You have to get used to a certain amount of posturing in this business, just accept that a lot of the people you're talking to are saying things just for effect. But honestly, the posturing in the last week over Indiana's Religious Freedom Restoraion Act has become insufferable.
Oh, look, Connecticut is banning state-funded travel to Indiana over the RFRA, but, oops, Connecticut has an RFRA, too. Chicago Mayor Rahm Immanuel is inviting Hoosier firms upset over the RFRA to relocate, but, hang on there, Illinois has an RFRA as well. The NCAA is darned upset it has to have the Final Four in that bigoted Indianapolis as unbeaten Kentucky tries ... well, gosh darn it, Kentucky has an RFRA! Hillary Clinton tsk tsks that mean old Mike Pence shouldn't discriminated against people because of who they love. Oh, say, didn't her hsuband sign the federal RFRA into law?
I could go on and on, but you get the point. It's obvious none of these posturers have actually read the law or thought about the 20-year history of such laws. But in an important way, what's actually happened doesn't matter, and what the las says is mostly irrelevant -- it's all about the signaling. Reason's Scott Shackford:
As we can see from the graph, many of these RFRAs passed when gay marriage recognition was an unpopular concept, polling below 40 percent. Now that gay marriage is increasingly popular, this RFRA has become a signals contest in the culture war. Obviously nobody is obligated to engage in any form of discrimination in Indiana, and I would wager that 99.9 percent of Indiana's businesses will not turn away a single person for being gay. But it's all about positioning yourself within this moment we're having. Pence has to pretend the law doesn't protect bigotry against gays because that doesn't poll so well anymore, but can't seem to argue that protecting civil liberties often requires defending bigots or it's not really a civil liberty. The CEO of Apple has to write a big commentary about how discrimination is wrong and bad, and how you should also know that Apple, the company that he works for that sells many, many expensive things to customers, would never do such a thing. The band Wilco just tweeted they were canceling their show in Indianapolis.
Wilco's "signaling" here also stands in as a weird sort of collective punishment. What does anybody who is likely to attend a Wilco concert or any of the businesses with which they are likely to interface have to do with this law? Nothing.
Massive gaming convention Gen Con had initially made a big deal about possibly moving out of state in response to passage of the RFRA, to "deny" the state millions in revenue. But that's confusing the government of the state with the citizens of the state. It's businesses in Indianapolis who actually rake in money from the convention. Gen Con has backed off for now after actually talking to the businesses that they deal with, who of course have absolutely no interest in discriminating against any gay Gen Con attendees.
But they signaled loud and clear. It doesn't actually matter that the RFRA won't really lead to some sort of new dark ages against the gays because culture simply has no interest in going there. The important thing is that people position themselves properly to be seen as good people by their peers.
And the mother-of-all posturing, er, signaling awards goes to, The Indianapolis Star, which had a dramatically printed editorial that took up the whole front page! I've been in this business a long time, and I know you don't do a front-page editorial just because you think there's a big problem to solve or an urgent issue to address. You do it, too, because you want to make a statement about yourself, be seen in a certain way. The Star has just made the statement, in the most preening way possible, "Look at us, we're the good guys, too!" Congratulations, Star editors. In a week full of horse's asses, you are the biggest horse's asses of all.