Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Note to Hallmark: For some, it IS Memorial Day every day

Let me see if I can keep this simple: In America, yesterday was Memorial Day. To some of us, Memorial Day is a most sacred day when we pay homage, we remember and honour all of our Fallen Heroes who have given their lives to protect those freedoms which make America great.

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....

Was this:

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.

Contact information for Hallmark was shared yesterday, as some tried to suggest that we allow Hallmark the opportunity to 'make things right.' Riiiiiight. As I wrote somewhere yesterday, when you mess with OUR Gold Star Families, our military families, for whom every day is Memorial Day, there is no second chance, there is no making it right. Period. As I have often noted, words have power, and once uttered or written there is no taking back the initial intent or impact. And yes, I believe that a huge corporation such as Hallmark has NO excuse in this instance. IF their intent was to pay tribute to the true meaning of Memorial Day, and acknowledge the debt we ALL owe to our Fallen Heroes, and their families, this cartoon would have said so, in unambiguous language.

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.


John Wagner


Anonymous said...

When I brought this to everyone's attention, I had no idea how far flung the irritation would be.

I also had no idea that American's were, for the most part, bigger jerks than I feared to believe.

While Hallmark was not the only offender, it was the worst.

-Flag Gazer

Catinflorida said...

As always my dear friend Brat... Your passion for our Heroes and the loved ones they leave behind is beyond inspirational and we absolutely love you for it! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Cat

John of Argghhh! said...

I have my own rants about Memorial Day, which, in a sense, is the core of the problem with the Maxine cartoon.

Many have forgotten the "reason for the season" to borrow from people upset about the circus Christmas is...

It's now just the "Official Start of Summer" for most people.

That said, a commenter at my place had a suggestion the Dark Side of me likes - find out when your local car dealer's father died, and run an ad for "Car Dealer's Dad's Death Celebration Sale!"... and see how that played out.

Anonymous said...

Being an American is advanced freedom not for the faint of heart. You can't stand up waving your flags, saying "Land of the Free paid for by The Brave" on Monday and want to exclude others from a place at the table on Tuesday. It doesn't work that way. It's the Land of the Free or it's not. An artist is free to create or they are not. Stores are free to sell or they are not. It's not free unless it doesn't suit me. It's Freedom. ~ PROUD USMC MAMA. SEMPER FI.

Anonymous said...

We've lost our humanity.


Anonymous said...

Thanks Brat for watching our back! Obviously, we need it! cjbsrn

Anonymous said...

Sent to Hallmark today:

Boy - talk about terrible timing - for YOU. My American Greetings ecard membership was just expiring, and I was going to switch at the end of May to you guys to get a fresh set of ecards to send out. I send out ecards all the time (more than 100 a year), with at least 20 of those including gift cards to them.

However - I think saw an absolutely DISRESPECTFUL Memorial Day Maxine card from you guys. My son is a Marine. We personally lost 10 Marines from his unit last year, and have been grieving all year. This Memorial Day has been awful, as we remember those dear, amazing heroes. Memorial Day is NO JOKE.

You do not get my business.

CyberPastor said...

Well I agree - "every day should be Memorial Day" but not like this ignorant cartoon suggests. As Brat does so well here, every day should be a day to remember the sacrifices that have been made for freedom everywhere. Thanks Brat for the post!

CyberPastor said...

To finish off my thought.....

.... so Brat hits a home run with the title, as it says it all!!!

Gail A. said...

I received this from them after requesting they cancel my membership. Nothing in there about said cancellation...
Thank you for contacting Hallmark.

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.

We appreciate your taking the time to let us know how you feel.

brat said...

@ Gail.. As I added in an update, that which they sent you, they also posted on their FB Maxine page. I have added it here without my usual commentary, so readers can reach their own conclusions.

They also just this morning has posted that from now on they will institute a Code of Conduct type thing on their page and remove all hateful, disrespectful comments that people post. This after just about 48 hours of the most vile bilge I have ever seen from America.

Anonymous said...

late jumping in as I have been on the move, and maybe better so. When my son and a million other sons, daughters, brother, sisters, husband, wives, dads and moms gave their lives - their forever in some cases as my son had no children - they did it for America. Unfortunately, they did it for the good of America, and those who could care less. It is easy to be thoughtless and insensitive when you have not experienced that which you are thoughtless and insensitive about. You can not know how much you love someone, especially your child, until you lose them. May those who are so insensitive and thoughtless about Memorial Day, and for that matter may all who have not suffered such a loss, never know how much you love someone. And if someone thinks it makes me feel better knowing they have a day off because my son and one million others like him died for America, then they are mistaken, seriously mistaken. They have no sense nor do I think they are capable of understanding

robert stokely
KIA 16 AUG 05 near Yusufiyah Iraq

Janet F said...

Let's all boycott Hallmark next Memorial Day weekend and let their ignorant supporters and corporate big wigs see how THAT feels?!?