipulating senior Senator from his state confess that he was trying to fund a lousy health care b…no, wait, it had something to do with a kids camp and influence peddling. I haven’t seen the film in a while.

Cruz, however, unlike Stewart, is not engaging in a filibuster, because he is not trying to block a vote or anything else: Senator Majority Leader Harry Reid has scheduled a vote on funding the Affordable Care Act for today, whereupon Cruz has to sit down and shut up whether he can still stand or not. Continue reading

A Party Of Portmans, Of Cynics, Of Losers, Or No Party At All

GOP-ButtonThe just released GOP post mortem on the 2012 election is either wishy-washy, cynical, ambiguous or confused, depending on your level of charity. Personally, I would call it useless, as any internal assessment is likely to be when an organization knows that it will be dissected by unfriendly critics and used against them by outright enemies. It is also depressing.

In its essence, the report is about “messaging,” a.k.a marketing, a.k.a. “making people like what you’re peddling by not really letting them know the truth about it.” Undeniably, the Democrats have been better at this in recent years, as passing Obamacare without ever explaining what was in it either to the public or the legislators voting for it, running in 2008 as the tonic for all of George W. Bush’s supposed assaults on human and Constitutional rights and then pretty much adopting all of them and a couple more, like drone strikes, and perhaps most of all, making “transparency” a centerpiece of the 2008 campaign and then delivering a governing style that is anything but. “Messaging” to political parties means “lying” to the so-called “low information voter,” and no doubt about it, the Democrats were better at lying—not necessarily more prolific at it, now, but better—than Republicans in 2012

They must be so proud.

Thus the post mortem lurches between vague appeals to messaging and disturbing assertions that principle and integrity are just too darn risky in 2013 America. For example, the report notes that Republicans were tarred as the party of the rich–hardly a new label, based on those 1920’s political cartoons I have on file, but apparently more Americans don’t like rich people, and would rather be poor people who take the rich people’s money, or something…the report isn’t quite clear on why being rich in America is now somehow a bad thing. The report, therefore, seems to suggest a range of alternatives: Continue reading

What Al Should Have Said

I have no illusions about Al Gore, but he will always occupy a warm place in my heart.

Gore

My first run-in with Al Gore was long ago. I had taken over the president’s job at a struggling national health promotion organization, and Sen. Gore was our angel in Congress. Health care screening was his mission back then, and he opened doors to sponsors, allies and funding around the country. Then, one day, he stopped answering our phone calls. We were curtly told that Sen. Gore was no longer the Herald of Preventive Health Care. Now he was the guru of something called “the information super-highway,” and we would have to fend for ourselves. (The organization went belly-up a year later). Thus I learned that Gore was nothing if not opportunistic, and perhaps not the guy you would want to be in a World War II foxhole with if he spoke fluent German.

Still, I can’t imagine how hard it must be to be the unlucky loser of the highest office in the land in one the nation’s rare popular vote/electoral vote splits, and I admire the fact that Al’s not in a rubber room by now. I thought his concession speech in 2000 was one of the high-points of political nobility during my lifetime, and the  Saturday Night Live appearance that was Gore’s farewell to politics will always stand as one of the bravest, quirkiest, saddest, funniest, most fascinating public breast-barings in media history. Al is a phony, and an opportunist, and I wouldn’t trust him as far as I could throw him, but he’s lived out a roller-coaster life in the hot lights of center stage, and I’m not certain I could do it any better. Continue reading