May 31, 2008

Full of Holes: The Extremist Attack on Dunkin Donuts

Like many people, I want 01.20.09 — Bush’s last day in office — declared an international holiday. But even with “the End of an Error” in sight, right-wing extremists continue to wreak their corrosive damage, and are now invading the seemingly sheltered world of corporate junk food…

The latest fiasco is an attack on Dunkin Donuts by neo-fascist Michelle Malkin, who apparently boasts the intellect of a sand flea. She pressured Dunkin to drop their online campaign featuring the vivacious Rachael Ray because (drum roll please) Ray is wearing a scarf. But not just any scarf. In Malkin’s myopic and hate-filled vision, the scarf looks like an Arab kaffiyeh, which “has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad.”

Gee, who knew that Ray, an Emmy-nominated cooking show host of Sicilian and Cajun descent, was a member of Hamas? Well, she does look kinda Arab, and who knows what she could be slipping into her spicy sausage meatloaf patties?

The sad part? Dunkin Donuts capitulated to Malkin’s wallowing ignorance and yanked the campaign. I guess the donut chain saw its customers as true believers of Malkin and other ayatollahs of American demagoguery. “Hey, these people buy our unhealthy grub, they must be stupid.”

Imagine if they had stood their ground or even fought back? Dunkin Donuts is currently taking on Starbucks for the yuppie-coffee market — what better way to reach out to the latte class than by standing up against Neanderthals? They could have won some new customers who think racism and paranoia are bad things. Instead, their capitulation has likely hurt their brand and their outreach (there are now Facebook groups calling for a Dunkin Donuts boycott), while ensuring that a steady supply of bigots and boneheads continues to patronize Dunkin counters.

It also gives Malkin clout and validation in addition to the publicity she so desperately craves. Nice job, Michelle, in trumping up coverage for your virulent anti-American jihad. In fact, why stop there? Why not force Kentucky Fried Chicken to drop Colonel Sanders as a symbol? After all, he’s a bearded man with a military title, and that evokes Fidel Castro…

Or how about protesting that talking Beetle that’s the new spokesmodel for VW? He speaks with a German accent, and we all know that Volkswagen (the “People’s Car” in German) was commissioned by Adolf Hitler. In fact, shouldn’t we ban VW in general because they symbolize German extremism?

Oops, I forgot, you dig on fascism. My bad.

Even if Ray’s scarf were a kaffiyeh — which it wasn’t (it was actually a paisley print, as can be seen in the photo) — wouldn’t that be a good thing? A kaffiyeh is not a symbol of extremism; it’s a common adornment in certain Arab countries, like neckties. And wouldn’t it be a GOOD thing if more Americans connected with the everyday people of the Middle East by understanding their culture and sharing in it? Unfortunately, “understanding” is something the wingnuts refuse to do, and which they don’t want anyone else to do, either.

Ironically, this blind hatred by our extremists is identical to the blind hatred by their extremists. Wouldn’t it be cool if we ordinary citizens of both sides could round-up our respective extremists and throw them into a giant octagon together where they could fight it out armed with nothing but their bare hands and oversized egos?

In the meantime, I hope Dunkin Donuts ultimately responds to this assault on intelligence and integrity by developing a new commercial showing an American family and an Arab family and an Arab-American family and a Jewish family and a black family and an all-of-the-above family all going out for some hot fresh donuts. Or is that simply too extreme to wish for?

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Freddy is the Founder & Creative Strategist of Atomic Tango. He also teaches at the University of Southern California (go Trojans!), shoots pool somewhat adequately, and herds cats. Freddy received his BA from Harvard and his MBA from USC.

13 Responses

  1. While I agree with the general idea of your post completely – and I really do think Americans have a tendency to take things to the extreme of political correctness(nothing personal – I’m American. too) – what she is wearing totally looks like a kafiya and I thought so the moment I saw it.

    Comparing it to the colonel or the Beetle (which, BTW, I heard a lot of people had a problem with) is not quite the same. The German and the Colonel are far stretches – her scarf isn’t. I guess I’m on the sensitive side of this particular issue for obvious reasons, because what I see around her neck, to me, is almost equivalent to a swastika.

    I wouldn’t NOT go to Dunkin Donuts because of it (I’m not a donut person anyway, though my thighs look like I am), I know the company didn’t do anything un-PC on purpose, and I wouldn’t hold it against them, but I think they made the right decision in pulling it, though it should’ve been done more gracefully, which may have been impossible considering the press surrounding the ad. Anyway someone should’ve probably noticed before it ever aired, but whatever.

    The post is 100% spot on – just not the given example.

    I still think you’re awesome, though, and don’t hold it against you. My love to the Mrs.

  2. yep this is almost as absurd as “Flag Pins & Yellow Ribbons”

    where will the right get their morning joe from? oops didn’t intend to plug their one term congressional wonderboy with that one, oh well :)

  3. Excellent post! I prefer Krispy Kremes anyway.

  4. I hope this doesn’t represent the views of all Americans otherwise there wont be any difference between us and those extremists who consider every Jeans wearing and English speaking person Bush’s buddy.

  5. yeah, its too extreme to wish for. I’m just glad I hate coffee!

  6. “In the meantime, I hope Dunkin Donuts ultimately responds to this assault on intelligence and integrity by developing a new commercial showing an American family and an Arab family and an Arab-American family and a Jewish family and a black family and an all-of-the-above family all going out for some hot fresh donuts. Or is that simply too extreme to wish for?”

    There’s the thing, man – you can’t stop there. We’d need an openly gay couple, an Asian (maybe we could get Michelle Malkin), the obligatory happily, thoroughly enabled person in wheelchair … that’s what makes advertising and this entire issue so humorous.

    Having said that, and judging by the tenor of your post, I doubt you’d be so exercised if a brand was tarred for assailing one of your more leftward values. You don’t look old enough to remember Anita Bryant being pulled from hawking Tropicana organge juice because of her anti-gay views. Was that a mindless capitulation to the Left?

    Bottom line is, it’s donuts! It’s orange juice! It’s advertising! I think we all have better things to get our bowels in an uproar over. My local bakery provides better donuts than Dunkin, better-tasting coffee than Starbucks, and at a lower price. I know we’re in the blogosphere, but let’s get over ourselves, folks!

    Freddy’s comment: Jeff, I would agree with you, except for the fact that Dunkin Donuts is right now making a major push to promote their premium coffees. That’s what Rachael was doing — she wasn’t hawking donuts. And yet Dunkin did the one thing that’s certain to alienate the left-leaning gourmet coffee crowd: they kowtowed to a racist wingnut. As mentioned, there are Facebookers already calling for a Dunkin Donuts boycott because of this. Does Dunkin really want to alienate that group for the sake of appeasing unenlightened right wingers? That’s just bad marketing strategy.

  7. “Wouldn’t it be cool if we ordinary citizens of both sides could round-up our respective extremists and throw them into a giant octagon together where they could fight it out armed with nothing but their bare hands and oversized egos?”

    I my self have fantasies about this!

  8. I’m conflicted

    1)That ignorant bitch is using PC tactics. Something the right lies about and says they disapprove of. But

    2)Anything that takes Rachel Ray off the air can’t be a bad thing, can it? I do wish it were the other way around, though.

  9. You got it right in my opinion. Dunkin Donuts essentially sent the message to nearly 10 million Americans of Arab descent that their cultural symbols ae unwelcomed in the US. As for the comment that an Arab scarf is equal to a Nazi swastika, it is indictative of how successful, until now, racist extremist like Malkin have been in fracturing US society and pitting us one against the other with empty rhetoric that has no evidence to support their claims. Of all the footage that I’ve ever seen of Al-Qadea, no one was wearing an Arab scarf except perhaps Bin Laden who has a suspect wardrober. He has` also been seen dressed as an Afghani, who are not Arabs, and also as an Iranian mullah, who also are not Arabs….

    I am very sad that Dunkin Donuts has no moral conscience and does not feel that as a major US corporation it has a moral obligation to this country to act responsibly. If that scarf had been a symbol of the Holocaust, Black, or European culture the response would have been different. I am also promoting a boycott of Dunkin Donuts among my family and friends.

  10. oh heck i may go buy some dunkin donuts just because some of you are crying so hard over this…plus…if we are all going to get together and fight it out in the octagon…why not make it a food fight and throw dunkin donuts at each other?…it would be a blast…plus…

    “Why not force Kentucky Fried Chicken to drop Colonel Sanders as a symbol? After all, he’s a bearded man with a military title, and that evokes Fidel Castro…”

    wow…i never thought of that..down with kfc!…actually that is a joke…i love commrade castro…

    Freddy’s comment: Be sure to wear your keffiyeh before you go.

  11. Your statement calling anyone an ayatollah plays right into their hands.By your saying that name you’ve instilled the same
    prejudice as ‘MAL-Kin’s’ leash handlers. If a personage comes to mind it would be JOSEPH GOEBBELS, OR ANY OF HIS MINIONS.Other wise I’m inclined to agree with most other points. Isn’t it INSIDIOUS how Pavlovian this ‘Administration’ and their media sleep-talkers lull one to spout their drivel?

    D’Ellis/Mohandas Lighque


    Freddy’s comment: You’re possibly right — the ayatollah label could be misapplied, since (according to Wikipedia) “those who carry the title are experts in Islamic studies such as jurisprudence, ethics, and philosophy,” and Malkin certainly does not know any of that. Then again, I used the term in the context of “American demagoguery,” and Malkin and her ilk are high priests and priestesses of it, so perhaps it’s quite appropriate after all. Note: I intentionally picked the term for its ironic value in this discussion, so Pavlov and sleep-talking had nothing to do with it. I call the practice “creative writing.”

  12. I actually did send an e-mail to Dunkin’ Donuts, protesting the fact that they pulled the ad. I got a response and sent them a second e-mail, protesting their response. See the comments area in my post to read the correspondence:
    http://mornacrites-moore.blogspot.com/2008/05/fair-warning-im-on-my-soapbox-and.html

  13. Any thoughts on the Obama campaign booting the Muslim women with the hijabs off the photo opp?

    Freddy: It was a bonehead move by an assistant, for which Obama quickly apologized. It just goes to show the level of anti-Arab prejudice that now permeates our society, and which people like Malkin help to fuel. Indeed, it’s terribly sad to see all the racism that this presidential election has exposed.

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