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Elf Hermey

Hallmark Cries Uncle, Stops Selling Gay Ornament

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Elf Hermey


Nobody seemed to be happy with Hallmark‘s decision to defend their changing the words of the Christmas carol “Deck the Halls” on an ornament design made available this year. The controversial ornament is no longer available to buy (thus making it more collectible and valuable in the process, is this a great country or what?).

The ornament was fashioned after the popular trend of ugly Christmas sweaters and bore the words “Don we now our fun apparel”, a take-off of words from the classic song “Don we now our gay apparel”. The change was immediately interpreted as over-the-top political correctness which Hallmark chose to defend by saying they changed the word because “gay” has meaning that was not present in society back when the song was written.

“By that logic they should have changed the word “Don”, too” noted one observant online critic. “When was the last time you heard someone say “Time to don this?”

The backlash against Hallmark has been swift and coast to coast. Even some in the gay community took offense at the commentary and expressed anger and frustration with Hallmark because the uproar made it appear members of the gay community pressured Hallmark into making the change.

Hallmark has finally relented, pulling the ornament from sale and apologizing for the whole affair:

“We’ve been surprised at the wide range of reactions expressed about the change of lyrics on this ornament, and we’re sorry to have caused so much concern,” Hallmark wrote in its most recent release. “We never intend to offend or make political statements with our products and in hindsight, we realize we shouldn’t have changed the lyrics on the ornament.”

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I didn't realize it was on a tacky sweater ornament.  Now that I've seen the ornament in context, I get what they were shooting for.  Nevertheless, I'm glad Hallmark pulled the product because it was causing undue hurt feelings on both sides.

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Cayman Claus

I guess this means that sometimes it is politically correct (discontinuing the ornament) to admit that you were not politically correct (by removing the word gay) in your initial effort to be politically correct (in your attempt not to offend people with the word gay)?  I guess this all leaves me a little confused.  


At best, what Hallmark did was exceedingly awkward, because nobody could reasonably be offended by the used of the word "gay" in the context of song lyrics that they have been reciting for all of their lives.  So that alone (the awkwardness of the "fun" for "gay" change) should have alerted them to the possibility that people would have a reaction to the ornament beyond, "Oh, I like this ornament" or "Oh, I don't like this ornament" based on the merits of the ornament itself.  


Hallmark should have known that people would notice the change and, at the very least, find it exceedingly odd and awkward... and thus have a reaction in one way or another to the word "fun" which appears so out of context, and thus develop "feelings" about whether they were "for" or "against" that change.  In other words, they should have known that it would be controversial, and thus not "fun" for them from a PR standpoint.

So I'm quite surprised that Hallmark was "surprised" (as they stated).  I'm not surprised that they did not give careful consideration to the word change (because on it's surface, it was no big deal, and they have countless products to review before releasing), but yet to say, "We were negligent... in our product review" is probably not a good way to express their regrets in a press release.  So I guess I'm not so surprised that they said they were surprised, which really adds a new dimension on a comedic level.


What I think happened, actually, is that their attempt at political correctness somehow missed the turn in the road that essentially now says that it's only politically correct to be all gay all the time.  It seems (for instance) that no TV series of any kind is considered complete without at least one gay character, so maybe every new series of Hallmark ornaments should have at least one gay reference.


I also think that sometimes, in a legitimate effort to gain a broader level of acceptance, certain groups that have been discriminated against and really ought to be treated better by the rest of society, tend to push their agenda so hard and so relentlessly that their message actually becomes rather diluted after a while, to the point where the very people who need to hear it the most have long since tuned it out.

Edited by Cayman Claus

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True Believer

I'm an avid collector of Hallmark, and to be honest I never even noticed that they removed it. I am pleased that they are trying to not offend anyone, however I do feel that there shouldn't be a change as it is the original song. This is where we should educate, not hide. Just my humble thoughts.

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