Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rachael Ray, Dunkin' Donuts, and the bigoted lunacy of Michelle Malkin

By Michael J.W. Stickings

You want insane? This is insane:

Dunkin' Donuts has pulled an online advertisement featuring Rachael Ray after complaints that a fringed black-and-white scarf that the celebrity chef wore in the ad offers symbolic support for Muslim extremism and terrorism.

The coffee and baked goods chain said the ad that began appearing online May 7 was pulled over the past weekend because "the possibility of misperception detracted from its original intention to promote our iced coffee."

In the spot, Ray holds an iced coffee while standing in front of trees with pink blossoms.

Take a look at the image. Do you find it offensive? If so, how?

Oh, because Rachael Ray's scarf looks like a keffiyeh? And because such Arab headdresses, worn by men, are offensive? Did that even cross you mind?

Well, it crossed the "mind" of at least one bigoted right-wing lunatic, Michelle Malkin, who claimed, in response to the ad, that the keffiyeh "has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad."

Right, sure. And of course Rachael Ray -- she of 30-minute meal fame, she who has introduced EVOO, yum-o, and delish to our culinary lexicon -- is so easily mistaken for Yasser Arafat or your generic al Qaeda beheader.

It's a fucking coffee ad! For Dunkin' Donuts!

In point of fact -- if I may respond to Malkin's bigoted lunacy from the perspective of, you know, reality -- a keffiyeh is a common piece of clothing of many variations. Yes, Arafat wore one and it become, in a way, associated with Palestinian nationalism, and, no, Malkin isn't the first to link it to jihadist terrorism, but, as a University of Chicago anthropologist put it, in response to Malkin's response to the ad, "making an association between a kaffiyeh and terrorism is just an example of how so much of the complexity of Arab culture has been reduced to a very narrow vision of the Arab world on the part of some people in the U.S. Kaffiyehs are worn every day on the street by Palestinians and other people in the Middle East -- by people going to work, going to school, taking care of their families, and just trying to keep warm."

But, then, such reality is lost on the Malkins of the world, those who associate not just a piece of clothing but much of Muslim life with terrorism.

But this assumes that the scarf Rachael Ray is wearing in the ad is actually a keffiyeh. It isn't. It's a fucking scarf!

Now, all this happened several days ago. Since Malkin's complaining, Dunkin' Donuts has dropped the ad. Malkin has praised the company for the move, but, as a once-frequent consumer of its products (I went to college in the Boston area), and as one who prefers reality to bigotry-based lunacy, I'm appalled.

And my friend Steve Benen, updating the story today, gets it right -- right in the title of his post: "Dunkin’ Donuts caves to the right’s fear of clothing accessories." And he reminds of just how offensive Malkin is, she who actually compared the keffiyah to a KKK hood, as if all Arab men are akin to white supremacist lynchers.

"I think I need a scarf to keep my jaw from hitting the floor," says our Capt. Fogg over at The Impolitic.

Alas, it's just more of the same, the all-too-predictable same, from Malkin and her right-wing ilk.

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