And That Cup is Packed with C-4: Rachael Ray’s Keffiyeh Controversy

“I’m taking the whole donut shop with me me!!”
“Is that a fashionable scarf, or are you just happy to terrorize me?”: Rachael Ray, meet Yasser Arafat, late head of the PLO

Late last week, Good Morning America took on the the tempest-in-a-thimble over Rachael Ray’s scarf, doing so, actually, sensibly.

Conservative bloggers had raised the the charge that Ray’s scarf, in the print ad, above, was a keffiyeh. This, “for the clueless,” as screechy Fox News commentator Michelle Malkin warmly explained on her web site,

is the traditional scarf of Arab men that has come to symbolize murderous Palestinian jihad. 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.”

Under these charges, Dunkin Donuts quickly folded. In The Boston Globe, the company was quoted as saying

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.

In other words, it’s not a keffiyeh. But because bloggers said that

a) it was one, and b) wearing one means the wearer supports killing civilians through political war, Duncan D. cut bait and ran.

In Thursday’s broadcast, the GMA co-hosts commisserated over the stupidity of the brouhaha. “This is unfortunate for Rachel Ray, given what she’s come to symobolize for all of us,” said co-host Chris Cuomo of their ABC-TV-mate. “But it’s the thinking also, though, that you’re going say, ‘That type of fashion means terrorism…,’ that’s a dangerous type of thinking. It really is.”

Keffiyeh by catalog“Going a little far, here” added Diane Sawyer. She also noted that famed retailer Urban Outfitters, which sells keffiyehs in varied colors, had pulled the item in wake of the controversy. Apparently, this isn’t the first time, as, a year-and-a-half ago, they reportedly also unstocked the items in the wake of controversy and pressur.

“Enough already,” Rev. C. Welton Gaddy, president of the Interfaith Alliance, has said.

Have we really reached the point where we are associating wearing a scarf of Middle Eastern origin with terrorist sympathies? Should we apply this standard to everything that comes from the Middle East? Or are we only applying this standard to our wardrobe?

Or as Ellen Ripley said in Aliens, “Did I.Q.s just drop sharply while I was away?”



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