ONE OF THE silliest oh-no-she-didn't (head swivel optional) moments that people are talking about isn't another glaring slip-up by
Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton
- or even by
Sen. Barack Obama
, who has suffered some unfortunate slips of his own of late.
No, this one happened over that most American of treats, doughnuts, as Dunkin' Donuts set out to cream the competition (that would be Starbucks) in a new advertising campaign. At issue is an ad by Dunkin' Donuts featuring none other than daytime-talk-show hostess Rachael Ray. In photographic stills of her from the commercial, Ray looks as cute and perky as ever as she holds onto an iced latte. But wrapped around her neck is a black and white scarf that looks a bit like a keffiyeh, a traditional scarf worn by Arab men popularized by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat.
No, say it ain't so, Dunkin'. I'm being facetious, but as you might have guessed the blogosphere has been churning with condemnation for Ray who probably never dreamed that because of a piece of patterned cloth that her patriotism would be called into question. An entry on www.littlegreenfootballs is headlined "mainstreaming terrorism to sell donuts."
And on her Web site, right-wing blogger Michelle Malkin refers to Rachael's accessory as "jihadi chic" and as "hate couture." "The keffiyeh, for the clueless, is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad," the Fox commentator wrote 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."
Faster than you can say two-coffees-with-cream-and-sugar, the doughnut chain has pulled the commercial and says in a statement that any similarity between the scarf and Muslim gear was unintentional:
"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."
So, will everyone please calm down and stuff a doughnut in your mouth? No, the Massachusetts-based company didn't actually say that. But maybe officials should have, and added, Rachael Ray isn't a terrorist. And wearing whatever it was that was wrapped around her neck doesn't make her one nor does it necessarily signal an inclination for violence on her part or anyone else's.
Given how her career has blossomed, Ray's probably too busy building her brand to worry herself about sending subtle messages to promote radical causes. Perhaps if Dunkin' Donuts decides to reshoot the ad, Ray should make a point of wearing an American flag pin so everyone can be really clear about where she's coming from. *