OMG! Look! It’s celebrity spokesperson Rachael Ray talking about Dunkin Donuts!! And look what she’s wearing around her neck! That looks vaguely middle eastern! It looks like a keffiyeh. Is she a terrorist-supporter?!? Does Dunkin Donuts (by inference) support terrorism?!?!?
Some observers, including ultra-conservative Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin, were so incensed by the ad that there was even talk of a Dunkin’ Donuts boycott.
‘‘The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad,’’ Malkin yowls in her syndicated column.
‘‘Popularized by Yasser Arafat and a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos, the apparel has been mainstreamed by both ignorant and not-so-ignorant fashion designers, celebrities, and left-wing icons.’’
The company at first pooh-poohed the complaints, claiming the black-and-white wrap was not a keffiyeh. But the right-wing drumbeat on the blogosphere continued and by yesterday, Dunkin’ Donuts decided it’d be easier just to yank the ad.
Said the suits in a statement: ‘‘In a recent online ad, Rachael Ray is wearing a black-and-white silk scarf with a paisley design. It was selected by her stylist for the advertising shoot. Absolutely no symbolism was intended. However, given the possibility of misperception, we are no longer using the commercial.’’
Now, what’s important to grasp here is that the scarf in question (see link) is rather clearly just a scarf. It is admittedly black and white, which apparently would be symbolic in the Palestinian world, except I’m not sure if something frilly and paisley can ever really count as being as menacing as we are supposed to believe. And there’s clearly no pro-terrorist vibe being intended by Dunkin Freaking Donuts — Ray is holding a latte, which I’m pretty sure is like kryptonite to jihadists. I don’t know, I’m not up on all the comic-book-style interpretations of what we should and shouldn’t be afraid of these days.
No, the issue was that there was a scarf that looked sortof like something Islamic. That’s it. That was enough to dampen pants and blister typing fingers across the great and paranoid conservative nation. Maybe it was a scandalous example of unintended cultural tolerance? Maybe it was a secret message to terrorists that they could count on Dunkin’ Donuts to cater their next meeting? Or, maybe, it was just a goddamn scarf.
So this is what we’ve (well, I say "we", but I mean a small subset of American patriots who, having absolutely no intention of doing anything meaningful for their country that involves getting out of their chairs, spend their days looking for secret terrorist messages in television commercials) been reduced to. We’re examining the fashion statements of donut ads and parsing them for hints of surreptitious Islamic culture. We’re locked into a mortal combat against those that casually accessorize without remembering that we are at war; we’re mere weeks away from probing the hidden alliances of the doilies on our grandmothers’ coffee tables
My response? I’m going to boycott Dunkin Donuts for bowing to the stupid pressures of alarmist wingnuts.