It's All Fun and Games 'Til Your Ass Gets Sued

Remember Mike Norman, the full-tilt douchehound from Marietta, Georgia who wishes Hillary Clinton had married OJ and is hawking Curious George t-shirts reading "Obama in '08"?

Well, his 15 minutes of delightfully bigoted fame has introduced his fookwit arse to the publishing company that owns the Curious George image, and I'm sure you'll be just positively flabbergasted to hear that they're decidedly unthrilled with his appropriation of their property.
Rick Blake, a spokesman for publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, which owns Curious George, said Wednesday that the company didn't authorize the use of the character's image, but hasn't been in touch with anybody selling or manufacturing the shirts.

"We find it offensive and obviously utterly out of keeping with the value Curious George represents," Blake said. "We're monitoring the situation and weighing our options with respect to legal action."

Meanwhile, Norman says on the one hand that he's not doing anything offensive—
Norman acknowledged the imagery's Jim Crow roots but said he sees nothing wrong with depicting a prominent African-American as a monkey. "We're not living in the (19)40's," he said. "Look at him…the hairline, the ears -- he looks just like Curious George."
—while on the other hand insists that he's being defiantly offensive:
The Tennessee native said he's providing a public service of sorts, reminding people they have a right to offend. "This is my marketing tool," he said.
Look, there's nothing racist about this, and if you think there is, you're just a humorless, hypersensitive hysteric—and, also, fuck you! It's totally racist but I don't give a shit about your dumbass beliefs in equality, respect, and basic decency.

It's like, as someone pointed out in comments recently, when some fauxgressive prefaces some incredibly sexist comment with, "I'm not a sexist, but…" thereby tacitly acknowledging they know what they're expressing is, indeed, sexism. Norman doesn't think what's he doing is offensive, but selling this godawful t-shirt is his "marketing tool" to remind people "they have a right to offend." Okay. Well, that's either the worst marketing tool in the world, or Norman knows as well as I do that those shirts are wildly inappropriate.

You'll be happy to hear that Norman's "defenders are just as resolute" as the big meanies trying to squelch his right-to-offend crusade.
Mulligan's is a refuge, they say, in an otherwise hypersensitive world. Smoking isn't only allowed at the bar, it's expected.

"This place is a diamond in the rough," said Gene McKinley, a Woodstock engineer among the patrons Tuesday. "People here are genuine and honest. It's the one place I can go without having to worry if I'm offending someone."
I guess even bigots need a safe space. Ahem.

By the way, I love seeing the idea yet again that it's the racists (and sexists, and homophobes, and…) who are "genuine and honest." They just tell it like it is; the rest of us are posturing hypocrites.

I almost feel sorry for someone who genuinely doesn't know the freedom of shedding internalized prejudice, who doesn't understand that there are some of us who really, really do want to be good toward our fellow humans not for plaudits, and not just for their benefit of those at whom our prejudices were directed, but for the good of our own goddamned souls. I almost pity someone who will never see that biases limit the people who hold them, too—and escaping those limits makes our lives richer. I almost have sympathy for someone so broken, who doesn't think they need fixing.


[H/T to Shaker TA, by email.]

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