Published on: January 12, 2010
Yesterday, MNB took note of a story in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel
saying that Publix has decided to withdraw a free 2010 calendar that it has been circulating because of criticisms from a Miami talk show host who had been publicizing the fact that the calendar did not identify December 7 as Pearl Harbor Day and did identify that day in 2010 as the beginning of the Islamic New Year.
"We regret that the day of remembrance, Pearl Harbor, is not noted and as a result of customer feedback, we will add Pearl Harbor to next year's calendar," Kimberly Jaeger, a Publix spokeswoman, said.
The talk show host, Joyce Kaufmann, reportedly said on the program that the omission would offend World War II veterans, and that some Muslims - those who are "radical and want to destroy Western civilization" - are enemies of the United States.
In fact, in past years, the free Publix calendar never
identified December 7 as Pearl Harbor Day. And it is a coincidence that in 2010, December 7 happens to be the beginning of the Islamic New Year.
My comment, in part:I am sympathetic to Publix. After all, the company is in the business of not offending people, and so management probably figured it had no choice but to withdraw the calendar.
But what is really offensive is that some radio talk show host with no apparent moral scruples decides to generate some ratings not just by demonizing Muslims, but demonizing a supermarket chain by implying it had done something that was somehow un-American.
What a crock.
It’s too bad that we live in a world where a company like Publix couldn’t afford to tell Joyce Kaufman to take a flying leap. She sounds like a bully with a microphone. Bullies ought to faced down, not ceded to. Next year, Publix says, it will note both holidays, which probably makes sense...except that the bully thinks she got her way.
I got a couple of emails hitting me hard on this:You're the one trying to be a bully using the MNB format to propagate your crappy politically correct point of view. You're ridiculous. Joyce Kaufman is right on target. Shame on you. There is absolutely nothing wrong with her for calling out Publix, because they failed to include Pearl Harbor Day.
And another MNB user chimed in:It was Muslims that bombed the WTC in 1993 (not as “effective” as intended) and 2001 (not as they planned, but still tragic..). .It was a Muslim who had the bomb in his underwear on Christmas day – and it’s only because it didn’t go as planned that we aren’t talking about another tragedy. Be sensitive to that fact. It’s fresh in most people’s minds. You of all people should be aware of this, with all the flying you do, and all the TSA requirements.
And, talk to any veteran of WWII – it’s offensive to miss acknowledging Pearl Harbor and it is not surprising this was noticed in this year in particular. It is not surprising it was missed in years past though. First of all, many vets have died since WWII so they aren’t around to bring it up. Perhaps younger relatives aren’t as aware or sensitive to that fact, which is too bad – history forgotten has a tendency to repeat itself.
Thankfully, we still have freedom of speech, so you can voice your opinion, and radio talk hosts and I can voice ours also. I respect yours. Don’t agree with this particular one, but I respect yours and am grateful we can have this dialogue in this country. I have the utmost respect for our Constitution that ensures us of these freedoms, and frankly I am concerned that freedom of speech is threatened, with all the political correctness going around.
A couple of things, if I may.
I am not trying to deny this talk show host freedom of speech, or bully her in any way. She can say whatever the hell she wants. But that doesn’t mean that I can’t criticize her for what I believe in an irresponsible accusation/implication - that Publix somehow isn’t patriotic because of this calendar. I just think it is an easy accusation that requires no thought and fewer scruples.
And I don’t think it is politically correct to say so. I just think it is thoughtful and decent.
I think it also is worth pointing out that it wasn’t all
Muslims who committed those acts of terror. It was Muslim terrorists who did it. And I think there is a difference.
MNB user Chuck Blackledge wrote:I have a copy of the 2010 calendar from King Sooper (a division of Kroger), and they do not identify Pearl Harbor or the Islamic New Year. I doubt there are many calendars that do.
Another MNB user wrote:I guess my question would be; What would be the reaction if the two events were reversed? Pearl Harbor Day is acknowledged and the Islamic New Year wasn’t?
Nothing. Nobody probably would have noticed. And the radio host would have some other issue to demagogue.
BTW...You could make the argument that, considering that there is a growing Muslim minority in the US and that most of us simply are unfamiliar with their beliefs and observances, noting on a calendar when the Islamic New Year begins actually isn’t a dumb thing to do.
And you could make the argument that it’d be nice to remind people when Pearl Harbor Day is, especially since the younger generation may have less familiarity than we’d like with such historic events. (Though I’m guessing that there are very few such young people who use paper calendars - they’re using their computers and cell phones. But that’s a different debate.)
My point isn’t to take either side of this argument...but just to say that the tenor of the accusations leveled by the talk show host, best I can tell from the coverage, drove the discussion to the lowest common denominator.
There could have been an interesting discussion about whether we do not pay enough attention to our history. We could talk about how the growing minorities in America and the challenges they present in terms of acculturation and assimilation.
But no. Those kinds of discussions don’t generate ratings. It is easier to level accusations and stoke people’s anger.
It is irresponsible.
Another MNB user wrote:The Publix calendar issue is the sort of garbage that makes me question why I'm in retail and dealing w/the 'public' some days.
You just can't win sometimes. I agree, what a crock!
Can't these people direct this passion into something more useful like cleaning up a river or feeding a hungry kid?
MNB user J. Schindler wrote:As for the Publix calendar - if Publix would have just ignored it I think it would have gone away in a week or less. Now we have all of those calendars in the landfill - or maybe they are being recycled. A better reaction if any was deemed necessary at all would have been to make a donation to a Veteran's charity. I think Publix lost points from the vast majority of us by caving in to that radio talk show host.
MNB user Myron D. Winkelman wrote:
I fully agree with your opinion!! There should be a special purgatory for people like Ms. Kaufman.
One MNB user from Florida wrote:Great analysis. Too many hate mongers are out there spouting this garbage. Unfortunately they seem to abound in the "bible belt".
Funny line from another MNB user:Good thing Publix is not in Indiana. December 7 is Larry Bird's birthday.
Also the birthday, as it happens, of Tom Waits, Johnny Bench, and Mary Stuart, the Queen of Scotland from 1560-1587.
Gonna need a big calendar if all the special interest groups are to be catered to. Especially those cranky Scots.