• TONYSTEWARD@FLICKR.COM

As someone who doesn’t eat meat, follow fast-food trends, or listen to This American Life, I didn’t know about the Chick-fil-A tent-city phenomenon until I read yesterday’s Trib report on the grand opening of an outlet in Wheaton. It’s the third Chick-fil-A to open in the Chicago area in the last few weeks. As usual, people camped out overnight in the store’s parking lot, hoping to take advantage of the First 100 program—which grants a free weekly meal for a whole year to the first 100 people in line when a store opens at 6 AM. By some accounts the Wheaton opening was “Disneyland” compared to last month’s opening in Orland Park, mainly because of the balmy-for-November temps.

If there’s a better symbol of current American culture than an ephemeral Hooverville created by devotees of fast food and God, I don’t know about it.