A Dunkin' Donuts ad featuring celebrity chef Rachel Ray was pulled today after a scarf she was wearing in the ad incited a firestorm across the blogosphere (and on The View--that TV show with the four obnoxious women hosts; they have four hosts, I think, because there is some obligation on the part of a host's family to watch the show, and their audience would be nonexistent without the hubbies and kids watching. The show is truly horrendous, as must be any show featuring Whoopi Goldberg).
Apparently Ms. Ray was subtly doing her part to support the "Axis of Evil" (as our eloquent President has so often called them), those evil terrorists (those of Arab descent who routinely wear keffiyeh's). The keffiyeh, as reported online at USA Today's Lifeline Live, while traditional Arab headwear, has come to symbolize the Palestinian jihad (recall that the keffiyeh was the late Yasser Arafat's trademark--remember? It looked like a mini gingham checked tablecloth wrapped around his head?). Her scarf, apparently, looked like a keffiyeh.
So her ad got pulled.
And apparently, she's now marked as a suspected supporter of terrorists.
I have to ask; does this smack of McCarthyism to you too? Recall McCarthy, that stringent anti-communist who drummed up a varitable witch hunt that operated under the unspoken philosophy that if they, "smell like a communist, look like a communist, sound like a communist: they must be a communist"? In fact, his almost religious fervor incited a kind of paranoia, where the mere suspicion of communist sympathies was enough to ruin you, so to ensure there was NO doubt of your allegiances, you feed some other poor soul to the wolves (because, after all, who's going to suspect you of communist leanings when you're turning in OTHER communists?).
And so here we are in 2008, a more "enlightened" age, and we find ourselves caught up in that same terrible trap. The simple truth of the matter is, I'm not particularly afraid that Ms. Ray is going to smuggle a jar full of anthrax into her TV kitchen and include it as the "secret" ingredient in her new special brownies. I'm reasonably confident that she's not taking pilot's lessons in the evenings, badgering her instructor to teach her to take-off, that the landings aren't important. I suspect that she's not set up a numbered account in the Cayman Islands where she makes periodic large deposits, which are then transferred directly out to Mr. bin Laden's numbered account at the First Bank of the Desolate Afghani Wilderness (it's the only bank that has a branch out in the middle of godforsaken-nowhere, where Osama's forced to hide out).
She's just not a credible threat.
But then, I think you know that. Which goes to prove my point: we know Ms. Ray isn't wearing a keffiyeh; we know she's not a terrorist or terrorist supporter; but we're caught up in that same hysteria that spawned that embarrassing period in American history--McCarthyism. And so we see something that resembles smoke, and we call "FIRE!".
Politically, I'm a conservative (although I find many of the Libertarian ideals philosophically appealing). I generally vote Republican (hope it's OK to say that here). But I have to say that I think we've done our society a disservice when we've hyped an issue so loudly and so long (primarily for political gain) that we start secretly suspecting innocent scarf-wearing TV cooks of terrorist allegiances.
I've written about it before: politicians tend to take non-issues (or small issues), blow them out of proportion, then offer themselves as the solution to that issue (which was, interestingly enough, created by them in the first place) in order to get elected. This, unfortunately, is the danger in that; the non-issue that was blown out of proportion in order to advance some politicians and/or political parties ambitions, takes on a life of it's own, and begins to chew folks (like the poor Ms. Ray) up.
Ah! But what am I saying? I should rest easier tonight. After all, now that we've got the evil Ms. Ray's Dunkin' Donuts ad pulled, our borders are more secure, there's less risk of airliners flying into tall buildings, and I can open my mail without fear of powdered poisons puffing out at me.
I sure am glad Sean Hannity warned us...