Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Well, the World is Certainly Safer for Doughnuts NOW...

I do not go out of my way to read Michelle Malkin. Nor do I go out of my way to find news about hasty meal entrepreneur and talk show host Rachael Ray.

Yet somehow, here they are, bleeding through into my reading today:

What happened was that Ms. Ray, a spokeswoman for fried starch purveyor Dunkin' Donuts, wore a garment that looked a lot to me like a houndstooth scarf in a television spot. Ms. Malkin evidently sees all objects with a pattern similar to houndstooth as resembling a keffiyeh (example), which in her eyes is per se a statement of solidarity with the intifada. So, obviously, it has to go off the air.
To clarify, there are three issues here:
1) Not all checked scarves are keffiyehs.
2) Wearing a keffiyeh doesn't mean that you're in tight with the Al-Aqsa Martyr's Brigade or Hamas.
3) Wearing a keffiyeh-looking object should not be enough to get you booted from American television.
The third should go without saying; we're a plural society here, and it really should be OK to wear a clothing item that millions of people, some of them Palestinian radicals, wear. Most agree that general clothing styles, by themselves, do not mean you subscribe to certain beliefs; e.g. this Ronald Reagan shirt does not mean you support violent Communist revolution. Sometimes a patterned scarf is a patterned scarf.
Furthermore, even if Ms. Ray has a copy of Walt & Mearsheimer's The Israel Lobby in her purse in that photo, as Americans we should be able to intelligently disagree about Middle Eastern policy without resort to blackballing doughnut commercials. Can we remember this again? Doughnuts. And coffee. Not policy.