Thursday, May 29, 2008

Rachael Ray... Terrorist?

Imagine my surprise as I logged into my AIM account this morning and was greated with the headline, "Rachael Ray's 'Terrorist' Ad Yanked" Well, I guess the rediculous headline did what it was supposed to do, because I went ahead and had a look. Apparently Dunkin Donuts has pulled an advertisement featuring Rachael Ray because her stylist put her in a white silk scarf with a black paisley pattern.

Yup. Scarf.

Terrorist scarf!

But Michelle Malkin apparently thinks I'm clueless about the symbolism of the terrorist paisley pattern, so let's rectify that, shall we? Malkin says that the paisley scarf that Rachael Ray is wearing "appears to be a black-and-white keffiyeh." She goes on to say,
It's just a scarf, the clueless keffiyeh-wearers scoff. Would they say the same of fashion designers who marketed modified Klan-style hoods in Burberry plaid as the next big thing?
Wow, keffiyeh are exactly like Klan hoods. Maybe I am a clueless... And yet, Malkin's condescending and vitriolic tone doesn't quite have me convinced that she is a neutral and reliable source of facts. I mean, really, who does she think she is? A FOX News pundit? What's that? She is? Oh. Well. That explains a lot.

Anyway, I decided to do a little research into the keffiyeh through Wikipedia, which is linked in my sidebar. And what I learned is that the keffiyeh is a traditional headress of Arab men and "is commonly found in arid climate areas to provide protection from direct sun exposure, as well as for occasional use in protecting the mouth and eyes from blown dust and sand."

It is true that Yasser Arafat has made the particular pattern of his keffiyeh a trademark symbol that has come to represent his politics. Even the way in which he wears the garment is symbolic, as "Early on, he had made it his personal trademark to drape the scarf over his right shoulder only and arranging it in the rough shape of a triangle, so resembling the outlines of the territory claimed by Palestine."

I suspect that it is also true, as Malkin says, that they are "a regular adornment of Muslim terrorists appearing in beheading and hostage-taking videos." I also suspect, however, that they are also a regular adornment of shopkeepers, taxi drivers, farmers, tailors... people who are kind and gentle as well as radical Islamic terrorists. In fact, our own military use keffiyeh "in military olive drab or khaki with black stitching" to keep the sand out of their faces as they do their duty in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Was Rachael Ray supporting Yasser Arafat in a Dunkin Doughnuts commercial by wearing a silk scarf that is the same color, almost the same cut, and not at all the same pattern as the keffiyeh Arafat has made his trademark? I sincerely doubt it. Was Dunkin Doughnuts right to pull the add? Actually... yes. Because Rachael Ray's scarf simply isn't important enough to be arguing over.

Although I am glad that I learned a little bit from all of this siliness. The keffiyeh is more like a baseball cap than a Klan hood. The Klan hood, as far as I can tell, is only worn by those who are in the Klan and subscribe to the Klan's positions. Baseball caps are worn in many different styles and colors for reasons varying from a simple need to keep the sun out of one's eyes to intentional affiliation with a group of people (the Yankees or the Red Sox, for example). Not every red & white cap means "Red Sox fan." Not every black & white keffiyeh means "I support Arafat." Many more times than not, a cap of any color means "this keeps the sun out of my eyes." And many, many more times than not, a keffiyeh means "this keeps the sand out of my face."

Be good to each other,
Rev. Josh

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