One of those freedoms so hard fought for, bled for, is freedom of speech, and yesterday Hallmark exercised that right. In the process they upset MANY Americans (and yes, foreigners) with their Maxine cartoon.
(c) Hallmark, of course!
Throughout the day, there was hot debate on a social networking site, and to say it got ugly is an understatement. I read some ignorant morons heaping salt into already aching wounds of military families (yes, some Gold Star Moms among them. You know, moms who have lost their precious children to the GWOT, and whom Memorial Day should be focused on, ) and supporters, as they told those upset about the message of this Maxine cartoon:
Have a sense of damn humor! I am sick of everyone complaining.
OMG people! If you're so offended by a CARTOON.....get off of the computer and go out and thank a vet or make up and ship a care package to one. That would make more of a difference than sitting in front of a computer screen bitching about a comment from a FICTIONAL character for Gods sake!
some of us had the day off and thought we would run errands since it is a day off! Forget that!! everything but walmart and walgreens are locked down tight!
I don't think it was meant to be disrespectful and I personally didn't take it that way.
Those are just a small sampling and it did get uglier, as some people tried to share why this cartoon hurt so many who find it offensive, why it IS disrespectful, and just plain WRONG!
One Marine wife, whose son has also served, tried to explain WHY she found it offensive and was told to "Get COUNSELLING"..
In response to this ignorance:
Why must everyone take things so seriously....you don't like it....unlike it on your fb and don't get your bloomers in a wad....
you obviously don't know the widow or child or parent of a soldier who was killed. This is disrespectful to them and to the memory of those who served this country honorably.
And therein lies the rub. It has been noted that only 1% of America is at war, while the rest of the population is at the mall. And make no mistake, for companies like Hallmark, America IS just one big mall, an opportunity for commerce, pursuit of the almighty dollar, and never mind the aching hearts of the thousands of Americans all too intimately aware of the cost of military service.
The publishing of this cartoon, sadly, demonstrates the absolute disconnect that most of America has from the current GLOBAL war.
When I read this, I totally despaired:
Unbelievable that so many of you are pissed about this! I'm pretty damn sure that no disrespect for the heroes we lost who served was intended. It's a comic for pete's sake! Lighten up. sheesh!
Well believe this: I was and still am totally pissed off at the disrespect of Hallmark yesterday. What also distressed me was the defence, by some, of Hallmark's indefensible cartoon. Oh, I really DO 'get' that for many Americans, this global war we are in is totally irrelevant, and I DO 'get' that Maxine is a fictional character. However, for a huge corporation who makes their profits on pulling at the heartstrings - and wallets - of Americans, the ignorance of cartoon was beyond despicable.
As someone pointed out, there was NO American flag included in the picture; absolutely nothing to remind folks about the significance, the meaning of Memorial Day.
As someone wrote to me in a private message:
Its not like I want Americans to feel sorry for any of us because its part of military life, its the gamble you take when you sign your life away and pledge to protect us from all enemies foreign and domestic BUT I would pray that they could show a little respect! Its like they are laughing and talking during a funeral service and it is beyond rude- but then again military life is a double edged sword and the people we love that we choose to honor, died to protect their freedom to not understand it. Honestly every Marine I know fallen, wounded or served wouldn't have it any other way and that gives me a sense of pride and love that those people will never understand. So poor them! :-P
Pride and love. THAT is what Memorial Day should be about, and respect and appreciation. An acknowledgement that, as one Gold Star Father I am humbled to have as a friend calls it, 'the special priviledge of sacrifice,' matters, for at least this one day a year.
My regular readers know I am connected to some amazing Gold Star Families, who have honoured me by basically 'adopting' me as one of their own, and every single day my heart hurts for them, as they walk their paths with such dignity and grace. THOSE character traits were sorely lacking in the commentary on this Maxine cartoon, as we all saw the quintessential ugly Americans so rudely badmouthing any military family member who dared to voice their upset over the ignorance of Hallmark. Freedom of speech for the ugly, but apparently not allowed for those who have given so much in service to America.
Oh, some commenters tried to spin the message by reminding that Maxine is always sarcastic and that the cartoon really IS a tribute to our Fallen. Puleeeeze! Not buying it. And I won't be buying Hallmark products ever again.
In case any should try and suggest that it was just the Gold Star Families, and military supporters, who failed to get the supposed tribute by Maxine yesterday, one of my favourite veterans also weighed in on this topic. From War on Terror News:
Hallmark's Maxine has reiterated and re-inforced the problem in America. People see Memorial Day as just a day off. It's just a commercialized day of sales and bar-b-q's wrapped in the flag that covers Our Fallen.
C.J. Grisham As a Soldier, I fought for their right to be stupid. However, there are also consequences that come with using those rights. If I oppose an editorial opinion like this, I am free to spend my money elsewhere. Freedom of speech isn't freedom from consequences."
Should the 1% of America's Veterans boycott Hallmark? Should you write an angry letter? Should you let Hallmark know your thoughts?
CJ is right: The US Constitution affords Americans the right not only be stupid, but to demonstrate to the world just how stupid you are. And he is also correct: That stupidity has consequences and the US Constitution does not protect from those consequences....
He has more, of course, here.
As someone I quoted previously says:
Oh honey, Maxine does not want to live life like every day is memorial day because that means every day you are hurt. You recall the day that changed your life a...nd your families life forever...So F that insensitive writer and God bless those people that don't have to feel the pain most of us experience on a regular basis and can have a goddamn picnic today because my family and friends (and many other Americans) have been paying the price for it for a long long time. GRRRRRRR!! We have been living every day like its memorial day since the push in Fallujah, and as the years go by it intensifies. Growing up I got to go to Memorial Services on this sacred day and understood from a young age today isn't about a day off or swimming, etc that's what the other 364 days are for. ONE DAY! JUST ONE DAY! To think about someone other than yourself that sacrificed so much so you can enjoy your life, is too much to ask from many Americans today because they are so damn selfish!...
Yes, for some of our American families, every day IS Memorial Day, and every day as they walk their path of grief, they get to deal with Americans who choose to be what I call 'wilfully ignorant' about the sacrifices made, so they can remain free to be stoooopid.
Memorial Day is a sacred day, and with their Maxine cartoon yesterday, Hallmark proved, with NO room for misinterpretation, just how stupid, ignorant, they truly are. They exercised their freedom to prove that, in the land of the free, because of the brave.
Shame on YOU, Hallmark!
UPDATE: It appears that after 36+ hours of questions, insults, and disrespect of Gold Star and other military families, by "Fans", the FaceBook Maxine page admin. has issued this:
Dear Maxine Fans,
We understand some were offended by Maxine's post on Memorial Day, and for that we are truly sorry. While Maxine is known for her irreverence and playful nature, it can sometimes come off as being ...thoughtless and insensitive. Please understand that she meant no disrespect to the men and women who have paid the ultimate price for our freedom, as well as those who continue to fight and sacrifice so much for our freedom today.
Those of us who help create Maxine regret missing the opportunity to say something meaningful to everybody on Memorial Day. Thank you for sharing your thoughts, and rest assured we will be more thoughtful next year.