Channel your outrage elsewhere…

I am irritated with the Hallmark Ugly Sweater uproar. If you have missed this story thus far, let me sum it up: some folks have their panties in a bunch because Hallmark put “Don we now our fun apparel!” on an ugly sweater ornament instead of “Don we now our gay apparel!” Apparently the word change in the popular Deck the Halls carol was an affront.  Hallmark’s statement about the ornament said (in part):

“Hallmark created this year’s Holiday Sweater ornament in the spirit of fun. When the lyrics to “Deck the Halls” were translated from Gaelic and published in English back in the 1800s, the word “gay” meant festive or merry. Today it has multiple meanings, which we thought could leave our intent open to misinterpretation.”

Okay – I can see Hallmark’s point.  I can see how using the original line could have been viewed as offensive.  So there is nothing to see here folks…no crimes have been committed…no laws have been broken – move on.  But apparently some folks are not moving on.  Some folks have nothing better to do with their time and energy than to raise an uproar about this.

Now, don’t get me wrong – I understand the power of a word and the damage that can be done if it is used offensively.  But changing the word gay to fun on a holiday ornament – is that really a DEFCON 1 situation?  I do not think so.

I might suggest that the issue of equal rights for the LGBT community is in far greater need of supporters with moral indignation.  How about the right to marry or not be discriminated against in regard to jobs, adoptions, or property rentals?  How about equity in representation across mass media or government for the LGBT community?  How about addressing real issues that profoundly affect the LGBT community instead of kicking up dust over perceived slights?

There are plenty of situations in the world that deserve our outrage, but this is not one of them. These folks who are up in arms need to channel their outrage elsewhere.  Indeed, if they felt compelled to complain about this ornament they should have focused on the validation of ugly Christmas sweaters that this ornament seems to provide.  That is an actual crime against fashion and an ongoing injury to fashion psyches everywhere.  But let’s face it – ugly Christmas sweaters are the least of things we have to worry about in this world.  And that is precisely my point.

If you want to call putting on your ugly sweater – donning your gay apparel – go right ahead.  Hallmark chose not to and for a valid reason.  If you don’t like the ornament don’t buy it.  And with the money you save, donate to the It Gets Better Project which supports LGBT youth.   Use your voice when it matters, not just to hear the sound of it.

Day one thousand two hundred and nineteen of the new forty – obla di obla da

Ms. C

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About Ms. C

I teach at NDSU...but I remain a student of life with all the enthusiasm that entails. My favorite saying is, "Sometimes you have to take the leap and build your wings on the way down." In the new forty that is what I am doing...building my wings.
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2 Responses to Channel your outrage elsewhere…

  1. tim haering says:

    Is there some paradoxical intention in your dedicating your longer than usual column to the very annoying thing you’d like to go away? Hope tricker treat was fun.

  2. Katherine says:

    Good point!

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