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The Guest
Refrigerator Door

I'm taking a brief break from Sunshyn's magnets.  The entertainment editor had a lot of Christmas-themed magnets, so I'm going to use them for the next few days, in deference to the season!

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Becoming a Man:
Half a Life Story

Paul Monette
(believe it or not
I'm almost finished!)

My Amazon wish list



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Just say "No" to the Salvation Army.

For those masochistic enough to want to read the on-line version of my Christmas letter, you can find it here.

That's it for today!

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18 December 2001

Talk about tempest in a teapot. Or "get a life" or something. How could something so cute and innocent and cuddily as Hallmark's Kiss-Kiss Mistletoe Bears possibly be controversial?

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I'll tell you how.

Hallmark designed the bears with magnets to make opposite-sex bears attract but make same-sex bears repel each other. This in itself caused eyebrows to raise in the gay community, but one Fred Kuhr, of Providence, RI, found that homosexuality is not only found in a percentage of the human population, apparently it has also turned up in at least two of the Hallmark bears. (I wonder what the percentage of "gay bears" is compared to the "straight bears. Just goes to show that you really can't fight mother nature, even if your insides are stuffed with foam!)

Mr. Kuhr and his partner found the "gay bears" in Amy's Hallmark Shop in the Providence Place Mall. Delighted, they decided to buy the two "gay bears." But when he took the two male bears to the counter, the clerk refused to sell them to him, saying that "policy" (the clerk did not say whose policy) would only permit the store to sell couples which were boy/girl.

Now, if you look through Google for KissKiss Mistletoe Bears, you find that as a special deal, in some places, if you buy one bear (they are sold individually), you can get a second bear free. Nowhere does it say that the second bear must be the opposite gender from the original bear.

When the two customers continued to insist on being permitted to buy the two bears, and demanded to see the manager, the clerk refused to call the manager, but did summon mall security and the men were escorted from the mall.

When contacted by media, Hallmark's consumer care department issued the following statement:

Hallmark acts solely as a manufacturer and wholesaler of its products. Although we attempt to work closely with our retailers to assist them in businesses, each store ownership establishes its own policies relating to personnel and other operating practices.

To their credit, both the manager of Amy's Hallmark and the mall's general manager have apologized to the men. Though the Hallmark store was not willing to talk with the media, the mall manager promised that the security guards would be "disciplined" and retrained to better handle similar situations in the future.

That in itself is encouraging and proof that there are rational people in the world, but how absolutely stupid in a time when we are blowing up mountains and buildings and people in Afghanistan, where the middle east is a powder keg just willing to explode, when this country's freedoms are being eroded in the name of "security" (and when a newspaper editor, giving a commencement speech questioning the compromise of our freedoms to a local college is booed off the stage), to raise such fuss over the attempted purchase of stuffed animals is just ludicrous.

But nobody ever said homophobia was rational. The very suggestion of men loving men seems to make other men rabid (though women loving women doesn't seem to elicit quite the same degree of frothing at the mouth--or maybe people threatened by women loving women just aren't as vocal).

When the phobia extends to even regulating what cash-toting, peaceful, gift-buying customers are permitted to buy, it exceeds all bounds of rationality.

Surely there are other much more important things to get worked up about than whether two guys can buy two male bears or not.

One Year Ago:
For the Birds

My tip of the week:
Go NOW to Pictures to EXE Presentations
and download some of the fantastic
slide shows which have been
uploaded.  You wont be sorry!

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